Your holiday summary
Make your own way
|Price range||From £2850|
|Travel partner||Wild Frontiers|
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Bolivia: High & Wild
Few sites can rival the splendour of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, where cactus encrusted islands rise surreally out of a sea of salt, or the sparkling blue waters of Lake Titicaca, dotted with beautiful islands and indigenous settlements. For the cultural visitor, Sucre and the silver mining city of Potosi offer an unparalleled view to the decadence of the Spanish crown, and the thriving market at Tarabuco and infamous witches market in La Paz give visitors an insight into modern day Bolivia. A magical destination, Bolivia will leave you breathless – not least because of the altitude…!
- La Paz & Holy Copacabana
- Island hopping on Lake Titicaca
- Silver mining town of Potosi
- Adventure on Bolivian Salt Flats
- Sucre and Tarabuco Sunday Market
- Full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides and drivers.
- Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with mineral water as required.
- All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees, as per itinerary
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
- Visas (if applicable)
- Local airport taxes
- Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the predeparture information pack you’ll receive after booking)
- Beverages & any costs of a personal nature
- International Flights
- Airport transfers (unless booking suggested flights through WF office)
The tour will begin at lunchtime today at our joining hotel. Because La Paz is the highest capital city in the world it’s important to take time to adjust to the altitude, so this afternoon we’ll take a leisurely trip around the old colonial town, visiting the handicraft market, the Kilili viewpoint and the extraordinary landscapes of Moon Valley. Hotel (L,D)
Day 2: La Paz – Tiwanaku - Huatajata (Lake Titicaca) (3825m):
After breakfast we travel 70km from the city to visit Bolivia’s most important archaeological site, Tiwanaku, which dates back over 1000 years. Here we’ll explore the Sun Gate, the temple of Kalasaya, and the impressive pyramid of Akapana, which spans over 200 square metres. After lunch we’ll drive along the Royal Andean mountain range to the shores of Lake Titicaca, passing through tiny Andean villages, flanked by snow-capped peaks, rising to 6000m. Arriving in Huatajata we’ll experience the Andean Roots Eco Village, including the Altiplano Museum, to learn about the cultural heritage of the Aymaras and the Incas. Meet the Limachi family, builders of the Ra II and Tigris for Thor Heyerdahl’s epic expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean. Tonight you’ll visit "The Mystic World of the Kallawayas" – the natural healers of Bolivia authorized by law to practice natural medicine. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 3: Huatajata – Island of the Moon – Copacabana – Island of the Sun (Lake Titicaca):
After breakfast we’ll take the hydrofoil to the Island of the Moon where we’ll visit the Temple of the Sun Virgins, Iñak Uyu, where the most beautiful Inca virgins were given the task of conserving a sacred fire dedicated to their Gods. A short boat transfer then takes us to colourful, chaotic Copacabana; the holy town on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca, where people travel from all over the country to get blessed. Here we’ll have time to visit the sacred shrine and the local market. Moving on to the Island of the Sun, we visit the site of Pilcocaina, stopping to sip from the Inca Fountain - reputed to bestow eternal youth to those that drink from it! A short trek takes us to our accommodation for the night; an authentic colonial Hacienda that has been restored and converted to a fabulous eco-lodge with breathtaking views of Lake Titicaca. This afternoon you’ll have some free time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Eco-Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4: Island of the Sun – Mainani Bay - Huatajata (3825m):
After breakfast we’ll take a scenic trek to Chincana (the labyrinth) – a set of pre-Inca ruins located on the north side of Sun Island. These ruins were believed to be a support facility for the Island’s Shrine, housing the maiden who took care of the Shrine. It’s a 3-hour trek one way and then we’ll return by motor-boat after a picnic lunch. Following the excursion we return to Yumani Harbour for the hydrofoil cruise back to Huatajata, where we’ll spend the night. This evening we’ll have the opportunity to visit the Alajpacha Native Observatory, to learn about the night skies and the constellations of the southern hemisphere. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5: Huatajata – La Paz:
After breakfast we sail to the island of Parati, where an important archaeological cache of ceramic artefacts were recently discovered in the middle of the town’s football pitch! Cruising on through the reeds we’ll disembark on Kalauta Island, taking a gentle 2-hour walk across the island through local villages, visiting ancient necropolis and funerary towers, and reach the Urus-Iruitos floating islands. The reed islands are unique to Lake Titicaca and we visit a community project set up to help the Uruitos people sustain their traditional way of life. We’ll also stop for an Indian style Aptapi lunch, before heading back to La Paz. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 6: La Paz – Sucre (2790m):
Heading back to the airport we take a morning flight to Sucre, Bolivia’s most attractive city and an UNESCO world monument. A city tour takes us to various sites, including the Recoleta and San Francisco churches, the House of Liberty where Simon Bolivar secured the independence of Bolivia, and the Indian textile museum. Tonight is free to explore Sucre. Colonial hotel (B,L)
Day 7: Sucre – La Candelaria:
Departing Sucre we’ll make a brief stop at the town of Tarabuco before visiting the community of La Candelaria where the indigenous women produce beautiful tapestries the traditional way. This cooperative project helps local women retain their craft whilst earning a much needed income. Tonight we’ll spend the night in a simple, family owned hacienda. Traditional farmhouse (B,L,D)
Day 8: La Candelaria – Tarabuco – Potosi:
The colourful, sprawling Tarabuco market takes place every Sunday, approximately 65km from Sucre. Here we’ll have the chance to see high quality crafts and goods from the region that includes an amazing array of textiles, weavings, clothing and medicinal paraphernalia. The market is a lively affair, and it offers a great insight into Bolivian culture and a chance to meet local people. Haggling is half of the fun, and a good opportunity to practise your Spanish/arm waving! Heading westwards into the heart of the Central Highlands, we then drive to Potosi. Once the richest city in the world thanks to being the main source of silver during colonial times, the town stands in the shadow of Cerro Rico (rich mountain) – the main mine. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 9: Potosi:
After breakfast we depart on a tour of one of the local co-operative mines in a rare chance to experience the harsh realities of working life for thousands of Bolivians. After lunch, a city tour takes us to the main square and to Santa Teresa Convent that besides its beauty, it is a must to understand religious life during colonial times. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 10: Potosi – Uyuni - Bolivian Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni):
Before leaving Potosi, we’ll head into the Casa de la Moneda – Potosi’s Royal Mint, which is one of the country’s star attractions and a fascinating insight into the European invasion and the wealth pilfered from the Americas by the Spanish Crown. Heading southwest, a lengthy drive (approx 5-6 hours) takes us through the inhospitable region of Uyuni. As we drive the landscape becomes bleaker and bleaker, until we reach the remote town of Uyuni where we’ll stop to refuel. Our final destination is Colchani on the edge of the salt flats, where the white crystalline plain spreads as far as the eye can see. Here we will spend the night in one of the spectacular and unique salt hotels (heated!), constructed out of bricks of salt. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11: Colchani - Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) - Uyuni – En route:
Start the day by watching the sun rise over the surreal landscape of the salt desert. After breakfast we'll load into four-wheel drives and head out onto the vast, impressive Salar de Uyuni that spans over 12,000 square kilometres. The scenery of the evaporated lake makes a mindblowing backdrop as cactus encrusted islands rise out of the salt. Our journey takes us to the local salt factory, the Tunupa volcano, cold-water springs, Isla de Pescado (Fish Island) and other smaller islands. We’ll also stop at caves formed by underwater volcanic eruptions and fossilised coral reefs - here you’ll find the Coquesa mummies. We’ll head back to Uyuni to freshen up and have dinner, before taking the overnight train from Uyuni to Oruro. Sleeper Train (B,L,D) *The train can be unpredictable… if it doesn’t run we shall use road transport instead.
Day 12: En-Route – Oruro – La Paz:
Our journey by train takes us as far as Oruro (where the train tracks end!) and then we’ll board the bus to continue on to La Paz, arriving around lunchtime. After a chance to freshen up, we have the rest of the day free to explore the town at our leisure and visit the witches market. Hotel (B,L)
Day 13: La Paz – Yungas Valley – Coroico (1715m):
An early start takes us 90km from the heights of La Paz to the steamy Yungas, the transition zone between the Altiplano and the humid lowlands. As we descend on the old road, the terrain and foliage begin to change dramatically; cut into the orchid-festooned rock face, with several small waterfalls washing across the road, the drive is spectacular. Arriving in the picturesque town of Coroico for lunch, we’ll have a free afternoon to relax and enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool, go for walks in the area, check out the village and enjoy the tropical wildlife in the area. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 14: Coroico – La Paz:
This morning we’ll drive to Mururata, where the Afro- Bolivian community have their own King, a direct descendant of Bonifaz, a tribal king from Senegal. The people here work in the coffee and coca leaf plantations and we’ll have the opportunity to visit. After lunch we’ll take the new road back to La Paz. Again we get to watch the foliage change and as we climb upwards the physical beauty of the drive is astonishing. Tonight we’ll head out into town to enjoy a final group dinner together. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 15: Tour ends in La Paz:
The tour finishes after breakfast at the hotel this morning. (B)
Extensions: Arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts. Explore the country after your tour on a bespoke Wild Extension or just allow a few days to relax afterwards. Maybe choose all of the above and get cheaper flights mid-week?
Extra nights in La Paz: It is possible to add extra nights in La Paz at either the start or end of your tour.
3-4 day Jungle trip: Why not extend your trip with a visit to the Amazon Basin? A 45-minute flight from La Paz takes you to Rurrenabaque, the base for a number of excursions into the rainforest and also the Pampas, (the impressive wetlands rich in bird and wildlife). For nature lovers, this is a spectacular destination and a great opportunity to experience the tropical face of Bolivia.
Side trip to Machu Picchu, Peru: A short flight from La Paz takes you to the picturesque town of Cusco in neighbouring Peru. Cusco is the base used to explore the impressive Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This 4-day/3-night package allows you to see the main sites of the region and can be extended if you wish to spend longer exploring.
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