Bolivia - From the Lowlands to the High Andes


Bolivia - From the Lowlands to the High Andes

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 - Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Arrive in the atmospheric city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Hotel La Sierra or similar.

Day 2 - Chiquitania

After breakfast we spend the day exploring this little visited area of eastern Bolivia. We begin among the picturesque hamlets and unique Jesuit churches, including that of San Javier, considered the oldest in the area and continue to some of the traditional ateliers where a variety of local handicrafts and musical instruments are produced. From there we travel to Chiquita Nia and the Church of the Conception, which is among several designated UNESCO World Heritage sites, and finish the day with a visit to the cultural museum. Overnight at Hotel Chiquitos or similar (BLD)

Day 3 – Santa Cruz de la Sierra

This morning we return to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. On arrival we visit the Noel Kempff Natural History Museum, named after the Bolivian biologist and conservationist, to gain an insight into the fauna and flora of the Bolivian lowlands. We will also explore some of the other places of interest in the city. Overnight at Hotel La Sierra or similar (BL)

Day 4 – Sucre

This morning we transfer to the airport to catch the short flight south to “The White City” of Sucre (2.700m). Once there we will visit some of the historical monuments including the Museo Casa de la Libertad, the churches of San Lazaro and Saint Domingo, the convent of San Felipe Nery with marvellous views of the city from the bell tower, and Bolivar Park. Overnight at Hostal Sucre or similar (B)

Day 5 – Dinosaur Footprints & Jatun Yampara

This morning we take the short drive to the impressive paleontological site of Cal Orck’o, and spend time exploring, before returning to Sucre for lunch. Later we will drive to Jatun Yampara a small community belonging to the ancient Yampara culture, which is one of the oldest on the continent. They have now divided into two groups, the Jalqas and the Tarabucos, and a cultural centre has been built to showcase Yampara traditions. These people are considered to be specialists in the making of Andean textiles. We will spend the night in local houses and before dinner we will have the opportunity to sample “Chicha”, the local drink made from fermented corn. Overnight in the Jatun Yampara community (BD)

The accommodation will be in bunk beds with toilet facilities housed in a separate building.

Day 6 – Jatun Yampara – Sucre – Potosi

This morning we observe some of the local textile processes and learn about the homeopathic medicines used by the community. We will take a short walk around the area and include a visit to the local school. We will then continue to Potosi City which is a journey of around 3 hours. Overnight at Hostal Colonial or similar (BL)

Day 7 – Potosi

This morning we will travel by bus to visit the mines of Potosi. After donning appropriate clothing (helmet, torch etc.) we take a short ride to the Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain). Every day the miners celebrate the ritual of the Challa with offerings to Tio, the demon who is said to own the underground mineral riches. This afternoon we visit the Money Museum with its artefacts of a bygone age including machinery, utensils and coinage. Overnight at Hostal Colonial or similar (B)

Day 8 – Potosi– Uyuni

This morning there is free time to explore the city, and after lunch we travel by road (approx. 4 hours), to the town of Uyuni. Overnight at Hotel Tambo Aymara or similar (B)

Day 9 – Salt Flat of Uyuni – Quemes

This morning we take a short journey to visit the “graveyard of trains” a collection of historic steam locomotives and railcars, dating back several hundred years. We continue to the village of Colchani and witness how the locals transform the natural salt to edible salt using rustic ovens and tools. Colchani is the entrance to the fabulous salt flat of Uyuni, and we will take an impressive 3 hour cross country drive across the salt flat, with only track ways as points of reference. We stop en route at Incawasi Island to explore an area of giant volcanic ash rocks accompanied by hundreds of giant cactus rising up all around. Our journey across this remote area is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the trip. We finally move out of the salt flat towards the hamlet of Quemes. Overnight at Tayka Hotel de Piedra or similar (BLD)

Day 10 – Desierto Siloli

Today we pass by the lava flows of Ollague, and a series of colourful lakes (Chiguana, Hedionda, Honda), which are home to great concentrations of Andean birds. On the approach to the Siloli Desert (Ojo de Perdíz) stand huge Aeolian formations of surreal figures, before the shrubby vegetation disappears completely, giving way to dunes.  After a journey time of around 6 hours we arrive at a country hotel in the middle of the desert where we will sleep at 4600m. Overnight at Tayka Hotel del Desierto or similar (BLD)

Day 11 – Laguna Verde

This morning we drive for around an hour and a half until we arrive at Laguna Colorada which is a burnt orange colour as a result of algae in the water. Generous mineral deposits line the shores and sustain a large concentration of flamingos. We continue to the extreme south west of Bolivia passing by the geysers of Sol de Mañana, before arriving at the hot springs of Chalviri for a late breakfast, with some time for bathing. We reach stunning Laguna Verde passing the Salvador Dali desert en route, and stop for lunch in Verde, before returning to Ojo de Perdíz for a second night. Overnight at Tayka Hotel del Desierto or similar (BLD)

Day 12 – Uyuni

Today we have a 5 hour drive to Uyuni following a more direct route. We should arrive by mid-afternoon where you will have some time at leisure. Overnight at Hotel Tambo Aymara or similar (BL)

Day 13 – La Paz and Tiwanaku

This morning we catch a flight to La Paz and transfer to the city on arrival. This afternoon we travel to the archaeological ruins of Tiwanaku to explore the temples and palaces originating from Pre-Inca times. Overnight at Hostal Naira or similar. (B)

Day 14 – La Paz

A day at leisure to discover the amazing city of La Paz. Overnight at Hostal Naira or similar (B)

Day 15 – Depart

At your convenience we transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)