Summary : Experience a wonderland of astonishing diversity that stretches from the high Andean Altiplano to the lush and wildlife-rich lowlands of the Amazon. Your Bolivia expedition highlights some of the oldest cultures in the New World, the most dramatic landscapes in South America, the largest lake on the continent, and perhaps the greatest variety of flora and fauna on the planet. Begin in La Paz, at over 11,000 feet the highest capital city in the world, before exploring on your Uyuni tour. The Uyuni Salt Flat stretches between horizons in a glittering sea of crystals, creating one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Americas. Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on your Bolivia tour—the pink conical Cerro Rico Mountain and Potosi, whose silver mines once made it the largest and richest city in the New World, and Sucre, ‘the white city,’ with streets that wind among brilliantly white-washed buildings of Bolivia’s colonial gem.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Photography
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent overnight flight to Bolivia.
Arrive in La Paz early this morning and transfer to Casa Grande Hotel for a morning at leisure. After lunch, drive to the Valley of the Moon, aptly named for bizarrely eroded rocky formations reminiscent of a lunar landscape. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast depart for an exploration of Tiwanaku, the ancient capital of a pre-Incan civilization. Visit the Kalasasaya Sun Temple, the semi-subterranean Earth Temple, Akapana Pyramid, the legendary Sun Gate, and the impressive museum. Return to La Paz for lunch, then set out to investigate the vibrant streets and markets of the highest capital city in the world. The Witch Doctor’s Market, a lively, colorful corner of the sprawling main market, displays boxes and baskets of charms, herbs, and folk remedies for every possible ailment. Continue to Plaza Murillo, bordered by the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, and National Congress buildings, and the famous Calle Jaén, home to the finest examples of colonial architecture in La Paz.
This morning transfer to the airport for the charter flight to Uyuni. A once-prosperous railroad junction, the Train Graveyard offers a fascinating glimpse of Uyuni’s past. Continue to Colchani for lunch, then view the glittering pyramids of salt drying in the sun and visit one of the small salt processing plants. Dinner and overnight at the Luna Palacio de Sal, constructed almost entirely of salt.
Spend a full day exploring the Uyuni Salt Flat, the largest salt pan in the world. This is a landscape of snow-white crystals, which take various forms and glitter in the clear, high-altitude sunshine. Visit Incahuasi Island, one of many mountain “islands” that rise above the level of the salt pan; its unique ecosystem includes a stranded colony of chinchilla-like viscacha and huge columnar cacti. Return to your hotel for dinner and to view the often phenomenal sunset, as the salt crystals reflect the pinks and oranges of the parting daylight.
This morning depart overland for Potosi—a full day’s journey through the dry valleys of the East Andes. En route make a stop at the colonial mining settlement of Pullacayo, its abandoned buildings and rusting steam engines bear witness to its historic past. Arrive in Potosi in the late afternoon with dinner and overnight at Coloso Potosi Hotel.
The New World’s largest silver lode put Potosi on the map in the mid-16th century and it quickly became the Americas’ largest city. The mines of Cerro Rico have been operating, in various degrees of success, for over four hundred years and a fascinating tour of the mines gives you the opportunity to witness the past and current state of mining in South America. After lunch explore the landmarks of Potosi, which collectively comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes the 18th-century San Lorenzo Church and the huge Casa de la Moneda, or National Mint. Explore the artisans market before returning to the Coloso Potosi Hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, depart for the World Heritage city of Sucre, the birthplace of Bolivian Independence. Known as the “White City,” its central buildings have been whitewashed annually since the 17th century. Visit the House of Freedom Historical Museum, the Convent of La Recoleta, and the church of San Lazaro, Sucre’s first cathedral. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Parador Santa Maria La Real.
After breakfast depart for Tarabuco, famous for its handsome handmade textiles and the unique Tarabuqueno style of dress. Locals and tourists alike flock to the Sunday market to sell and purchase goods produced in the town and surrounding communities. Enjoy lunch at the market and return to Sucre for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight back to La Paz to connect with your flight to Rurrenabaque, gateway to the Bolivian Amazon. Overnight at Jatuba Lodge.
In the morning cruise up the Beni River in local longboats. The Beni leads you through the spectacular Bala Gorge and into Madidi National Park. A one-mile walk brings you to the Chalalan Ecolodge. After lunch search for resident wildlife around the lodge, including macaws, howler monkeys, and peccaries. In the evening take a sunset canoe ride around nearby Chalalan Lake, home to caimans, turtles, and frogs.
Madidi National Park is one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth. Almost ten percent of the world’s bird species can be found here, as well as nearly half of all New World mammal species. Take an early morning trek to search for macaws, hoatzin, guans, giant river otters, and a variety of primates. Eat lunch in the field and return to the lodge in the early afternoon.
After breakfast walk to the shores of the Tuichi River to board your boat to Rurrenabaque, then transfer to the airport for your flight to La Paz. In the afternoon explore Palca Canyon, to the east of the city, with stunning views of the snow-capped 21,200 foot Mt. Illimani. Dinner and overnight at Casa Grande Hotel.
Depart early for Lake Titicaca. Board a catamaran and enjoy breakfast as you cruise to the Island of the Sun, the center of the Incan creation myth. On the island visit the Inca Fountain, three natural springs said to have healing powers. Then board a traditional reed vessel for a scenic ride to the ruins of Piko Kaina Palace. Return to the catamaran for lunch while cruising to the Sun Island’s isolated Challapampa Village. Attend folkloric demonstrations and stroll around town. Dinner and overnight on board your vessel.
Enjoy breakfast and panoramic views of the lake, before disembarking and transferring to the Copacabana Sanctuary to view the Dark Virgin of the Lake, a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that brought miracles to the community. Afterwards depart for La Paz for a late lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Casa Grande Hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.
All gratuities; all accommodations; group meals, including selected beverages with lunch and dinner; group transfers; guided excursions as stated in the itinerary; entrance fees for parks, reserves, etc.; $25,000 in medical expense coverage and $100,000 in emergency evacuation insurance; and domestic air transportation within Bolivia.
All air transportation except as listed above; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.