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Bolivia: Best of Bolivia (15 days)

Andean Landscape Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Sucre and Madidi rainforest are included on our best of Bolivia tour - designed for those with a sense of adventure and a desire for unique discoveries with past and present day cultures of the Andes and Amazon.

Bolivia is fascinating eco-culturally. It is comprised of 80% indigenous people primarily of the Aymara and Quechua culture, many of whom are direct descendants of the Inca, maintaining their traditional practices of herbal medicine, traditional dress, and terraced farming techniques.  In a small landmass, the country has outstanding diversity, a range of geology from high Andean mountains to Amazonian jungle.

Highlights include:

  • Our adventure begins in La Paz, the world's highest capital city at 4000 metres (13,100 feet)
  • It sits majestically at the foot of snow-capped Andean volcanoes-here you will see a lively city full of street markets, Aymara indigenous women selling crafts, textiles, herbs and potions in the "witches market"
  • Visit Sucre, the "white jewel" of Bolivia, which is full of impressive colonial architecture. It has one of the best textile museums in Latin America
  • Hike in the mountains through amazing rock formations to see cave paintings dated from 2400 BC
  • Visit Tarabuco Market, the biggest market in Bolivia, where you can see indigenous people from villages around the area selling their wares, wearing their traditional dress
  • Step back in time, see Incan ruins and original terraced farming techniques on the Sun Island on Lake Titicaca - the world's highest navigable lake, and sacred centre of the Incan empire
  • Visit the salt flats of Uyuni to experience the unique flora and fauna and cultural towns isolated by this vast salt plain
  • Visit Madid National Pari Northwest Bolivia - a vast wilderness of 4,500,000 acres encompassing unparalleled biological diversity
  • Substitue Chalalan with the salt flats of Uyuni to experience the unique flora and fauna and cultural towns isolated by this vast salt plain

2017 Departure Dates and Cost

Departures each Saturday based on minimum 2 persons
Trip can be modified to suit individual interest and travel preferences

Tour cost from La Paz: $ 3,895 USD per person (includes domestic flights in Bolivia)

Substitute Uyuni Salt Flats for Chalalan - add $ 625 USD per person
Single Room Supplement: $ 765 USD
Ask about airfare from you home city to La Paz


Itinerary

Day 1: ARRIVE LA PAZ (D)
Arrive early morning: transfer into the city. Free day at leisure to explore. La Paz the highest capital city in the world, at 3700 meters above sea level is in a valley surrounded by snow capped Andean volcanoes. You will be plunged into a unique and colourful cultural environment. La Paz is a giant street market, filled with Aymara indigenous women, beautiful textile crafts, and fascinating people watching. Orientation dinner to try local foods. Overnight Hotel Ritz a 5 star apartment hotel, centrally located with many amenities.

Day 2: LA PAZ (B,L)
Morning - La Paz city tour. See the historical colonial plazas and the transition/contrast between the indigenous colonial part of the city and the newer modern La Paz. In afternoon visit the Archaeology Museum, art museum, or simply wander up and down the hills of this fascinating city.

Day 3: LA PAZ/SUCRE (B)
Transfer to the airport for the afternoon flight to Sucre. Transfer to the hotel a lovely converted 18th century hacienda. Afternoon to explore the charm and colonial atmosphere of Sucre at leisure. Sucre is a city with beautiful restored 16-18th century colonial architecture, churches and convents, and a fantastic textile museum and opportunity to purchase local textiles. Overnight Samary.  Opportunity to hear local folk music in the evening.

Day 4: TARABUCO MARKET (B,L D )
Full day guided excursion to the famous weekly market where the indigenous peoples of the surrounding villages meet to buy, sell and trade their wares. This will be an excellent opportunity to purchase beautiful textiles. Lunch of delicious local specialties cooked by local indigenous women is included.

Day 5: SUCRE (B)
Day at leisure to explore the charm and colonial atmosphere of Sucre. Visit museums and lovely colonial churches, colonial art museum.

Day 6: SUCRE - LA PAZ (B)
Morning at leisure. Transfer to airport. Depart in the afternoon for a flight to La Paz.

Substitutions available to Uyuni instead of the jungle. 

DAY 7 - 10 CHALALAN JUNGLE TRIP 4 day/3 nights (B,L,D)

Day 7: LA PAZ/RURRENABAQUE
Transfer to the airport for the early morning flight to Rurrenabaque. On this flight if the weather is clear you can see the transition from altiplano, high Andes, a bird's eye view of Lake Titicaca, and the descent into the Amazon basin with its lush forests and snaking rivers. On arrival the group will be met and transferred to the river for the boat trip up the Beni and Tuichi Rivers which will take 4-6 hours. Hike from the river bank to the lodge (45 minutes). Meal and afternoon swimming and canoeing in the lake. Dinner and a night hike as nocturnal life in the rainforest is often more interesting than day-life with frogs, birds, insects and night animals. www.ecotour.org/destinations/chalalan.htm.

The Madidi National Park of Northwest Bolivia was created in 1995 and protects a full array of tropical ecosystems. From high Andes to the Amazon basin, Madidi's vast wilderness of 4,500,000 acres encompasses unparallel biological diversity. Chalalan Lodge, in Madidi National Park offers rustic but comfortable accommodation. Chalalan uses solar energy, local forest material, and is built with great respect for the clean lake it sits on. The cabins are surrounded by primary forest and inhabited by an astonishing array of birds and mammals. The lodge follows an exemplary model of community-based eco-tourism. It was created by the local indigenous people of San Jose de Uchupiamonas. It was their intention that Chalalan become a unique spot in the Bolivia Amazon. It was developed with the help of Conservation International in the U.S. and is now in the hands of the local people. They are committed to providing visitors with rustic comfort, good food, environmental education, and memorable rainforest and cultural activities. All guides and staff are from the local community.

Day 8: CHALALAN (B,L,D)
Hike along various trails. Theme - ecological processes, rainforest life. With luck you may see 4 species of monkeys, the prehistoric and rare Hoatzin bird, among dozens of other bird species, and other rainforest rodents, mammals, and insects, as well as learning about medicinal plants still used as the primary form of medicine in the area. Swim in the pristine lake Chalalan to cool off!

Day 9: CHALALAN TO RURRENABAQUE (B)
Hike to the Tuicha river port and boat trip back to Rurrenabaque for lunch. Overnight at the Hotel Safari. 

Day 10: RURRENABAQUE /LA PAZ (B,L)
A transfer is included from the Safari hotel to the airport for the morning flight Rurrenabaque/La Paz El Alto Airport.

Day 11: TIWANACO/LAKE TITICACA (B,L,D)
Transfer from La Paz Airport to Huatajata. On the way visit Tiwanaco archaeological site. Tiwanaco was during its height the largest city in the World and it is considered to be "the Cradle of the American Civilizations". The capital of the Incan civilization, the Sun Gate, the Monoliths, the temples and Pyramids, the metal and ceramic art work are examples of the advanced development achieved by this culture. Parts of the site are over 2000 yrs. old, thought to be built at the same time as the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx, 10-15,000 B.C. After the short drive to the town of Huatajata you will visit Andean Roots eco village and natural medicine museum. Evening astronomy show from the observatory-learn about Incan Constellations. Folklore music show during Dinner. Overnight Inca Utama 5* hotel

DAY 12: HUATAJATA /COPACABANA/SUN ISLAND (B,L,D)
Morning departure for Sun Island via Copacabana. Lake Titicaca is the centre of the world for the Incan Empire for it was here that the Sun God sent his son and the Moon Goddess sent her daughter to arise from the lake and create the Inca people. Lake Titicaca has long been known as the world's highest navigable lake and perhaps, the most sacred. Copacabana is a pilgrim centre and market town on the shores of the lake. It has an interesting church which we will tour. At noon transfer by hydrofoil from Cobacabana to Sun Island, site of the Inca creation myth and filled with pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Visit the Pilcocaina Sun temple and Llama trek to the Posada del Inca ecolodge. Lunch and afternoon at leisure to explore the island.

DAY 13: SUN ISLAND (B,L,D)
Day on Sun Island. Optional trek and box lunch to Chincaca Ruins, an Incan Labrynth which is a 4-5 hour trek. Return by boat to Posada del Inca. Overnight Posada del Inca.

DAY 14: SUN ISLAND/LA PAZ (B,L)
Visit the Inca Staircase and sacred fountain. Lunch. Return to la Paz with a visit enroute to Quewaya Moon island. Continue to Quewaya Island and visit the authentic Uru-Iruitos Floating Island and a unique Sustainable Tourism Project with houses and green houses built on a floating island. Explore the history of 4.500 years of this ethnic culture, the mother of the much later Aymaras and Inca cultures. 1.5 hour drive back to La Paz.

DAY 15: DEPART LA PAZ (B)
Transfer to catch your international flight.


Additional Information

Call for other Bolivia tours - 1 (800) 690.7887


What our clients say...

Our trip to Bolivia was intense and exciting. From Lake Titicaca to Chalalan jungle lodge, we met wonderful people and learned a great deal about this gem of a country. Ellen's experience living and touring in Bolivia was evident in the itinerary she selected as well as the trip logistics. I would definitely travel with her again!! Sue Berlove

Ellen's trip to Bolivia was action-packed and very very interesting! For me, high points were:
- the Chalalan experience
- staying in the jungle lodge and learning about how the lodge had come to be, in this beautiful and unspoiled place
- hiking los Frailes mountains to see the ancient rock paintings
- being able to observe the way people live in rural Bolivia, and the faces of the beautiful children of that country.

I highly recommend this trip for those with an adventurous spirit!
Judy Clarke

"If you want a dynamic blend of physical activity, cultural sights, and creature comforts, this trip will not disappoint! Ellen is an engaging, very knowledgeable, and caring trip leader. I learned so much and it wetted my appetite to return to Bolivia to retrace some routes and to travel others." N. DeVilliers