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Bolivia: Explorer (13 days)

Andean Landscape

La Paz, to Uyuni and Lake Titicaca are features on this best of Bolivia program. Enjoy incredible value and stunning beauty as you traverse the Andean countryside. Includes nature travel & cultural exploration - off road 4WD expedition - community projects - photography.


2017 Departure Dates & Costs 

April 7 to 19
May 5 to 17
June 9 to 21
July 7 to 19
August 4 to 16
August 11 to 23
September 15 to 27
October 6 to 18
November 10 to 22

Tour Cost:  $ 3,285 USD per person based on twin share (includes domestic air Santa Cruz/Sucre)
3 star comfortable hotels
Single Supplement $ 885 USD
Flight option instead of overnight bus add $ 195 (includes overnight accommodation in Uyuni)

Optional Amazon Basin Extension: $ 850 USD based on twin share including airfare La Paz/Trinidad return
Single Supplement $ 290

Maximum group size 12 persons


Highlights of this trip:

• Santa Cruz - The tropical way of life in the heart of South America: charm and colonial tradition, combined with a growing commercial activity
• Sucre - A charming city with a unique blend of indigenous heritage and colonial architecture
• Potosí - A must see destination with rich history based on its colonial silver mines
• Uyuni Salt Flats - Four-wheel-drive expedition across the breathtaking landscapes of salt pans at Salar de Uyuni and multicolored deserts of the Sud Lípez region, in the remote southern Bolivian Andes
• Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde - The gems of South America's Central Andes offer stunning sceneries and world-class, off-road adventure filled with the daily drama of wildlife in some of the most hidden corners of our world
• La Paz - The city of contrasts: a unique mix of cultures and ways of life, and located within breathtaking panoramas, with whispers of ancient civilizations at Tiwanaku – one of the most interesting archaeological sites of South America
• Lake Titicaca - Sacred lake and holy sites of Copacabana and Sun Island, where legend has it the Inca Empire was born


Itinerary

Day 1  Santa Cruz
Arrival in Santa Cruz. Meet and assist at airport. Transfer to Hotel Cortez Santa Cruz is located in the huge eastern lowlands of Bolivia. The rapid economic development has affected neither the colonial character of the old backstreets nor the famous good humor of the city's inhabitants. Balance of the day for optional activities.

Day 2 Santa Cruz/ Sucre (B)
Transfer to the airport and flight to Sucre (domestic flight included). Meet and assist and transfer to Hostal Sucre for 2 nights. SUCRE (Monument of the Americas, Patrimony of Mankind, UNESCO): Sucre is the historic capital of Bolivia. Our half-day itinerary includes a visit to the most important monuments such as Casa de la Libertad, the beautiful baroque cathedral and other churches in the old city.

Day 3 Tarabuco Market (B,L)
The most authentic street fair of the Andes takes place every Sunday 65 km (40 miles) from Sucre. We will drive a couple of hours to visit the Tarabuco Market. Several indigenous  communities come here to buy animals, vegetables, fruits, crafts and textiles. The market provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the local culture. Here you can buy ponchos, conquistador-style leather helmets, musical instruments, and other local specialties at reasonable prices. The weavings are some of the best in South America and unique to this part of Bolivia. Return to Sucre in the afternoon.

Day 4 Potosi (B)
Bus to Potosi. (3 hours). Arrival and transfer to the Hostal Libertador 3***. The Rich Mountain that overlooks Potosi is the main source of silver in the area. The mines have hardly changed since colonial times and you can learn about the customs and traditions of the workers, their strange relationship with the coca leaf, the Earth Goddess Pachamama and Tio, the god of the underworld. Our half-day excursion also includes a visit to the miners market.

Day 5 Potosi (B,L)
Potosi (Patrimony of Mankind, UNESCO): During its mining heyday in the 17th century, Potosi was the biggest city in the Americas. Silver from Potosi was taken to Spain and used all over Europe. Now a walk through the streets takes you back to the times of the Spanish conquistadores. Our half-day tour includes a visit to the main monuments and churches of the old town. 

Day 6  Potosi/Uyuni (B)
Regular bus to Uyuni (6 hours) and transfer to Hotel La Magia or similar.  Enjoy the change in scenery along the high altiplano. 

Day 7  Uyuni/Uyuni Salt Flats (Tahua) (B,L,D)
An unforgettable 4x4 expedition trip through 12,000 square kilometers of fantastic landscapes.We will leave early this morning, with our sun glasses tightly held in our hands. It is important to imagine that one can spend several days driving across this huge expanse of salt with absolutely no vegetation. Incahuasi in the centre of the Salar is famous for its particular fauna (rodents and birds) and flora (giant cacti). It is interesting to look at the corals, remnants of earlier times when Uyuni was under water - we will stop here for lunch.

Day 8 Uyuni Salt Flats (Tahua/Siolol Desert) (B,L,D)
In the far south of the altiplano (Sud Lipez) the landscape is incredible with multicoloured deserts and lakes surrounded by salt flats and active volcanoes. The scarce vegetation is unusual and the entire area has been declared a national reserve where it is possible to see vicunas, ostriches, viscachas, flamingos, among others.

Departure towards the region of Laguna Colorada and Sol de Manana. With its volcanic fumes and boiling mud, this is a landscape from the end of the world. We reach Laguna Verde just in time to see how the waters change colours, from emerald to opaque green. Accommodation in Hotel Tayka del Desierto.

Day 9 Uyuni Salt Flats/Uyuni/La Paz (B,L)
On our way we may meet with local quinoa and amarantus growers. These andean cereals are highly energetic and are used by the NASA for the cosmonauts during space flights. Arrival at Uyuni and connecting overnight bus (10 hours) to La Paz. Optional alternative flight available Uyuni/La Paz in the morning ($195USD) 

Day 10 Arrive La Paz (B)
Arrival to La Paz and transfer to Hotel El Dorado for 2 nights ***
Some time to rest before an afternoon half day city tour. We will give you a comprehensive introduction to the city of La Paz. Our visit is divided into three parts : Cultural (including the main museums), Panoramic (with the Valley of the Moon), Popular (with the famous witch market).

Day 11 La Paz/Lago Titicaca Copacabana/ Isla del Sol/ Copacabana (B,L,D)
Depart to Copacabana and drive along the paved road that crosses the central peninsula. We will pass by small native villages and arrive at Tiquina straight. Astonishing views of the Sacred Lake and of the Royal Range on our way. We will cross the Straight of Tiquina that divides Lake Major (Chucuito) and Lake Minor (Wi'aymarka) and carry on with our excursion.There we will embark for a peaceful ride on a local fishing boat and will be able to chat with our native leader as he takes us across the Sacred Lake. The Island of the Sun stands in front of us shortly after. We will explore the island and its Incan remains Stairway of Yumani and Sacred Source, Palace of Pilkokaina. Return to Copacabana. Accommodation in Hotel Rosario del Lago.

Day 12 Copacabana/La Paz (B,L)
We will visit the basilica of the Black Virgin and its museum or wander around the little town and its surroundings. The short walk up the nearby Calvary may result tiring but worth the astonishing views onto the bay. Carry on towards La Paz crossing native villages such as Huarina and Batallas. Beautiful views of almost all of the Cordillera. Arrival in La Paz in the late afternoon. Accommodation in Hotel Dorado.

Day 13 Departure day: (B)
Transfer to the airport for international flight or enjoy a range of extensions in Bolivia or to Peru.


Amazon Basin Extension: Flotel Reina de Enin

You may choose to extend your trip with this optional 4 day excursion:

Day 15/ Fri La Paz/Trinidad/Flotel Reina de Enin (B,L,D)
Transfer to the Airport for Flight LPB/TDD. Meet and assist at Trinidad airport. Transfer to the port where we'll embark on our motor boats to reach the Flotel. The Flotel Reina de Enin is simple but comfortable. It offers cabins with fans, private bathroom, buffet style meals, and a well stocked bar. It is the interpretive center of the best ecological path that we have found in our 12 years of operation on the river itself. Overnight on board.

Day 16/ Sat Flotel Reina de Enin (B,L,D)
Today our activities will be oriented towards nature: photo-safaris, walks in the jungle, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing in lagoons with our local guide. Overnight on board.

Day 17/ Sun Flotel Reina de Enin (B,L,D)
The presence of over 2,000 vascular plants is estimated, as well as dozens and dozens of mammals and over 400 species of birds. The elusive jaguar, the deer and anaconda will shy from man however we'll have chances to see alligators, river dolphins, turtles, monkeys and a family of capibaras. With a little bit of luck we may photograph a jabiru stork or a gray heron or even a band of squirrel monkeys (in danger of extinction) at a distance of less than 20 meters. Overnight on board.

Day 18/ Mon Flotel Reina de Enin/Trinidad/La Paz or Santa Cruz (B)
Maybe a last excursion into the forest, or a visit to an indigenous community and it will be time to navigate back to the port. Transfer to airport and flight to La Paz or Santa Cruz for your international connection.