Bolivia: Dreaming at Altitude
Discover Bolivia’s nature and culture in a spellbinding adventure that transports you from snowy Andean peaks to white deserts and beyond.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Arrival in La Paz
Characterised by a unique and strange topography, La Paz is just a taste of the marvellous landscapes that await you, deeper in the country. The imposing sight of the snow-capped Illimani frames the city’s skyline with vertiginous verticality. Yet as you settle in your charming boutique hotel, you realise that La Paz is a city of many layers, and the initial impression blends with relaxation and curiosity: head out to explore the colonial plazas or bohemian cafés in Sapocachi. Let your body get used to the altitude (over 3,500 m) only to discover the light-headedness was also in part due to the mix of sights, flavours, and sounds.
Head to Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the World's highest navigable lake. Visit the sanctuary of the Black Virgin then jump onto a hydrofoil to visit the Island of the Moon, where some mysterious and very well-preserved Inca ruins that are still in use for sacred rituals by locals. Continue to the Island of the Sun, where, after setting into your hotel for the night, you will have time to explore the surroundings, including the Pilcocaina Temple, another Incan site. Read more
Explorers Make Good Company
Start the day leisurely, then visit the Sacred Spring, which waters are said to gran eternal happiness and youth. After lunch, visit small handicraft markets and then head back to the shore, to the town of Huatajata where you will discover many of the unique features of local traditions, current and ancient, including the mud igloos and the funeral towers. Finally, pay a visit to the Limachi family, whose members built the reed ship Ra II, used by Norwegian serial-adventurer Thor Heyerdahl to sail from Morocco to Barbados. In the evening, return to La Paz.
Today is devoted to adventure. You will set out from La Paz to Coroico on mountain bikes. It is mainly downhill, so you will have ample opportunity to enjoy the transition from the high-plain to the lush and sweltering rainforest of Los Yungas. Travelling on serpentine roads with jaw-dropping scenery, you will also experience the exotic flowers and animals of the rain forest. You will be back in La Paz in time for dinner —and some well-deserved rest.
A Potion for Sore Legs
Even though La Paz has been your base during this adventure, and you have had some leisure time to explore this multi-layered city, it is time to take a deep dive into La Paz. From contemporary up-and-coming neighbourhoods, to colonial monuments and indigenous markets, all reveal the incomparable diversity of Bolivia. Alongside a witch doctor, enter the Witches’ Market, where you are sure to find something to whatever ails you. Time permitting, visit the Moon Valley, a surreal landscape quite close to the din of the capital. In the afternoon, take a short flight to Sucre, one of Latin America’s most beautiful colonial cities.
Sucre is the “official” capital of Bolivia and of transcendental importance to modern Latin America. It is where Simon Bolivar signed the charter of independence, and home of San Francisco Xavier University, the second oldest university in the whole of the American continent. The charm of Sucre, as in many colonial cities, is to walk it in the afternoon, and be seduced by the music in the plazas, the dances and the promenades as locals flood the streets when they come out to enjoy and socialise.
In the morning, travel to Potosi by road. Potosi is Sucre’s sister city and was one of the most important mining centres of the Spanish Empire. Metal extracted from Potosi fueled European economies from much of the 16th and 17th Centuries. Visit the Convent of Santa Teresa and a local mine, a sobering yet enriching visit.
Roadtrip to Uyuni
After a visit to the Mint in Potosi, head to Uyuni, travelling across marvellous landscapes that appear to be completely alien. Stay at a salt hotel and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Salar de Uyuni.
The Salt Flats
Regardless of the season, the Salt Flats of Uyuni always reward adventurous travellers with surreal sights, be it mind-boggling polygons or infinite reflections of the sky. You will explore this expensive landscape at your own pace, having time to enjoy and let the vastness sink in. Later in the day, enjoy an excursion to the village of Coquesa, at the foot of a volcano. The town’s mummies have been incredibly preserved, due to the salt flats’ unique conditions.
Sweet Glamping on Salty Grounds
Today you will venture deep into the salt flats on an all-terrain trailing a comfortable Camper. This means one thing: you will have Salar de Uyuni all to yourselves. Enjoy this unique landscape with no one else in sight and see the daylight turn into night, and them millions of stars fill the sky. This is an experience unlike any other.
Desert to Desert
Cross the salt flats and visit the Red Lagoon, where flamingos flock, adding to the unreal colours that paint this extreme Bolivian landscape. En route to the Green Lagoon, pay a visit to Sol de Mañana Geyser and the lesser-known Chalviri Salt Flats. This volcanic landscape will allow you to experience the elements and the fiery power of the earth. The Green Lagoon will amaze you with its emerald hues at sunset, before you head to the Chilean border at Hito Cajon. After crossing into Chile, a short drive will take you to San Pedro Atacama where you can stay for more desert adventures, or you can catch a plane to Santiago de Chile to continue your Latin American journey.