Experience Bolivia

Surrounded by Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Paraguay, this relatively isolated and undiscovered country is also one of the most geographically and ethnically diverse. Our small group will journey from the salt lake flats to fresh lake mountains, and everything in between – all of which will offer us a unique opportunity to sample Bolivia’s cuisine and photograph its remarkably diverse scenery and unforgettable people.

During our 16-day tour, we’ll visit local wineries in Tarija, the beautiful capital of Sucre, the World Heritage city of Potosí, the great Salt Flats at Uyuni, the magnificent Lake Titicaca and the bizarre witches markets in La Paz. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn how to make the incredible Bolivian dishes during a cooking class.

We’ll stay in three-to-four-star accommodations selected for their comfort, location, and friendly staff.

 

Detailed Itinerary

 

Day One. Arrival in Santa Cruz.

Boliva travel

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

You’ll be met and the airport and transferred to our hotel in Santa Cruz where you’ll have time to unpack, unwind, and enjoy a dip in the pool at the Casa Patio Boutique Hotel. Later in the afternoon, we’ll go downtown to enjoy traditional fresh-baked pastries at the best bakery in Santa Cruz. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a Welcome Dinner prepared by Nicole and Manuel, owners of this wonderfully decorated boutique hotel.

Altitude: 1,365 feet

Lodging: Casa Patio Hotel Boutique

Meals included: Welcome Dinner

  • Bolivia,  South America
  • $3995/person (double occupancy)
  • $675/person (single occupancy)
  • April 25 – May 10, 2017 (16 days)
  • Group size: 6 min – 10 max
  • View Bolivia Map Below

 

 

Day Two. Tarija.

2-tarija-bolivia-festivalToday we’ll visit a Mennonite community outside the city and a butterfly sanctuary before flying to Tarija, a lovely city in southern Bolivia close to the Argentine border. The climate in Tarija is ideal for grape-growing and we’ll take advantage of the lovely climate to visit wineries set in the beautiful mountain valley. Later you’ll have free time to wander in Tarija, a great place for shopping or to photograph..

Altitude: 6,400 feet

Lodging: Terravina Hotel del Vino

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day Three. Tarija.

4-tarija-bolivia-vineyardsAfter breakfast, we’ll explore the colorful local market. In the afternoon, we’ll visit two wineries, one small and traditional, the other large with state of the art production. We’ll have dinner at the winery and enjoy the lovely sunset views of the valley.

Altitude: 6,400 feet.

Lodging: Terravina Hotel del Vino

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day Four. Sucre.

6-sucre-bolivia-courtyardThis morning we’ll fly to Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. Famed for its all white architecture, Sucre provides our first contact with the Quechua speaking natives, descendants of the Inca empire. Afternoon is free after check-in at our hotel which is conveniently located close to the main square. In the evening, we’ll dine together at La Taverne, an excellent restaurant downtown.

Altitude: 9,000 feet.

Lodging: Boutique Hotel Mi Pueblo Samary

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day Five. Free day in Sucre.

Today is a free day when you can relax at the hotel, roam the markets or visit the Casa de Libertador, where Bolivia declared its independence from Spain in 1825 . For the more adventurous, a 30-minute walk offers you a lovely vista overlooking the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Altitude 9,000 feet.

Lodging: Boutique Hotel Mi Pueblo Samary

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

 

Day Six. Sucre.

After breakfast we’ll drive to the Sunday market in Tarabuco, a renowned indigenous market, where you’ll see campesinos from the surrounding region, wearing their colorful clothing and leather hats (styled after the Spanish conquistador helmets). Then we’ll continue our drive to Candelaria, a small village known for its weavers and where we’ll have lunch in one weaver’s home. After visiting the small charming weaving museum in Candelaria, we’ll return to Sucre for a free evening.

Altitude: 10,790 feet.

Lodging: Boutique Hotel Mi Pueblo Samary

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

 

Day Seven. Potosi.

7-bolivia-mountains-near-potosiToday we’ll drive to Potosí, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for it architecture and El Cerro Rico, the mountain which overlooks the city. Silver was discovered en El Cerro Rico in 1545, and the mines have been in continuous operation since then. After checking into our hotel, we’ll visit one of Bolivia’s best museums, the Casa de la Moneda, the site of the Royal Mint of the Spanish Empire. In the evening, we’ll dine at Phisqa Warmis, a women’s-owned and managed restaurant in downtown Potosi.

Altitude: 13,420 feet

Lodging: Hostal Colonial

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day Eight. Potosi / Uyuni.

8-salar-de-uyuni-boliviaAfter breakfast, we’ll explore the mines of El Cerro Rico, the famed mountain overlooking Potosi. This is an incredible look into the challenging working conditions of Bolivian miners who work in this historic mine. Following lunch, we’ll drive rom Potosi to Uyuni which is the portal to the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni. Indeed, even our hotel will be made of salt!

Altitude of the mine at El Cerro Rico: 15,000 feet.

Hotel: Tayka de Sal

Meals provided: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

Day Nine. Uyuni Salt Flat.

9-salar-de-uyuni-boliviaWe’ll spend the day exloring the Salar de Uyuni, driving onto the salt flat, first to see workers extracting salt at Colchani and then onto Incahuasi island, a volcanic island in the middle of the salt flat which is covered with stromatolites (fossils) and giant cacti. In the late afternoon we’ll position ourselves to photograph sunset at this unique and unforgettable destination.

Altitude: 11,995 feet.

Lodging: Tayka de Sal

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

Day Ten. La Paz.

10-la-paz-boliviaToday, we’ll return to Uyuni to catch our flight to La Paz, Bolivia’s largest city and defacto capital. Our hotel is located in a fascinating neighborhood of La Paz, close to colorful downtown markets, the Plaza of San Francisco and the fascinating Witches Market. Free time in the afternoon and evening.

Altitude: 11,913 feet.

Lodging: Hotel Rosario

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day Eleven. La Paz.

A12-san-francisco-church-la-paz-boliviafter breakfast, we’ll have the optional cooking class or free time for exploring, shopping, photography or resting at the hotel. In the afternoon, we’ll be lead on a tour of La Paz by noted Bolivian architect Luis Alandia. With attention to architectural styles and history, Mr. Alandia will give us a glimpse of La Paz from the perspective of a resident expert. He will also take us to his favorite spot to sample salteñas, the delicious baked snack food popular with Pazeñas, the inhabitants of La Paz.

Altitude: 11,913 feet.

Lodging: Hotel Rosario

Meals included: Breakfast (Lunch for those in cooking class)

 

Day Twelve. Lake Titicaca.

15-decorated-vans-copacabana-boliviaThis morning we depart for Lake Titicaca. Our first destination is Tiwanaku, the World Heritage archeological site of a pre-Inca civilization which dominated the southern half of the central Andes between the fourth and eleventh centuries AD. We continue on to Copacabana, a historic town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Copacabana holds great religious significance to Bolivians because of the miraculous healing powers of the Virgen de Copacabana, housed in the church on the main square.

Altitude: 12,602 feet.

Lodging: Hotel La Cupula

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day Thirteen. Lake Titicaca.

13-andes-mountains-lake-titicaca-boliviaToday we’ll travel by motorboat to the northern side of Isla del Sol. This island is mystical center of the universe of the Incan Empire as it was here that the original two Incans came into being. You will have the option to hike for several hours on a trail which runs the length of the island and offers sweeping views of the lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains – a spectacular place to photograph, or to proceed directly to the village of Yumani. We’ll spend the night on the island at an eco-lodge located just outside of Yumani.

Lodging: Ecolodge La Estancia

Altitude: 12,507 feet

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day Fourteen. Isla del Sol.

14-ecolodge-isla-del-sol-lake-titicaca-boliviaThis is a free day to roam on Isla del Sol or stay at the Ecolodge to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the setting. According to Inca beliefs, it was here on Isla del Sol that the Sun God was born. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and the panoramic views of the deep blue water and the mountain landscapes are incredible.

Lodging: Ecolodge La Estancia

Altitude: 12,507 feet

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day Fifteen. Lake Titicaca / La Paz.

17-la-paz-boliviaToday we’ll travel by boat to Pilkokaina temple, on the southern part of the island. This palace was built by Inca Tupac Yupanqui for the pilgrimages on the island. We then head to the Isla de la Luna (Moon Island) where we visit the temple of Nustas (the Inca virgins), before returning to La Paz in the afternoon.

Lodging: Hotel Rosario

Altitude: 11,913 feet.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day Sixteen. La Paz.

Today, you will have the chance to finish your shopping in the district close to San Francisco Church. From there, we will walk to see the exhibits at the Museo Nacional de Arte. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a sunny stroll along the Prado, the colorful boulevard where Pazeñas, the people of La Paz, can be seen shopping, dining, or enjoying the afternoon sun. Our farewell dinner will be at Peña de Oro which features Andean music and traditional Bolivian dances. Bring your dancing shoes!

Lodging: Hotel Rosario

Altitude: 11,913 feet.

Meals included: Breakfast and Farewell Dinner

Day Seventeen. Hasta Luego Bolivia.

Today you’ll be transferred to the airport for your international flights home and our Despedida (Farewell) to you. Buen Viaje!

Altitude: 11,913 feet.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

What’s Included

(Almost everything once you’re there!)

  • Sixteen nights in 3-4 star hotels, for two people sharing
  • Transfers to and from all airports in Bolivia
  • Domestic flights within Bolivia
  • Local ground transportation, driver, guides.
  • Admission to attractions
  • Breakfast everyday, seven lunches and eight dinners
  • A personalized packet of information including market buying tips, restaurant recommendations and information on places you will visit.

What’s Not Included

  • Bolivia Tourist Visa ($135), airfare to and from Bolivia, trip insurance, tips, some lunches and some dinners, drinks, personal expenses and optional cooking class ($50).
  • Single Room Supplement for rooming alone.
  • International exit tax from Bolivia ($25 US per person).
  • Airport tax for flights within Bolivia ($3 per person/flight).

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“Bolivia was one of the most exciting tours we have ever been on. We will definitely go again. Benjamin was so knowledgeable and fun!”  – Seth & Cindy, Asheville, NC