17 days Highlights Trip Bolivia
- Varied landscape: Highlands, Andean mountains, desert, salt plain, volcanoes, lagoons, pampa
- Sailing on Lake Titicaca
- Jeep tour through the Salar de Uyuni
- Downhill biking on the Most Dangerous Road in the World
- Colonial cities Sucre and Potosí, and special cities La Paz and Copacabana
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This adventurous and varied trip will make you acquainted with the versatile culture and the overwhelming natural beauty of Bolivia. From Santa Cruz you travel to Sucre, the beautiful colonial capital. Via Potosí -the highest city in the world- you travel to Uyuni. During a 3-days Jeep tour you get to see the Salar de Uyuni, the second largest salt plain in the world, and in N.P. Avaroa geysers, volcanoes, beautiful coloured lakes, flamingos, lamas and vicuñas. From La Paz you go downhill biking on the Most Dangerous Road in the World. Also, a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, a visit to the mystical island of Isla del Sol with its Inca culture and N.P. Madidi/the pampas, where you can swim with river dolphins, are included in this fantastic trip.
On this trip you travel at high altitude. From Santa Cruz you go via Sucre to Potosí at 4,100 m in a short time, therefore it is possible that you will suffer a bit from the altitude in Potosí. Then you descend again to Uyuni before you start your Jeep tour through the Salar de Uyuni. We advise you to read information about altitude sickness.
Compose your own Highlights Trip Bolivia
This is an example trip; it can be customized in consultation.
Route: Santa Cruz - Sucre - Potosí - Uyuni - Salar de Uyuni/N.P. Avaroa - Uyuni - La Paz - Copacabana - Rurrenabaque - pampas - Yolosa - La Paz
Day 1: Arrival in Santa Cruz (approx. 450 m)
After arrival you can rest from your journey and get an impression of the city centre with its cosy Plaza. In the Manzana I you can view a temporary exhibition of art.
Day 2: Santa Cruz - Sucre (approx. 2,750 m)
You fly in 40 min. to Sucre, the white capital. You can explore the colonial city on your own or take a half-day city tour. Many important buildings are located around the Plaza. You can go to La Recoleta viewpoint, from where you can overlook the whole city.
Day 3: Sucre (approx. 2,750 m)
Today you have a day at leisure in Sucre. If this day is a Sunday you probably want to take a trip to the famous traditional Sunday market of Tarabuco. From surrounding villages people come here to buy and sell merchandise and you can find beautiful souvenirs. The ride takes about 1½ hours.
You can also visit the largest local market of Sucre, the Mercado Campesino, or the ASUR Textile Museum in Sucre; the region is known for its weaving.
If you want to be more active, you can walk the Inca Trail and visit the Maragua crater.
Day 4: Sucre - Potosí (approx. 4,100 m)
In the morning you take the bus from Sucre to Potosí, the ride takes about 3 hours.
Potosí is the highest city in the world. You may have to gasp for breath and it's recommended to take it easy and drink plenty (coca)tea.
Once Potosí was also one of the richest cities in the world because of its wealth of silver.
During a visit to the impressive silver mine of Cerro Rico just outside the centre of the city you can see mine workers at work.
Attention: the miners do not work on Sundays.
You can also choose to visit the probably most beautiful museum of Bolivia, La Casa de la Moneda (the mint) instead.
Day 5: Potosí - Uyuni (approx. 3,600 m)
In the morning you have time to explore the colonial centre of Potosí. For example, you can visit the Santa Teresa Monastery.
Shortly after noon you travel by bus over the high plateau to Uyuni. The bus ride takes between 3½ and 4 hours. The harsh landscape along the way contains surprising elements such as high cacti and quinoa fields.
Day 6: Uyuni - San Juan, Aguaquiza or Puerto Chuvica (ca. 3,600 m)
Today you start your beautiful 3-days Jeep tour through the Salar de Uyuni and N.P. Avaroa. You first visit the train cemetery just outside Uyuni. In Colchani you come to a salt museum where you can buy souvenirs made of salt. Then you enter the immense salt plain and travel to Isla Incahuasi, cactus island. On the way you visit a hotel that is completely made out of salt and you will see salt piles at the place where this is extracted and the 'eyes' of the Salar, where bubbling gases from below the layers of salt well up. At Isla Incahuasi you can take a short walk between the enormously high cacti. From the top of the island you have a 360º panoramic view over the immense salt plain. The overnight is in a very basic salt hostal in either San Juan, Aguaquiza or Puerto Chuvica, villages on the edge of the salt flat. Today, lunch and dinner are included.
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Day 7: San Juan, Aguaquiza or Puerto Chuvica - Huallajara (approx. 4,200 m)
You drive over the salt plain of Chigüana and come to a view point where you have a magnificent view of the semi active Ollagüe volcano. Then the tour takes you through the Silolí desert to the lagoons Cañapa, Hedionda and Chiarkota.
Before you arrive at your destination for this day you will get to see the stone tree, a rock formation of more than 8 m high, and Laguna Colorada. Normally a large number of flamingos can be seen along the edge of the lagoon.
You sleep in Huallajara near Laguna Colorada in a very basic accommodation. Today, lunch and dinner are included.
Day 8: Huallajara - Uyuni - La Paz (ca. 3,600 m)
You will get up early to visit N.P. Avaroa.
The vapours of the Sol de Mañana geyser are best seen at dawn. If you are cold you can warm up in the thermal baths of Polques afterwards. Via the Salvador Dalí desert you arrive at Laguna Verde from where you can see the Licancabur Volcano and then you will arrive at Laguna Blanca. Via the villages of Villa Mar, Alota and the miners' town of San Cristobal you return to Uyuni. You have time to have dinner in Uyuni before you leave on the tourist night bus to La Paz at 20.00 hrs. Lunch is included today.
Day 9: La Paz (approx. 3,600 m)
If you are awake during the last stretch of the bus trip from El Alto (4,100 m) to La Paz (3,600 m) you will enjoy the descent! Around 06.30 hrs. you will arrive at the bus station of La Paz.
The rest of the day you can explore this impressive city full of contradictions: rich, poor, modern, traditional, old, new, high, low. You can visit the small museums on Calle Jaén, take the cable car to El Alto (if you weren't awake in the morning, or if you just want to see it again), check out the articles that are offered on the witches' market or visit the Coca Museum.
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Day 10: La Paz - Copacabana (approx. 3,800 m)
In the morning you take the bus to Copacabana where you arrive about 4½ hours later. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to explore this delightful place, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. You can have a stroll over the Plaza and see the Cathedral, go to the harbour or if you have enough energy walk up Calvario Hill, along the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Day 11: Copacabana - Titicaca Lake - Isla del Sol - Copacabana - La Paz (approx. 3,600 m)
You will be picked up and brought to the port for a day-tour on Lake Titicaca and to Isla del Sol. The boat trip takes about 1½ hours. On the island you will visit the town of Yumani, Inca Steps and the Fountain of Eternal Youth. Then you sail to Isla de la Luna where you will visit the Inca ruins of El Palacio de las Virgenes (virgins) del Sol or Inaj Uyo. After this visit you will return to Copacabana, where the tour ends between 17.00 and 18.00 hrs. By bus you travel back to La Paz. A box-lunch is included today.
Day 12: La Paz - Rurrenabaque - 3-days Pampas Tour (approx. 250 m)
You will fly in half an hour from La Paz along peaks of over 6,000 m high and over N.P. Madidi to tropical Rurrenabaque. Here you start your 3-days tour to the pampas. On the road you travel to Santa Rosa de Yacuma where on the banks of the Yacuma River a boat awaits you to sail to the eco lodge.
You will see many animals in the coming days, including capybaras (the largest rodent in the world), turtles, the black caiman, monkeys, many birds and perhaps anacondas.
Your stay will be in a private room at the eco lodge. Lunch and dinner are included today.
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Day 13: Pampas (approx. 250 m)
After breakfast you go walking for 3 to 4 hours through marsh land, looking for the anaconda. The guide can also point you out the black and white caiman. After lunch, you take a boat trip on the Yacuma River to catch piranhas or swim with the playful river dolphins. In the dark you make a boat trip to see the glistering eyes of the caiman and other nightlife.
Also this night you spend at the eco lodge. Lunch and dinner are included today.
Day 14: Pampas - Rurrenabaque - La Paz (ca. 3,600 m)
You will get to see squirrel monkeys that run in large numbers through the canopies of the trees. Also black and red howler monkeys live in this area.
After your lunch at the lodge, you return by boat and 4x4 Jeep to Rurrenabaque.
This afternoon you have your return flight to La Paz. Lunch is included today.
Day 15: La Paz - downhill biking to Yolosa - La Paz (ca. 3,600 m)
You will be picked up at your hotel to go on the downhill bike ride from La Paz to Yolosa. By minibus you will be taken to the highest point, La Cumbre (the top) at 4,700 m.
Here you get on your mountain bike and cycle on the Most Dangerous Road in the World to Yolosa, close to Coroico. The distance to cover is 64 km and you will descend 3,500 vertical meters(!). It's a fantastic experience to bike from the dry Altiplano, through various vegetation zones, to the moist and tropical Yungas.
In Yolosa you will receive lunch and you can use the swimming pool.
Then you travel back to La Paz for your overnight stay.
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Day 16: La Paz
This day at leisure you will spend in La Paz. You can explore the city further and you can buy souvenirs. There are beautiful quality alpaca sweaters and ponchos for sale.
Day 17: End of the trip - return flight
Your wonderful Bolivia trip has come to an end. Today you travel back home.