18-days Highland Trip Bolivia

  • Varied landscape: the longest cave of Bolivia, canyons, plateau, Andean Mountains, desert, salt flats, volcanoes, lakes
  • Hiking in N.P. Torotoro
  • Jeep tour through the Salar de Uyuni
  • Downhill biking on the Most Dangerous Road in the World
  • Colonial cities Potosí and Sucre and the special city of La Paz

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 Cochabamba, the base for a 3-days trip to the beautiful N.P. Torotoro. You are going to see the exciting governmental capital La Paz from where you go downhill biking on the Most Dangerous Road in the World. During a 3-days Jeep tour you will see the Salar de Uyuni, the second largest salt flats in the world, and in N.P. Avaroa geysers, volcanoes, beautifully coloured lakes, flamingos, llamas and vicuñas. You will meet the miners in the mines of Cerro Rico in Potosí. You visit the colonial capital Sucre and take a walk on an Inca trail to the Maragua Crater. You will visit the famous traditional Tarabuco Sunday market.

On this trip you travel at high altitude. In short time you travel from Santa Cruz via Cochabamba to N.P. Torotoro with heights between 2,000 and 3,500 m, therefore it is possible that you will suffer a bit from the height. 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 - Cochabamba - N.P. Torotoro - La Paz - Uyuni Salar de Uyuni/N.P. Avaroa - Uyuni - Potosí - Sucre - Santa Cruz

Day 1: Arrival in Santa Cruz (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 - Cochabamba (2,558 m)
You fly in 45 minutes to Cochabamba. In this student city you will find a pleasant nightlife, both in the centre and on the Prado just outside the centre. You can walk to the enormously large statue of Christ that overlooks the city. If you love markets, you can indulge yourself at La Cancha.

Day 3: Cochabamba - Torotoro/N.P. Torotoro (2,676 m)
Today you travel by private Jeep to Torotoro National Park. Once you have left the city you will enjoy the fantastic trip.
In the town of Torotoro, you will move into your room and after lunch you will go to the Umajalanta cave. Here you can see spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as blind fish of an endemic species.
After your visit to Umajalanta it is time to go to your hotel and dine.

Day 4: N.P. Torotoro
By car you will depart to the starting point of your walk to the stone city, Ciudad Itas at about 3,780 m altitude. You will see interesting rock formations and caves, including some with rock paintings, formed millions of years ago by the water (erosion) that flowed through the area at the time.
You will enjoy an excellent view of the entire park with its valley, canyons and mountain ridges. You also have a good chance to spot a condor.
Then you go the area exposed to the natural elements called Carreras Pampa. The short walk here is easy. You will be able to admire foot prints of various types of dinosaurs. The local guide will indicate the best-kept prints and will explain which dinosaur species they are from.

Day 5: N.P. Torotoro - Cochabamba (2,558 m)
Also today special experiences await you. Just outside the village you will see a large number of huge footprints of carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs. Then you walk to the canyon of Torotoro. You come to a naturally formed stone bridge and then go to a lookout point above the canyon from where you have a fantastic view. Hopefully you can see the endangered red-headed macaw, which has its habitat here.

A little further you go down a staircase to the bottom of the canyon to visit the waterfall El Vergel. Here you cannot resist a refreshing bath in the crystal-clear water that is supplied by underground caves.

Unfortunately, you will have to climb the stairs again to take the last part of your walk. At the end of the walk the car waits for you to bring you back to Torotoro. You end the adventure with a typical regional dish for lunch. Around 16.00 hrs. the drive back to Cochabamba starts.

Day 6: Cochabamba - La Paz (3,600 m)
You are traveling to La Paz today. The rest of the day you can explore this fascinating city full of contrasts: rich, poor, modern, traditional, old, new, high, low, all mixed up. You can take a look at some small museums on Calle Jaén, take the cable car to El Alto, go see the articles on the witches' market or visit the Coca Museum.

Day 7: La Paz (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 more than 3,600 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.

Day 8: La Paz - Uyuni (3,600 m)
You go to Tiwanaku, the most important pre-Columbian site of Bolivia, perhaps even from South America. It is assumed that it is the oldest civilization of the Andean region (1,300 BC to 1,200 AD).
The fascinating culture, the religion and the brilliant architectural and astronomical knowledge existed for some 3.000 years.
Tiwanaku was the biggest city in its time; according to assumes it had a population of between 20.000 to 120.000 people. The main attractions are the Temple of Kalasasaya, the Pyramid of Akapana and the Sun Gate Intipunku.
In the evening you go on the tourist night bus to Uyuni.

Day 9: Uyuni - San Juan, Aguaquiza of Puerto Chuvica (3,600 m)
Upon arrival you will be brought to the centre of Uyuni. 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 come up. At Isla Incahuasi you can take a short walk between the enormously high cacti. From the top of the island you have a 360° panoramic view over the immense salt plain. The overnight stay is in a basic salt hostal in either San Juan, Aguaquiza or Puerto Chuvica, villages on the edge of the salt flat. 

Day 10: San Juan, Aguaquiza of Puerto Chuvica - Huallajara (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 basic accommodation.

Day 11: Huallajara - Uyuni (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.
You will drive through the Salvador Dalí desert and arrive at Laguna Verde from where you can see the Licancabur Volcano. Next stop will be at Laguna Blanca. Via the villages of Villa Mar, Alota and the miners' town of San Cristóbal you return to Uyuni where you will spend the night.

Day 12: Uyuni - Potosí (4,100 m)
You travel by bus to Potosí. Potosí is the highest city in the world. Once it was also one of the richest cities in the world because of its wealth of silver.
Although the city has a gloomy image for many because of the hard life that the miners have, it has a beautiful centre. It is the 2nd colonial city of Bolivia. Perhaps you still have time this afternoon to see the Santa Teresa Monastery or the probably most beautiful museum of Bolivia, La Casa de la Moneda (the Mint).

Day 13: Potosí (4,100 m)
During a visit to the impressive Silver Mines of Cerro Rico just outside the city centre you can see miners at work. Attention: the miners do not work on Sundays.
In the afternoon you and your guide will visit the colonial centre of the city.

Day 14: Potosí - Sucre (2,750 m)
This morning you go on the bus to Sucre, the white capital.
In the afternoon you will explore the colonial centre of Sucre on a City tour. Many important buildings are located around the Plaza. You will also visit the ASUR Textile Museum (closed on Sundays!). From the viewpoint of La Recoleta you can see the whole city.

Day 15: Sucre - Inca Trail and Maragua Crater
Today you will take a delightful walk from 3,665 to 2,900 m over a pre-Inca path and then to the Maragua Crater. It is a very nice route to go with beautiful views.

Day 16: Sucre - Tarabuco
If this day falls on Sunday, you will visit the colourful traditional market in Tarabuco. From surrounding villages people come to buy and sell merchandise and you can find beautiful souvenirs. The journey takes about 1½ hours. It is wonderful to stroll through the streets and see the people negotiate. You can try out your negotiation techniques when purchasing weaving or other souvenirs.

Day 17: Sucre - Santa Cruz
You have time at leisure until the moment you will be picked up and taken to the airport for your flight to Santa Cruz.

Day 18: End of the trip - return flight
Your wonderful Bolivia trip has come to an end. You will be brought to the airport for your return flight back home.