Highlights of Bolivia

Highlights of Bolivia

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15 Days From

$6523

$5718

Highlights of Bolivia

15 Days Starting and ending in Santa Cruz

Visiting: Bolivia

Tour operator:

Exodus Adventure Travels

Tour code:

APL

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Low, Medium, Leisurely / Moderate

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours

From: $6523 $5718 Operator discount: -$643 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$162 -12%

NB: Prices correct on 24-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Landlocked Bolivia is a quintessential South American country both in terms of the immensity of its landscapes and its strong indigenous culture. Although little-known, Amboró National Park boasts almost unparalleled bio-diversity and the charming, albeit rustic, gateway town of Samaipata also gives access to the nearby Pre-Columbian UNESCO site of El Fuerte. Nowhere else on Earth can you find salt flats of comparable scale to Salar de Uyuni; a comprehensive three-day 4WD adventure reveals its multi-coloured lagoons, cacti islands and spouting geysers. In stark contrast to these natural wonders are the vibrant cities of Sucre, Potosi and La Paz whose heritage was shaped by both the Incas and the Spanish Conquistadores. Finally, wind down with a night in an eco-lodge on the Isla del Sol overlooking the deep, tranquil waters of Lake Titicaca - fringed by snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real.



Highlights

  • Daywalk to see the Giant tree ferns and spectacular landscape of Amboró National Park

  • Three-day Salar de Uyuni 4WD adventure including the train cemetery, salt flats, Incahuasi (cactus) Island, colourful lagoons, geysers and ancient volcanoes

  • Pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Sites of El Fuerte and Tiwanaku 

  • Afternoon city tour of La Paz including the cathedral and cable car ride

  • Discover the colonial and silver mining heritage of Potosí

  • Walk to the 'Fountain of Eternal Youth' on the Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca

  • Visit La Recoleta viewpoint overlooking the 'White City' of Sucre

Itinerary

Day 1


The group flight is an overnight flight departing London today.



Day 2


The group flights are scheduled to arrive into Santa Cruz early this morning.
Upon arrival we will transfer (approx. 3 hours) to our first hotel located on
the border of Amboro N.P.  Please note that the road to the entrance to the
hotel is unpaved and we´ll be taking a 4x4 vehicles for the last stretch of
this journey (approx. 30 mins).  After checking into our hotel we will have
lunch and afterwards we will have the afternoon at leisure. For those
wanting to stretch their legs, we will have some optional walks on offer.

*Accommodation: Refugio de los Volcanes (or similar)*



Day 3


This morning we have an early start and we set out on foot for a day walk
(approx. 4 - 6 hours). We will see Giant tree ferns which reach up to an
impressive thirteen metres tall and visit a viewpoint which unveils a
panorama of sheer sandstone cliffs rising high above an endless expanse of
tropical jungle.

Amboró National Park is vast, containing some 830 bird species (including
Cock of the rocks, Blue horned curassows, hummingbirds, toucans and macaws) -
we may see a few of these with the help of our local guides who will also
identify some of the endemic plants. Elusive mammals (ocelots, Spectacled
bears, tapirs, jaguars and pumas to name a few) also reside within Amboró
but we are not likely to see them, especially in the daytime.

Afterwards we have an opportunity to shower and have lunch before we transfer
to the little-visited laidback town of Samaipata (approx. 1.5 hours) and
check into our hotel for the next 2 nights. On route we will visit Las
Cuevas Waterfalls, where it is possible to take a quick swim in the clear
water if you wish. The evening is free for you to explore the town or rest
after this morning’s walk.

*Accommodation: Hotel Quinta Pirai, Samaipata (or similar) *



Day 4


This morning we visit ‘El Fuerte de Samaipata’ (or Samaipata Fort), a
Pre-Columbian archaeological site of UNESCO World Heritage status, located
about 10km outside the town. The hilltop ruins form an excellent vantage
point over the picturesque valley and although no standing structures remain,
excavations (which continue today) have revealed over five-hundred dwellings.
It incorporates buildings from three different cultures: Chanè, Inca, and
Spanish. The main site is a gigantic stone slab (over 100m in length),
covered in Inca and Pre-Inca carvings of geometric shapes and animal figures,
thought to have been of religious/ceremonial significance.  We will also
visit the museum which contains artefacts from El Fuerte.

**Accommodation: Hotel Quinta Pirai, Samaipata (or similar) **



Day 5


After breakfast we make our way back to Santa Cruz airport (approx. 4.5hrs
drive). In the afternoon we fly to Bolivia’s capital, Sucre (approx. 45min
flight), which with its narrow streets and fine colonial white-washed
buildings, is often said to be Bolivia’s most beautiful city; protected by
its UNESCO status.

*Accommodation: Capital Plaza Hotel (or similar) *



Day 6


After breakfast we’ll embark on a guided tour of the sights, including La
Recoleta viewpoint, monastery and museum of indigenous art, situated at the
base of Churuquella Mountain overlooking the city. We’ll visit the main
square, ‘Plaza 25 de Mayo’ and adjacent historic Casa de la Libertad
(House of Liberty) where Simon Bolivar signed the Act of Independence in
1825. Following on from this we’ll come to the San Francisco Basilica,
complete with its ‘freedom bell’, so named as it was allegedly rung so
hard to mark Bolivian independence that it broke! A stroll through the
manicured Bolivar Park and cemetery are also part of the tour. 

*Accommodation: Capital Plaza Hotel (or similar) *



Day 7


After breakfast we drive (approx. 3.5 hours) to Potosí. You will notice the
increase in elevation as Potosí lies at 4,060m. This afternoon we have a
tour of the city, which was the centre of the silver rush in the
16th century. The silver was mined from nearby Cerro Rico (‘rich
mountain’) and was predominantly used to make coins but also other objects
as it was so plentiful. Potosí developed into a large and prosperous city
with thousands of colonial buildings. The consequences for the indigenous
miners and African slaves, however, were tragic – some estimates speculate
that there were as many as nine million casualties.

*Accommodation: Hostal Patrimonio (or similar)*



Day 8


This morning we have a tour to the entrance of the Cerro Rico mine.  We
will have an explanation about the mine and its importance from a former
miner. In the afternoon we drive to Uyuni town (approx. 4 hours
driving) with some wonderful landscapes on the way. 

*Accommodation: Hotel Palacio de Sal (or similar) *



Day 9


We spend today on the salt flats. Pyramids of salt are mounded up and in the
dry season the ground is desiccated and hexagonal tiles of salt form as far
as the eye can see. There are wonderful photo opportunities and we'll have
time today to create some fun pictures. In the middle of the salt flats we
come to Incahuasi Island, known for its giant cacti and unusual fossils. This
small island on the middle of the salt flats is an amazing sight and we have
the chance to walk across it for 360 views from the top. After more photo
opportunities, we'll make our way to a spot to watch the sun come down and
watch the light cast shadows and reflections on the water. 

Today's driving time is approx. 5-6 hours.

*Accommodation: Hotel Palacio de Sal (or similar) *



Day 10


This morning after an early breakfast we will head south towards the
Bolivian border with Chile. Firstly, we will make a quick stop in San
Cristobal town, which is one of Bolivia's largest silver mining facilities.
We will not enter the mine but will have a quick explanation of the history
of the mine. Afterwards we will drive to the Turkiri Lagoon where we will
get to see a variety of local flora and fauna (mainly birds). We will
continue heading south with beautiful sights of the Ollague Volcano until
we arrive at the lakes of Cañapa, Hedionda and Honda. Flamingo breeding
grounds are found here and we’re certain to see flocks of them at the
lagoons, as well as possibly vicunas and Andean geese. Before we arrive at
our hotel for the night, we will drive to the Siloli desert and view the
Mountain of seven colours at the national park `Eduardo Avaroa National
Reserve'. 

Today's driving time is approx. 6-7 hours.

*Accommodation: Hotel Tayka del Desierto/Mallku Cueva Hotel (or similar)*



Day 11


A different highlight awaits today as our 4WD adventure brings us into
Eduardo Avaroa National Park. Our first stop is at Laguna Colorada, the
colours of the lake are a result of algae or the chemical
composition. Afterwards we will visit Sol de Mañana geysers (4,926m),
meaning 'morning sun'. This sulphur spring field is one of the few places
where you can get up close to volcanic (hydrothermal) activity. Across this
expanse, lie boiling mud lakes and steam pools, and there are several
geyser-like features where pressurised steam spouts up to fifty metres into
the air! Set against a backdrop of volcanoes and mountains. is Polques
Thermal Baths, where those who can brave the cold air temperatures before
getting into the warm waters can enjoy a dip. Later we will visit Laguna
Verde (green lagoon) and Laguna Blanca (white lagoon).

Today's driving time is approx. 8-9 hours.

*Accommodation: Hotel Tayka del Desierto/Mallku Cueva Hotel (or similar)*



Day 12


After breakfast we will start making our way back to Uyuni airport and fly to
La Paz. We leave the amazing landscapes of Uyuni and fly to La Paz (3,640m),
the highest administrative capital in the world. We begin the tour by riding
the innovative cable car system for views over the entire city. Afterwards
we will get back on the bus and head to the main square, Plaza Murillo, in
the old town, where we find the Presidential Palace, government congress
buildings, and the Cathedral. Next, we visit the Basilica of San Francisco,
famed for its mestizo-baroque facade depicting masks, dragons, tropical
birds and snakes. 

*Accommodation: Hotel Qantu (or similar) *



Day 13


We drive towards Copacabana, crossing the Tiquina Strait by boat (a short,
ten minute ride) and following the shores of Lake Titicaca for much of the
journey (the total drive time is approx. 4.5 hours). On arrival at Copacabana
we board another boat and travel for an hour to Lake Titicaca’s beautiful
Isla del Sol, disembarking at Pillkokaina port where we ascend to the Sun
Temple. We will walk (approx. 1.5 hours) to our eco-lodge, which allows us to
take in the stunning surroundings; deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca in
contrast to the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real. From the lodge the
setting sun in the west casts a lovely light across the mountains ahead.

Your main luggage will be left on the transport (which we leave at
Copacabana) so you need only take an overnight bag to Isla del Sol. We
recommend keeping any valuables with you.

*Accommodation: Ecolodge La Estancia (or similar) *



Day 14


Today has been left free to enjoy walking around this beautiful island or we
can organise an optional boat trip to another highlight of this area: Moon
Island.

*Accommodation: Ecolodge La Estancia (or similar)*



Day 15


After breakfast we will walk to the Fountain of Eternal Youth before we make
the same return journey back (by boat to Copacabana, bus and then a short
ferry ride across the Tiquina Strait) and head towards the Pre-Columbian
ruins of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (approx. 3.5hrs driving).
Founded around 1500BC, Tiwanaku became the capital of a massive empire that
lasted almost a thousand years, developing into a sophisticated urban
ceremonial complex. After lunch we have a guided visit of the site. In the
late afternoon we drive approximately one hour and a half to the airport in
La Paz and then have an evening flight back to Santa Cruz. 

*Accommodation: Armonia Hotel (or similar) *



Day 16


The group flight is an overnight flight and is scheduled to depart very early
this morning. For those travelling on a land only basis, the tour ends after
breakfast.



Day 17


The group flight is scheduled to arrive into London this morning.



What's Included

  • Meals
    14 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners.


* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
* All accommodation 
* All transport and listed activities
* Arrival and departure transfers (for group flights only)
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance

  • Visas or vaccinations

  • Single accommodation (available on request)

Accommodation

10 nights hotels, two nights in a salt hotel and two nights in an ecolodge – all nights based on twin-share.



The hotels usually used are listed within the itinerary and below; occasionally these may vary by departure date due to availability. The hotels are generally a three-star local rating and have been carefully selected for their location, quality and character. Accommodation standards in Bolivia are generally lower than their South American counterparts and standards of accommodation on this trip vary from one location to another. Wifi service in remote locations can be slow to non-existent (e.g...Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca).



Our hotel in Santa Cruz is contemporary in style; rooms have air conditioning and there is an outdoor swimming pool. Accommodation choice within Samaipata is limited and so we stay at Hotel Quinta Piray, located on a hillside with views over the valley, about a few kilometres from town – it’s fairly simple accommodation but has a pool and lovely gardens, so is a very tranquil spot. De Su Merced Hotel is a large converted colonial house with a rooftop terrace and the rooms are furnished with antique furniture. In Potosí, our accommodation is simple but has character and is close to the town centre.



Salar de Uyuni tours have a reputation for being a bit tough (and due to location most are) but we have selected some of the better hotels available. Probably the highlight will be our night at the Hotel Palacio de Sal, a unique property built entirely from salt, from the walls, floors and ceilings to the furniture and sculptures. It has hot water and heating (electric/central depending on the room), a games room, and a viewing room to observe the starry nights, sunsets and sunrises across the salt flats.



In La Paz, we stay in the comfortable Hotel Qantu, which is located on a busy street but close to the famous Witches Market and around the corner from the Basilica of San Francisco.



Should you wish to extend your stay, your sales representative can also arrange extra nights in Santa Cruz for you before or after the tour. Single supplements should be requested at the time of booking and are subject to availability.

Food

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners are included. Some of the lunches
are box lunches whilst others are restaurant meals. Where meals are not
included your leader will be able to recommend a variety of local
restaurants.Drinking water will be provided in large containers to minimise
the amount of single-use plastic bottles; please bring a refillable bottle
with you.Bolivian cuisine is a fusion between Spanish and Andean traditions
and varies from one region to another. In the lowlands fruit, vegetables,
yucca and fish are abundant whereas in the altiplano these are less readily
available and there are more spiced dishes to combat the cold. Bolivian
cuisine has a reputation for its meat dishes but corn (maize), quinoa and
potatoes are also part of the staple diet.Common street food and snacks
include ‘salteñas’ (baked pastries filled with spiced meat or
vegetables), ‘buñuelos’ (sweet or savoury bread – often stuffed with
cheese) and ‘papas rellenas’ (deep-fried battered stuffed
potatoes).Popular main dishes include ‘pique a lo macho’ (a kind of beef
stir-fry, served with chunky chips), ‘picante de pollo’ (spicy chicken)
and ‘tucumanas’ (a sort of pasty). In Sucre try ‘mondongo’ (a dish
made of chicharron – crispy fried pork usually accompanied by corn,
potatoes and a rich chilli sauce) and in La Paz check out a ‘sandwich de
chola’ (pork sandwich).

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    If you wish to make any changes to your booking, particularly if you need to alter any flights booked through us, please let us know as soon as possible. There is a booking or flight amendment fee of £40 per change and flight amendments often incur extra airline costs depending on the changes to be made and if the ticket has been issued or not.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Exodus has been trading since 1974

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Your final joining instructions and flight details, if booked with us, will then be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact the customer operations team. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Travellers are welcome to opt to share a room with a tour member of the same gender for no additional charge. If you'd like your own room, we can request a single supplement so that you will have your own room throughout.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    You are welcome to meet the group after the tour has departed however there is no reduction in rate for joining a tour after the departure date.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Highlights of Bolivia

This holiday provided a great introduction to a fa

This holiday provided a great introduction to a fascinating country. Wonderful landscapes , busy but picturesque towns and cities. Very friendly people wherever we went and colourful too.

Excellent first experience of South America

This was a really good trip. Came home with a real

This was a really good trip. Came home with a real sense of having seen the diversity and contrast between the different areas that Bolivia has to offer. Having quite a few two night stop overs in some of the locations added to the whole trip. We crammed a lot in, but it didn’t feel too rushed.

Fantastic trip to Bolivia

It was a really busy but completely rewarding expe

It was a really busy but completely rewarding experience. We got a real flavour of the whole country, with its diverse landscapes, welcoming people and ancient culture. Our guide Julia was superb. Her knowledge of the history, diverse peoples, land and nature really enriched the experience and her care in ensuring we weren't floored by our time at altitude helped greatly. On some days we were often lucky enough to be the only visitors to some sites which added to the amazing atmosphere. I'd definitely recommend visiting now before it gets too busy in the coming years.

You have to go!

An exhausting trip as so much travel involved but

An exhausting trip as so much travel involved but entirely worth it - Julia our guide was exceptional - we all agreed best guide we have ever had and should surely win guide of the year award! Also, we were blessed to have an amazing group so that made the times and experiences should be shared well with fond memories and laughs along the way. The county itself is diverse and massive - lots of bumpy roads and long drives. But, you will be wowed and rewarded with every new destination. It was a real adventure and not a 'holiday' as such - came back knackered but so pleased i went - well worth seeing and so glad we had a exceptional guide and great group!

Beautiful Bolivia

There are areas of Bolivia that are outstanding an

There are areas of Bolivia that are outstanding and I feel very unique in the world. It was so satisfying and enjoyable travelling around the Alti Plano, it is out of this world.

Lots of variety and stunning scenery

This was the second trip to Bolivia that Exodus or

This was the second trip to Bolivia that Exodus organised, and there are still perhaps a few things that could be changed in terms of the itinerary, that said we had a brilliant holiday which exceeded our expectations in terms of what we saw and did. From crowded cities, to the countryside, the salt plains and iconic Lake Titicaca, with flamingos and lamas along the way. It is a very scenic and vibrant country with people dressed in fabulous colours. There is something for everyone in this trip, history, culture, nature and different food to try. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a trip to Bolivia to experience all it has to offer.

Challenging but worth it

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America an

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and it showed. Many roads are unpaved. People subsist on a daily budget - don't work that day, don't eat. But, although the trip has some challenges - altitude, long, dusty transfers, road blocks and strikes around Santa Cruz, the sites are spectacular and worth a bit of discomfort.

A wonderful introduction to Bolivia.

An energetic holiday that packed things in, on a d

An energetic holiday that packed things in, on a daily basis. We saw all that was promised & much more. Although tiring, as we moved on for most days, but extremely enjoyable, informative and interesting. We learnt a lot about a country we knew little about before we went. Highly recommended, but you need to be able to walk.

Great Experience but too full on at times

Bolivia is stunning and the salt flats and Lake Ti

Bolivia is stunning and the salt flats and Lake Titicaca did not disappoint. It was incredibly cold despite thermals and down jacket etc so be prepared. Accommodation was outstanding in some cases (Palace of Salt and Lake Titicaca) and in others the best available eg in the desert it was basic but the only one available. Very rushed with a lot of early starts and not time to get bored! Would have preferred more time to explore La Paz and felt rushed at times. Great food and as a vegetarian I was pleasantly surprised. Melanie was a fantastic guide who worked her socks off to make the trip work with a big group and diverse dietary requirements. Go with a sense of adventure and expect to have flights delayed and itinerary changes which are an inevitable part of travelling in Bolivia. Overall an awesome but exhausting experience. Thanks Melanie and Trehan from Exodus.

Read all 9 reviews

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    Exodus Adventure Travels allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform exodus adventure travels, 43 days before departure.

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    Exodus Adventure Travels requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

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    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exodus adventure travels charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

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