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Bolivia Highlights

11 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: Budget

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Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 La Paz
Kamisaki! At around 3600 metres, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world in La Paz. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of industry – the country’s brain. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional. After a 2pm welcome meeting, enjoy an orientation walk with your leader and get to know the winding streets and pokey alleys. After the meeting, maybe head out into the city, situated in the middle of a vast volcanic crater. Breathe the ‘thin’ air, marvel at the vistas of buildings clinging to the canyonsides, and explore the lively streets like Calle Jaen.

Day 2 La Paz – Uyuni
This morning, leave La Paz behind and travel by private vehicle to Uyuni – the gateway to Bolivia’s acclaimed salt flats. You’ll head off around 8.30 am this morning and will arrive late in the afternoon, so be sure to have a book or some podcasts ready, and some snacks on hand. Along your way, stop for some lunch with your group. Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano – a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. Once arrived, check in and relax into your hotel in Uyuni town. Although basic, your accommodation for tonight is clean and comfortable, and may be the last time you’ll have a hot shower for a few days!

Day 3 Salar de Uyuni
Uyuni is the starting point of your 4WD excursion into Salar de Uyuni and the Andean Desert. This morning you will stop by the Train Cemetery, three kilometres outside of Uyuni Town, connected to it by the old train tracks, and see where families of abandoned locomotives rust slowly in the sun. Continue on to the town of Colchani, which produces salt the old-fashioned way, before heading into the salt flats. Endless skies meet endless white plains, and it's a pretty hypnotic sight – don't forget to snap loads of photos! Stop by an intriguing salt hotel and drive to an island of cacti that rises like a jagged reef in the desert. Known as Isla Inca Wasi, or Fish Island, this fossil-strewn outcrop was once the top of an ancient volcano, and you’ll have the chance to go on an optional hike here. After a big day of driving, head south to a small village and your homestay-style accommodation. Settle in and enjoy an included dinner.

Day 4 Desierto Siloli – Laguna Colorada
After breakfast, continue driving through the incredible landscapes of the Andean Desert, with another day deep in the wilderness. Pass by Chiguana Salt Lake, the still-active Ollague Volcano, and other small lakes of different colours – perhaps with a flamboyance of flamingos standing nearby! Continue on to the Siloli Desert, which is known for its mountain of seven colours, Arbol de Piedra (Stone Tree) rock formation, and some pretty epic vistas. You’ll also get the chance to venture into an Andean wildlife reserve (Reserva de Eduardo Avaroa) and hike around the Laguna Colorada (Red Lake), keeping an eye out for llamas, flamingos, vicunas, and foxes along the way. Once all the sightseeing is over for another day, retire to your dormitory accommodation in a local Huayllajara community for a well-earned rest and included dinner.

Day 5 Salar de Uyuni – Uyuni
Leave your lodge nice and early to try and catch the sunrise over the surrounding geysers. These bubbling fumaroles are especially active in the morning, thanks to the cold air. Continue to a local hot spring for a quick dip, then to Laguna Verde to take some pictures of the water’s striking green hues. Afterwards, pass through more barren desert landscapes, some of which are frequently compared to Salvador Dali’s paintings. Onwards to Capina Lake, Valle de Rocas (Rock Valley) and the San Cristobal mining town. You’ll arrive back in Uyuni around 5 pm to spend the night at your leisure – after the last few days in the Bolivian wild, this could be the right time to find a comfy local restaurant for an optional dinner and drinks with your travel crew.

Day 6 Potosi
Today, say goodbye to Uyuni, and catch a local bus for about 4 hours along the scenic route to Potosi, where you’ll arrive in the early afternoon. Potosi has had a turbulent past, centred mostly around its mining successes and failures. Once the predominant supplier of silver to colonial-era Spain, Potosi briefly celebrated life as one of the richest cities in the world. Explore the architectural remnants of this period of industry on a leader-led orientation walk, then the afternoon and evening are yours. Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls or the National Mint Museum.

Day 7 Sucre
After a lazy morning to explore Potosi, take a local bus early in the afternoon and arrive in Sucre after approximately 4 hours, disembarking in the temperate valley city. Bolivia's official capital, Sucre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 and has retained the flavour of its colonial heritage in its churches, museums and ancient mansions. Most of the town's colonial buildings have been whitewashed, earning it the nickname the 'White City'. On arrival, you'll have some free time to get your bearings of the city before you go for an optional dinner.

Day 8 Sucre
Take a few days to explore Bolivia’s capital. After an orientation walk, compare shoe sizes with a dinosaur at Cal Orcko, where 68 million-year-old footprints have been discovered. This is the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world, over 12,000 of them! Then, you might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta, a 400-year-old convent on top of the hill that provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. Or maybe head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and investigate the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced.

Day 9 Sucre 
Today, set out for an included hike along the ancient Pre-Incan path known as the Chataquila trek. The trek is relatively easy being that it is mostly downhill. On the way down enjoy the stunning views of the Andes and the valleys. In the afternoon, perhaps head up to Recoleta, an old convent on top of the hill, giving some great views of the city. Adrenaline junkies might also like to take to the surrounding peaks for some excellent mountain biking options or perhaps give hang gliding a shot. Most of today and tomorrow are free to take up some additional optional activities in and around town, so it’s up to you what you’d like to do and see! Bolivian dance show, or textile museum, anyone?

Day 10 Sucre - La Paz
This morning is free to explore Sucre before catching a flight back to La Paz (approx 40 min).

Day 11 La Paz
Today is the final day of your tour and there are no activities planned, so you are free to leave at any time. With so much to see and do, you might want to spend an extra day or two checking out the city. We’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Map
All This Included
Explore the best of Bolivia on this adventure through lively cities, breathtaking scenery and colourful market towns. From the extreme elevation of bustling La Paz through the history of Potosi and Sucre, and on to the surreal salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, there's a diverse mix of adventures and activities that deliver excitement, intrigue and pleasure. Discover the highlights of this fascinating part of South America and be swept away by the colour and beauty flourishing in this corner of the world.
  • Meals - 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Transport - Plane, 4X4, Local bus, Private Vehicle
  • La Paz - Orientation Walk
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island/Inca Wasi'
  • Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada & Laguna Verde
  • Sucre - Dinosaur Footprints
  • Sucre - Orientation Walk
  • Sucre - Chataquila Pre-Inca trek
Highlights
  • See the many different sides to Bolivia in La Paz and let the city’s weird and wacky Witches Market cast a spell over you.
  • Empty, haunting and spectacular, the laws of earthly physics bend on the surreal Salar de Uyuni saltpan – experience it on a three-day 4WD adventure across the rocky Atacama Desert.
  • Choose to explore the extra-terrestrial landscapes of Valle de la Luna, a maze of canyons and colossal clay spires that feels like the surface of the Moon.
  • Discover the heart of Bolivia in the elegant colonial architecture and immaculately landscaped gardens of historical Sucre.
  • Delve into the steep streets and Spanish colonial architecture of Potosi – once one of the richest cities in the world.
Accommodations
Dormitory (2 nights)
Hotel (8 nights)
Notes
  • Ages: Min 15
  • Group size: Min 1, Max 12
  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more important information on this. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical conditions with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
  • You'll be spending a lot of time in a 4WD crossing some bumpy surfaces. This is the best way to see the sights in and around Uyuni, and is all part of the adventure.
  • In Bolivia (especially in Uyuni), sometimes things don't go to plan. For example, an attraction may be closed for the day with no notice or reason. Although this doesn't happen very often, please be prepared for the possibility.
  • Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold, and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.
  • Please note that this trip can be joined with other adventures into a ‘combination trip’, which means that some of your fellow travellers may have begun their journey before today, and some may carry on to further destinations at the end of this tour. If you’d like to spend more time in South America, have a look at the combination trips that include this trip’s itinerary: Peru and Bolivia Uncovered (GGSUC).
  • A single supplement is available on this trip.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.