Landscapes of Bolivia
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre, Potosi, Uyuni, and La Paz
- Full Itinerary
- Price & Contact
- Santa Cruz de la Sierra
- Tarabuco Market
- Uyuni Salt Flat
- Red Lagoon
- Green Lagoon
- La Paz
- Titicaca Lake
- All transfers
- All breafasts
- 6 lunches
- 6 dinners
- Hotel Cortez **** - Santa Cruz
- Parador Santa Maria La Real Hotel **** - Sucre
- Hostal Colonial *** - Potosi
- Tayka del Desierto - Ojo de Perdiz
- Cristal Samaña Salt Hotel - Colchani
- Hotel Europa ***** - La Paz
Day 01: Arrival in Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Begin the Landscapes of Bolivia Tour soon after arrival in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, now Bolivia's largest city. Situated on the edge of the Chaco desert, Santa Cruz is the perfect launchpoint for a scenic tour of Bolivia's most breathtaking landscapes. Upon arrival at the airport, a SouthAmerica.travel representative will escort you to your Bolivia hotel. Then enjoy a 4 hour tour through the streets of Santa Cruz, viewing it's magnificent colonial architecture. The town was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the mid 16th century, and was mostly agrarian until just a few decades ago, when it quickly became urbanized. See the San Lorenzo Basilica Menor with its impressive bell towers, museum, and beautiful interior woodwork, as well as the Piray River and the largest zoo in Bolivia.
Day 02: Tour of Samaipata Ruins & Lunch
After breakfast in the hotel, head out on a full day, 8-hour excursion to the town of Samaipata, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of Samaipata were once an Inca fortress, and its temples, hallways, amphitheaters, and courtyards can still be traced. Later it was home to the Chane and other native tribes. The pre-Inca ceremonial rock, El Fuerte, allows those willing to hike the hill spectacular views of the valley below and the Andes beyond. Carved into the rock are animals, including many serpents. On the way, we will visit the Las Cuevas waterfalls and relaxing swimming hole, and an archeological museum in Samaipata city that houses some Tiwanaku artifacts. Lunch is included.
Day 03: Santa Cruz de la Sierra to Sucre
Upon arrival in Sucre, a travel representative will escort you from the Sucre airport to the hotel. After you've had a chance to settle in, enjoy a 3 hour sightseeing tour of Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia. Once Bolivia's only capital during the colonial era, the city boasts plenty of architectural treasures. It's well-preserved historical center and number of historical buildings, helped the city earn UNESCO World Heritage status. On the Sucre city tour, visit the House of Freedom commemorating Simon Bolivar, the Convent of La Recoleta with a quaint courtyard full of orange trees, and a nearby lookout point that gives a panoramic view of Sucre. Also see the façades of the churches of San Lazaro and Santo Domingo, which demonstrate how local artistic style, "Mestizo Baroque" blended with Renaissance and Baroque styles brought by the Spanish. You can also choose to visit the Museum of Indigenous Art Textile Museum, or the neoclassical Convent of San Felipe de Neri.
Day 04: Tour of Tarabuco Sunday Market
Continue the tour of Sucre's many wonderful sights with a full day visit to the Tarabuco Sunday Market, located several miles outside of the city. The indigenous market is one of the largest in the region. Yampara locals come from miles away to buy and sell at this weekly market where everything from intricate weavings, fresh fruits and vegetables, and medicinal plants are sold. The Yampara are also well-known for their colorful clothing, hand-woven ponchos, and chuspas, small bags for carrying change and coca leaves. Enjoy free time to shop and barter, and perhaps make friends with the locals by learning a few words of Quechua. Lunch is included.
Day 05: Sucre to Potosí
After breakfast in your hotel, transfer to the bus station for a 4-hour ride to Potosí, famous as a silver mining town throughout the colonial era, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Potosí lies at an elevation of 4,090 meters (13,420 ft), so spend some time acclimatizing before heading out to explore the city. In the evening, stroll around the Plaza de Armas and enjoy views of the nearby Cerro Rico, where tons of silver were extracted and shipped to Europe.
Day 06: Potosi Sightseeing Tour
After breakfast in the hotel, take a city tour of Potosí to encounter another important landmark in Bolivia's history. In the 17th century, Potosí became wealthy with the creation of the National Mint of Bolivia. Many wealthy families and Catholics moved to Potosí in the ensuing centuries. Tour the National Mint, the Cathedral, and other historical sites. Also walk down The Street of Seven Turns, which early settlers designed to avoid the cold winds coming of the altiplano. Continue the tour of Potosí with a visit to the mines of Cerro Rico, where you'll have the opportunity to see miners working much in the same way as they did during the colonial era. Present-day silver mining continues, although tin is the major commodity. In the evening, return to your hotel for the night.
Day 07: Tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
Eat an early breakfast in the hotel, and then head to the Uyuni Salt Flats, the largest in the world. On the way, stop to see the Pulacayo silver mine, the second largest silver mine in the world. With the Potosí and Pulacayo silver mines bringing prosperity, Bolivia was able to solidify its independence from Spain. Continue on towards Uyuni and have lunch in a local restaurant upon arrival. In the afternoon, you'll encounter the great Salt Flats of Uyuni, nearly 11,000 square km (4000 acres) of salt plains that seem to stretch out endlessly in every direction. Perhaps one of the most breathtaking landscapes in all of South America, the Uyuni Salt Flats make up a beautiful white desert that begs to be explored. First, stop in the town of Colchani, and tour the salt facotry. Then see the Hotel Sal (which is really made of salt, and guests are asked not to lick the walls), and then drive towards the Thunupa Volcano to see the Coquesa Mummies Museum. From here, enjoy panoramic views of the salt flats below. Also visit the Museum of Chantani.
Day 08: Tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
Continue on exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats with a visit to Incahuasi Island. Follow the paths through the salt plains to the island, which perches above the plains and gives an incredible view of the natural wonder. Then continue towards Mala Mala Bay to see the Galaxy Cave, the Cactus Sanctuary, and a chullpas cemetary all overlooking the salt flats. Then continue towards San Pedro de Quemes and stop for lunch in the Tayka Stone Hotel. In the afternoon, travel towards the lagoons of Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas. Here, pink flamingos, Andean geese, coots, hillstars, Andean foxes, and other animals roam free. Volcanic slopes mix with colorful lagoons, making for an absolutely beautiful scenic tour.
Day 09: Tour of Uyuni Salt Flats Start this final day of the Uyuni Salt Flats tour with an early rise to catch the sunrise over the desert. Early in the morning, you may see vicuña, a relative of the llama, or vizcachas (desert rabbits) in the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. Continue to the Sol de Mañana Geysers, which are the most active in the morning. Here the elevation is near 5000 meters, and the air is cold. But make your way around the geyers, bubbling and boiling in the morning light. It's an unforgettable experience. Next, visit the Salt Flats of Chalviri, where colorful lagoons are surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Enjoy the chance to relax in the healing waters of the Polques Hot Springs. Then head to the Desert of the Ladies, where stone pillars have been carved by strong winds to resemble human figures. Continue to the Licancabur Volcano to appreciate Laguna Verde, the most famous in the salt flats because of its brilliant emerald green hue. Enjoy lunch while overlooking the lagoon. Also visit the Laguna Colorada, where flamingos often nest. Return to Uyuni, stopping in the town of San Cristóbal, a town that was relocated in order to begin a major mining project. Spend the night in Colchani.
Day 10: Uyuni to La Paz
Upon arrival in the La Paz airport, you'll be greeted by a travel representative and transferred to your La Paz hotel. Then enjoy a half-day city tour of La Paz and the nearby Moon Valley. La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, is often called the city that touches the sky. Located at 3650 m (11975 ft), La Paz is the world's highest capital. Cradled in a basin surrounded by Andes, including the Illimani mountain, La Paz is an important political, cultural, and historical site for Bolivia. Begin the La Paz city tour in Murillo Square, where the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Palacio Quemado stand. Walk along the cobbled-stoned Jaen Street, much as it was in colonial days, and visit the Mercado de Hechicería, the Witches Market. Purchase aphrodisiacs and other special herbs said to help with money, fame, or fate. Then travel outside of the city to the Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon. There are interesting geological formations in a beautiful desert that overlooks the city. Return to the hotel.
Day 11: La Paz to Lake Titicaca & Catamaran Ride
Early in the morning, depart from La Paz and head to Copacabana on the shores of the beautiful Lake Titicaca. Visit the Cathedral in Copacabana and its main square, then board a catamaran cruise ship to sail across the crystal blue waters to Isla del Sol, the legendary birth place of the Inca Empire. Visit the many highlights of the island, including the Inca Garden, the Inti Wata Cultural Complex, the Ekako Underground Museum, the Titikaka reed shipbuilders displays, the Pachamama agricultural Inca terraces, and the Manco Kapac lookout point. Also, enjoy a sailboat ride aboard a traditional vessel for a panoramic ride to the Pilkokaina Inca Palace. Lunch and dinner included aboard the catamaran. Spend the night aboard the catamaran in private cabins with views of the gorgeous lake.
Day 12: Return to La Paz
Eat a buffet breakfast on board the catamaran while enjoy the sunrise over the lake. Land in Copacabana and return to La Paz before noon. Check in to your hotel, and rest or explore the city on your own.
Day 13: Departure from La Paz
Have breakfast in the hotel, and then meet your escort to transfer to the La Paz airport for your flight home or to the next destination on your South America tour.
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