Aymara Highlands/Amazon/Altiplano 19 days BOLTAA19

Day 1. La Paz (3663m/12.020ft) Arrival
Today you arrive in La Paz. Flying into La Paz is always an experience; if you arrive at night you can admire the lights of the city between the mountains or during the day you might get a view of the Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world. Once arrived in the International Airport of El Alto, which is also the highest commercial airport in the world, our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing, there are no more activities planned and you can take the time to acclimatize to the altitude and explore La Paz on foot.

Day 2. La Paz – Tiwanaku – La Paz
We leave around 08h30 for our visit of the ruins of Tiwanaku, the capital of the pre-Inca empire. Tiwanaku was one of the oldest civilisations in the world and is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire. We visit the Akapana Pyramid and the semi-subterranean temple as well as the archaeological area where we can see the Temple of Kalasasaya, one of the largest and oldest ceremonial centres of the world. We also visit the famous “Puerta del Sol” (Gateway of the Sun) which is a monolithic structure that weighs about 10 tons. On the Puerta del Sol we can observe the Tiwanakota calendar which is expressed in 365,24 days distributed over 12 months. We visit the archaeological museum where we see the Monolith Bennet which measures 7,20 meters and weighs 20 tons, and we also get an insight in the 13 centuries of history which make Tiwanaku the oldest civilization in Latin America. After our visit of the site we have lunch (not included) in a typical restaurant where we can taste quinoa; the most important grain of the Andes. After lunch, we return to La Paz and the rest of the day is free.

Day 3. La Paz – Copacabana
We leave the hotel at 07h30 and after approximately 3½ hours we arrive in Copacabana, where we leave our luggage at the hotel. Before lunch we visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana which is a 16th century church that houses the image of the patron saint of Bolivia. The church attracts thousands of local tourists throughout the year and it remains one of the two principal sacred places both for indigenous people and Catholics. After lunch, we have the option to climb to the Calvario from where we have a beautiful view over the lake and the village or climb to Intiwatana or Horca del Inca which is believed to have been an astronomical observatory. If time permits we can visit both the Calvario and the Horca del Inca and the rest of the day is free to enjoy Copacabana.

Day 4. Copacabana – Isla del Sol (Sun Island)
After breakfast, we leave by boat to visit the famous Sun Island (Isla del Sol). We visit the Inca Staircase, the Inca Fountain as well as the ruins of the Palacio de Pilkokaina (“place where the birds rest”). This construction is characterised by its walls and doors that are particularly well conserved. We spend the night in an Eco Lodge in Yumani.

Day 5. Isla del Sol – Copacabana – La Paz
In the morning, we return to the harbour of Yumani (walking down the Inca Staircase) from where we take a boat back to Copacabana. Upon arrival in Copacabana we have time for lunch before returning to La Paz where the evening is free.

Day 6. La Paz – Pampalarama
We leave La Paz after breakfast to visit the community of Chacaltaya. After approx. an hour we reach the heart of the Andes Cordillera at the shelter Pampalarama where we get installed before visiting the area. We go for a hike (5hrs return) to the Khuno Tincuta glacier situated at 5000m/16.400ft above sea level. We have lunch at the glacier and after regaining our strength we return to the shelter where we enjoy a typical Bolivian snack which consists of Buñuelos (type of doughnut) and hot Api (sweet and hot corn drink). The rest of the day is free to enjoy the surroundings. The original community of Chacaltaya was born in 1871 and through time is has managed to retain most of the Aymara culture. The community celebrates the important rituals of the Aymara calendar and life is lived at the rhythm of the agricultural production and the seasonal migration of llamas and alpacas. The community has kept the organic organisational and administrative structure which is managed by the "Ayni", "Minka" and the "Waki" – terms that indicate mutual aid and community work. The inhabitants speak Aymara and the majority of them speak Spanish as a second language.

Day 7. Pampalarama – La Paz – Uyuni
At 08h00 we leave for a short walk to admire the magnificent landscape of the Royal Cordillera and we climb to 4700m/15.420ft to the Laguna Pampalarama. We have the possibility to sail on the lake or go for a stroll around the area. After lunch, we return to La Paz and we are transferred to the airport in El Alto for the flight to Uyuni. Upon arrival in Uyuni we are transferred to the hotel and the evening is free.

Day 8. Uyuni – Colchani – Salar de Uyuni – Tahua
After breakfast, around 10h30 in the morning, we leave Uyuni and the first visit will be the locomotive cemetery, the result of an abandoned project to build a big network of trains out of Uyuni. From here we continue to Colchani which is a small village situated on the edge of the Salar and who’s inhabitants live from salt exploitation. In Colchani we discover how salt is processed manually and we visit the small salt boutique. We now enter the famous Salar de Uyuni; the biggest salt desert in the world with acreage of 10.582km²/4.086mi2. One of the particularities of the Uyuni Salt Flat is that it contains a reserve of 9 million tonnes of Lithium which represents 40% of world production. We head to the Island Incahuasi, a geological formation that is a remnant of petrified coral and is covered with giant cactus that can get up to 12m/39.37ft high. From the top of the island we have a wonderful 360° view of the Salar de Uyuni. We continue to the north of the Salar de Uyuni to the small place called Tahua, by to the foot of the Tunupa mountain, where we spend the night.*

*Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 9. Tahua – Tunupa – San Juan/San Pedro de Quemez
After breakfast, we visit the archaeological centre of the Chullpares (graves) of Coquesa and surroundings. We then continue to climb the Tunupa all the way to the viewpoint (you have the option to go by car) from where we have a panoramic view of the Salar de Uyuni. On the way down we pass the “Bofedales” (altitude wetlands) in order to see the rose coloured flamingos and from here we continue to San Pedro de Quemez.*

*Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 10. San Pedro de Quemez – Salar de Chiguana – Ollagüe Volcano – Siloli Desert – Ruta de las Joyas Alto Andinas (Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda y Ramaditas) – Stone Tree – Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa – Ojo de Perdiz
We continue our tour of south Bolivia and from San Pedro de Quemez we pass the Uyuni – Ollagüe railway before crossing the Salar de Chiguana. We observe the still active volcano Ollagüe and even from far we can see its fumarole. We follow the famous Jewel Route which is composed of the Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda and Ramadita. Today we also visit the Stone Tree (please refrain from climbing on the rock) planted in the middle of the Siloli desert and at the end of the day we enter the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa and we arrive at the Laguna Colorada (coloured lake). The name is because of the red colour that is caused by microscopic shellfish and a variety of algae which thrive in the salt water which is the principal nutriment of the rose-coloured flamingos that live in this area. Due to climate changes (lack of rain) and the high evaporation of the Altiplanic basin the water level of the regions Lagunas is reduced rapidly, which year after year unfortunately also reduces the population of the flamingos. Mid-afternoon we leave to get installed in our hotel Ojo de Perdiz and the evening is free. *

*Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 11. Ojo de Perdiz - Laguna Colorada – Geyser de Sol de Mañana – Polques Thermal Spring – Dali Desert – Laguna Verde – Licancahur (5971m/19.590ft) – Villamar – Valle de Rocas – San Cristóbal – Uyuni
We leave the Laguna Colorada to go even deeper into the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa. We visit the boiling geysers of Sol de Mañana which is an impressive geothermal field with pits of boiling mud and strong smells of sulphur. Our tour continues in the direction of the thermal bath of Polques, a natural source of hot water where we can go for a swim. We continue through the South Lipez and we observe the “Damas del Desierto” which are enormous rocks planted in this barren landscape and carved by wind and weather over the years. We also cross the Dali Desert, which was named in reverence to the Catalan artist because of the resemblance of the landscape with the unreal yet natural colours, to the masters’ work. We continue to the Laguna Verde and Blanca at the foot of the Licancahur, one of the most southern points in Bolivia. The Laguna Verde gets its green colour from the high concentration of lead, arsenic sulphur and calcium. From the Laguna Verde we start our drive back north. We pass by the small village Villamar which seems lost in the middle of the gigantic Lipez desert before passing by the biggest mining project in Bolivian history at San Cristóbal. We arrive around 18h00 in Uyuni where we spend the night.

*Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 12. Uyuni - Potosi – Visit of the Mines (Cerro Rico)* - Sucre
We leave for Potosi early in the morning and upon arrival we start with a visit to the miner’s market. Custom says it brings good luck to buy Coca leaves, cigarettes, alcohol or even dynamite as presents for the miners who will receive us at their workplace. Once we have finished our purchases we visit one of the mines in the Cerro Rico mountain. The mines here are quite different from western mines, some of them are very old – dug out by hand by the slaves of the Inca Empire and later by African slaves during the Spanish occupation - and very narrow and short (not for claustrophobics). Our visit of the Cerro Rico starts by the “Tio” (uncle) who is the protector of the mines and to whom the miners on many occasions make offerings in order to be protected from bad spells. We visit the 1st level of the mine and have the possibility to descend up to 3 levels below – 500 or 600 m into the depths of the Cerro Rico. After this impressive visit, we return to the hotel to pick up our bags and drive to Sucre. Once installed in the hotel in Sucre the rest of the evening is free.

*The mines are closed on Sundays so if today is a Sunday we will go for a tour of the city instead.

Day 13. Sucre City Tour
After breakfast, we visit Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia also called the White City. This gem of Baroque art and the Renaissance is the most European city in Bolivia and probably one of the most beautiful in Latin America. Founded in 1538 by order of Pizarro, Sucre was destined to become the residence and the centre of the Spanish bourgeoisie. From an architectural point of view, Sucre has remained like a postcard of the 19th century which is of course part of its charm. Apart from its beauty and atmosphere of the 18th & 19th centuries, Sucre is also the historic capital of Bolivia. We visit the various museums, the Convento de Santa Clara as well as the Casa de la Libertad, which saw the signing of the Declaration of Independence August 6, 1825 (all visits may vary depending on the day because the museums are closed on Sundays and public holidays). The evening is free to enjoy Sucre.

Day 14. Sucre – La Paz – Rurrenabaque
In the morning, you are transferred to the airport for your flight from Sucre to Rurrenabaque (change of plane in La Paz). After a 1-hour flight from La Paz over the Andes Cordillera you arrive in Rurrenabaque where you are transferred to the hotel. The evening is free and we recommend you have dinner in Juliano’s Restaurant which is the best restaurant in town.

Day 15. Rurrenabaque – Selva (Jungle) Trek
At 08h30 we embark on a boat that takes us up the River Beni to the indigenous community Tacana of San Miguel. After a visit of the community we start out trek deeper into the jungle, where we set up camp. After lunch, we discover the flora and fauna of the area and in the evening, we go for a walk to observe the nocturnal animals.

Day 16. Selva (Jungle) Trek
After breakfast, we leave for a long trek that takes us even deeper into the jungle and we learn about the uses of the different medicinal plants, the birds and the mammals that live in the park. With a bit of luck, we can meet wild boars, spider monkeys, snakes and other species. We have lunch and a short rest and in the afternoon, we can fish in one of the numerous streams that run through this impressive jungle and we can also take a swim in a natural swimming pool. After dinner, our guide will tell us some of the legends of the area.

Day 17. Selva (jungle) Trek – Rurrenabaque – La Paz
After breakfast, we observe the different bird species in the area and we can also collect nature materials to make jewellery and decorations. We recollect our material and we return to the River Beni where the boat will be taking us back to Rurrenabaque where we will be transferred to the airport for the flight back to La Paz. After a 1-hour flight over the Amazonian basin and the Andes Cordillera our team in La Paz will meet you to transfer you to your hotel.

Day 18. La Paz Leisure Day – Peña dinner show
There are no activities planned for today and you have time to explore La Paz on your own. In the evening, we meet to go to a local “peña” to enjoy a folkloric dance show.

Day 19. La Paz Departure
According to your time of departure* you are transferred from the hotel to the airport. For international flights, it is recommended to arrive at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure.End of our services.

Important: Itinerary can change because of weather conditions and some sights are not accessible at all times – Lipiko Tours cannot be held responsible for any changes in itinerary and sights not visited as a result.

 

 

 

General information:
Highlights: La Paz ,Tiwanaku, Lake Titicaca, Sun Island, Pampalarama, Salar de Uyuni, Tunupa, South Lipez, Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde, Potosi, Sucre, Rurrenabaque, Amazon jungle.

Support Team: English speaking tour leader for the entire tour for groups of 4 people or more. For smaller groups it is possible to book this tour without a tour leader. Instead you would have guided visits with a local guide in chosen language. Please contact us directly to receive a personalized quote.

Departure guaranteed: Group Tour: from 4 people. Individual Tour: from 2 people

Accommodation: 19 nights in hotel.

 Porterage: Your luggage will be transported either by plane, car, boat, and bus. You will have to carry the personal belongings (camera, water, etc.) which you need during the day.

Service: For group above 4 people you will be accompanied by a tour leader in the chosen language. His role is to make sure that everything goes smoothly during the tour and that each individual and the group as a whole are safe. Don’t hesitate to ask him if you are unsure of anything and, very important, to follow his advice.

Included in the price:
- Water, air and land transfers as indicated in the program
- Accommodation in hotel/hostel in double rooms, Ecolodge, shelter, home stay, camping, bus and plane as indicated in the program.
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- The assistance of specialized local English speaking guides, their fees and expenses
- The assistance of our local teams; driver(s) and logistics department (24/7)
- Visits as outlined in the program

Not included in the price:
- Entrance fees to sites visited, national parks and museums as indicated in the program (allow for approx. 1500 Argentine Peso (Argentian national currency) per person – in Brazil (allow for approx. 150 Brazilian Real (Brazilian national currency) per person – this is an estimate and actual prices may vary) 
- Meals not mentioned, drinks, tips, individual equipment, everything not mentioned in “included in the price” and all personal expenses
- Individual obligatory personal travel insurance (this could be included with your credit card – please check with your credit card provider)
- The supplement for a single room: 390 USD (subject to availability, must be reserved and paid upon reservation). Attention; no single room available for the nights with accommodation in shelter, home stay and camping.
- Possible visa expenses
- International flights

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