General Information Highlights:
Itinerary in brief
Our tour starts with a visit to Tiwanaku where we can discover the wealth of this lost civilisation which played an important role in the history of Bolivia. We continue to the small community of Chacaltaya in Pampalarama where we get a real insight in life on the Altiplano. Next we head to the Lake Titicaca for a unique kayak tour where you visit not only the Bolivian side of the lake but we actually spend the night on a small Peruvian island. Now that we are well acclimatized we go for our trek at the foot of the famous Condoriri massif in the heart of the Andes Cordillera. Our tour continues to the Sajama National Park where we can enjoy the tranquillity while observing the Western Cordillera while taking a dip in the natural thermal springs. We then continue to the Salar de Uyuni where we discover the island with the giant cacti and the vastness of this 10.582km²/4.086mi2 big salt desert and we also have the opportunity to climb the Tunupa volcano. Still in southern direction we cross the Lipez desert with its volcanoes, Lagunas as well as its rich animal life (lama, vicuña, alpaca, viscacha, pink flamingos, foxes, Nandu, etc....). After this incredible visit to the most southern spot of Bolivia we head back north to La Paz where our tour ends with a dinner show, a Peña.
1. Arrival in La Paz
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 where you can check in directly. There are no activities planned for today and you can take the time to acclimatize to the altitude and maybe explore La Paz on foot..
2. La Paz – Tiwanaku – La Paz
We leave around 08h30 for our visit of the ruins of Tiwanaku, 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 Pyramid Akapana 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 can observe the Monolith Bennet which measures approximately 7 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 have the opportunity to taste quinua; the most important grain of the Andes. We return to La Paz where the evening is free.
3. 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 short hike (5h return) to the Khuno Tincuta glacier situated at 5000m/16.400ft above sea level. We have lunch at the glacier and after recollecting 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 as managed to retain most of the Aymara culture. The community celebrates the important rituals of the Aymara calendar and life if lived at the rhythm of the agricultural production and the seasonal migration of llamas and alpacas in the month of September. Developed over time in the ancestral customs 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 the Spanish as a second language.
4. Pampalarama – La Paz
At 08h00 we leave for a short walk in order 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 where the evening is free.
5. La Paz - San Pedro de Tiquina - Santiago de Ojé - Caana - Patahuata - Yuspiki - Suana - Anapia
We leave La Paz around 06h00 in the direction of San Pedro de Tiquina which we reach after about 2 ½ hour’s drive. After breakfast at the local market we continue to the CIBA (diving centre of the Bolivian Navy) where we get changed on the premises. After a short briefing about the route and safety during the tour each participant will receive their own equipment (gloves, balaclava, plastic shoes etc.) which will be the sole responsibility of the participant during the entire tour. At 09h30 we embark along with a kayak guide from the CIBA and our equipment on a boat which has come from the island Anapia in Peru to pick us up. We arrive in Santiago de Ojé around 09h50, an Aymara community established on the continent on the Bolivian side of the lake to visit the remains of a little known pre-Inca temple. From here we head towards the Peruvian side of the lake and our first stop is the uninhabited island Caana where we can observe Vicuñas which live in liberty on the island. We disembark on the beach in order to finally put our kayaks in water. We bypass the uninhabited island of Patahuata and continue to the uninhabited island Yuspiki where we arrive after about 30 min. Here we enjoy a typical lunch prepared by the family of our captain and he will explain us the different uses of the flora. We hike to the viewpoint, which also serves as a ceremonial centre for the locals, from where we have a wonderful view of the Minor Lake in all its splendour, both the Peruvian and Bolivian side. We visit some ancient burial sites, well hidden between the vegetation, and after lunch we continue in our kayaks to the island of Suana which faces the port of Anapia. On the pier we are normally received by a group of local musicians and each participant will receive a flower garland as a welcome. We then enjoy a small welcome “apthapi” (sharing food as a way for community members to meet, share, and often celebrate) and it is possible to admire the local crafts and purchase souvenirs. In the afternoon we continue in our kayaks to Anapia (approx. 15 min) and upon arrival at the harbour each participant will help carry the kayaks to the nearby harbour master’s office where they will be kept overnight. We get installed in small groups of 4 people (maximum) in different local “alojamientos” (guesthouses – only possible option) which are simple but correct. Depending on availability you might be able to take a hot shower and recharge the batteries for you camera.
6. Anapia - Taquiri - La Paz - San Pedro de Tiquina - La Paz
We have breakfast in the guesthouses and later you have about an hour free to visit the town. At 09h30 we head to the port from where we sail in kayak to the Bolivian island Taquiri while the Royal Cordillera raises majestically before us. We arrive after about 1 ½ hours and we have the opportunity to take some pictures where the border passes in the waters between Bolivia and Peru. We stop in a bay in the middle of the totorals to have lunch on the motorboat which has been prepared by our Peruvian guide and his wife. We can taste the roots of the “totora” which is known for its many virtues and multiple uses and at 12h30 we continue in kayak, between the totorals, to the pier of Taquiri. We disembark to meet the locals and we pass the village of Taquiri and stunning scenery to reach the opposite bay from where we reach San Pedro de Tiquina by mid afternoon. We might be able to visit some burial sites on the way. Upon return at the CIBA we change and we expect to be back in La Paz in the evening (the actual arrival time depends on the traffic in the city of El Alto).
7. La Paz - Laguna Tuni - Laguna Juri Khota
We leave La Paz in a private vehicle around 07h00 for the village Tuni from where our trek starts. First we follow the Laguna Tuni then we pass a mountain pass at 4900m/16.076ft on the slopes of Kuntur (4926m/16.161ft) before we walk down to the Laguna Juri Khota. From here we have a beautiful view on the "cabesa del condor" (the head of the condor, 5648m/18.530ft), and the Condoriri massif.
8. Laguna Juri Khota - Laguna Chiar Khota
From Juri Khota we climb a rather steep slope before reaching the small Laguna Congelada that gets its name from the 2 glaciers that fall into it. Later we pass the Austria mountain pass at 5160m/16.929ft and from here we descend to the Laguna Chiar Khota (4760m/15.617ft), base camp for the Condoriri climb and other climbs like the Alpamayo or the Tajira.
9. Laguna Chiar Khota - Laguna Wichu Khota
We leave the surroundings of the Condoriri and walk to the foot of the Aguja Negra crossing the mountain pass Jallayko (5025m/16.486ft). In the Jistaña valley we change mountainside and we climb to the Thipala mountain pass (5000m/16.404ft). After having enjoyed the wonderful view of the lakes we walk down to the Laguna Wichu Khota where we set up camp in front of the Maria Lloco (5522m/18.117ft).
10. Laguna Wichu Khota - Cerro Santa Fe - Tuni - La Paz
We hike to the Laguna Esperanza which we saw last night from where climb to the Cerro Santa Fe. Here we have a wonderful view of all the Lagunas. We slowly walk down to the Laguna Tuni where our car is waiting to take us back to La Paz.
11. La Paz – Sajama National Park
We leave La Paz early to reach the Sajama National Park. On our way we visit the Chullpas which are burial chambers from the pre-Colombian era, now empty because of systematic pillage and a few kilometres before we reach the Sajama National Park we stop at the small village Curahuara de Carangas. The towns colonial church is known as the Sistine chapel of the Altiplano, because of its perfectly conserved frescos, painted solely with natural paint. After this impressive visit we continue to the Sajama National Park. From the asphalted road that leads all the way to the Chilean border we turn right and follow a small bumpy trail that leads into the Sajama National Park to the village Tomarapi. After lunch we leave to visit the park’s geothermal fields with boiling geysers covering a radius of approximately 100m/328ft and we pass the Laguna Huaña Khota where we can observe plenty different bird species.
12. Sajama National Park - La Paz
After breakfast we leave to discover the Sajama National Park which was Bolivia’s first protected area. The park lies at the foot of the extinct stratovolcano Sajama, the highest summit in Bolivia with its 6542m/21.463ft and it was declared a national park in order to protect the endangered Queñua forests which are the highest forest in the word. During today’s visit of this magnificent landscape we can go for several short treks and swim in the thermal springs before returning to La Paz in the afternoon.
13. La Paz city tour - Uyuni
After breakfast we leave for our tour of the city. Our first stop on the tour is the Plaza Murillo (km 0), where we can see the Presidential Palace, the Parliament and the Cathedral. We visit the colonial street Calle Jaén and the old part of the town from where we continue to the famous church San Francisco which was built by the indigenous people followed by the commercial area of La Paz with its colourful markets, crafts, silver, wood and traditional textiles. At Nuestra Señora de La Paz we follow the route of the traditional women of the city, the Cholitas, and their commercial activities starting at the Mercado Uruguay which is particular today because it retains its colonial aspect with vegetables, seeds and animals sold from the same area. We continue to the Mercado Rodriguez which is open all week but during the weekends it grows to take up all the adjoining streets. We continue to the Calle Sagarnaga – the main shopping street for typical clothes and handicrafts. From here we also visit the Calle de las Brujas (the Witches street) and we finish our tour at the craft market of San Francisco. The afternoon is free and at 19h30 you are transferred from your hotel to the bus terminal in La Paz. The bus station is famous for having been built by Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower in Paris, France) and used to be the railway station of La Paz. At 21h00 we start our journey to Uyuni and our route takes us first to Oruro from where we descend through Challapata where the asphalt gives way to dirt tracks. If the first 350km/218mi seemed easy, some of Bolivia’s worst roads lie ahead of us; holes, mud, river crossings, cold and detours. Finally after this adventure we arrive in Uyuni around 07h00 where we have time for breakfast before the tour starts.
14. Uyuni – Colchani – Salar de Uyuni – Tahua
We start our journey around 10h30 in the morning and our first stop will be the locomotive cemetery which is a vestige of more prosperous times. 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 the salt is processed manually and we visit the small salt boutique, which also serves as a museum, where we can see large salt carvings and other objects (pottery, jewellery, tools, etc.). After this impressive visit with the craftsmen on the top of the world we 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 which mistakenly is better known as the Fisherman’s Island. This geological formation is a remnant of petrified coral and is covered in giant cacti 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. After lunch we continue to the north of the Salar to Tahua at the foot of the Tunupa where we spend the night.
15. Tahua – Tunupa – San Juan/Puerto Chuvica
After breakfast we visit the archaeological centre of the Chullpares (graves) of Coquesa and its 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 flamingos and from here we continue to Chuvica or San Juan.
16. Puerto Chuvica – Salar de Chiguana – Ollagüe Volcano – Siloli Desert – Ruta de las Joyas Alto Andinas (Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda et Ramaditas) – Stone Tree - Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa - Laguna Colorada
We continue our tour of south Bolivia and from Puerto Chuvica we pass the Uyuni – Ollague railway, which is the property of the FCA (Empresa Ferroviaria Andina), before crossing the Salar de Chiguana. We observe the still active volcano Ollague 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 where we arrive at the Laguna Colorada. This Alto Andina Laguna gets its name because of the red colour which is caused by microscopic shellfish which is the principal nutriment of the rose 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 also reduces the population of the flamingos. Mid-afternoon we leave to get installed in our shelter and the evening is free.
17. Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa - Laguna Colorada – Geyser de Sol de Mañana – Polques Thermal Spring – Dali Desert – Laguna Verde – Licancahur (5971m) – Villamar – Valle de Rocas – San Cristóbal – Uyuni – La Paz
Our tour continues in southern direction to the Laguna Verde – one of the most southern points in Bolivia. We leave the Laguna Colorada in order 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 have the possibility to go for a swim. We continue through the South Lipez and we observe the “Damas del Desierto” - enormous rocks planted in this barren landscape and carved by the 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 where we stop to take a few pictures. The Laguna Verde gets its green colour from the high concentration of lead, arsenic sulphur and calcium – please refrain from bathing! 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 Cristobal. We arrive around 18h00 in Uyuni just in time for a quick dinner before getting the bus to La Paz.
18. La Paz arrival – Folkloric dinner show (Peña)
Upon arrival in La Paz around 06h30* a member of our local team will be waiting to bring you to your hotel where you can check in directly and have breakfast. The rest of the day is free and in the evening we go for folkloric dinner show in a local Peña to enjoy a musical show with traditional dancing and music.
19. La Paz Departure
According to your time of departure you are transferred from the hotel to the airport in El Alto. For international flights it is recommended to arrive at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure.End of our services
Tiwanaku,kayak Titicaca Lake Bolivia/Peru, La Paz, Pampalarama,Trek Cordillera Real (4 days),Salar de Uyuni, Tunupa, South Lipez, Laguna Colorada. 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 personalised quote. Guaranteed departure:
from 4 people Group size:
4 to 12 people Flights:
Prices are valid only in certain tourist/economy classes which serve this destination. Therefore prices are subject to changes in case of unavailability at the time of reservation. Accommodation:
7 nights in hotel/hostel, 1 night in Eco Lodge, 2 nights in bus, 3 nights in shelter 1 night in salt hotel and 3 nights in tent,1 night at living,2 nights by plane. 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. Tour Leader:
In groups of 4 to 12 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 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 : 7 nights in hotel/hostel, 1 night in Ecolodge, 3 nights in shelter, 2 nights in bus, 3 nights camping, 1 night in home stay and 1 night in salt hotel
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- The assistance of specialised 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. 430 bolivianos (Bolivian 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: 187 USD / 116 GBP (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