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'Bolivian Odyssey'

What makes this trip special?

Colonial world heritage and traditional markets

Colonial world heritage and traditional markets

Sucre

Bolivia's most beautiful city and constitutional capital features on Unesco's list for its well-preserved architecture dating back to the 16th Century. Sucre also offers great pre-colonial traditions such as the Tarabuco market.

Silver mining capital of the colonial world

Silver mining capital of the colonial world

Potosí

The highest city in the world has a brutal but fascinating history that offers visitors a rich cultural and photographic experience.

The largest salt lake in the world

The largest salt lake in the world

The Uyuni Salt Flats

Traverse the stark white expanse of the vast Uyuni Salt Flats, with relief from the glare provided by a stop on a cactus-filled island.

Silent witnesses of Bolivia's mining heyday

Silent witnesses of Bolivia's mining heyday

Uyuni's train graveyard

Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate the mining trade links between Argentina and Chile. It was a symbol of cutting-edge progress at the end of the 19th Centuary but this progress was unsustained and trains now lay decaying outside the town of Uyuni.

Giant cacti and vizcachas

Giant cacti and vizcachas

Fish & Incawasi islands

Drive across expansive salt flats and visit either Fish or Incawasi islands, where you will see giant cacti, birds and vizcachas - close relations of chinchillas.

The rugged south-west

The rugged south-west

Colourful lagoons and snow-capped volcanoes

Witness spectacular rock and cave formations, Daliesque desert landscapes where colours melt into one another and flamingoes flying over volcanic lagoons where minerals have coloured the waters shades of blue, green and red.

Technicolour life at 12,000 feet

Technicolour life at 12,000 feet

La Paz

The world's highest capital city, La Paz sprawls across a large bowl enclosed by snow-capped Andean peaks. It offers sublimely colourful markets and sights ranging from indigenous ladies in bowler hats to the sensory overload of contemporary Cholet architecture. In 2014 the capital's unmissable cable car mass-transport system started up.

A unique pre-Columbian capital city

A unique pre-Columbian capital city

Tiwanaku archeological site

The Tiwanaku Empire pre-dated the Inca Empire by many centuries and was distinct from all the other pre-Columbian empires. Stand in an ancient city whose pioneering architectural and agricultural features changed the Andean region forever. Visit the Kalasasaya ceremonial site, Gateway of the Sun, the Pyramid of Akapana and a semi-subterranian temple.

Sacred site

Sacred site

Copacabana

Copacabana is the gateway to the Isla del Sol and Luna, the Inca sacred island and is also Bolivia's most important Catholic pilgrimage destination. The Moorish-style Basilica of Nuestra Senora de Copacabana dominates the town's main Plaza while Cerro Calvario provides the best views of the Andes and Lake Titicaca.

Spiritual cradle of the Inca Empire

Spiritual cradle of the Inca Empire

The Island of the Sun

The largest and most notable island of Bolivia's Lake Titicaca was believed by the Incas to be the sacred birthplace of the sun. Hikes on the island, which has no motorised transport, reveal archaeological gems and amazing views. A climb of 200 stairs set in ancient agricultural terraces leads you to the mythical "Fountain of Eternal Youth".

Itinerary map for Bolivia 'Bolivian Odyssey' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Santa Cruz de la Sierra
  • 2 Sucre
  • 3 Sucre
  • 4 Potosi
  • 5 Potosi
  • 6 Uyuni
  • 7 Uyuni
  • 8 Ojo de Perdiz
  • 9 Uyuni
  • 10 La Paz
  • 11 Copacabana
  • 12 Isla del Sol
  • 12 Copacabana
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Bolivian Odyssey'

DAY 1
L

Arrive Santa Cruz

You will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel. Santa Cruz city tour. Free afternoon to rest, walk through the hotel gardens or use of the hotel's swimming pools or facilities.

DAY 2
B

Sucre city tour

Fly to Sucre (approximately 50 min journey) (altitude 2,790m), a city steeped in colonial history and culture. BOA flight 582 Santa Cruz/Sucre 09:15/09:50. Visit the Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia's independence was signed, followed by the churches of San Lazaro and San Felipe Neri. Spend the afternoon at the indigenous art museum (ASUR) which showcases the best of traditional Bolivian textiles, and is situated in the Recoleta neighbourhood, offering lovely views of this pretty, colonial city.

DAY 3
B

Visit to Tarabuco village

Visit the Tarabuco village, located around 60km from Sucre (approximately 90 min journey), to see the indigenous community and its traditional Sunday market specialising in traditional textiles from the Yampura community. Return to Sucre. You will depart for Tarabuco at 08.30h. Your guide might suggest an early/later departure please reconfirm with the guide.

DAY 4
B

Travel to Potosi

Travel to Potosí (approximately 3 hour journey) which is situated at 4050 m.a.s.l (metres above sea level). This colonial city sits at the foot of “Sumaj Orko”, once considered the richest mountain in America. In colonial times Potosí was a thriving city due to the enormous amounts of silver mined in the mountain, which continues to be mined today. While walking through Potosi's streets you will be able to admire some charming colonial arquitecture demonstrating the city's rich past. Pick-up time

DAY 5
B

Potosi

During your visit to Potosí you will learn about mining in Bolivia; you will visit the miners’ market, enter a mine in the mountain and take a tour of the Casa de la Moneda (the National Mint of Bolivia). Later you will visit the Museum of Santa Teresa and the Tower of the Company of Jesus. Mine tour optional. Please coordinate with your guide if you will prefer not enter the mine.

DAY 6
BL

Travel to Uyuni - Train graveyard

Travel from Potosi to Uyuni (approximately 3-hour journey) where you will be transferred to your hotel. Today you will continue on the salt flats to Uyuni, and to your hotel in town. Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate trade links between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It was Bolivia’s main gateway to the outside world and the engineering involved was a symbol of cutting edge progress at the end of the 19th Century. Progress was never sustained and the trains have been abandoned as silent witnesses to Bolivia’s mining heyday. Now, after over 100 years, you can wander around, even board the remains of the carriages, as they slowly rust away. A photographer's/train enthusiast's dream! Before your guide drops you off at your hotel, you will stop off at the train graveyard

DAY 7
BL

Full Day Uyuni Salt Flats

Today you will begin a three day jeep tour of one of the world's most breathtaking landscapes. The Uyuni Salt flats “Salar de Uyuni” is the remnant of lakes that once covered Bolivia’s high lands (Altiplano). It is the largest salt pan in the world and is the world’s largest reserve of Lithium in the world. This journey will take you into one of the world’s most isolated areas where you will be surrounded by a glittering white landscape. It starts with a brief stop in a small settlement called Colchani where the local people bring the salt that they have dug from the salt flat, they weigh it and bag it for sale at an artisanal scale. Then you set-off onto the salt flats where, depending on the season you can see small pillars of loose excavated salt, piles of salt blocks used for building, dark water holes “eyes” and usually in January and February the sky reflected across the entire vista. In the dry season, (usually late March-late November) you will be driven across the salt flats to visit either Fish Island (Isla del Pescado) or Inca House Island (Isla Incahuasi in Quechua) where you will see giant cacti and can find birds and vizcachas (giant rabbit-like rodents) that have made these islands their own. It is not permitted to drive this far when the salt flats are flooded. At midday stop for a buffet lunch of local produce in the middle of the salt flats. All year, in the afternoon you visit Uyuni’s train graveyard. Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate trade links between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It was Bolivia’s main gateway to the outside world and the engineering involved was a symbol of cutting edge progress at the end of the 19th Century. Progress was never sustained and the trains have been abandoned as silent witnesses to Bolivia’s mining heyday. Now, after over 100 years, you can wander around, even board the remains of the carriages as they slowly rust away. A photographers / train enthusiasts dream! You will stay for one night either in the town of Uyuni or if you prefer, you could upgrade to stay at one of the unusual hotels built from salt blocks on the edge of the salar.

DAY 8
BLD

Uyuni - Ojo de Perdiz

The journey continues towards the Siloli desert and Coloured Lagoon. On route you will observe Volcano Ollague, Bolivia's only active volcano, as well as various coloured lakes, where 3 different types of Flamingos can be spotted. You will arrive at the Desert Hotel where you will stay the night.

DAY 9
BL

Uyuni - Colchani -Hotel Jardines de Uyuni (Uyuni town)

You will have an early start to visit the Morning Sun geysers at 5,000m above sea level. You will then head to the the dramatic Green Lagoon at the foot of Volcano Lincacabur, salt plains of Chalviri, the Valley of the Ladies of the Desert, and may also stop at some high altitude lagoons. You will travel back to the Uyuni Salt Flats. At the end of the day, before heading to your hotel you will have the opportunity to experience the sunset at the salt flats. Free evining to rest at your hotel.

DAY 10
B

Travel to La Paz

Morning flight to La Paz (approximately 50 min journey) (La Paz average altitude 3,577m). Amazonas flight 301 Uyuni/La Paz 08:15/09:05 During the cable car journey to the city from the airport (situated in El Alto) you will see spectacular views of La Paz and the Cordillera Real mountain range. You have a free day in the city to explore the San Francisco Church, the 'witches' market' and the 'Plaza Murillo', where the Legislative and Government Palaces are. OR Exploring the city of La Paz is like wandering into a world of magic. La Paz sits in a bowl and looks different from each angle you approach it from. As you tour the city you will get a feel for the social and economic vibe best experienced as you rise high into the sky on the city’s cable car. On the city tour of La Paz, at over 3,600 m.a.s.l. you will visit some of the city’s most important highlights: the San Francisco Church, the 'Witches’ Market', and the museums in the vicinity. You will then head to the 'Plaza Murillo', where the Legislative and Government Palaces are, and onto a replica of the semi-subterranean 'Temple of Tiwanaku'.

DAY 11
B

La Paz- Tiwanacu - Lake Titicaca

Leave the city of La Paz for Tiwanaku, close to Desaguadero on the border with Peru. A 90 minute drive will take you to the archaeological site of Tiwanaku, one of Latin America’s most famous historical sites. Tiwanaku was established as a culture around 500 years before the rise of the Incas, and the empire lasted for several centuries. The ceremonial site you will visit is part of a citadel that is yet to be explored. The pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku are a splendid example of one of Latin America’s most important cultures. Some of the well preserved examples of the Tiwanaku culture that you will see on the site are the Gateway of the Sun, the Pyramid of Akapana, the Temple of Kalasasaya and the Semi-subterranean Temple. You will have the chance to visit the archaeological site’s museum to see pieces of immeasurable wealth and understand, with your guide’s help, the relationship between Tiwanaku and other empires of that time, as well as those that would follow afterwards. In the afternoon you will transfer to Copacabana to enjoy the intense blue waters and the quaint Aymara villages along the way. You will cross the Straits of Tiquina by boat and continue by road to El Santuario de la Virgen Morena de Copacabana, you will visit the church, have a chance to admire local traditions and handicrafts before having lunch on the shores of the lake. In the afternoon you will visit the archaeological site known as the Horca del Inca, an Inca observatory.

DAY 12
BL

Explore Bolivia's Sun Islands on Lake Titicaca

Today you have a full day excursion by boat to explore Bolivia’s hilly islands of solid rock amid Lake Titicaca. These islands are home to a few small communities of Aymara and Quechua speaking people who cultivate the islands, graze sheep and make handicrafts. They have no motorised transport on the islands. The navigation over to the Sun island takes approx 90 minutes, you disembark at Yumani dock from where there’s an unavoidable climb of 200 stairs taking you past Incan agricultural terraces which follow the contours of the island and the Inca’s terraced garden to the “Fuente de la Eterna Juventud” a natural spring that is said to be the source of eternal youth. From here there is a 20-minute walk to visit the ruined Pilkokaina Palace of the Incas which offers commanding views down upon the blue green waters of the lake in the bay below. A short (25mins) boat trip takes you to the nearby Moon Island, where you are likely to be able to participate in a typical local Aymara lunch, called Apthapi. Traditionally this meal is eaten communally with all diners sat on the ground in two long rows either side of a great spread of local delicacies. The principal ingredients are local potatoes, of every shape, size and hue, large white boiled maize kernels, yucca, llama meat, locally caught fish, fresh or fried cheeses, tortillas and eggs. All are set of by the highly colourful picnic cloths creating a photographers delight [a box lunch will be supplied just in case you would prefer to feast on the Apthapi with your eyes only!]. After lunch you visit the 'Palace of the Virgins' or Iñaq Uyu Temple. The Inca chief was the only male allowed to enter the Temple on Moon Island. Here daughters of noble Inca families were sent to live in seclusion where they made fine clothing and textiles for use by those in high society. These nustas, princesses of royal blood, were considered secondary wives of the Inca and a suitably precious commodity to make ideal offerings to the gods whenever an important sacrifice was required. Upon your return to Copacabana in the late afternoon you can visit the town’s beautiful cathedral, usually shining in the altitude’s bright sunlight. Transfer to La Paz (approximately 4 hour journey).

DAY 13
B

La Paz and airport transfer

This morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to La Paz's international airport for your onwards flight.

Departure dates and prices

tour code starts ends price per person single supplement
BO17/01 27-Oct-17 08-Nov-17 £2,995 £750
BO18/01 26-Jan-18 07-Feb-18 £2,995 £750
BO18/02 19-Oct-18 31-Oct-18 £2,995 £750
Prices are per person and include:
  • all transport within Bolivia as part of a small group tour
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • excursions and local guides as described
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally
  • tips and gratuities

Customer reviews for 'Bolivian Odyssey'

Average customer rating 100%

Seasonal information for 'Bolivian Odyssey'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Santa Cruz de la Sierra 31°C rainfall 199mm
2 Sucre 22°C rainfall 155mm
3 Sucre 22°C rainfall 155mm
4 Potosi 17°C rainfall 102mm
5 Potosi 17°C rainfall 102mm
6 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
7 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
8 Ojo de Perdiz 15°C rainfall 25mm
9 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
10 La Paz 17°C rainfall 120mm
11 Copacabana 15°C rainfall 182mm
12 Isla del Sol 15°C rainfall 178mm
12 Copacabana 15°C rainfall 182mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Bolivian Odyssey'