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Twelve days is not enough to see the whole country, but you can experience some of the best that Bolivia has to offer. Explore La Paz, a vibrant and bustling city spread across dramatic cliffs at 12,000 feet, and make a trip to Tiwanaku, where you can see the remnants of an ancient empire. Travel to Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake and visit islands once inhabited by Incas. Visit the Sucre, Bolivia’s most beautiful city, and Potosi, once the center of the Spanish silver empire. Finally, experience the dramatic Uyuni Salt Flats and the rugged Siloli Desert with its flamingo-filled lagoons and looming volcanoes by 4x4 vehicle. 

Itinerary
DAY 1: ARRIVE LA PAZ
Upon arrival into La Paz, you are met and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax and acclimate. (B)

DAY 2: LA PAZ TOUR
Today we explore the city of La Paz. Stops include picturesque and traditional sites, such as Jaen Street, the Museum of Precious Metals, San Francisco Church, the witch’s market, and Plaza Murillo lined with prominent government buildings and the La Paz Cathedral. The tour continues towards the bohemian neighborhood called Sopocachi, home to the hub of the gondola system called MI Teleférico.  Travel like the locals and enjoy incredible views of the city from your cable car. The day wraps up with a visit to the Valley of the Moon, which isn’t actually a valley at all, but an eroded maze of canyons and pinnacles that gives this place its name. Tonight, venture out on your own and check out the city’s burgeoning food scene.  (B,L)

DAY 3: TIWANAKU
After breakfast, take a 1.5-hour drive to the Archaeological site of Tiwanaku, located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca. This major ancient ceremonial and civic center of the Americas gained listing as a World Heritage Site in 2000. Archeological studies revealed that it stood as the capital of a vast empire extending 600,000 sq km. into Peru, Argentina, Chile and covering most of modern-day Bolivia prior to its collapse in the 12th century. Very little of the Tiwanaku complex has been excavated. Scholars have been working on the Akapana Pyramid alone since 2009. Buildings that can be viewed include the Akapana and Pumapunku stepped platforms, Kenko, the Kalasasaya, the Kheri Kala, and Putuni enclosures, and the Semi-Subterranean Temple. We will also explore the museum where you’ll see gigantic monoliths, ceramics, textiles, tapestries and tunics.  Return to La Paz in the late afternoon. (B,L)

DAY 4: LA PAZ - COPACABANA – ISLA DEL SOL
After breakfast, your guide picks you up at your hotel for the three-hour ride to Copacabana, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. From here, we depart on a one-hour boat ride to Isla Del Sol on the southern part of the lake. We land near the Pilkokaina Inca ruins and begin our 1.5-hour hike to tonight’s lodging. While we walk slowly, taking time to enjoy the views and the fresh air, our bags are transferred via donkey to our comfortable ecolodge perched on the hill. In the late afternoon, venture out to a scenic point on the island that provides a perfect view of the Cordillera Real and the sun setting over gorgeous Lake Titicaca. End the evening with a cozy dinner at the ecolodge. (B, L, D)

DAY 5: ISLA DEL SOL – ISLA DE LA LUNA - COPACABANA – LA PAZ
Early risers are treated with the sun rising over the Cordillera Real and Lake Titicaca! After breakfast, descend from your ecolodge down to the village of Yumani. Along the way, you pass the “The Garden of the Incas” and visit the spring of Eternal Youth, where the Incas performed baptisms. If water conditions allow, our boat takes us to Isla De La Luna where you can explore Incan ruins and hike to another great viewpoint on the island’s ridge. Your guide can prepare a traditional apate lunch with many small dishes before descending into another small village. Here we catch our boat back to Copacabana where our car is waiting for the return journey to La Paz.  Overnight in the capital city. (B,L)

DAY 6: LA PAZ – SUCRE
This morning you are picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Sucre, the most beautiful city in Bolivia. Upon arrival you will set off on your tour of the “White City.” Visit the Recoleta Convent, which offers a great view of Sucre and the hills surrounding. See the Casa de la Libertad where Simon Bolivar signed Bolivia’s Act of Independence in 1825, creating a free republic.  Then, move on to the Colonial Museum to learn more about Bolivia’s fascinating colonial history. If time allows we will also have the chance to view an excavation site with ancient dinosaur foot prints or Bolivia’s best examples of indigenous art at the Textile Museum’s unique and colorful exhibit. Tonight, explore Sucre’s vibrant dining and nightlife scene on your own.  (B,L)
 
* The Casa de la Libertad is open limited hours (9am-12pm) on Sundays and is closed on Mondays. 

DAY 7: SUCRE – POTOSI
Today you can have a rare slow morning to take a stroll on Sucre’s streets or pay a visit to one of the many coffee shops. By mid-morning we depart on the 3.5-hour drive to Potosi. Upon arrival, embark on a guided tour of Potosi. With its narrow streets and mix of baroque, gothic and indigenous architecture, Potosi is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  You’ll visit the impressive Royal Mint House* which houses 400 years of history and is one of the finest museums in the country. Time permitting, visit the Mercado Minero (the Miner’s Market) where you can buy gifts of coca leaves, tobacco, candy or alcohol for the “Pachamama” (Mother Earth), “El Tio” (the Devil or the guardian of the mine) and the miners. Before heading down the shaft at Cerro Rico, you’ll outfit yourself in rubber boots, a jacket and helmet with a headlamp. First, we give an offering to the Pachamama and then to “El Tio”, just like the local miners do. Then we move through the mine, meandering the tunnels through different levels. You’ll see miners at work and learn about the rich history of the area. Overnight at a hotel in town.  (B,L)
 
*Optional visit to Tarabuco Market on Sundays.
*The Casa de la Libertad is open limited hours (9am-12pm) on Sundays and is closed on Mondays. 

DAY 8: POTOSI – UYUNI – SALT FLATS
Have an early morning breakfast and embark on your drive to Uyuni where you will begin your Salt Flats adventure. We begin at the small village of Colchani where locals extract and process salt. Learn about the interesting aspects of the geological history of the Uyuni´s Salt Lake and the natural processes of salt formation that has continued for thousands of years.  You’ll also observe the Ojos de Sal (or salt eyes), where ice cold healing water bubbles through the salt. This water originates from an underground river at the Tunupa Volcano. As we begin our crossing of the salt flats, we pass the first hotel made entirely from salt blocks, now converted into a small museum. We continue to Isla Incahuasi, where we enjoy lunch followed by a hike among the island’s huge cacti. This hike provides 360-degree views of the endless Uyuni Salt Lake from above. In the afternoon, we continue our crossing towards Tunupa Volcano, a unique location for an amazing sunset that colors up the landscape of the salt lake. Overnight in the village of Tahua. (B,L,D)
 
*It is possible to arrange additional touring of the Salt Flats under the stars in the evening. This should be arranged directly with your guide and driver on the day in order to take into account weather conditions. Please contact us for more details.

DAY 9: TAHUA – SILOLI DESERT
Have a hearty breakfast before today’s adventure full of incredible Altiplano landscapes and wildlife. After we depart from our hotel, we cross another section of the Uyuni Salt Lake to observe the Ollagüe Volcano, which is currently mildly active. Along the way we can make a stop at another island in the flats called Isla Pescado. From here, we cross our last stretch of the salt flat and begin to ascend into the high desert with a stop for lunch along the way. We pass several stunning lagoons - Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarcota, Honda, and Ramaditas – where you may see three types of flamingos as well as wild troops of vicuna. We end in the late afternoon in the Siloli Desert. Spend the night at Tayka Del Desierto Hotel.  (B, L, D)
 
*It is possible to arrange a pre-sunrise tour of the Salt Flats.  This should be arranged directly with your guide and driver on the prior in order to take into account weather conditions. Please contact us for more details.

DAY 10: SILOLI DESERT – COLCHANI
After breakfast, set off to explore the natural attractions of the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, where you’ll see the Arbol de Piedra, the eroded rock in the shape of a tree.  We also visit the spectacular Laguna Colorada where it is possible to observe thousands of flamingos feeding in the red water. The drive continues to the Sol de Mañana geysers and a pool of natural hot springs with safe bathing temperatures. Be sure to bring your suit - you are welcome to soak for a while with views over a flamingo-filled lagoon. Afterwards, continue to the Salvador Dali Desert. Wind and water erosions have shaped these rocks into absurd forms in the middle of the Altiplano desert. Further on we will have spectacular views of the Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca at the base of the Licancabur Volcano. In the late afternoon, we return to Colchani where you will spend your final night in the region at a comfortable hotel. (B,L,D)
DAY 11: UYUNI – LA PAZ
This morning you are transferred to the airport for your return flight to La Paz. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. (B)

DAY 12: LA PAZ – HOME
You are picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your international flight home, marking the end of Southern Explorations’ services. (B)

Bolivia Highlights

Pricing
2-3 Travelers
$3,995
4 or more
$3,295
Domestic Airfare:
La Paz/Sucre – Uyuni/La Paz - $265

BOLIVIAN VISA 
All US Citizens are required to have a Tourist Visa to enter Bolivia.  The cost is $160. This visa can be obtained in advance or at the border crossing.
A visa is not required for Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most European citizens if visiting for less than 90 days. Visas are required for citizens of some Asian and African countries and for those coming from countries with risk of Yellow Fever.  



Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Optional activities
  • Visa fee

Bolivia Highlights

Trip Dates
We can offer this trip on any set of dates that work for you. Please contact us for more details.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Available
Colchani
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Isla Del Sol
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
La Paz
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Potosi
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Siloli Desert
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Sucre
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Bolivia - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit different regions including the Salt Flats, the Amazon, Lake Titicaca, La Paz and the Andes. These tours vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.

Q: Do I need a visa to enter Bolivia?
A: If you US citizen, then you will need a visa to enter Bolivia. The cost is $160, but the good news is that you can obtain this in advance or right at the border crossing. We can provide more details on this upon booking. A visa is not required for Canadian, Australian, New Zealand or most European citizens if visiting for less than .  

Q: When is the best time to go to Bolivia?
A: Most areas in Bolivia are truly year-round destinations, but your itinerary may vary based on whether you travel in the dry season (May – December) or the rainy season (January – April). Our itineraries posted online are for the dry season, but we are happy to send you details on the rainy season alternatives as well. This can be particularly nice for photographers as the reflections off the salt flats are incredible. If you are totally flexible, September – November can be especially nice months because the temperatures are warmer than in the height of the winter in June and July. Please check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details.

Q: What is a typical day like on an Bolivia trip?
A: A typical day in Bolivia  will vary from tour to tour, but generally, you can expect your guide to pick you up to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your hotel in the late afternoon with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Bolivia?
A: Our Bolivia trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. All of our trips in Bolivia are at a minimum moderate physical rating due to the altitude. All of our standard tours include destinations of at least 12,000 feet above sea level. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these trips and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do I need to visit Bolivia?
A: Most of our Bolivia itineraries are at least eight days in length, but we can potentially create shorter custom itineraries if needed.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. Holidays and the summer months book up more quickly, so more advance planning is ideal. For the holiday season, we recommend booking at least eight months in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and are licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels ranging from historic boutique properties to modern, design-centered hotels. Throughout the rest of Bolivia we work with a combination of community-run lodges and boutique hotels. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget, but some locations have more rustic accommodations due to their remote nature.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Our Bolivian tours are private, with a guide and vehicle just for your family or group, with the exception of the Amazon lodge visits which will be in small groups. If you are open to having others join your departure, please let us know.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need