Nowhere appeals to our adventurous spirit quite like Bolivia. Home to a sky-high capital city and landscapes that look more at home on the surface of the moon than on earth; a visit here always gets our heart pounding. To really get to know this harsh environment though, you need to dive head first on in for it’s only when you’re standing at the heart of the volcanic valley of Sud Lipez, with not a soul to see for hundreds of miles, that you experience the sheer wonder of it all. On this immersive eight-night adventure, our expert guides will take you from the colonial sights of Sucre, across the altiplano into the volcanic expanse of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve before emerging onto the lunar landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni and finishing up amid the gastronomy and city streets of La Paz. You’ll even walk with dinosaurs along the way. It’s a journey that’s crammed full of breathtaking scenery, centuries-old traditions and charming spots to spend the nights – and we’d hate for you to miss it.
Hit the Sweet Spot
Whilst La Paz may appear in bold on the map and may be the seat of the government, ask any Bolivian and they will surely tell you that Sucre is the real capital here. Genteel and full of charm with whitewashed buildings that frame pastel courtyards and give way onto colonial heritage, there is no better first impression of Bolivia. Staying at Parador Santa Maria La Real, you’ll soon get a flavour of the city with traditional Bolivian touches in your room and the historic Plaza de Armas at your door. Take some time to settle in and get a good night’s rest before heading out to explore the city in the morning.Read more
Joined by an expert guide, you’ll take a journey through Sucre’s past and present as you wander through its quaint cobbled streets taking in fascinating museums, colonial architecture and local life. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sucre truly shows Bolivian heritage at its most glorious, but in the afternoon you’ll take a step further back in time out at Cal Orko – 65 million years back to be precise. This barren desert just outside of Sucre is home to the planet’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints with over 5,000 from the likes of the carnotaurus and titanosaur running across a 1.2km rock face. Gazing out from the Parque Cretácico, placing your palm side by side with the prints and recreating the journey of these prehistoric creatures in your mind, it’s just about the most fascinating history lesson you could have.
All That Glitters
If El Dorado is the City of Gold, then your next stop, Potosi, surely wins the title for the City of Silver. A 16th-century jewel in the crown of the Spanish Empire, this was once one of the wealthiest cities in the world thanks to its abundant supplies of silver. In fact, it has been said that Potosi was so rich in ore that it could have been used to build a road all the way from Bolivia to Madrid; instead, it can now mostly be seen adorning Spanish churches. The grand architecture and ornate churches of Potosi give a sense of the splendour that once was, whilst a morning visit to the mines at Cerro Rico open the eyes onto indigenous traditions and rudimentary mining techniques that made the town what it was.
Driving the Altiplano
Up on Bolivia’s famous altiplano, this is where the adventure really begins. Framed by seemingly-endless salares and little in the way of civilisation, for those of you craving a sense of isolation and stark remoteness; this is it. Deep in the heart of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, you’ll discover rugged landscapes, shaped by strong winds and volatile volcanoes over millions of years as well as otherworldly sights that you can hardly believe to be real. Grab your camera and join an expert guide as you head to Laguna Verde salt lake where emerald green waters create an otherworldly contrast with snow-white shores. Rising high above the waters is the indomitable Licancabur Volcano with its dormant summit providing an irresistible invitation for a challenge. Beyond that, lies only the vast expense of the Chilean Atacama Desert. This is a place that invites challenge and discovery – and who are we to turn that down?
From Eduardo Avaroa, it’s northwards to one of the world’s most iconic landscapes; that of the Salar de Uyuni. Hugging the base of the Western Andes, the stubbly terrain soon gives way to snow-white salt flats which stretches far as the eye can see. An iconic landscape deserves an iconic hotel and so spend tonight at Palacio de Sal and sleep in a room made entirely of salt. It’s truly unique and, in our eyes, the only way to experience the sheer wonder of Uyuni. But with a breathtaking environment at your fingertips, this is no place for a lie-in. Spend tomorrow exploring the Salar, marvelling at the scenery and, of course, playing with perspective on that perfect white canvas. For the adventure seekers, Tunupa Volcano awaits – whilst for those looking for a cultural hit? Your guide will take you into the village of Coquesa, a community that is home to both ancient mummies and modern mining; it provides fascinating insight into the daily life in this most unforgiving environment.
We always like your trip to finish on a high and two nights in La Paz certainly ticks that box. Sitting at 3,640metres, La Paz is the world’s highest capital city and is packed full of hip neighbourhoods, trendy eateries and sky-high vista. Checking in at Atix Hotel, you’ll have all this and more at your fingertips. Latin America’s latest culinary hotbed, get your taste buds going with dinner that evening at Claus Meyer’s Gustu, pulling a seat up at the Chef’s Table and savouring innovative creations. Tomorrow, catch a final glimpse of Bolivian culture as you discover the hidden secrets of La Paz and delve into everything from the buzz of the Indian Market to the traditional rites of the Witch Doctor’s Market. Framed by the majestic Illimani mountains, La Paz is a city best seen by foot and by cable car. Head on up to El Alto on the yellow line in time for sunset and catch sight of one last spellbinding view onto Bolivia.
But who says this has to be the end? Fly home if you like, or continue the journey into Peru, Chile – anywhere. Wherever your itchy feet may take you, we’re on hand to help.