BEYOND THE ADVENTURE
Duration: 16 days
TYPE: ADVENTURE GLAMPING
BOLIVIA MILENARIA DMC
At Bolivia Milenaria, we want our visitors to discover our wonderful country now, but also for many years into the future. That means a total commitment to ethical, sustainable tourism. We run locally guided tours to indigenous villages and communities, respecting their autonomy and minimising our impact. We take small, guided private tours into the remotest areas, but we leave no footprint, and provision ourselves wherever possible with local, organic produce.
Valle de las Animas and Cañon de Palca
A harsh landscape of deep canyons, impressive geological formations and snaking rivers, but also a landscape of big skies and staggering scale. It feels off the beaten track when you get there, but in fact it’s just 45 minutes from La Paz. Our tailor-made exclusive tour offers the chance to connect with the local Aymara people and producers, as well as enjoy one of Downtown La Paz’s most celebrated vegan restaurants, Ali Pacha.
OK, allow us to mention just one more time that this is the highest navigable lake in the world. Yet another of Bolivia’s superlative claims to fame. It’s not the altitude the visitors come for, however, it’s the attitude. Home to the Aymara indigenous community today, and the Inca civilisation before them, Lake Titicaca is an enchanting place to explore. Our tour introduces you to the heart of the local fishing and farming communities, for your chance to learn about the famous Bolivian dehydrated potatoes, fresh trout, and local Aymara delicacies.
Salar de Uyuni
Arguably Bolivia’s most famous natural wonder, the Salar de Uyuni cover more than 4,000 square miles, making it the world’s largest salt flats. This enchanting landscape of shimmering reflections, infinite horizons and vast tranquillity demands a few days of exploration at least. You’ll discover the largest natural reserves of lithium on Earth – powering the sustainable electric vehicles of tomorrow. In the high plateau, you’ll also discover quinoa, the super cereal that has taken the health food shelves by storm, in its natural environment.
Reserva Eduardo Avaroa
A similarly unusual landscape in the Southwest of Bolivia, the salt flats and mineral lakes here are home to several rare species, as well as large flamingo colonies.
It will always be one of the highest cities in the world, but it was once the centre of silver production for the Spanish New World. The mines around Pulacayo tell a tragic story, but one that shaped the fortunes of Latin America in general. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the scale and innovation of its mining, as well as its distinctive Baroque architecture. At the same time, it is a monument to the devastation industrialisation can bring, with the mines themselves now famous for their danger.
Now Bolivia’s constitutional capital, but formerly the Spanish colonial headquarters in the 16th century. Sucre is a delightful, beautifully preserved city where you’ll find the National Library and even the house where Simon Bolivar wrote the constitution.
Toro Toro National Park
Visit Bolivia today and you’ll come face to face (or within a safe distance of) with indigenous wildlife including llamas, jaguars, flamingos, and more. But take a trip to Toro Toro and you get an idea of the creatures once roamed this landscape in the past, thanks to the beautifully preserved dinosaur footprints. One of the most memorable experiences we are able to offer is our two-day stay among the indigenous Quechua Indians, during which we volunteer and collaborate on activities such as seeding, harvesting and teaching. A powerful impact that makes lasting memories.
BOLIVIA HERITAGE PROGRAMME
Day 1: LA PAZ
Arrive in La Paz, get settled in, and at a convenient time we will explore the city. After lunch and an introductory talk on the city of La Paz from your guide you will set out to discover the city from a different perspective than usual, cable car. This gives you one of the best points from which to explore the city’s culture and traditions. The people of La Paz are a mix of indigenous peoples and immigrants, which has given birth to a specific type of cultural synchronicity. People from all social groups still believe in indigenous Aymara deities such as the God of Abundance and Mother Earth, and observe a myriad of traditions and rituals. To the outsider, these beliefs can seem hard to understand, but our local guides are able to communicate how Aymaran cosmic vision still survives in the modern world. This programme gives you an insight into this side of the everyday life of the people of La Paz. It includes a walk through the Witches’ Market, where you will see the different materials needed to perform traditional ceremonies and rituals, and listen to local myths and legends. Close by is where the Kallawayas (traditional healers) work and you will have the chance to take part in a ceremony to ensure good luck and blessings.
Day 2: PALCA CANYON AND ANIMAS VALLEY
After breakfast, we set out for the zone to the south of the city, passing through residential neighbourhoods to reach Valle de las Animas (Valley of the Souls), geological formations shaped by erosion to look like spires or organ pipes. Continue driving to the small community of Palca to take a short walk, with the snowy peaks of Illimani in the background. Pass through small Aymara communities on a quaint road far from the noisy streets of La Paz. At the end of the day we will stay in the countryside in our glamping tents, allowing us to get close to nature without harming it. The dinner will be prepared by one of the most prestigious Chefs in La Paz who will prepare a special meal for you using local ingredients.
Day 3: BACK TO LA PAZ
At a convenient time we will return to La Paz to explore this wonderful city some more. La Paz has recently been designated a “Marvellous City”. As well as hosting the seat of government, it has an endless range of wonders to delight all visitors. Its culture and identity fuse a combination of Aymaran and Spanish cultures, giving the faces of her inhabitants their enchanting mix. We leave the hotel early in the morning to sample a typical breakfast of Api con Llauchas (a hot corn drink and cheese-filled pasty) in one of the city’s oldest markets. Watch the city wake up and visit the “mañaneras”; ladies who sell locally-designed and produced clothes from 6:00 am. La Paz is a melting pot of identity and culture, best seen on the street where embroiderers make the typical costumes used during local festivities. Watch them at work keeping the identity alive of the creole class that is fast becoming an economic force to be reckoned with. Continue on up through the sprawling hillside neighbourhoods to the city of El Alto perched on the brow above La Paz to see the luxury homes of the Aymara nouveau riche. These “Cholets” (a combination of the word Cholo - an indigenous man who has migrated to the city - and the word Chalet) are built by local entrepreneurs who have accrued a fortune in the informal economy and are a blend of pre-Colombian symbols and vibrant colours. At midday float high above the city of La Paz on the red line of the teleférico (cable car) to enjoy the city from a different angle. Stop off at the Cemetery station for a lunch of fresh trout from Lake Titicaca at the Fish Market. Enjoy a “Quitapenas” (comforter) cinnamon ice-cream and cheese pasties traditionally eaten in the afternoon in La Paz. Visit the Cemetery to see the multi-story resting places of the ordinary folk and luxurious tombs of the city’s greatest. Observe the everyday traditions surrounding death in this fascinating city.
Day 4: COROICO - YUNGAS
After breakfast we will move to the north part of La Paz to the small town of Coroico. This town is located in the subtropical area north of La Paz, which is classed as a cloud forest due to its location. On the way there are two roads – a new paved one or the old one built over 60 years ago. The old road is narrow and is quite an adventure with dramatic scenery and breath-taking hairpin bends. The area is surrounded by banana, citrus fruit and coca fields. The 3-hour journey down from the highland plain to the Yungas covers the region’s different ecosystems and climates. You will be captivated by panoramic views of singular beauty as you reach 4,700 m, before descending to 1,150 m to the village of Yolosa in just one hour. The road winds up to Coroico where you visit coffee, cocoa and citrus fruit plantations. You’ll see first-hand how the community grew its economy by diversifying production from the original citrus and banana crops of 20 years ago to a diverse, sustainable farming economy today. In the village of Coroico you will be able to visit the market, see people going about their daily life and take in the stunning views from a lookout point. Have lunch and enjoy the subtropical surroundings.
Day 5: COTAPATA NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast the next day go to the Cotapata National Park which is a bird, butterfly and orchid reserve. Amazing paths take us to the most impressive Bolivian cloud forest, the heart of the coffee-growing region. We will visit Tocaña and share with one of the few groups of Afro-Bolivians that still preserve their culture. Arriving in Bolivia over 500 years ago to work in the Potosi mines as slaves, the Afro-Bolivians are now an integral part of our national culture. You’ll see the distinctive ‘Cholitas’ worn by the ladies, as much a part of our national dress as the clothes worn by the Aymaran women on the High Plateau. We will drink “sultana”, which is a delight to all of our senses, made from the husk of the coffee bean and enjoy local music, food and dancing, which are all part of the ritual of coffee production in the region.
DAY 6: LA PAZ
During the morning we will leave from Coroico and return to La Paz for a relaxing afternoon.
Day 7: UYUNI
Morning flight from La Paz to Uyuni. Breakfast, then set out for the salt flats, past a small settlement called Colchani where the locals process salt. Although this curious region cannot sustain many communities, the minerals produced there make it valuable to the economy. You’ll see how lithium, borax, silver and salt are processed in the local factories. We will not stop for much time as we are aiming to get to the middle of the salt flats to see the eyes, salt mountains and salt blocks. This singular route takes us into one of the world’s most isolated areas where we will be alone surrounded by a glittering white landscape. After a couple of hours, we will reach Isla del Pescado or Incahuasi Island to look at giant cacti, birds and vizcachas that have made this island their own. At midday stop for a buffet of delicious local produce in the middle of the salt flats, and then we will move on to the salt flats. In the afternoon we take one of the hundreds of routes across the salt flats to watch the sun go down in a blaze of intense colours.
Day 8: UYUNI
Leave from the hotel for the Tunupa Volcano and the Chantani Museum. This amazing museum was created by Don Marcelino, a native Indian entrepreneur to chronicle his culture and daily life, including pots, ovens, costumes, musical instruments and other products. Next you’ll visit the Coquesa Mummies, dating back to 1200BC and caused by the dryness of the air which preserves hair, nails and skin, discover the salt flats and appreciate the scenery. This area to the north of the salt flats sustain several small communities. You’ll have the chance to interact with llama shepherds and quinoa farmers. If it is the rainy season we will provide you with boots so that you can discover the wonderful reflections on the salt flats. Return to the salt hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 9: POTOSI
After breakfast we will drive to Potosi. Once we arrive we will enjoy an amazing typical lunch, that includes “kalapurca soup”, the only soup in the world that includes a stone inside to keep it warm. It’s a favorite dish of our miners on cold days. In the afternoon we visit the Royal Mint (Casa de la Moneda) the most important mining centre which became the world’s largest industrial complex in the 16th century. Stroll down cobbled streets to peer into colonial churches that reflect Potosí’s once wealthy past. We’ll also visit a working silver mine and offer gifts to miners and El Tio, the guardian of the mines who miners pray for to bring them luck and minerals.
Day 10: SUCRE
Bolivia is home to many different cultures and traditions. Jatun Yampara is a Jalka and Yampara community that enjoys receiving visitors and showing them their culture, traditions and way of life. You will visit their homes, their small local museum, places where the locals make offerings to Mother Earth, and the local school. You can try local dishes and chicha – fermented corn juice. You’ll have the chance to make your own, learning an essential skill that is part of the fiesta. You can also buy handicrafts and ceramics directly from the artisans, with the chance to learn and exchange traditional skills with the local inhabitants.
Day 11: SUCRE
This visit to the city of Sucre allows us to get to know the most representative sites of the capital. In the morning the visit begins with the Recoleta Mirador (lookout point), the Museum of the Recoleta, then the ASUR Textile Museum, which is one of the best collections of textiles in the Bolivian valley region. We will go on to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the museum of the Merced, the Church of San Lázaro, Santo Domingo, the Casa de la Libertad, the patio of the University of San Francisco Xavier, and the Parque Bolivar where many important monuments are located. Also, after enjoying a traditional lunch in a typical restaurant we will visit the Convent of San Felipe Nery. At the end of the afternoon we will move on to the General Cemetery where we can have a look at different mausoleums containing the remains of famous Bolivians.
Day 12: SUCRE – COCHABAMBA
In the afternoon we will take a regular flight to Cochabamba. To discover this Bolivian valley and understand the essence of this region, we begin by going to the main plaza “14 de Septiembre”, and then to Palacio Portales (house of the ‘Tin Baron’ Simón Patiño). We will also see the “Heroines of the Coronilla” Monument, the Christ of the Concordia and La Cancha - one the traditional markets and the biggest in the Valleys, with more than 45,000 merchants selling everything from fruit to computers!
Day 13: TORO TORO
Set out from Cochabamba in the morning for the Toro Toro National Park, a warm woodland environment which is home to the only species of endangered red-breasted macaws in South America, as well as caves, fossils, and panoramic views. Next you’ll pass though the villages of Tarata and Anzaldo, and crossing the Caine River. After around 4 hours we will arrive at Toro Toro and have lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the Umajalanta Cave, 10 km from Toro Toro. This cave is thought to be the deepest cave in Bolivia and reaches around 7 km in depth. You will see amazing stalactites and stalagmites, flowstones, rimstones and columns. In the cave there is a small lake which is home to blind fish.
Day 14: TORO TORO
After breakfast visit the museum and walk along the Toro Toro River to the Toro Toro Canyon looking out for dinosaur prints and water holes. We will continue on to the lookout point for an impressive view out over the canyon with red-fronted macaws wheeling around below you. We will continue on through this stunning landscape until El Vergel where you can take a dip in pools of crystalline water. At the end of the afternoon descend around 1000 stone steps to the bottom of the canyon. In the afternoon return to our glamping
Day 15: SANTA CRUZ
After breakfast we will drive to Cochabamba and then take a short flight to Santa Cruz and relax in the city.
Day 1: Atix Hotel
Day 2: Glamping Animas Valley
Day 3: Atix Hotel
Day 4: Glamping Cotapata National Park
Day 5: Glamping Cotapata Nacional Park
Day 6: Atix Hotel
Day 7: Luna Salada Hotel
Day 8: Luna Salada Hotel
Day 9: Museo Cayara Hotel Boutique
Day 10: Glamping Sucre nearby textile communities
Day 11: Parador Santa Maria
Day 12: Gran Hotel Cochabamba
Day 13: Glamping in Toro Toro National Park
Day 14: Glamping in Toro Toro National Park
Day 15: Hotel Los Tajibos Santa Cruz