With many dramatic landscapes, a strong indigenous culture, yet a Spanish colonial presence, landlocked Bolivia is one of South America's most strikingly varied countries. Experience the charming white-washed city of Sucre; its leafy plazas, many colonial churches and quaint cobblestoned streets. In Potosi, learn about South America's once richest city, where it was said there was enough silver in its "Cerro Rico" (rich hill) to build a bridge to Spain. Discover otherworldly landscapes in the famous Uyuni Salt Flat, where the bright white salt contrasts against huge clear blue skies and "islands" are covered by century old cacti. The high-altitude, bustling city of La Paz sits in a canyon gouged into the Altiplano and is overlooked by snow-capped Mount Illimani. A raucous mish-mash of fascinating indigenous markets, colonial and modern architecture; the city is best observed from the Teleferico, the world's longest cable car. No visitor to Bolivia can miss the sapphire blue Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake is home to traditional communities, little islands and is said to be the birthplace of the Sun.
Day 1 Fly from the UK overnight to Santa Cruz, via Madrid.
Day 2 Upon arrival to Santa Cruz, transfer to your hotel. This afternoon, on a private tour, visit the highlights of this city; stop at the main square, the famous Cathedral of Santa Cruz and the centre of regional handicrafts. Bolivia’s commercial centre has a small-town feel yet is buzzing with new restaurants, bars and boutiques. With a tropical atmosphere, it makes for a most enjoyable introduction to this beautiful country.
Day 3 This morning fly to the colonial city of Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital, for a two-night stay. Set in a valley surrounded by low mountains, Sucre could be considered one of Bolivia’s most charming towns. With its cobblestoned streets, picturesque white-washed buildings and a wealth of colonial architecture, exploring the town on foot is the best way to get around.
Day 4 Sucre was founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th-century. Many of its buildings illustrate a mix of local architectural traditions with styles imported from Europe. Today during a half-day private tour, visit the Indigenous Art Museum, the San Francisco church and the Recoleta where many colonial paintings, sculptures, archaeological remains and jewellery are on display.
Day 5 This morning you will be driven to Potosi. According to legend, this colonial silver-mining city - once one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas – at one time had enough silver to build a bridge to Spain. With the enormous “Cerro Rico” (Rich Hill) looming over the city, visitors are always reminded of the city’s turbulent history. Lunch is at a local restaurant before being driven onwards to Uyuni.
Day 6 Made up of surreal pentagons of crystalline salt extending to the horizon, cacti, flamingos and what feels like the most enormous sky; one of the most breath-taking landscapes on Earth is the planet’s largest salt flat, Uyuni. Visit Incawasi, an island covered by thousands of giant cacti, 100s of years old and more than 12-metres tall. In the afternoon visit the Coquesa Mummies and the Thunupa Volcano.
Day 7 Today, depart Uyuni by plane bound for, La Paz. Situated in an enormous canyon overlooked by the Mount Illumani, this hollow gouged into the Altiplano stands at over 3500-metres above sea level. Clinging to the sides of the canyon are the ramshackle homes of the city’s inhabitants. With a mix of architectural styles, bustling markets, street vendors and street marches, this urban jungle has something to see at every corner.
Day 8 Transfer to Lake Titacaca to set off on a hydrofoil cruise visiting the famous Sun and Moon Islands; climb the “Grand Inca Staircase” and try the water of the “Sacred Fountain” thought to give eternal youth. In Huatajata, visit the Andean Roots Eco-Village, the Altiplano Museum, a handicraft museum and meet a local family. In the evening visit the observatory to learn about the Southern constellations and Aymara cosmos.
Day 9 This morning travel overland across the high altiplano back to La Paz. Check into your hotel and the afternoon is at leisure. Peruse the city’s many handicraft markets, wander its colonial centre and dine in its many excellent restaurants.
Day 10 Today on a half day tour, visit the indigenous, colonial and modern areas of the city. Stop at the famous witches’ market, selling everything from dried llama foetuses, herbs, remedies and owl feathers; all considered to bring good fortune in the local Aymara tradition. Visit the Moon Valley and its lunar landscapes and bizarre clay formations. Finally, ride the cable car for a bird’s eye view of the most dramatic city settings in the world.
Day 11 This morning you will depart La Paz on a domestic flight to Santa Cruz. From here, connect onto your overnight international flight to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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