Adventures in La Paz, Lake Titicaca, and the Salar de Uyuni

Overview

Discover Bolivia’s otherworldly landscapes and indigenous cultures with beloved Trip Leader Dr. Andrea Heckman, the ultimate guide for this adventure, with her PhD in traditional Andean arts and cultures and her decades of exploring Bolivia as an anthropologist, weaver, and adventurer. Come along with Andrea to ramble the steep streets of La Paz on our unique “urban trek” and walk among the monumental pre-Inca ruins of Tiawanaku. In the mountain village of Tarabuco, with its weavers’ market, Andrea will introduce us to local Yampara artisans and we’ll enjoy a special lunch with them. We’ll relax in the tranquil atmosphere of our rural hacienda near Potosi and explore amid the World Heritage beauty of colonial Sucre. Then it's on to the surreal Salar de Uyuni salt flats, one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet, where we hike and explore by 4WD in the remote Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, including an overnight in a unique “salt” hotel. We cap our adventure with two special overnights on the Inca’s mystical Island of the Sun, an enchanting setting for our hikes to enigmatic Inca sites and a glorious place to savor lakeside sunsets. Join us for an unforgettable journey through this exotic land—Wilderness Travel style!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
La Paz / Tiwanaku

In La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, we’ll explore fascinating markets and neighborhoods, and visit the monumental pre-Inca ruins at Tiwanaku, a World Heritage Site. We’ll follow ancient paths among the temples, stepped platforms, and giant monoliths, and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch right at the site.

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Days 3-4
Tarabuco / Sucre / La Paz

Sucre, known as the “White City” for its whitewashed buildings and red-tiled roofs, is a World Heritage beauty, and we’ll hike in the countryside and visit local farms, with lunch at a family farm. In the mountain village of Tarabuco, we’ll roam the famous Sunday market, learning about the incredible weaving traditions of the Yampara people, and enjoy a special lunch with people of the local indigenous community.

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Days 5-6
Hacienda de Cayara / Potosi

From our historic rural 16th century hacienda, we’ll visit the colonial treasures of the city of Potosi, where the Spanish mined silver to fund the extravagant ventures of their monarchy for nearly three centuries.

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Days 7-10
Explore the Salar de Uyuni

Our journey leads to the Salar de Uyuni, a spectacular and shimmering lunar desert where the sky and horizon merge into a dreamscape of fluorescent lakes, spikey cactus, geysers, hot springs, jagged rock formations, and snow-capped volcanos. Sunsets here are unforgettable, the star-gazing is incredible, and we stay in comfortable hotels, including one made entirely of salt blocks!

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Days 11-14
Lake Titicaca / Isla del Sol

We catch a flight to La Paz, then cross the altiplano to Lake Titicaca. Our explorations bring us to the mystical Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), considered by the Incas to be the birthplace of the sun and the place where the Inca god Viracocha created the universe. Our overnights are in a spectacularly located ecolodge, and we’ll enjoy hikes to Incan sites and visits to the traditional villages of this sacred island lost in time. After visiting the lakeside town of Copacabana, we return to La Paz for a final overnight, and depart on Day 14.

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Highlights

Highlights

Travel with Trip Leader Dr. Andrea Heckman, who holds a PhD in traditional Andean arts and cultures
Discover the enormous ruins of Tiwanaku, a pre-Inca masterpiece
Meet the artisan weavers of Tarabuco, enjoy lunch on a family farm near Sucre
Explore by 4WD vehicle amid the dreamscapes of the Salar de Uyuni, a spectacular high desert
Hike to ancient Inca temples on the mystical Isla del Sol on sacred Lake Titicaca

Details

Length: 14 days
Cost From: $5295  
Arrive: La Paz, Bolivia
Depart: La Paz, Bolivia
Lodging: 13 nights hotels and estancias
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations and walking tours at altitudes up to 13,615 feet, some long drives on rugged terrain