Live my Andean life: Todo posible nada seguro

Trip description

We disembark in Bolivia by El Alto, the upper city of La Paz, a complete change of scenery, crowds, ambient tumult...We take height by the cable car, to realize the extent, the mix and the size of the city.
Nicolas Bouvier said: "On the way, the best thing is to get lost. When you get lost, projects give way to surprises and it is then, but only then, that the journey begins. " We will get lost, we will melt in the Andean culture, between Incas, Aymaras, Quechuas, we will immerse ourselves in traditions still at the heart of everyday life.
It is by letting ourselves be carried by the people of Lake Titicaca, by sharing the Apthapi with Dona Esperanza, by following the rites and offerings to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) of the community of Santiago de Okola, by walking alongside the muleteers of the Cordillera, by celebrating with Jaime and his family, that we will experience life of the Andean people and its culture marked by the Tiwanaku and Inca civilizations.
Moving around in shared transportation, living with the locals, taking the time to exchange and respect the rhythm of life and the seasons, we will open ourselves to a more sober journey, to a simpler life, centered on the Earth and the need to rethink our environment. The Andes seem to be the model of Pierre Rabhi and his happy sobriety. They are masters of resilience. Who would have thought that they are modern without knowing it?
In Bolivia, todo posible, nada seguro (everything is possible, nothing is certain), it is by following this saying that you will live your best experience of the country, of its people; by letting yourself be carried away by the uncertain, that you will have the best surprises, the best encounters, the best experiences and that your trip will have taken on a whole new meaning.

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16 days

From : €2,000*

Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz

Day 2: La Paz

Day 3: La Paz- Copacabana

Day 4: Copacabana

Day 5: Yampupata- Kasani- Santiago de Okola

Day 6: Santiago de Okola

Day 7: Santiago de Okola - Tuni

Day 8: Tuni

Day 9: Tuni

Day 10: Tuni

Day 11: Tuni - La Paz

Day 12: La Paz - Coroico

Day 13: Coroico - Puente Villa

Day 14: Puente Villa - La Paz

Day 15: La Paz

Day 16: La Paz - Aéroport El Alto

Day 1 : El Alto Airport - La Paz

Potosi panoramic view from San Lorenzo Church, Bolivia ©saiko3p

We arrive in La Paz via El Alto, an immediate change of scenery! We jump in a private transport to cross this giant market and we stop at the first cable car station.

We take altitude, to realize what La Paz looks like, for real, a city extended in a huge crater. Small colorful "casas" as far as the eye can see, markets in all directions ... the cabins fly above this chaotic atmosphere, full of life, with the snowy peaks of Huayna Potosi and Illimani (emblematic glaciers of Bolivia over 6000m altitude) as a backdrop.

We stop at Sopocachi, a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the center. We love to walk in the quiet streets of this small district of La Paz. We find small shops, small bars which are worth stopping by. We will take a mate of coca at the market of Sopocachi, the sacred and traditional drink, the remedy against the altitude sickness. And the yapa, the little extra offered by the saleswoman, because we "yapa" always a good customer here.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: bus ticket, taxi, breakfast buffet, room

Day 2 : La Paz

Vendeuse de tissus traditionnels ©hadynyah -

We leave for a day of exploration in La Paz. We walk through the streets of Sopocachi, towards the center, with a break for a fresh juice at the mercado Sopocachi and a "salteña" on the way. The salteña is the Bolivians's 11am snack, it is a small pastry filled with chicken or beef in its juice. The challenge: to eat it, without cutlery and staining...

La Paz is a mixed and contrasted city, the perfect sample of a whole country. From the market district, full of colors and smells, we cross a few streets to find ourselves in the heart of the historic district, now a business center. Two worlds that coexist 200 meters apart and the only thing they have in common is the permanent and noisy chaos that characterizes them.  

We take a mate of coca, or chewing leaves on the Sagarnaga street. We cross the Mercado de Las Brujas (Witches market), where we buy a miniature to please the Ekeko, god of abundance. The tradition wants us to project all our hopes in the purchase of the coveted object in miniature, which will then be ritualized.

In the historic district, we walk along Calle Jaen, one of the last colonial streets of the city, with its cobblestones and colorful houses. We take the time to push all the doors to discover small courtyards, galleries, the museum of musical instruments, and we meet Rosario. She tells us about culture, clothing, traditions, and invites us to try on her many cholita skirts (7 overlapping ones, they say), giving us all her secrets of cholita.

We have lunch at one of the common tables of the market, with the Paceños. The choice of dishes is rich, and the smells of grilled meat with Aji sauce mix with those of fried food and other spicy soups.

We reach El Alto by cable car, we fly over houses as far as the eye can see, we intrude above the inner courtyards, terraces where traditional clothes and dance costumes dry... On the cliffside, the shamans are perched, leading the offering ceremonies to the Pachamama. Let's venture to one of them to have the coca leaves read to us!

We go down by the general cemetery. Far from being scary or sad, this unique cemetery is animated, colored by large murals and decorated by the families of the deceased. Here, death is celebrated: people sing, dance, and make offerings to honor the missing loved ones. This visit allows us to better understand the Bolivian culture towards its dead. We then pass by the Calle de Los Andes, street of the carnival costume makers, stores and dressmakers. We could watch for hours the meticulous work of the Diablada mask makers. Further down, towards the market, we find custom-made hats, jewelry of all kinds and cholita petticoats.

We jump in a collectivo to return to Sopocachi.

For dinner, we will provide you with a list of restaurant suggestions of all types. In Bolivia, we are lucky to have varied and quality food, we eat well. It's simple, here confluence the products of the Amazon, the Yungas (tropical fruits and vegetables), the products of the Altiplano (potatoes, quinoa, llama), the meat of the Beni, and the products of Lake Titicaca. The meal can be accompanied by a good local wine from Tarija with a high altitude grape variety.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: entrance fees mentioned in the program, english speaking guide, lunch (no drinks), breakfast buffet, room

Day 3 : La Paz- Copacabana

Le lac Titicata est le plus grand réservoir d'eau douce du continent sud-américain. ©chiakto -

We meet to the general cemetery early to take a bus to Tiwanaku.

The route itself is an excursion. After the traffic jams at the exit of La Paz and El Alto, we are on a bumpy road, with Andean music, smell of coca leaf. On our left, on a clear day, the Sajama, the highest point of Bolivia with its 6542 meters of altitude; on our right, the Andes Cordillera.

The ruins of Tiwanaku are the symbol of its civilization, a pre-Inca civilization, which is still very mysterious but whose influence is still present today.

Its knowledge of the land, its agricultural techniques, including the cultivation of potatoes and its hundreds of varieties,its rites, were taken over by the Incas and still live in the Aymara and Quechua cultures.

Ross-Marie, our guide passionate about the place and its esotericism, takes us to visit the spiritual and political center, where some temples, pyramids and the famous Sun Gate still stand.

We take again the road in direction of the lake Titicaca. It is at the crossroads of the three most important Andean cultures of the region: Inca, Tiwanaku and Aymara.

We arrive in Tiquina, where we get off the bus to cross the mouth of the lake by boat. On the quay, we let ourselves be tempted by small fried ispis from the lake, spiced with Aji (spicy sauce). Be careful not to lose sight of our bus which crosses on its side, if we let ourselves go, it could leave without us.

More than one small hour before Copacabana.


You are spending the night at the Las Olas hotel.

Included: box lunch, entrance fees mentioned in the program, local guide, private transport, room & breakfast, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 4 : Copacabana

Basilicata de la Virgen de la Candelaria, à Copacabana. ©Mark Pitt Images - Shutterstock.Com

An Api con buñuelos is waiting for us at the covered market for breakfast. Api is a smooth hot drink, typical of the Andes, made of purple corn flour and cinnamon. It is often found in markets, accompanied by buñuelos, a kind of doughnut. A very comforting combo for the early cool mornings in altitude.

Then we embark on a lancha towards the Moon Island. We will take the opportunity to bring some supplies to this small isolated island inhabited by about fifty families.

Isla de la Luna is the second sacred island of the Incas, after Isla del Sol. There are the ruins of the Iñak Uyu palace, reserved for the Sun Virgins, the ñustas, chosen among the noblest families of the Empire. During their stays on this island, they received the education that would allow them to become the future priestesses.

Dona Esperanza welcomes us into her home, with her big smile, in the small houses that she has renovated with her husband. Originally from the shores of Lake Titicaca, on the "mainland", she moved to Moon island for her husband, a native of this 91-hectare island. She has learned to live at the rhythm of the place, of which she knows all the secrets she is going to share with us. We will be able to discover her plantations and the different plants of the island, including the muña, a medicinal herb, a kind of peppermint that grows between 3000 and 4000m of altitude and apparently relieves almost everything.

At the end of the afternoon, we prepare with the family the quinoa soup, rich in proteins, vegetables and local aromas, for dinner.

You spend the night at Doña Esperanza's.

For lunch we will share a traditional meal called “Apthapi”. This tradition of the Aymara people probably takes its source into the Tiwanaku pre-Inca culture.

It is a moment of sharing within the community: everyone brings some products of it land or livestock to the "table" and the meal is shared around a piece of traditional cloth (Aguayo) laid on the floor. Traditionally you will find corn, cheese, fish, fried or dried meat, quinoa and a great variety of potatoes from the Altiplano.

After our lunch, a traditional healer (“Yatiri”) will realize a ceremony dedicated to Mother Earth (“Pachamama”). We will enjoy these unique moments in the heart of the pre-Inca and Inca traditions: the Isla del Sol (“Island of the Sun”) owes its name to its important role in the cult to the Sun God “Inti” during the Inca Empire area. Here the people care about preserving the nature and their traditions.


Included: entrance fees mentioned in the program, english speaking guide, guide expenses, private transport, dinner (no drinks), room & breakfast, lunch

Day 5 : Yampupata- Kasani- Santiago de Okola

Alpaga ©Elisa Locci -

We stroll on the island, we can reach the village on the other side by the beach, for a nice walk. We then cross the island by the ridges, with a 360 degree view between Isla del Sol and the Andes, whose Llampu peak dominates the lake. At the bend in the paths, we make unexpected encounters with women who accompany their herds of llamas.

At noon, we share an Apthapi with Esperanza and the neighbors of the village. It is a lunch where everyone contributes to the meal and we share our dishes. We can share the fresh cheese and bread that we will have bought when we leave La Paz. When the morning fishing is good, Esperanza brings trout from the lake, accompanied by delicious vegetable fritters.

We take the lancha back to the village of Sampaia, just in front of the island. From there, we venture in a superb hike (3-4h maximum) to the end of the Yampupata peninsula, by the ridge through small villages and with a breathtaking view of the lake, the inland, the Andes, and Peru.

From Yampupata we take a vehicle to reach the village of Santiago de Okola, on the other side of the lake.

We are welcomed by Don Thomas from the community, who will receive us in his home to spend the night or with a family from the community who will be delighted to share their daily life with you far away from traditional tourism.


Included: english speaking guide, guide expenses, private transport, dinner (no drinks), local spanish-speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 6 : Santiago de Okola

Cholita aymara, Isla del Sol. ©hadynyah -

Santiago de Okola is a community on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Families of fishermen and farmers, the inhabitants of Santiago de Okola benefit from the richness of their environment between the lake and the Cordillera. They are a people open to the outside world, and with a strong will to share their culture: fishing on the lake, climbing or a short hike to the Dragon Dormido, cooking, work in the fields...

We spend the evening in the village. We share a few drinks, and taste the Andean festive evenings. The golden rule, before bringing a glass of alcohol to your mouth, is to pour a few drops on the ground. This custom is directly related to the cult of the Pachamama, to whom we reserve this first sip as a sign of respect and reverence.

The Pachamama is the central deity of the Andean cosmogony and, in the pre-Columbian religions of South America, is the "Mother Earth" that governs the environment of the human being in its entirety (on the material as well as on the spiritual level). A deity without a temple or any kind of place of worship, it can be worshipped at any time and in any place.


Included: dinner, local spanish-speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 7 : Santiago de Okola - Tuni

Musiciens aymara. ©brassmonkeyy -

Let's enjoy the tranquility and serenity of this microclimate so characteristic of Titicaca. We embark for a navigation aboard a catamaran built by the community of Santiago de Huata.

For lunch, we can choose between the lake trucha with butter, garlic, tomato, or llajwa - a spicy sauce not to be missed in the Andes... or a fresh fish ceviche with tiger's milk and sautéed corn.

We leave the lakeside towards the heart of the Cordillera, to meet the Quispe family. Jaime and Marisol welcome us at their home in Tuni, an Aymara hamlet at 4400m altitude, inhabited by about ten families.


You spend the night at the Ecolodge Tuni.

Included: local guide, lunch (no drinks), private transport, dinner (no drinks), room & breakfast

Day 8 : Tuni

Bolivie ©Alexandre Laprise -

The Aymara culture, so singular, attaches great importance to solidarity and community life. It rests on four founding pillars: community, festivals, rites and Pachamama. The ancestral Aymara traditions are still very present and the Tuni community is committed to keep them alive and share them. No staging, no disguises, the Quispe family opens its doors and lets us live a few days with them, in all simplicity, with the Pachamama at the center of beliefs and offerings.

The agency has family ties with the community for a very long time. Fabrice, the founder of Terra, is the godfather of a little girl from the village. The families of Terra are used to spend the weekend there from time to time. They know that sharing a few moments with Jaime and Marisol brings a lot to our children. Only happiness and an undeniable opening to the world.

We have 4 days, and before us the choice of discoveries.

It is urgent to take our time, to exchange, to let ourselves be surprised by the unexpected, by the encounters and by what we are going to learn.

We propose you to choose your program and let you live at the rhythm of the Cordillera:

Want to crawl towards high snowy summits?

Trek of the Condoriri lagoons

Jaime, a high mountain guide trained by Chamonix instructors who came to deliver the training and certifications, takes us on a trek around the lagoons and the Condoriri. We take care of preparing the itinerary, the equipment and the food and we take our place next to the muleteers. They will accompany our journey at the foot of the glaciers with our mule caravan. It is a real know-how to guide the mules and men in the scree slopes and steep passages. Jaime and his brothers have managed to develop Andinism in the region and participate in the organization of great expeditions, accompanied by cooks, porters and muleteers.

Want to settle down and discover life "like a local"?

At the heart of everyday life in Aymara.

We follow Vicky to the village school, why not try an Aymara language course. The transmission of ancestral traditions also involves the teaching of this language still spoken in the villages.

We then offer ourselves as a kitchen assistant with Denys and Marisol. The speciality here is Huatia, cooking in the oven dug in the earth. One of the flagship foods is chuño, a dehydrated potato. On the Altiplano, the soils and climate allow some communities to harvest only one potato a year. As a method of preservation, the Andean people use a dehydration process during the coldest months to extract starch from the potatoes. The taste is ... peculiar, but the method is ingenious and one would do well to learn the technique. To complete our Andean meal, we go fishing in the icy rivers and lagoons, rich in trout.

We participate in different tasks depending on the season and the needs: making straw mattresses that will be sold in the surrounding area, collecting animal excrement for fuel in the houses. The shearing of the llamas is a real test, a little muscular, whose first challenge is to immobilize the animal. With the spun wool, we can learn how to weave and make warm clothes that are very appreciated in the mountains.


Included: all inclusive, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 9 : Tuni

Lamas ©PocholoCalapre -

Program "à la carte" to the rhythm of the Cordillera


Option: Trek of the Condoriri Lagoons

Option: At the heart of the Aymara daily life


Included: all inclusive, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 10 : Tuni

Boliviennes. ©Sylvie LIGON

Program "à la carte" to the rhythm of the Cordillera


Option: Trek of the Condoriri Lagoons

Option: At the heart of the Aymara daily life


Included: all inclusive, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 11 : Tuni - La Paz

Architecture coloniale dans la calle Jaén à La Paz. ©alexmillos -

Program "à la carte" to the rhythm of the Cordillera


Option: Trek of the Condoriri Lagoons

Option: At the heart of the Aymara daily life



We hit the road towards La Paz.



Night at the Naira hotel***.


Included: all inclusive, english speaking guide, guide expenses, private transport, breakfast buffet, room

Day 12 : La Paz - Coroico

La Paz. ©saiko3p -

We descend from our heights to the pre-tropical Yungas. We find there the heat and a green and luxuriant vegetation.

We start from La Paz and climb to almost 4,600 meters above sea level in La Cumbre. This is where the descent by mountain bike begins. From here we leave the Altiplano and enter the Amazon basin. From now on, we will lose 100 meters of altitude and gain 1.6 degrees every 10 minutes. We leave the llamas, the snow, the rock, to reach Yolossa, water, mangoes, coffee, parrots, monkeys, at 1,200 meters of altitude. The green replaces the grey, it is an explosion of colors, smells, oxygen.

This road is the only one that links the Andean capital to the producers of Amazonia, in case of social conflict, blocking it with a few trucks means stopping the transport of goods (meat, citrus fruits, coca, coffee) to the capital. The control of this route is essential.


Night at Villa Kiki.

Included: entrance fees mentioned in the program, english speaking guide, lunch (no drinks), private transport

Day 13 : Coroico - Puente Villa

hands holding freshly-picked red coffee beans, shiny and wet. ©helovi

We are meeting the coffee growers, who have been able to develop their land and get out of the non-virtuous and intensive production of coca so popular in the area. We cross the coffee and coca fields and meet the producers of Coripata.


You will be hosted in a small hostel in Puente Villa.

Included: room & breakfast, private transport

Day 14 : Puente Villa - La Paz

La surprenante yareta, plante grasse typique de l'Altiplano. ©hipokrat -

We go up, passing by Yanacachi, commercial crossroads of the region, we exchange fresh Amazonian products with potatoes, quinoa of the Altiplano.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: private transport, breakfast buffet, room

Day 15 : La Paz

Célébrations de la Vierge de Guadalupe à Sucre. ©Devin Beaulieu -

The Bolivian dances are a true representation of the mix of the Bolivian culture. Carnival is the moment to abolish hierarchies, to overcome taboos and to express, behind the masks, all those occult worlds so present in beliefs.

Whether it's Carnival, Gran Poder (La Paz festival) or the start of the university year, we can't help but come across groups of young paceños rehearsing in parks or city squares, reinvented as a dancefloor for the occasion. Tempted by the idea of participating in a rehearsal of Tinku, Diablada or Llamerada?

A group of dancers will proudly teach us the steps and the meaning of their choreography. For the exercise, endurance is key. At an altitude of almost 4,000 meters, even after 15 days, the lack of oxygen is still felt.

We go down to the southern zone to have lunch on the terrace. Another atmosphere, another city, you have to know that we gain 1 degree for every 100 meters of altitude difference. So the calculation is simple, we take advantage of 4 additional degrees going in the South zone. The terraces are pleasant and less noisy, the cafes are "fancy" and the streets are quieter. We take advantage of the small parks where the children play, of the modern stores. There are also the beautiful neighborhoods, safe condominio, with incredible houses. You get out of the hustle and bustle of the business district, and you find a certain sweetness of life.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: entrance fees mentioned in the program, english speaking guide, lunch (no drinks), breakfast buffet, room

Day 16 : La Paz - Aéroport El Alto

Bolivie ©Bartosz Hadyniak -

Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.


Included: departure transfer

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