Seeking El Dorado, a promise of adventure in the Amazon

Trip description

Following the Amazon River from its Andean sources, this trip is a true expedition. Following in the footsteps of those who sought El Dorado in the Bolivian Amazon, we will embark on our own search for El Dorado, through exotic encounters, surprising events and raw emotions. Our trip will be guided by that which we encounter, with stops along the way to experience events, record podcasts or make reports. If necessary, we will branch off without hesitation.

Sailing down a river for three days among gold-diggers, then landing at a native community to share their natural way of life, and eventually venturing even further onto the mythical territory of Moxos ...

A genuine adventure in Amazonia , very far indeed from regular trips and postcards ...

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Discover the agency :

20 days

From : €3,400*

Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz

Day 2: La Paz

Day 3: La Paz - Copacabana - Yumani

Day 4: Yumani - Chuquinapi - Copacabana - Huatajata - La Paz

Day 5: La Paz - Coroico

Day 6: Coroico - Guanay

Day 7: Guanay - Kaka River

Day 8: Kaka River

Day 9: Kaka River - Asuncion del Quiquibey

Day 10: Asuncion del Quiquibey

Day 11: Asuncion del Quiquibey - Rurrenabaque

Day 12: Rurrenabaque

Day 13: Rurrenabaque - Trinidad

Day 14: Trinidad - Flotel

Day 15: Flotel

Day 16: Flotel

Day 17: Flotel - Trinidad

Day 18: Trinidad - La Paz - El Alto Airport - La Paz

Day 19: La Paz

Day 20: La Paz - El Alto Airport

Day 1 : El Alto Airport - La Paz

Bolivie ©streetflash -

We disembark in La Paz via El Alto. The change of scenery and immersion are immediate! We jump into a cab to cross this giant market and stop at the first cable car station. We take height, to realize what La Paz looks like, for real, this city extended in a kind of immense crater. A city nestled at the foot of the Andes, with the snowy peaks of Huayna Potosi and Illimani (emblematic glaciers of Bolivia of more than 6000m of altitude) as a backdrop. On the other side of the peaks, the Amazon basin extends. As for the conquistadores, "only" the summits at 6000 meters of the sublime and imposing Royal Cordillera, separate us from the Amazon, from the quest of the Eldorado.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: bus ticket, taxi, breakfast buffet, room

Day 2 : La Paz

La Paz. ©saiko3p -

Today you will discover the most traditional side of the city, walking into the day-to-day life of the “paceños” (inhabitants of La Paz).

You will first enter the indoor market of the Plaza San Francisco (Mercado Lanza) where many workers have breakfast. You will then take the cable car going up to El Alto and enjoy an unexpected view over the city and the mountains that surround it. You will fly over different neighborhoods and the general cemetery, in which you will then enter to discover the Andean post-mortem traditions: here the families leave elaborated offerings on the graves. Walking from the cemetery down to the historical center you will walk through the traditions of clothing and traditional celebrations of the city.

In the Los Andes Street you will feel like carnival is coming. It is the tailor’s street and every shop is filed with colorful costumes and masks. You will end our tour in the Witches Market (“Mercado de las Brujas”) where the locals buy all the necessary artifacts for ceremonial offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth): coca leaves and other medicinal plants, miniature figurines in sugar and lama fetuses.


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 - Yumani

Cholita aymara, Isla del Sol. ©hadynyah -

We meet at the general cemetery; instead of private transportation, we suggest you take a collective bus to Copacabana. The journey takes on another dimension; the journey itself is an excursion. After the traffic jams at the exit of La Paz and El Alto, we are on a bumpy road, Andean music in our ears and the strong smell of coca leaves on the bus. On our left, on a clear day, the Sajama, the highest point of Bolivia with its 6 542 m.a.s.l; on our right, the Andes Cordillera. Halfway there, the lake begins to show up.

We arrive in Tiquina, where we get off the bus to cross the mouth 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.

An hour left before arriving at Copacabana.

On main square, we can choose for lunch, between the trout from the lake with butter, garlic, tomato, or llajwa - a spicy sauce that is a must in the Andes... or a fresh fish ceviche with tiger's milk and sautéed corn.

We then board a lancha to the village of Yampupata. From there, we hike to the village of Sampaia (3-4h top), by the ridge, crossing small villages and with a breathtaking view of the lake, the mainland, the Andes, and Peru.

Then we reach the Sun Island. It is the most extended island of the lake. It is also the one which shelters the most temples and sacred places. It is finally a place impregnated with legends, still very present in the spirit of its inhabitants.


You spend the night at the Ecologe La Estancia hotel.

Included: bus ticket, entrance fees mentioned in the program, english speaking guide, guide expenses, boat ticket, dinner (no drinks), room & breakfast

Day 4 : Yumani - Chuquinapi - Copacabana - Huatajata - La Paz

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

We set sail aboard a catamaran, built by young people from the local community of Santiago de Huata, on the other side of the lake.

The crossing of the lake is peaceful, at the rhythm of the wind, leaving us time to admire the Moon Island, and the Royal Cordillera in the background.

We spend the evening in Chuquiñapi, a small, quiet village, far from the crowds.

We leave Chuquinapi in the direction of Huatajata where we discover the famous Totora reed boats.

We hit the road to La Paz.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

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

Day 5 : La Paz - Coroico

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

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 the Viejo Molino hotel****.

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

Day 6 : Coroico - Guanay

Bolivie ©Bartosz Hadyniak -

Let's meet the coca producers of the Yungas, we put our hands in the fields and on this emblem of the country, which today is experiencing contradictions.

Its consumption is a thousand-year-old tradition on the altiplano, the coca leaf is sacred and has always been appreciated for its virtues. The production of coca is subject to quotas corresponding to traditional consumption (chewing or infusion).

We follow the Rio Coroico, soon joined by the Rio Zongo, to arrive in Guanay, village of the gold fever. If the history places the beginnings of the Eldorado's research towards Colombia, the whole Amazon is the field of exploration of the gold city's researchers. The Incas would have hidden their wealth in Moxos, under the name of Paiti, at the border between Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Beyond this myth of the big Eldorado, the gold diggers continue to survey the rio in search of some nuggets.


You spend the night at the hotel Los Pinos.

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

Day 7 : Guanay - Kaka River

Le lac Titicaca. ©Galyna Andrushko -

We embark on a gold-seeker's pirogue for 3 days of forest crossing following the course of the Kaka River which winds between the last "serranías", small mountain ranges of a few hundred meters high, the last traces of the Andes Cordillera.

We sleep on the banks of the river, in communities that take us to discover the riches of the territory that make up their daily lives. We cross waterfalls with crystalline water, monkeys, and thousands of birds.


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

Day 8 : Kaka River

Toucan ©Dave Primov - Shutterstock.Com

The river is now joined by the waters of the Río La Paz, which bypassed the entire Illmani massif before plunging in turn into the Amazon basin. On the right bank is the Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve, while on the left bank is the Upper Madidi National Park. We are well in the heart of a virgin and perfectly preserved nature. A jewel of our Planet.

Every day we imitate ourselves in the heart of the forest, meeting the communities and discovering the exuberant Amazonian flora and its more than surprising fauna: Capibaras, monkeys, birds by the thousands with strange cries...

We sleep in bivouac (in case of rain, possibility to take shelter under thatched roofs).


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

Day 9 : Kaka River - Asuncion del Quiquibey

Flamants roses ©fbxx -

We continue our navigation. We fish in the river for our lunch of the day.

We enter the Madidi park. A mixture of wonder in front of this virgin tropical forest, a concentrate of biodiversity, and mystery in front of this cradle of many legends about the researchers of Eldorado. It feels like the end of the world when crossing the park by pirogue.

We arrive at the end of the day in Rurrenabaque, a small town at the foot of the jungle-covered mountains, with a peaceful atmosphere. We walk there on foot or by motorcycle cab to have a break on the mainland.

We leave the Beni River and continue on the Quiquibey River to enter the Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve and reach Mapajo.

Our friends from Mapajo are from the Moseten and T’simane ethnic groups. They are among the true guardians of the Amazon rainforest. They grew up in the rainforest and know it like no one else. It is this unique richness that they invite us to share with them.

After navigating on the Quiquibey River, we arrive in Asuncion del Quiquibey. It is one of the indigenous communities that live inside the Pilon Lajas Reserve, one of the most biodiverse area of the whole Amazon.

Welcomed by a few words in Moseten we head to our bungalows. They are basic but perfectly adapted to this particular environment.

In the afternoon our local guide takes us on a tour of the community’s hunting and fruit-picking trails. He teaches us the secrets of the forest and especially the many medicinal plants that the Moseten know very well. The Moseten people consider themselves to be the children of the rainforest. They offer us a complete immersion in the Amazon for a few days.

After dinner we spend the night in our candlelit bungalows, listening to the concert of nocturnal animals in the forest.


Included: local spanish-speaking guide, lunch (no drinks), private transport, all inclusive, dinner (no drinks), local guide, room & breakfast

Day 10 : Asuncion del Quiquibey

L'hoazin. ©webguzs -

The most common surname in Asuncion is Caimani and you can understand as you go up the Quiquibey River. These nice reptiles can be found everywhere, but fortunately we are not part of their menu. The pirogue trip up the river is a great opportunity to observe the incredibly rich fauna of the region: birds of all kinds, parrots, monkeys, capiwaras (imagine a 50kg guinea pig)… it is not rare to observe the footprints of a jaguar.

After catching some fish with our guide we return to the lodge. In the afternoon we discover the Mapajo, one of the biggest trees in the forest, which gave its name to the community organization. It is a sacred tree that protects the fauna and flora of the Amazon.

Dinner and night at the lodge.


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

Day 11 : Asuncion del Quiquibey - Rurrenabaque

Lamas ©PocholoCalapre -

Today are visiting the Asuncion community and will discover the indigenous traditional way of life: pounding rice, harvesting coconuts, archery, weaving natural fibers are some of the skills the Moseten people will share with us.

We enter a Moseten house and share in all simplicity a moment with our forest hosts.

Then it is time for us to get back to the pirogue and head back to Rurrenabaque.


Included: local guide, room & breakfast

Day 12 : Rurrenabaque

Vendeuse de tissus traditionnels. ©hadynyah -

We enjoy a few hours in Rurrenabaque, this small town at the foot of the jungle covered mountains, with a peaceful atmosphere. We walk there on foot or by motorcycle-taxi, we observe the activity of the dugout canoes, markets, in this atmosphere of Amazonian port.


You spend the night at Hotel Maya.

Included: room & breakfast

Day 13 : Rurrenabaque - Trinidad

UNESCO World Heritage Jesuit Mission church in Concepcion, Bolivia ©DC_Colombia

Domestic flight Rurrenabaque-Trinidad

We dig for Eldorado and penetrate even further into the jungle, flying to Trinidad, that Jesuit religious mission in Moxos territory. The Mojeño people set an example with their pre-colonial land works, including a sophisticated hydraulic control system that regulated seasonal flooding and managed the nutrient poverty of the soil. Expeditions for the conquest of the Mojos and the search for the region's riches led the Spaniards to this remote civilization.


You spend the night at the Aguahi hotel.

Included: domestic flight, room & breakfast

Day 14 : Trinidad - Flotel

Bolivie ©Pascale Gueret -

We board the Flotel "Reina De Enín", which we have just for us. We imagine a boat from the beginning of the century, made of wood, English Empire atmosphere. It looks like a cruise on the Nile, a book of Agatha Christie in the hands, but with the Amazonian forest as far as the eye can see, just like pyramids.


Included: dinner (no drinks), lunch (no drinks), room & breakfast, arrival transfer

Day 15 : Flotel

Parc national Amboró. ©Matthias Kestel -

We sail north on the waters of the rio Mamoré and its tributary, the rio Ibarré, at the crossroads of several ecosystems: riparian forests, Moxos pampas and palm savannas interspersed with swamps and islands of humid forests. Our itinerary varies according to the season and the course of the rivers. As the days go by, we go deep into one of the most difficult areas to access of the planet. The forest is less and less affected by human activity, the territory is intact.


Included: all inclusive

Day 16 : Flotel

Descente à vélo de la route de la mort, qui relie La Paz aux Yungas. ©mezzotint -

We cross the selva to discover its natural flora. We come across some of the biggest trees of the forest like the Mapajo, the Eight or the Bibosi. We are constantly on the lookout and follow the tracks of the animals that live near us. Some of them will let themselves be seen, maybe a tapir, an anaconda, or even a jaguar?


Included: all inclusive

Day 17 : Flotel - Trinidad

Musiciens aymara. ©brassmonkeyy -

Going up these rivers is also going back in time.

We navigate in Moxos territory, to meet its people, to discover their ancestral knowledge, and their way of life as a source of inspiration. The recent discoveries on the numerous tumuli identified in the region have completely changed the vision of the pre-Columbian Amazonian cultures. Under the vegetation are hidden huge terraces of cultivation crossed by water channels, artificial landsides that can welcome real cities, and even a mysterious pyramid identified only last year...


You spend the night at the Aguahi hotel.

Included: room & breakfast, departure transfer

Day 18 : Trinidad - La Paz - El Alto Airport - La Paz

Boliviennes. ©Sylvie LIGON

Domestic flight Trinidad - La Paz.

Your driver will pick you up at the international airport of El Alto.


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: domestic flight, arrival transfer, breakfast buffet, room

Day 19 : La Paz

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

Today you enjoy a free day in La Paz. You can take the opportunity to walk around the historical center, do some shopping in the Sagárnaga street known for its many local handicraft shops, discover the objects needed to make offerings to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) in the "witches market", or visit one of the many museums in the city...

And why not take a ride on a cable car?


Night at the Naira hotel***.

Included: breakfast buffet, room

Day 20 : La Paz - El Alto Airport

Paysage du Sud-Lípez. ©Gonzalo Buzonni -

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


Included: departure transfer

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