The must-sees of Bolivia: we have seen (almost) everything!

Trip description

Bolivia is: the Salar of Uyuni, the Titicaca lake, the altitude, the Andes... but it is also a bath of diversity, unexpected, multicolored markets, a surprising geography and biodiversity. Bolivia, you have to live it, take the time to discover its roots, its Andean culture and its territory. The Bolivian people, in its diversity and with its indigenous, Inca and Spanish influences, is attached to its traditions, to the Earth - the Pachamama - and to what it offers.

Agency photo

Discover the agency :

16 days

From : €2,300*

Day 1: Santa Cruz - Sucre

Day 2: Sucre

Day 3: Sucre

Day 4: Sucre- Potosi

Day 5: Potosi

Day 6: Potosi - Uyuni

Day 7: Uyuni- Villamar

Day 8: Villamar- Siloli Desert

Day 9: Siloli Desert - San Pedro de Quemez - San Juan

Day 10: San Pedro de Quemez - Colchani - Uyuni - La Paz

Day 11: La Paz

Day 12: La Paz - Copacabana - Yumani

Day 13: Yumani - Copacabana - Tuni

Day 14: Tuni

Day 15: Tuni - La Paz

Day 16: La Paz - El Alto Airport

Day 1 : Santa Cruz - Sucre

View of Sucre, Bolivia known as the White City ©DC_Colombia

You take your flight from Santa Cruz to Sucre and arrive in the White City, constitutional capital of the country.

A driver will pick you up at the airport.

You have the afternoon free to discover the city, its colonial past, its European architecture and its multicolored markets. Sucre is a welcoming and sunny city, where it is good to stroll in the streets and on the terraces, or enter one of the magnificent churches or museums of the city.

Day 2 : Sucre

Vendeuse de tissus traditionnels. ©hadynyah -

Our driver picks us up at the hotel at 8:00 am to reach Tarabuco by private vehicle. After about 1h30 of driving (70 km), we arrive in this small traditional village, famous in the whole country for its weekly market, one of the most famous handicraft markets of the continent. A colorful and very animated market to which the sound of the charango (small Andean guitar) confers a festive atmosphere.

Buyers and sellers come from all over the region in traditional clothes: they wear leather helmets identical to those of the Spanish conquistadors and clothes with lively patterns and bright colors.

We then take our vehicle to Candelaria, 20 km further south (1 hour of track). This charming village located in the middle of "Tarabuco" country - a culture famous for its fabrics - preserves all its authenticity and most of its inhabitants speak only Quechua.

We share lunch with a family of weavers and visit the small museum with a weaver who also opens the doors of her workshop.

We return to Sucre in the late afternoon.

You spend the night at the hotel in Su Merced.

Included: English speaking guide, lunch, private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 3 : Sucre

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

We dedicate this day to the constitutional capital of Bolivia. Listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, Sucre the White is known for its tranquility, its beautiful colonial architecture and its numerous churches. We meet our guide at 9am in the hotel lobby and go to discover the city center and its most famous monuments.

We start with the Recoleta Convent, a beautiful white stone building with four patios, founded by the Franciscan order in 1601 and now transformed into a museum. We learn more about the culture of the region and the country in the Ethnographic Museum of Textiles (ASUR), then visit the Casa de la Libertad.

Now a history museum, it was here that the independence treaty was signed in 1825. To finish the day, we visit the San Felipe Nery monastery, from the terrace of which we enjoy a breathtaking view of the city.

IMPORTANT: Weekly closing of the museums: Recoleta Convent, ASUR and San Felipe Nery Monastery - Sunday, Casa de la Libertad - Monday.

You will spend the night at the hotel in Su Merced.

Included: entrance(s) mentioned in the program, English speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 4 : Sucre- Potosi

Boliviennes. ©Sylvie LIGON

We meet Céline, a French woman who has been living in Bolivia for more than 10 years. She shares with us her daily life and her love for her adopted city, its culture and its history. 

We start with a traditional cooking class. We are taken to the city's market to buy peanuts, vegetables, meat and other spices to prepare the famous Bolivian Sopa de Mani. We go through stalls full of fruits and vegetables of all kinds. We discuss with the caseritas and take a small juice.

We then take place in the kitchen, to slice the onions, to cook the meat at low heat, to mix the peanuts, to brown the vegetables... the secret of the Sopa is in the noodles, grilled before cooking them, and in the llajwa sauce, a spicy sauce which accompanies absolutely all the Andean dishes.

We leave Sucre (2810 m alt.) by private vehicle to reach Potosi (3900 m alt.), located 160 km away. We cross the Pilcomayo river by the Sucre bridge, with its somewhat anachronistic architecture. This river separates Argentina and Paraguay in the south. We leave the valleys of Chuquisaca and climb up to the Potosi plateaus, where we arrive after about 3 hours of driving.

Spanish-speaking driver. The driver is not a guide.

Night at the Santa Monica Hotel ***.

Included: English speaking guide, lunch, private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 5 : Potosi

Potosi panoramic view from San Lorenzo Church, Bolivia ©saiko3p

As in Eduardo Galeano's story, "The Open Veins of Latin America", we are immersed in the reality of this city plundered of its wealth. We exchange with the miners and we slip into the tunnels of the mines of Cerro Rico.

To note: The visit of the mine is possible every day, but the miners do not work on Sunday and the activity is reduced on Saturday and Monday.

Marlene welcomes us and will make us live an immersion in her past as a worker of the silver mine in Potosi, ancient source of wealth of the European continent.

We will have lunch at her family's house, for a real jump in the daily life of these workers of the Cerro Rico, the main mine of Potosi.

Night at the Santa Monica Hotel ***.

Included: entrance(s) mentioned in the program, English speaking guide, lunch (excluding drinks), room & breakfast

Day 6 : Potosi - Uyuni

Bolivienne ©Bartosz Hadyniak -

We meet our guide in the lobby of the hotel. Walking through the downtown area of Potosi, we will discover the architectural richness of the many historical buildings that earned it this nomination (the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The colonial city is recognizable for its "Andean baroque" architecture including Indian influences and thanks to the Cerro Rico, which can be seen from miles away!

We walk through the streets of Potosi, also known as the "Imperial City", before entering the Santa Teresa Convent, which today houses one of the most important museums of religious art in Latin America.

IMPORTANT: The Santa Teresa convent is closed on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Departure from the hotel by private vehicle. We cross the whole Cordillera Frailes to reach Uyuni, a small town lost on the edge of the salar (3/4 hour drive). On the way, we will stop at Pulacayo, which was the second most important silver mine of the continent in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, it is a practically abandoned village, where however is installed a museum recalling its past splendor. Arrival in Colchani in the late afternoon.

Driver who speaks Spanish. The driver is not a guide.

You will spend the night at the Tambo Aymara hotel.

Included: entrance(s) mentioned in the program, English speaking guide, private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 7 : Uyuni- Villamar

Flamants roses ©fbxx -

Departure from the hotel at 09:30 by private 4x4 for a visit of the train cemetery, on the outskirts of the city. We then head south. On the way, we will visit several villages, including the model urbanization of Culpina K. Lunch break in San Cristobal where we will be able to visit the rich colonial church if it is open. Then we will cross the Rio Grande, a zone of vicuñas and ñandus (cousins of the ostrich) and arrive in Villamar at the end of the day.

Night at Las Piedritas* hostel (basic comfort).

Included: dinner (without drinks), lunch (without drinks), private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 8 : Villamar- Siloli Desert

Bolivie ©DR

Head south to reach the laguna Colorada. This lagoon has an intense brick-red color due to the presence of phytoplankton that reacts to sunlight. Then excursion to the geysers Sol de Mañana (4850 m alt.), volcanic crater with effusions of sulfur vapors and heavy water. We stop at the thermal baths of Polques before going along the laguna Salada and crossing the Dali desert (so named because of the landscapes that remind us of one of the master's paintings). At the end of the morning we reach the laguna Blanca and the laguna Verde, at the foot of the Juriques and Licancabur volcanoes (5960 m alt.), to witness a curious phenomenon: the wind rises and the laguna Verde takes on a spectacular emerald green hue. Return to the laguna Colorada in the afternoon. The track continues through the superb landscapes of the Siloli desert and its famous "stone tree" where some viscaches sometimes venture.
Cold meal at noon. All included.

You spend the night at the Hotel del Desierto.

(availability for double room not guaranteed)

Included: dinner (excluding drinks), entrance(s) mentioned in the program, lunch (excluding drinks), private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 9 : Siloli Desert - San Pedro de Quemez - San Juan

Paysage du Sud-Lípez. ©Gonzalo Buzonni -

We continue today our discovery of the landscapes of the South Lipez... Heading north this morning: we follow the Chilean border along the "jewel road" which borders the lagoons Honda, Ch'arkota, Hedionda and Cañapa, sanctuaries of three varieties of pink flamingos. We stop at the viewpoint of the Ollagüe volcano (5868 m alt.). This volcano is still active and has one of the highest sulfur mines in the world. We then cross the small salar of Chiguana, at the feet of the volcano Tomasamil (5900 m alt.). Our day ends after 170 km in the village of San Pedro de Quemez (3690 m alt.).

You will spend the night at the Hostal Piedra Andina.

Included: dinner (excluding drinks), entrance(s) mentioned in the program, lunch (excluding drinks), private transportation, room & breakfast

Day 10 : San Pedro de Quemez - Colchani - Uyuni - La Paz

Découverte du Salar d'Uyuni à vélo. ©Stefano Buttafoco -

End of our crossing today, we leave to discover the biggest salt desert in the world! We will first visit the "Galaxy Cave" whose stalactites seem to be carved in lace. After two hours of track we are on the salar of Uyuni (3650 m alt.). We drive about half an hour (34 km) on this immense white expanse to reach the island of Incahuasi. This surprising island of volcanic origin, lost in the heart of the salar, offers an impregnable view on the salt desert and the surrounding volcanoes. It is covered with stromatolites and giant cacti (stromatolites are fossilized bacterial colonies, the first traces of life on Earth). In the afternoon, we continue the crossing of the salar: heading east for about an hour and a half (73 km) towards Uyuni where we will spend the night on the edge of the salar. Before arriving, we stop to visit a salt exploitation and the only salt hotel built on the surface of the salar (closed since 2001).

Your driver will take you to the bus terminal in Uyuni.

We take a night bus to La Paz. Reclining seats, small snack, more comfortable than a plane and less CO2 emission!

Included: entrance(s) mentioned in the program, lunch (excluding drinks), private transportation, transfer from the airport, bus ticket

Day 11 : La Paz

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

Your driver will pick you up at the bus station.

A breakfast is waiting for you at your arrival.

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

Mixed and contrasted city, La Paz is 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 historical district, now a business center. Two worlds which coexist at 200 meters of distance and whose only common point is the permanent and noisy chaos which characterizes them.   

We take a mate of coca, or leaves to chew on the Sagarnaga. We cross the Mercado de Las Brujas, where we buy a miniature to please the Ekeko, benevolent god of abundance. The tradition is to project all one's hopes in the purchase of the coveted object in miniature, which will then be ritualized.

In the historic district, we walk down Calle Jaen, one of the last colonial streets in the city, with its cobblestones and colorful houses. We take the time to push all the doors to discover small inner courtyards, galleries, the museum of musical instruments, and we meet Rosario. She speaks to us about culture, clothing fashion, traditions, and invites us to try her numerous petticoats of cholitas (7 superimposed it seems), by delivering us all the secrets.

We have lunch at one of the common tables of the market, in the middle of the Paceños. The choice of dishes is rich there, and the odors of grilled meat with the sauce to the Aji 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 step over the inner courtyards, the terraces where traditional clothes and dance costumes are drying...  On the side of the cliffs, the shamans are perched who lead the ceremonies of offerings to the Pachamama. We venture to one of them to have the coca leaves read?

We go back down by the general cemetery. Far from being frightening or sad, this unique cemetery is animated, colored by big murals and decorated by the families of the deceased. Here, death is celebrated: people sing, dance and make offerings to honor their departed 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 costume makers of carnival, stores and dressmakers. We could watch for hours the meticulous work of the mask makers of the Diablada. Further down, towards the market, you can find custom-made hats, jewelry of all kinds and cholitas' petticoats.

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

Night at the Naira Hotel***.

Included: private transportation, breakfast, entrance(s) mentioned in the program, English speaking guide, lunch (excluding drinks), buffet breakfast, room

Day 12 : La Paz - Copacabana - Yumani

La Paz. ©saiko3p -

On the way to the largest navigable lake in the world (8560 km² shared between Peru and Bolivia)! At an average altitude of 3800 meters and surrounded by snowy cordilleras, the lake Titicaca is known for its islands full of traditions and history.

We leave La Paz by private transport to reach Copacabana, the main Bolivian municipality along the lake. To arrive, we follow the lake and the Royal Mountain Range during 155 km (about 3h30 of road) and cross shortly before arriving, the strait of Tiquina in ferry.

We embark on a lancha in direction of the Island of the Moon. We will take the opportunity to bring some food to this small isolated island inhabited by about fifty families. 

The Isla de la Luna is the second sacred island of the Incas, after the Isla del Sol. One finds there the ruins of the palace Iñak Uyu, reserved to the Virgins of the Sun, the ñustas, chosen within the most noble families of the Empire. During their stay on this island, they received the education that would allow them to become future priestesses.

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

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 will be able to share the fresh cheese and the 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.

Then we take the direction of the Island of the Sun and the southern part. We disembark at the Inca site of Pilkokaina, ancient Inca palace. We spend the night in the village of Yumani.

You spend the night at the Ecolodge La Estancia.

Included: private transportation, picnic basket, dinner (excluding drinks), entrance(s) mentioned in the program, English speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 13 : Yumani - Copacabana - Tuni

Cholita aymara, Isla del Sol. ©hadynyah -

The island of the Sun is the most extended 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.

After having walked the small paths between the temples and the view of the lake and the mountains, we join Copacabana and the mainland.

Departure from Copacabana by private transport. We go along the Titicaca lake and the Royal Mountain Range until Tuni (4hrs).

You will spend the night at the Ecolodge Tuni.

Included: picnic basket, English speaking guide, local Spanish speaking guide, private transportation, dinner (excluding drinks), room & breakfast

Day 14 : Tuni

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

We spend two days hosted by the Quispe family. Jaime and Marisol receive us in their home in Tuni, an Aymara hamlet at 4400m of altitude, inhabited by about ten families.

The ancestral Aymara traditions are still very present there, and the Tuni community is committed to keeping them alive and sharing them. No staging, no disguises, the Quispe open their doors and let us live for a few days with them, in all simplicity, with the Pachamama at the center of beliefs and offerings.

You will spend the night in the Tuni hostel.

Included: all inclusive, local guide, room & breakfast, English speaking guide

Day 15 : Tuni - La Paz

Lamas ©PocholoCalapre -

We let ourselves live at the rhythm of the Cordillera. We follow Vicky to the village school, why not try an Aymara language course. The transmission of the ancestral traditions also passes by the teaching of this language still spoken in the villages.

We then propose ourselves as kitchen assistants with Denys and Marisol. The specialty here is the Huatia, cooking in an oven dug in the earth. One of the main foods is the chuño, a dehydrated potato. On the Altiplano, the soil and climate allow some communities to harvest only one potato crop per year. As a preservation method, the Andean people use a dehydration process during the coldest months to extract the starch from the potatoes. The taste is... peculiar, but the method is ingenious and we would do well to learn the technique.

We participate in the different tasks according to the season and the needs: making straw mattresses that will be sold in the surroundings, collecting animal excrements for the 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 will be able to learn how to weave and make warm clothes that are very appreciated in the mountains.

We take the road in direction of La Paz.

Night at the Naira Hotel***.

Included: local guide, lunch, room & breakfast, English speaking guide, private transportation, buffet breakfast, room

Day 16 : La Paz - El Alto Airport

Bolivie ©streetflash -

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

Included: transfer from the airport

Describe us your travel plan : your wishes and your needs

We send your request to local agencies

Receive freely up to 4 tailor-made quotes

Choose the agency that fits your needs