A cultural tour of Bolivia
High up in the Andes is landlocked Bolivia, the Tibet of the Americas. Explore the cultural wealth of the country, as it has the highest concentration of indigenous people, who to this day maintain their traditional ways and beliefs. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (3,800 meters, 12,507 feet) and has been one of the main focuses of human settlement in South America since prehistoric times. World Heritage Bolivia gives you a glimpse of previous existence of one of the oldest civilizations known to man.
Day 01: Arrive La Paz
We are welcomed at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax and get accustomed to the altitude.
Overnight: Hotel Europa (2 nights)
Day 02: La Paz
The city of La Paz and its surroundings can transport you to a mysterious past where any corner, any street, is a hidden treasure with a living history and traditions dating to pre-Hispanic times, We visit Plaza Murillo, the Indian Market, the Witch Doctor’s Market and various observation points for breathtaking panoramas of Illimani Mountain, followed by an afternoon visit of the Valle de la Luna, a clay formation resembling the face of the Moon. (B)
Day 03: La Paz / Tiwanaku / Huatajata
We drive to Tiwanaku and explore the ruins of one of the oldest civilizations in America. The city of Tiwanaku, capital of a powerful pre-Hispanic empire that dominated a large area of the southern Andes and beyond, reached its apogee between 500 and 900 AD. Its monumental remains, such as the Gate of the Sun, the temple of Kalasasaya and the pyramid of Akapana testify to the cultural and political significance of this civilization, which is distinct from any of the other pre-Hispanic empires of the Americas. The Tiwanaku state controlled agriculture produced the surplus wealth to support the urban centre and administrative system, which collapsed around 1.000 AD after a long drought.
We continue to Huatajata on a road that runs parallel to the Cordillera Real, the Royal Range of the Andes. After arrival in Huatajata we explore Andean Roots Eco Village, including the Altiplano Museum, featuring the cultural heritage of the Aymaras and the Incas, the Spanish colonial times and Jacques Cousteau expedition to Lake Titicaca. In the village we can see the mud Igloos of the Uru Chipayas and meet the Limachi family, builders of the RA II and Tigris for Thor Heyerdhal’sepic expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean. After dinner we have a magical visit to “The Mystic World of the Kallawayas”, the natural healers of Bolivia, authorized by law to practice natural medicine. They believe that you first have to heal the soul in order to heal your body. “Tata Benjo”, our Kallawaya healer will bless visitors and answer questions by casting his sacred coca leaves.
Overnight: Inca Utama Hotel & Spa (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 04: Huatajata / Copacabana / Huatajata
A hydrofoil cruise takes us to the Urus-Iruitos floating islands on Lake Titicaca and the Quewaya Sustainable Project, a social project created to ensure the survival of the 5000 year old culture of the people living on this man-made islands. We continue and travel to the Island of the Moon to visit the Iñak Uyu Sun Virgin´s Temple and continue to the Island of the Sun Island to visit the Inca Staircase and the Sacred Fountain believed to give eternal youth & happiness. We then enjoy a traditional lunch at the “Uma Kollu” archaeological restaurant, located at the top of the island with incomparable views of sacred Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real.
In the afternoon we take another hydrofoil to Copacabana, the main town on Lake Titicaca, where we visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, a large 16th-century shrine, home to the image of Our Lady of Copacabana, patron saint of Bolivia. We return to Huatajata for dinner. In the evening we visit the Alajpacha Native Observatory where we will learn about the Southern constellations and the Aymaras cosmovision. (B, L, D)
Day 05: Huatajata / Oruro
We drive to Calarmarca to visit the 16th century church that contains paintings by the Master of Calamarca, a Bolivian artist who created a series of paintings of angels in the first half of the 18th century. We continue to Curahuara de Carangas and visit the church built in 1608 . The church is also called the Sistine Chapel of the Andes, due to the magnificent frescoes painted by local parishioners in 1777 that cover all of its walls. We enjoy box lunch on our way to Oruro.
Overnight: Hotel Eden (1 night) (B, L)
Day 06: Oruro / Uyuni
We travel from Oruro to Uyuni through the magnificent landscapes of the Andes in 4X4 vehicles, enjoying our box lunch en route. After arrival in Uyuni, the afternoon is free to relax. Overnight: Hotel Luna Salada (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 07: Uyuni / Salt Flats / Uyuni
We take a full day excursion to the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on earth, driving through the stunning scenery to Isla Pescado with its singular type of flora and surface rocks that contain fossils of marine algae. After lunch we explore the salt factories in Colchani. (B, L, D)
Day 08: Uyuni / Potosi
Today we drive to the city of Potosi. In the 16th century, this area was regarded as the world’s largest industrial complex. The extraction of silver ore relied on a series of hydraulic mills. The site consists of the industrial monuments of the Cerro Rico, where water is provided by an intricate system of aqueducts and artificial lakes. Potosi is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at 4,090 metres (13,420 ft). Founded in 1546 as a mining town, it soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming one of the largest cities in the Americas and the world, with a population exceeding 200,000 people. Overnight: Hotel Coloso (1 night) (B, L)
Day 09: Potosi / Sucre
We explore the colonial streets of Potosi, including visits of the Royal Mint of Potosi (closed on Mondays), the most important silver mint of the Spanish Empire and the Santa Teresa Museum. In the afternoon we drive to the Historic City of Sucre, the first capital of Bolivia, was founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century. Its many well-preserved 16th-century religious buildings, illustrate the blending of local architectural traditions with styles imported from Europe.
Overnight: Parador Santa Maria Hotel (2 nights) (B)
Day 10: Sucre
We explore the Historic City of Sucre, visiting the Casa de la Libertad, where Simón Bolívar signed the Bolivia’s Declaration of Independence of Bolivia; the cathedral, churches and cloisters of La Recoleta, San Felipe de Neri, Guadalupe and San Francisco, as well as the San Francisco Xavier University Museum that contains fine examples of anthropological research as of colonial and modern art. (B, L)
Day 11: Sucre / Santa Cruz / San Javier / Concepcion
We are transferred to the airport for our short flight to Santa Cruz. Upon arrival we are received and drive to the Chiquitania region for our exploration of the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos.
Between 1696 and 1760, six ensembles of reducciones (settlements of Christianized Indians) inspired by the ‘ideal cities’ of the 16th-century philosophers were founded by the Jesuits in a style that married Catholic architecture with local traditions. We visit San Francisco Javier, the westernmost and the earliest. It is now a small village whose traditional habitat preserves some characteristics of the domestic architecture of the Jesuits, although the height of 6.25 m established for each house is rarely encountered. The school has survived, as well as the church, the work of Father Martin Schmidt. We enjoy our box lunch and continue to Concepción.
Overnight: Gran Hotel Concepcion (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 12: Concepcion / Santa Cruz
We drive to the Santa Teresita Stone for a panoramic view of the Valle Chiquitano and visit the Church of Concepción built in in 1725 by Father Martin Schmidt. We also visit the Museo Misional to see different wood sculptures, before our return drive to Santa Cruz.
Overnight: Hotel Los Tajibos (2 nights) (B, L)
Day 13: Santa Cruz
We take a full day excursion to Fuerte de Samaipata, the largest carved stone in the world. The archaeological site of Samaipata consists of two parts: the hill with its many carvings, believed to have been the ceremonial centre of the old town (14th–16th centuries), and the area to the south of the hill, which formed the administrative and residential district. The huge sculptured rock, dominating the town below, is a unique testimony to pre-Hispanic traditions and beliefs, and has no parallel anywhere in the Americas. (B, L)
Day 14: Depart Santa Cruz
After our incredible journey of marvelling at Bolivia’s cultural and natural heritage, we are transferred to the airport. (B)
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-Hotels as mentioned (or similar)
-Meals as mentioned B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner
-All Sightseeing and transfers on seat-in-coach basis
-Services of local multilingual speaking guides
-One way air ticket Sucre/Santa Cruz
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