Natural diversity of Bolivia

A wonderful tour through the natural diversities of the unique Inca Empire.

Our tour begins with the arrival in Santa Cruz, capital of the tropical low land of Bolivia. We discover the colonial center of the city by doing a small city tour. On the next day we carry on to Buena Vista, a coffee plantation and eco tourism location. This is also our starting point for a 3-day trip to a small hut settlement right within the evergreen rainforest of the national park Amboró. Afterwards we drive on an ancient trade road towards Samaipata, a small village in the green mountains at the border of the Andes. Here, exciting trips to pre-Columbian forts, a 30 meters high waterfall and giant tree ferns of the Amboró national park are waiting for us. From Samaipata on we will drive through an impressive landscape, including cactus deserts and cloud forests towards Totora, the most beautiful small city in Bolivia. From here on we discover one of the biggest Inca constructions of Bolivia, in the wild Andean highlands. Than we head off to the Toroto National Park. Here we will start wonderful trips into the close environment; we will see a giant canyon, hollows with stalagmites and stalactites, dinosaur traces and stony fossils. From Toronto on we head off to Cochabamba, the lively city in the heart of Bolivia with its colorful farmer’s market. Next stage is the Uyuni, where a 2-day tour into the biggest salt desert on earth is waiting for us. The governmental seat, La Paz concludes our roundtrip, now we have to bid farewell.

Highlights

  • Santa Cruz
  • Buena Vista with jungle trip Samaipata
  • Totora with Incallajta
  • Toro Toro Nacional park
  • Cochabamba
  • Uyuni
  • La Paz

Dates and Prices

  • Length: 21 days
  • 3. to 25. Mai 2009 Price: 1650 Euro

We offer

  • Transport within the country with Bus and Taxi
  • Accommodation in simple Hostels and tents
  • Mountaineering tours to Licancabur and Parinacota with organization, guidance and rented equipment
  • Round tour in the Salar de Uyuni
  • Travel guidance on site
  • Food and Beverages during the guided tours
  • Entrance to the national parks

Not included

  • Flight
  • Travel accident and health insurance
  • Travel luggage and travel cancellation insurance
  • Not mentioned food and beverages
  • Tips
  • Personal spending

Participants

  • Minimal: 2
  • Maximal: 10

Detailed description of the tour

1. Day: Arrival in Santa Cruz

Bienvenidos to the rising 1,5 Mio. Metrópolis Santa Cruz de la Sierra in the low lands of Bolivia. After the transfer to the Hotel, there is enough time to take a rest. In the afternoon we will do a short city trip into the colonial center of the city before enjoying a nice dinner in a traditional restaurant
Accommodation: Hotel Copacabana
Board: Dinner

2. Day: Santa Cruz - Buena Vista

We drive upon the well-constructed road towards the north and reach after two hours the village Buena Vista. This shall be the starting point for our jungle adventure- the tour into the northern part of the Amboró National Park. The tiny village Buena Vista with its typical colonial character is one of the coffee cultivation centers of the country. Its name comes from the beautiful view that its visitors can enjoy from here. The view above the deep wide area of the rain forest is just spectacular. In the afternoon we will visit the small coffee factory, observe the plantations and get to know more about the process of cultivation until the calcinations of coffee, that of course we will also try ourselves.
Accommodation: Ecoalbergue Candelaris
Transport: Bus: Santa Cruz – Buena Vista, Taxi: Buena Vista - Ecolalbergue
Board: none

3. Day: Buena Vista – „La Chonta“, Amboro National Park

In the morning we head off together with our local guide, firstly by taxi and than by foot. After 11 exhausting kilometers of walk and crossing the Rio Surutú we finally reach the huts of the community tourism project “La Chonta” right within the forest
Accommodation: in huts
Transport: Taxi: Ecolaubergue – Buena Vista – Rio Surutú
Board: Lunch, dinner

4. Day: „La Chonta“, Amboro National Park

The whole day we will be guided through the beauty of nature by our guide. A nature-teaching-trail teaches us a lot of interesting facts about the local flora and fauna. With a bit of luck we will see monkeys, colorful parakeets and probably even the track of a jaguar. In the Rio Saguayo we will take a refreshing bath and in the afternoon the residents tell us more about the ecological honey production
Accommodation: in huts
Transport: none
Board: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

5. Day: Amboró National Park – Buena Vista

On horse back we will return to the staring point of our hiking tour. The taxi takes us to Buena Vista, where we will spend the last hours of the day at the pool of a wonderful hotel with comfortable hut accommodation and a spectacular view above the Amboró National Park.
Accommodation: El Cafetal
Transport: Rio Surutú – Buena Vista – El Cafetal
Board: Breakfast

6. Day: Buena Vista – Saimapata

After having breakfast we head of to Saimapata. On the way we will have a break in Santa Cruz to get something to eat, namely a Bife Chorizo, a delicious grilled piece of beef. Then we carry on to Saimapata. Here we are surrounded by a beautiful tropical forest on the right and left, as well as by fruit plantations and small colonies. Later on, the street empties into a narrow valley and gets steeper and steeper. Now we are at the foothills of the Andes , the so-called “Codo de los Andes”. This is a transition region of three eco systems, the Amazonas, Chaco and the Andes. In „Las Cuevas“ we admire a row of small waterfalls and take a refreshing bath. In the evening we should arrive at Saimapata. This small colonial village lies wonderfully right within the green mountains and attracts more and more foreigners to settle down here. For us it is the starting point for our discovery tour into the attractive environment.
Accommodation: cottage
Transport: El Cafetal – Buena Vista – Santa Cruz – Samaipata
Board: Breakfast, lunch

7. Day: Samaipata „El fuerte”

In the morning Our local guide accompanies us to the Inca fort „El Fuerte“, a cultural and administration center of the pre Columbian culture. Constructed by the Incas it is presenting the eastern circumference of the Inca emporium. An easy hike leads us to this enormous construction (UNESCO world culture heritage). In the afternoon we visit a small archeological museum, where we will find out more about the ministries of the pre Columbian ruins. Afterwards we will have some time to relax at the pool or in the sauna in our cottage.
Accommodation: Cottage
Transport: Samaipata – El Fuerte – Samaipata, duration 1 hour in total
Board: none
Hike: easy, 2 hours

8. Day: Samaipata

In the morning we start our trip towards „Los Nidos de los Condores“ (the cluster of the condors). Our journey by truck over bumpy roads will take 2 hours before we will arrive at the entrance of the canyon. By foot we cross the canyon and admire the sky where with a bit of luck we will see some condors, flying majestically above us. Afterwards we carry on to „La Pajcha“, a 30 meters high waterfall surrounded by tropical vegetation. At the tiny sandy beach we will take a refreshing bath as well as a relaxing rest. In the late afternoon we arrive at Samaipata.
Accommodation: cottage
Transport: Samaipata – La Pajcha – Samaipata, duration 5 hours in total
Board: Lunch

9. Day: Samaipata – Totora

Steadily we start into the most diverse part of our journey, at least as far as the landscape is concerned. We leave Saimapata and drive towards the southeast. The Vegetation is changing every kilometer, after 1-2 hours we find ourselves surrounded by gigantic tree cactuses. Now it doesn’t take long; during the long ascend to the mountains, dense fog of the cloud forest is partly leading to poor visibility. Then the clouds and the fog thins out a bit so that we can enjoy a beautiful view on the breathtaking game of clouds, green mountains and deep valleys, that lie right underneath us. Soon the road is dusting again and the vegetation gets sparser and sparser – we drive right into an Andean highland. In the late afternoon we arrive at Totora, maybe the most beautiful colonial city of Bolivia. Once it has been destroyed by an earthquake, but fortunately constructed again.
Accommodation: Casa Huespedes „Eva“
Transport: Samaipata – Totora, duration 5- 6 hours
Board: Lunch

10. Day: Totora – Incallajta

After a short walk through the small village, we head of to the legendary Inca fort Incallajta. After one-hour drive we arrive the mysterious and lonely ruins surrounded by a steep rocky wall. The ruins are sparsely discovered and include (on 12 hectares) also the walls of the biggest covered building of the enormous Inca Empire. Our local guide informs us about the mythos of the Incallajta before we return to Totora in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Casa Huespedes „Eva“
Transport: Totora – Incallajta – Totora, duration 2 hours
Board: Lunch

11. Day: Totora – Torotoro National park

In the morning we start our next adventure from Totora into the Torotoro National Park, Bolivia’s smallest National park right within the fascinating mountain region. The region around the small site Torotoro is a gigantic adventure play yard for geologists, paleontogists, archeologists and botanists as fossils of dinosaurs, turtles and ocean shells can be found here. Besides and not to forget also the archeological ruins and wall paintings can be observed. In the afternoon we will reach the small site and will firstly take a rest to recover from the long journey.
Accommodation:
Transport: Totora – Torotoro, duration 6 hours
Board: Lunch

12. Day: Torotoro National park

During our first day here we will discover the Umajallanta hollow with its Stalagmites and stalactites and its underground lakes. In the afternoon we visit the turtle graveyard – fossils of petrified turtles – surrounded but the red rising sun. A fascinating coulisse in the wilderness of Bolivia.
Accommodation:
Transport: Torotoro – Umajalanta – Torotoro, duration 1 hour in total
Board: Lunch
Hike: easy, 2 hours

13. Day: Torotoro National park

Today we discover the petrified dinosaurs leads and head off to a 120 meters deep canyon. We climb down into the canyon where we directly refresh ourselves in the clear water of the „El Vergel“. These are two waterfalls that sputter out of the rocks and breakout on a great area of dash. According to your condition and fitness we could also visit a small canyon on the other side, where archeological paintings are waiting for us.
Accommodation:
Transport: Torotoro – El Vergel, duration 1 hour in total
Board: Lunch
Hike: medium, 3-5 hours

14. Day: Torotoro National park – Cochabamba

We leave Torotoro and head off towards the north to arrive at Cochabamba in the afternoon. This third biggest city of Bolivia lies in the heart of the Andean state and right in front of the Pico Tunari, the highest mountain of Bolivia’s central Andes. In the afternoon we check into our centrally located hotel and have enough time to relax.
Accommodation: Hotel Monserrat
Transport: Torotoro – Cochabamba, duration approx 5 hours
Board: Lunch

15. Day: Cochabamba

The city of the eternal spring as Cochabamba is called is waiting for us today. We will visit the famous farmers market „La Cancha“. Here you will find just everything! In the afternoon we will climb up the Cerró San Pedro. On its top a Christ statue with wide opened arms is waiting for us. From high up here we enjoy a marvelous view above the city and the whole valley, limited by the Cordillera Tunari and the Pico Tunari.
Accommodation: Hotel Monserrat
Transport: within Cochabamba
Board: none

16. Day: Cochabamba – Oruro – Uyuni

In the morning we will leave Cochabamba and drive up an interesting mountain road into Altiplano, a gigantic highlands at a height of 4000 meters. We reach Oruro, the city of carnival, and get on to a very random vehicle of Bolivia – a train! This train that crosses the country up to the border of Argentinia, we will leave in the mid of the night in Uyuni, where we will check into our hotel.
Accommodation:
Transport: Cochabamba – Oruro, Oruro – Uyuni
Board: none

17. Day: Uyuni – Salar de Uyuni

Uyuni is our starting point for discovering one of the miracles of the earth, the Salar de Uyuni, the biggest salty desert on earth. We will visit a salt production and get to know interesting facts about the converting of salt up to its packing, and we can observe how the salt is being loaded on the trucks and transported further. The Salar water shines in a deep blue color and the workers retire. In the dry season this water evaporates and a hard salty crust stays. Besides there is a hostel out of salt, including a museum. Here can be bought all kinds of artifacts made of salt, as well as the usual tourism kitsch. Now we carry on to the endless widths of the Salar. There are no trails, but our driver will find the way. Our destination is the Isla Pescado, a fish formed island, which appears slightly above the salt, significantly covered by cactuses. These are about 1200 years old and reach a height of 12 meters. They offer the perfect color contrast to the white salt lake. This highest point of the island comprises only 100-meter surface, but offers an impressive overview up to the ice covered volcano summits. In Pueblo San Juan we will stay overnight, totally distanced and in quite a height.
Accommodation: Simple accommodations at site
Transport: Jeep
Board: Lunch and dinner

18. Day: Lagoons and volcanoes

In the same way as yesterday we will carry on our adventure today, crossing lonely villages, rotten schools and interesting landscapes. Smoking volcanoes, like the Ollague (5800m) and the most differing cactuses and forms of vegetations. Today’s highlights are the Laguna Verde with the 6000meters high pyramid of the Licancabur and a thermal bath nearby, a hot source with bathing possibilities. We head off to two read lagoons, various flamingos included. With a bit of luck we will observe the natural change of the lagoon from red to green.
Accommodation: Simple accommodation in Villamar
Transport: Jeep
Board: Lunch and dinner

19. Day: Geysire

For this day we have planned a trip to the Sol de Manana, a Geysire out of cooking lava mud holes. These are only active early in the morning and blow a 10 meters high cloud of steam into the ice-cold air. Joined by yellow brimstone steams and brewing holes. Afterwards we are passing a random, gray rock formation, namely Arbol de Piedra, tree out of stone. Further bizarre landscapes and flamingos accompany us on our way. Afterwards we are passing a random, gray rock formation, namely the Arbol de Piedra, tree out of stone. The long ear Chinchillas live here and have just as much fun as we climbing in the mountains. Further bizarre landscapes and flamingos accompany us on our way to Uyuni, where we lastly will visit a graveyard. After enjoying a nice shower in the hotel a delicious dinner is waiting for us – a real luxury after these exhausting days. In the same day we head off to La Paz. Fortunately we have booked a bus with reclining seats, so that we will hopefully have a peaceful sleep.
Accommodation: none
Transport: bus
Board: lunch and dinner

20. Day: La Paz

In the morning we arrive at La Paz, the governmental capital of La Paz. The entrance into the city by bus is impressive as we are looking on houses as far as the eye can see surrounded by gigantic mountains, including the iceberg Ilimani. The forenoon we will relax a bit to be fit for our city tour in the afternoon. We will walk through pretty alleys and markets and enjoy the cosmopolitan flair of this impressive city.
Accommodation: Hotel Galeria
Transport: none
Board: lunch and dinner

21. Day: Departure

Definitely the saddest day, as today you will have to return home. Of course our guide will be glad to accompany you to the airport. Before heading back home we will skim through Bolivia mentally. Interesting keen insights of the Andean and Amazon regions let us recall the most exceptional memories of our journey and create a lot of space for more ideas and itinerary. We hope that you enjoyed your special South-American experience and that it won’t be your last one!

Additional information