Dates: October 5 - 20, 2019
Duration: 16 days/15 nights
Cost per person: USD 2880 subject to 12 participants, USD 3050 subject to 10 participants, USD 3240 subject to 8 participants.
Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Lima,
- international medical insurance,
- meals not specified in program (up to USD 100 in total).
Estimated cost of international flight Moscow - Lima - Moscow: USD 1100 - 1300.
Additional payment for single accommodation in hotels: USD 240
(Single accomodation is available upon request everywhere except for Rurrenabaque and 2 nights in Uyuni)
TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO BOLIVIA
Day 0. October 5th, 2019. Flight from Moscow to Lima
Flight from Moscow (or another location) to Lima via Madrid (or another connection hub). Transfer to the hotel for having rest.
Overnight in Limper hotel (or similar).
* The following option can be used for the flight from Moscow to Madrid: with Aeroflot or with Iberia departure time 6:45 a.m.
The following direct flight from Madrid to Lima is recommended: direct flight with Iberia departure time 13:20 (connection time in Madrid 2h 20min)
Day 1. October 6th, 2019. Arrival to La Paz
Morning transfer to the airport and direct flight to La Paz, the economical and actual capital of Bolivia. Landing in El Alto – the highest altitude international airport located on the elevation of 4061 m above sea level. Leaving the aircraft you can easily feel the low air pressure.
Transfer from El Alto airport to the hotel in the city center.
This day we are taking the rest in order to get used to the altitude and get acclimatization.
In the afternoon we can walk around La Paz city center and see its colonial architecture and cultural diversity. Bolivia appears the second ranged country in America (after Guatemala) with the highest level of indigenous people among the entire population of the country.
Overnight in Tinka hotel (or similar).
Day 2. October 7th, 2019. La Paz sightseeing and departure to Rurrenabaque
After breakfast in the hotel, at 9 a.m. we start exploring La Paz city. La Paz, located in the crater of extinct volcano at the elevation from 3600 to 4000 meters above sea level, is the highest capital city in the world.
The geography of La Paz (in particular the altitude) is marked by social differences. The more rich and affluent people, the closer to the city center and, therefore, at the lowest altitude they live. The ideal way to see La Paz is the one from the viewpoint of K'Illi K'Illi which offers a magnificent perspective of La Paz and the majestic Nevado Illimani.
We visit vibrant and colorful Sagarnaga street and the Witches' Market also known as El Mercado de las Brujas, is a popular tourist attraction. Here you can see local witch doctors wearing black huts and selling everything, starting with potions, medical plants and amulets and finishing with dried frogs and llama fetuses. These llama fetuses are buried under the foundations of many Bolivian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama.
We take cable car, which is used for mass transportation (kind of subway in the sky) and known as not only the highest, but also the longest urban cable car network in the world.
We have lunch in one of the cozy restaurants of the city, e.g. in Oberland restaurant with a nice backyard.
In the afternoon by our own car we visit the Moon valley (Valle de la Luna), labyrinth formed by strange sandstone formations.
In the evening we have transfer to the airport to catch our flight at 4:30 p.m. to Rurrenabaque, Bolivian Amazon. Transfer and overnight in the hotel in Rurre.
Overnight in Casa de Campo hotel (or similar). Breakfast included.
Day 3. October 8th, 2019. Bolivian Amazon
Having breakfast in the hotel in Rurrenabaque, the town located on the bank of Beni river, in Bolivian Amazon. From here we start exploring National park Madidi. Ranging from the glacier-covered peaks of the high Andes Mountains to the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi River, Madidi and its neighbors are recognized as one of the planet's most biologically diverse regions.
Meanwhile, Madidi is considered a top-10 of the most inhospitable and dangerous places on Earth! If you saw "Jungle" movie (filmed in 2017), which followed a true story of Yossi Ghinsberg happened in 1981 in this place, you perfectly know what it means. Our itinerary is based on that real story and film "Jungle", however, thanks to right guides, we will fortunately not face all bad experiences and will only enjoy the wilderness!
Our "Jungle-movie-like-journey" starts at 8.30 a.m. After an hour walk through the jungle, we will get to the indigenous community "Villa Alicira" belonging to Tacana tribe, where you will have the opportunity to see and learn about Tacana traditions and customs. We will keep walking by the side of rivers Beni and Tuichi, enjoying the amazing landscape, until we arrive, around 12 (noon), to Eco Albergue Mashaquipe. The staff will welcome us with a refreshing fresh fruit juice and a delicious lunch. After a moment of pause to visit the lodge facilities and our accommodation we will get ready for an afternoon trek. The treks have been specifically designed so you can learn about nature and have an authentic experience observing the incredible wildlife which surrounds the lodge.
Overnight in Eco Albergue Mashaquipe lodge. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 4. October 9th, 2019. Exploring jungle in Madidi
Breakfast is served at 7.30 a.m. We gear up and get ready for our journey into the heart of the jungle. You will be given a sleeping bag, a mat and a mosquito net. The walk last for 5 hours until we reach our camp site "Patujusal" where we will spend the night. During the trek it's likely we will find, amongst other animals, monkeys, spiders, wild pigs, titi monkeys, howler monkeys. We will also be taught about traditional medicine.
The last activity of the day is an after dinner night walk in the camp surroundings. We will more than likely able to observe armadillos, serpents, night monkeys, tapirs, night birds and listen to the jaguar roar.
Overnight at Patujusal camp site. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 5. October 10th, 2019. Fluvial raft on Tuichi river and Tacana community
Wake up at 6.30 a.m. and have a breakfast. We will witness and listen to the noisy concert of the howler monkeys during the first hours of the day and to a variety of birds singing as if they were welcoming a new day in the jungle. After breakfast we will pick up our backpacks and head to "Farallon de las Parabas" where we will be able to observe beautiful macaws and other species of parrots.
The next activity will be building our own fluvial transport, the same as it was in the film "Jungle", which will take us back to the Albergue where lunch will be waiting.
After lunch we will move to the community Asuncion de Quiquibey which is in Pilon Lajas. This Tacana people belong to Mosetenes and Chimanes community and appear the most native community that we can find in these places, who still live in a simple and authentic way. Even in 1981 Yossi Ghinsberg and his fellows were not able to find any non-contact or low contact tribe, as such Indian tribes did not exist any longer at that moment in this part of the world.
We arrive to Tacana community around 4 p.m. We find a place where to fish, in the afternoon for the dinner we will learn to prepare meals with a family and spend time around a fireplace.
Overnight in Tacana community (basic accommodation, mattresses or warachas made of straw). Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 6. October 11th, 2019. Madidi National park and flight back to La Paz
At 6.00 a.m. a typical breakfast is served.
We spend this morning in the community, participate in Tacana people's authentic activities and learn how to make arrows, fans made with palm trees' leaves, a kind of mattress made also with leaves, etc.
Around 11 a.m. we return to the Ecolodge where we will have the lunch.
Around 3 pm return to Rurrenabaque and transfer to the airport in order to catch the flight to La Paz at 5:35 p.m.
Transfer from El Alto airport to the city center and check-in in cozy hotel.
Overnight in Tinka hotel (or similar). Breakfast, lunch included.
Day 7. October 12th, 2019. Death Road by bikes
After early breakfast in the hotel, at 07:30 a.m. we will be picked up and delivered to the office of Free Bikes Tour Operator.
Today we make one of the most amazing things not only in Bolivia but globally – we drive by bikes on the Death Road which is considered the most dangerous road in the world. If you brake effectively and do not hurry up, you will enjoy very much! On our side, we give you the - with full suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, and also the safety equipment (helmet, cycling gloves, elbow-knee pads, jacket, vest, trousers) to feel warm and confident. We will be accompanied by very experienced and professional English speaking cycling guides.
At 08:15 a.m. departure on the way to La Cumbre where we begin our journey, at a height of 4700 m above sea level in the Bolivian highlands between mountains with snowy peaks, descending slowly by a paved road until reaching a height of 2800 m, where the most dangerous road in the world begins, observing an astonishing tropical landscape with a lot of vegetation, and small waterfalls that are in the way until arriving at Yolosa where we finish to handle the bicycle and enter the Amazon forest at a height of 1.185 m above sea level. Thus for 4 hours we descend from 4700 m to 1185 m, losing 3500 meters of elevation for 1 ride!
Around 1 – 2 p.m. we arrive to Yolosa and go to a hotel for having the buffet lunch, shower and swimming pool. Thus, besides bringing warm closing and extra closing, pick up with you bathing suits, sun blocker and sunglasses.
At 4 p.m. start way back to La Paz with the arrival to La Paz between 7 to 8 p.m.
After getting DVD with the photos and videos and a T-shirt in the office of Free Bikes Tour Operator, we make short walk back to the hotel to have rest. We can have dinner in the city center en route to our hotel.
Overnight in Tinka hotel (or similar). Breakfast, lunch included.
Day 8. October 13th, 2019. Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol
After early breakfast in the hotel, at 7.30 a.m. departure by private transport to reach the Altiplano with the backdrop of the Cordillera Royale. In the middle of the morning, a boat crossing the Strait of Tiquina then continuation of the road to reach the extreme west of Bolivia. Late morning arrival to the small town of Copacabana nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Titicaca is the highest on Earth navigable lake, situated as high as 3812 m above sea level.
We navigate by motorboat to the cave of Lourdes and walk on the peninsula to the village of Yampupata.
We make trip by private boat to the Pilkokaina site on the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol). Isla del Sol is one of the largest islands of the lake. Geographically the terrain is harsh; it is a rocky, hilly island. There are no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island. The main economic activity of the approximately 800 families on the island is farming, with fishing and tourism augmenting the subsistence economy.
We make short walk to the village of Yumani located at the elevation of 4000 m above sea level.
Check-in in the cosy hostel and have a dinner.
Overnight in Puerta del Sol hostel (or similar). Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 9. October 14th, 2019. Sun island trekking and Copacabana
After breakfast in the hotel, we set off on foot for hiking and exploring archeological sites of the island. There are over 180 ruins on the island. Most of these date to the Inca period about 15th century AD.
We visit the ancient Inca ruins of Pilcocaina where God Viracocha gave birth to his son Manco Capac, the first Inca. We walk approximately 1 hour until we reach La Fuente del Inca (The Fountain of the Inca).
Finally a short traverse brings us to Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon), where we visit the temple of the "Ñustas", or temple of the Virgins.
After having a typical Andean lunch, we return by boat to Copacabana at the end of the afternoon, check-in in the hotel on the lake shore and having a dinner.
Overnight in Las Olas hotel (or similar). Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 10. October 15th, 2019. Tiwanaku and leaving for Uyuni
After breakfast in the hotel, departure in the morning by private car to visit the Tiwanaku site.
We drive along Lake Titicaca and the Royal Cordillera before branching out to the Tiwanaku site, a pre-Inca civilization called Pukina that dominated the southern half of the central Andes between the 5th century BC and the 11th century. It is believed that at times Tiwanaku had a territory of 6 square kilometers and population of 40 thousand people. In ca. 1180 it was left by its inhabitants after Pukina were defeated by Aymara. From year 2000 Tiwanaku is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.
We will unhurriedly walk among ancient ruins, have a lunch looking at kids and women playing football on the railways near Tiwanacu and, if we have a chance, we play with them.
In the afternoon we head to La Paz to the bus station in order to catch our comfortable sleeper bus to Uyuni at 9 p.m. Night bus to Uyuni.
Overnight in the night bus. Breakfast, lunch included.
Day 11. October 16th, 2019. Salar de Uyuni
Arrival to Uyuni at 6 a.m. and having breakfast. Picking up at the bus station and meeting with the crew in the office, we start our Altiplano expedition at 9.00 a.m. We visit train cemetery of old locomotives that worked with coal and arrived to Bolivia in 1889 with the purpose of transporting minerals. It is interesting to take pictures, with a blue sky and a radiant sun.
We head to Colchani original community, its inhabitants are engaged in salt industry and textile crafts with llama and alpaca wool.
We cross Salar de Uyuni that covers an area of 11 000 sq km at an elevation of 3 656 m above sea level and appears the largest salt lake and the biggest salt deposit in the world with an approximate 390 million tons. It has ideally flat surface which serves for the purposes of satellites calibration.
Salar with its salt pyramids, Ojos de Sal (Salt eyes) and pictograms with the backdrop of the blue sky appears one of the most amazing sites in Bolivia.
Arriving at Tunupa volcano (5321 m), we will visit the Chullpas (mummies), which are of pre-Inca origin and naturally preserved by time. The legend says that these mummies are from an era where it is said that the sun did not exist in this region, but when the sun was created, the mummies were burned and currently remain as mummies.
Trekking to Tunupa volcano (to the second viewpoint) starting at 4200 meters and climbing up to 4500 meters, enjoy an incredible view of the Salar.
After descending we continue our journey towards Incawasi island – natural wonder is located in the middle of the white Salar. Incawasi in Quechua language means House of the Inca. On this island, we admire the candelabra cacti with more than 10 meters height.
We visit Hotel de Sal, built with blocks of salt is the first salt construction. It currently works as a museum, overnight is not allowed there.
We see the sunset on the Salar de Uyuni, and arrive for the overnight to the salt hotel Crystal Samaña. Everything here is made of salt and it looks like a palace.
Overnight in salt hotel Crystal Samaña. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 12. October 17th, 2019. Volcanos and lakes of Altiplano
Wake up early in the morning to meet the sunrise at Salar de Uyuni. Start at 05.30 a.m.
After breakfast in salt hotel we continue our trip to the south of Bolivian Altiplano. The Altiplano is the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet. The bulk of the Altiplano lies in Bolivia. The Altiplano was the site of several pre-Columbian cultures, including the Chiripa, Tiwanaku and the Inca Empire.
We leave in the direction of three volcanoes: Callejon Cañapa (5882 m), Cerro Tomasamil (5890 m) and Ollague (5868 m). Visit the viewpoint of Ollague active volcano and observe its fumaroles. Ollague volcano is situated right on the border of Bolivia and Chile.
To the south from Callejon Cañapa we explore amazing lagunas (lakes): Laguna Cañapa, Laguna Honda and Laguna Hedionda. In these lakes we can observe three different species of flamingos: Andean, Jamessi and Chilensis.
Stop at Laguna Ramaditas with a high content of minerals such as, among others, borax, magnesium, sulfur, and enjoy impressive views of volcanic mountains around and flamingoes.
We pass Cañón del Inca, where we can observe a medicinal plant called "chachacoma" and the famous plant of the Andes, "yareta" that is a moss and serves as fuel, but nowadays they are protected.
We drive through surrealistic Altiplano landscapes of Montaña de Colores and Siloli desert, an inhospitable desert with the presence of mountains of volcanic origin with many different colors as it would be another planet. If we are lucky we can come across some animals such as vicuna or rhea ostrich.
Here we also can see well known Arbol di Piedra (Stone tree), a volcanic rock formed by wind erosion.
After this long journey we finally enter the Eduardo Abaroa reserve and come to Laguna Colorada (Red lake) which is located at the elevation of 4278 m and considered one of the most beautiful sites in the region. It has a high concentration of salt and minerals that is suitable for the creation of red microorganisms that appear the favorite food for flamingos.
Check-in at Huayllajara hostel with basic rooms, bathroom and hot water. Dinner
Overnight in Huayllajara hostel. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 13. October 18th, 2019. Eduadro Avaroa National reserve of Andean fauna
After early breakfast at 6.00 a.m. we head to the south to get acquaintance with Sol de Mañana, a geothermal field which extends over 10 sq.km, between 4800 m and 5000 m height. This area is characterized by intense volcanic activity and the sulphur springs field, not geysers as sometimes it can be read, is full of mud lakes and steam pools with boiling mud. The major mud lakes are located at 4850 m. We start early in the morning as in the early hours volcanic activity here is stronger.
Travelling further to the south we visit another big salt lake, Salar de Chalviri (or Laguna Polgues), located at the elevation of 4398 m above sea level. On the banks of the lake we find small natural pools with clean and hot water from the volcanoes. The water as hot as 37 degrees Celsius and has medicinal effect. Taking bath.
We continue to the east and arrive to Desierto de Dali (Desert of Salvador Dali), a colorful desert with a very impressive view on volcanic rocks seem carved structures but in reality they are all natural. It is so surrealistic and resembles paintings by Salvador Dali, that is why it has such a name.
We drive to the extreme south of the country where right before the border with Chile at height of 4350 m we find two more amazing lakes: Laguna Blanca (White lake) with a colony of flamingos and some rare vicunas around and Laguna Verde (Green lake) situated at the foot of Licancabur volcano (5995 m) and characterized by its unique emerald green color. Such a color is resulted by oxidation of minerals such as copper, sulfur, magnesium and other minerals. Due to high level of arsenic, nothing lives in this beautiful lake.
We pass beautiful plains with bright green moss and clean rivers populated by bizarre birds and chinchillas.
Finish the day in Quetena Chico, the village where indigenous people exclusively deal with raising llamas. Located as high as 4300 m above sea level, Quetena Chico is the good overnight point for right acclimatization before ascend to Uturuncu volcano. Dinner and overnight in hostel with basic accommodation.
Overnight in Hostal Uturuncu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 14. October 19th, 2019. Climbing Uturuncu volcano
Wake up early in the morning and at 5.00 a.m. depart by our SUVs to Uturuncu volcano.
With a height of 6 008 m, Uturuncu is considerably higher than neighboring mountains, and the tallest peak in the region. Uturunku has two summits, with a fumarole field between them. The volcano was sporadically active during the Pleistocene, with the most recent eruption dated at 271 000 years ago. Since then, Uturunku has displayed fumarolic activity. Starting in 1992, satellite observations have indicated a large area of regional uplift centered on Uturunku, which has been interpreted as an indication of large-scale magma intrusion under the volcano. This might be a prelude to large-scale volcanic activity, including "supervolcanic" activity and caldera formation. In 2012 the large eruption of Uturuncu was predicted that would paralyze all flight connection across the globe, but it did not happen.
By 4WD cars we reach up to 5500 meters above sea level, and the real ascent is only five hundred meters or so. This distance is usually covered in 3-5 hours. From the top we can see more than 40 small and large lakes. We make a short rest, then we undertake the descent that takes an hour approximately.
Then by cars we start our descent to Quetena Chico and way back to Uyuni. On the way we stop in some beautiful place to have lunch. In the afternoon we head back to Uyuni with short stops in San Cristobal and other places.
Arrival to Uyuni bus station and catching the night sleeper bus to La Paz
Overnight in the night bus. Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Day 15. October 20th, 2019. Flight back to Lima and further to Moscow
Arrival to La Paz at 6 a.m. After breakfast transfer to El Alto airport for flight to Lima at 10.30 a.m. with the arrival at 1 p.m.
Afternoon/evening flight to Moscow (or another city) via Madrid (or another connection hub)
* The following direct flight from Lima to Madrid is recommended: direct flight with Iberia departure time 19:45 or direct flight with Latam Chile departure time 19:10.
The following options can be used for the flight from Madrid to Moscow:
- with Iberia, departure time 17:40 (connection time in Madrid 3h 20min) and arrival to Moscow at 23:30 on 21 October or
- with Aeroflot, departure time 23:40 (connection time in Madrid 9h 20min) and arrival to Moscow at 5:25 on 22 October.