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Essential Bolivia - Private Tour


WPB9L
9 NIGHTS
FROM £2,495
International flights quoted separately
Experience the highlights of Bolivia on this private tour. From the high-altitude city of La Paz, fly to Villa Mar for an overland tour to the spectacular Salar de Uyuni salt flats - the largest in the world. View the dramatic colours, geology & landscapes of the REA Reserve, Pampas de Dali & Siloli Desert before heading to Lake Titicaca, with a boat ride to Sun Island. English speaking guide & all sightseeing included.
Bolivia Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Photo Lake Titicaca Sun Island
• 
La Paz
• 
Tiwanaku & Moon Valley
• 
Train Cemetery
• 
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Reserve
• 
Siloli Desert
• 
Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
• 
Polques & Sol de Mañana Springs
• 
Isla Incahuasi
• 
Lake Titicaca
• 
Sun Island
• 
La Paz
• 
Tiwanaku & Moon Valley
• 
Train Cemetery
• 
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Reserve
• 
Siloli Desert
• 
Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
• 
Polques & Sol de Mañana Springs
• 
Isla Incahuasi
• 
Lake Titicaca
• 
Sun Island
Day 1
You will be met at La Paz Airport and transferred to your hotel in the highest capital city in the world at over 11,900 ft (3,600 m).
 
Check in and enjoy views of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani.
Day 2
Today we drive 1.5-hours across the Bolivian altiplano to explore the Tiwanaku Ruins, the capital of an ancient civilisation situated near the southeastern shores of Lake Titikaka.
 
Tiwanaku (or Tiahuanaco) is a pre-Inca archaelogical site dating back to 1,580 BC and therefore considered to be the cradle of American civilisation. Impressive buildings include the Kalasasaya Temple, the semi-subterranean Earth Temple; the remarkable Gate of the Sun; the enormous Ponce ('Right') and Fraile ('Friar') monoliths and the Akapana Pyramid.
 
After an included picnic lunch, we return to the city for a tour of Nuestra Señora de La Paz, framed by the majestic triple-peaked Illimani Mountain.
 
With its pre-Hispanic influences and traditions, including magic rites that are practised on the streets, this city has a mixture of indigenous, colonial and modern areas. We visit the famous Witchdoctor's Market and the colonial San Francisco Church, whose mestizobaroque facade features carvings of masks, dragons and tropical birds. Here you can take the stone tunnel stairway to the roof for views across the city's skyline. On the main square, Plaza Murillo, you will see the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the National Congress buildings. Some interesting museums are clustered on the charming colonial street of Calle Jaen, and the replica of the semi-subterranean temple of the Tiwanaku culture is well worth seeing. You can also view typical handicrafts in Sagarnaga Street.
 
Our tour finishes with a drive to Moon Valley to walk around its dramatic lunar landscapes and tall clay spires. At the end of your tour, take the 'teleferico' (cable car) for outstanding views of La Paz.
Day 3
Transfer to La Paz Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Uyuni Airport by your guide, who will transfer you 4-hours through spectacular Bolivian  landscapes to the small village of Villa Mar.
 
As we leave Uyuni, we visit the fascinating Train Cemetery filled with the hollowed out bodies of locomotives that have completely rusted over. Most of these trains date back to the early 20th century and were imported from Britain to improve the rail network here, but the project was abandoned and the trains left to the mercy of the salt winds.
 
We continue through the highlands, travelling through the villages of San Cristobal and Culpina K and the high valley of Alota (picnic lunch included). View interesting geological formations eroded by the winds in the Valley of the Rocks and the cave paintings of Tomás Lakjas, as we arrive in Villa Mar.
Day 4
A full day on the road today as we leave Villa Mar and travel for 5.5-hours through spectacular landscapes to Ojo de Perdiz.
 
Our first stop is at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve (REA), where we visit the Green Lagoon in the foothills of the Licancabur Mountain. Moving sediments in this lake contain copper minerals, which produce a brilliant emerald colour.
 
We continue across the Pampas de Dali high desert, travelling past the Chalviri Lagoon to the hot springs of Polques, where you can bathe in their hot waters. We also visit the sulpher springs of Sol de Mañana (Morning Sun), with their steaming mud pools and boiling mud lakes that emit pressurised steam. This area is known for its intense volcanic activity and at times you can see geysers shooting into the sky over 150 ft (50 m).
 
We drive past Red Lagoon, declared a RAMSAR birding site of international significance as over 30,000 flamingos nest here at over 14,000 ft (4,278 m), before reaching the Siloli Desert where the famous Stone Tree geological formation can be seen. At the end of the day we check into our hotel in the tiny desert hamlet of Ojo de Perdiz.
 
Day 5
This morning we continue our journey to Colchani, with included lunch.
 
We leave the Siloli Desert and skirt the Chilean border as we drive northwards aross a valley that has five high altitude lagoons, originally part of the Uyuni Salt Flats but now boxed in between the high peaks of Tomasasil, Cañapa and Ollägue.
 
After stopping at the Ollague Volcano lookout point to watch its activity and take in the desert landscape, we travel past this chain of salty lagoons that are home to three different species of flamingo. The pink feet and feathers of these elegant birds are a result of their diet of red algae from these lakes. We also visit the Groote of the Galaxies, a huge misshapen cave that is full of stalactites and stalagmites - a result of the flooding and drying of the lakes Minchin and Tauka thousands of years ago.
 
Continuing through the villages of Alota and Culpina K, where the colonial church of San Cristobal has been moved from its original location, we drive past the Train Cemetery before arriving in Colchani on the shores of the Salar de Uyuni - the largest salt flats in the world.
Day 6
Today we spend a full day exploring the magnificent Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, with picnic lunch included.
 
At over 4,000 square miles (10,000 sq.km), this vast high altitude expanse was once a prehistoric lake that ran dry, leaving behind strange desert-like landscapes - with brightly reflecting white salt crusts (remember to wear sunglasses), unusual rock formations and eerie cacti-studded islands. Over half the world's lithium reserves are found in the brine under these salt crusts. The salt flats are also an important breeding ground for thousands of pink flamingos.
 
After spending some time admiring this astonishing scenery, we cross to Isla Incahuasi (Fish Island) - a rocky outcrop of land that was once an island but is now situated in the heart of the salt flats and populated with giant cacti that grow to over 33 ft (10 m). We also visit the pre-Columbian Pucara de Ayque fort and the nearby chullpares (burial towers) in the foothills of Thunupa Volcano, before checking into our hotel in Uyuni.
Day 7
Transfer to Uyuni Airport for your onward flight.

This morning you will be met at La Paz Airport by your guide for your scenic 4-hour transfer through the Andean Highlands to the town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
 
On arrival we visit the church with its famous shrine to the Virgen of Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.
 
We then board the 1-hour catamaran to Sun Island, the legendary birthplace of the Inca empire. We stop at Huacani for an included 'aptapi' (typical highlands lunch) before continuing by boat to the ruins of the Pilkokaina Inca temple.
 
Afterwards enjoy a 1-hour hike to La Estancia, for wonderful views over Lake Titicaca.
Day 8
At leisure to relax on Sun Island and explore more of its culture with your guide.
Day 9
Rise early today to see a magnificent sunrise over Lake Titicaca, as we hike down through the village of Yumani to the Inca garden, steps and 'Water of Eternal Youth' fountain. You can also visit the Ekako underground museum, with its traditional medicine and reed shipbuilders displays, handicraft centre and Pachamama agricultural terraces. Also look out for a variety of Andean camelids.
 
Afterwards we travel by boat to see the Chincana Ruins and Sacred Rock; the Island of the Moon and the Inca ruins of the Iñak Uyu temple, before returning to Copacabana harbour.
 
From here enjoy the scenic 4-hour drive through the Andean Highlands to La Paz, the highest capital city in the world at over 11,900 ft (3,600 m). Check in and enjoy views of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani.
Day 10
Transfer to La Paz Airport for your flight home.

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