New! Bolivia's Sky-High Salt Flats & Lakes | Mountain Travel Sobek

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New! Bolivia's Sky-High Salt Flats & Lakes

Trip Length 7 days

From $3,295

  • Visit La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, and its bustling traditional Andean markets
  • Discover a surreal wilderness of endless salt flats, high deserts, flamingo-dotted multicolored lagoons and steaming geysers of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and the southwest
  • Take in the sacred Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the Incas, and its Sun and Moon islands strewn with ruins and stunning views

There are few places on Earth as dazzling and dreamlike as Bolivia, South America’s landlocked gem. Your quest begins in La Paz with a roam around the city’s buzzy markets that showcase a fascinating blend of Andean flavors. Venture into the world’s largest salt flat, the spectacularly surreal Salar de Uyuni with its unbroken expanses of salt stretching into the sky. Mingle with pink flamingos at the high-altitude Eduardo Abaroa wildlife reserve with its multicolored lagoons, passing sky-high deserts and steamy geysers. Travel on to Lake Titicaca, where the Incas believed the world was created. Journey by boat to the mystical Sun and Moon islands, for scenic hikes to spectacular Incan ruins and stairways paired with lake vistas. Experience nature’s grandeur and civilization’s sacred sites on this unforgettable Andean adventure.

Day 1: Arrive in La Paz

Arrive at El Alto airport, the world’s highest international airport at 13,115 feet above sea level. Enjoy stellar views of the city on the short drive to the hotel. After settling in, set off on a unique visit to the popular neighborhoods and markets of La Paz, guided by a “lustra bota,” or “shoeshiner,” who will provide rare insight into this mesmerizing city.

The walking tour starts with a short visit to the cemetery, continuing on to the Fish Street market, the Flower market, and the Uruguay market, where we'll see various species of birds and animals—and, of course, amazing local food. The tour continues to Eloy Salmón street lined with shops and stalls selling the latest technology and on to the Cholitas market, where indigenous women shop for traditional skirts and blankets. Next, we visit the popular Belen Dining Room and Rodriguez market. The tour concludes at San Pedro square, where the well-known San Pedro prison is located. Following the tour is a Teleférico (cable car) ride—the highest in the world—for an unforgettable eagle-eye view of the city!

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Casona Hotel Boutique

Day 2: La Paz - Uyuni – Villamar

Transfer to the airport in the morning for your flight from La Paz to Uyuni, landing at the shores of Salar de Uyuni, the Uyuni salt flats. A remnant of prehistoric lakes that evaporated here eons ago, the world’s largest salt flat stretches more than 4,050 square miles of Bolivia’s Altiplano (high-altitude Andean plateau), encrusted with salt and blending in with the horizon. Continue south by 4WD through the dramatic highlands, passing the villages of San Cristobal and Culpina K, the high Andean valley of Alota, and striking areas with stone formations created by the erosion. Continue on through high-altitude valleys until you reach the village of Villamar, where we spend the night at Mallku Cueva Hotel, a traditional Andean hideaway nestled beneath a rock on the lagoons of the Lípez route.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Mallku Cueva Hotel

Day 3: Villamar – Colored Lagoons – Ojo de Perdiz

Early morning today we enter the National Reserve Eduardo Abaroa in Bolivia’s far southwestern corner, an expensive protected area reaching up to 17,700 feet in altitude, home to pumas, Andean condors and vicuñas. Visit Laguna Colorada, which was declared a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of International Importance) due to the nesting of over 30,000 flamingos at high altitudes. Continue up to the Sol de Mañana geysers, passing the Challviri lagoon with its Polques hot springs known for their healing properties. Cross the surrealist-looking high desert of Pampas de Dali—the name is a nod to the surrealist master—to finally reach Laguna Verde in the foothills of the imposing Licancabur mountain. Journey back to Laguna Colorada, and on to the high deserts of Siloli painted with a range of colors that nature has capriciously combined, visiting the bizarre Arbol de Piedra rock formation, and finally reaching Ojo de Perdiz.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tayka del Desierto Hotel

Day 4: Ojo de Perdiz – Minor Lagoons – Uyuni Salt Flats – Colchani

In the morning, journey north through the minor lagoons and continue east through branches of the Andean range, reaching the high valley of Alota after three hours. Continue north through the highlands, passing the villages of San Agustin and San Juan, and entering the great Uyuni salt flat at Chuvica. Cross the Salar to Isla Incahuasi, a unique island habitat of volcanic rocks and dotted with giant cactus. Continue east to the village of Colchani, where the locals extract salt, just in time to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Check into your extraordinary home for the night, a hotel with walls, ceilings, chairs and tables made of salt.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Palacio de Sal Hotel

Day 5: Colchani – Uyuni – La Paz – Lake Titicaca

In the morning, we'll transfer to the nearby airport for your flight to La Paz. Upon arrival at El Alto’s airport, travel north through the majestic highlands, traveling parallel to the Andes Royal Range (Cordillera Real) until you reach Copacabana, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Titicaca is South America’s largest lake and the center of the Andes’ most important pre-Hispanic cultures. We’ll visit the Moorish-style basilica from the 17th century, well known as a Catholic pilgrimage site, and the famous Virgen Morena, a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, travel by motor boat for an hour to the legendary Sun Island, the largest of Lake Titicaca's islands. The Incas believed the sun god was born here, and modern life still eludes the island. The rocky hills have eucalyptus trees, but no cars or paved roads. At Huacani, enjoy an aptapi (a typical lunch in the highlands), and then move on by boat to the Inca ruins of Pilkokaina. Finally, we hike to La Estancia while enjoying a wonderful view of Lake Titicaca. We’ll spend the night at this solar-powered eco-lodge, with its thatch-roofed adobe cabins placed amidst pre-Incan terraces.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Ecolodge La Estancia

Day 6: Sun Island – Moon Island – Copacabana – La Paz

Today begins with a hike down to the village of Yumani, from where we take a boat to the Moon Island. Legends in Inca mythology refer to the island as the location where Viracocha commanded the rising of the moon and the highlight of our visit will be a trip to visit the ruins of Iñak Uyu Inca temple. Afterwards take a boat ride to Copacabana (1½ hours) and then drive back to La Paz (3½ hours). This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner folk show at a peña, a restaurant that showcases the singing and dancing of diverse Bolivian cultures, from the Andes to the tropical valleys. Performers present traditional dances in hand-woven clothing and play handmade instruments such as zampoñas (bamboo flutes) and charangos (small guitars made of wood or armadillo skin). 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Casona Hotel Boutique

Day 7: Depart from La Paz

Transfer to La Paz airport and depart on homeward-bound flights (your flight can depart at any time).

  • Breakfast

Jul 22 - 28, 2018

Sep 23 - 29, 2018

pricing

$3,295 (4 – 12 trip members)

Single supplement $550

Internal Air $375 per person La Paz/Uyuni/La Paz

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Ecolodge La Estancia — Lake Titicaca

La Estancia is a unique ecolodge on the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. It combines Andean architecture with modern comforts while respecting the harmony of the environment and indigenous people. Fifteen cabins were constructed with adobe brick and thatch roofs, and use only solar power. Set between pre-Inca agricultural terraces, they offer spectacular views of the lake, Moon Island, and the Andes range. The lodge has a restaurant and bar, where you can savor local dishes and drinks while basking in the wonder of one of the most sacred places in Andean culture.

La Casona Hotel Boutique — La Paz

Set in a colonial-style mansion only 50 feet from San Francisco Square, La Casona places you right in the heart of La Paz. From here it’s an easy walk to the cathedral, markets, and hip cafes. But the hotel itself is an experience. Gabled roofs, grotto-like rooms, a courtyard, and warm Spanish décor add to the historic charm. The excellent restaurant specializes in Mediterranean and regional dishes, and the rooftop terrace is the perfect setting for relaxing with a drink above the bustling city streets.

Mallku Cueva Hotel — Uyuni

An interesting rock formation rises up behind this pleasant hotel situated in a remote region, south of Uyuni. The hotel's rustic architecture is inspired by regional Andean designs, and all the rooms feature private bathrooms and central or electrical heating. This is without doubt the best hotel south of Uyuni and a great way to escape from it all.

Palacio de Sal Hotel — Uyuni

Bolivia’s unique Hotel Palacio de Sal is located in the village of Colchani, surrounded by the spectacularly vast and beautiful landscapes of Salar de Uyuni. The walls, ceilings, chairs and tables at the “Salt Palace” are made of salt, making the hotel one of the world’s most extraordinary places to stay. In addition to the dreamy location and all the creature comforts, the hotel offers complimentary bicycles, so you can ride into the town of Uyuni, just 23km away. Rooms come complete with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi, and many have scenic mountain views. Facilities include a restaurant that serves delicious Andean cuisine, a bar, a lounge with a pool table, and a sun terrace.

Tayka del Desierto Hotel — Siloli Desert

Tayka del Desierto is a simple but cozy lodge surrounded by the spectacularly wild landscapes of Bolivia’s colorful Siloli Desert. Made of sandstone rocks and a straw roof, this community-run guesthouse—built by four local families—features typical Andean architecture. The well-heated rooms have private bathrooms with hot water, comfortable beds, and pretty views. Powered by solar energy, this lovely lodge makes a great base for exploring the nearby lagoons and the National Reserve Eduardo Abaroa. You can linger by the fireplace taking in the plateau panorama, admire star-splattered night skies, and enjoy tasty local specialties served at the restaurant.

  • Visit La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, and its bustling traditional Andean markets
  • Discover a surreal wilderness of endless salt flats, high deserts, flamingo-dotted multicolored lagoons and steaming geysers of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and the southwest
  • Take in the sacred Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the Incas, and its Sun and Moon islands strewn with ruins and stunning views

There are few places on Earth as dazzling and dreamlike as Bolivia, South America’s landlocked gem. Your quest begins in La Paz with a roam around the city’s buzzy markets that showcase a fascinating blend of Andean flavors. Venture into the world’s largest salt flat, the spectacularly surreal Salar de Uyuni with its unbroken expanses of salt stretching into the sky. Mingle with pink flamingos at the high-altitude Eduardo Abaroa wildlife reserve with its multicolored lagoons, passing sky-high deserts and steamy geysers. Travel on to Lake Titicaca, where the Incas believed the world was created. Journey by boat to the mystical Sun and Moon islands, for scenic hikes to spectacular Incan ruins and stairways paired with lake vistas. Experience nature’s grandeur and civilization’s sacred sites on this unforgettable Andean adventure.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in La Paz

Arrive at El Alto airport, the world’s highest international airport at 13,115 feet above sea level. Enjoy stellar views of the city on the short drive to the hotel. After settling in, set off on a unique visit to the popular neighborhoods and markets of La Paz, guided by a “lustra bota,” or “shoeshiner,” who will provide rare insight into this mesmerizing city.

The walking tour starts with a short visit to the cemetery, continuing on to the Fish Street market, the Flower market, and the Uruguay market, where we'll see various species of birds and animals—and, of course, amazing local food. The tour continues to Eloy Salmón street lined with shops and stalls selling the latest technology and on to the Cholitas market, where indigenous women shop for traditional skirts and blankets. Next, we visit the popular Belen Dining Room and Rodriguez market. The tour concludes at San Pedro square, where the well-known San Pedro prison is located. Following the tour is a Teleférico (cable car) ride—the highest in the world—for an unforgettable eagle-eye view of the city!

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Casona Hotel Boutique

Day 2: La Paz - Uyuni – Villamar

Transfer to the airport in the morning for your flight from La Paz to Uyuni, landing at the shores of Salar de Uyuni, the Uyuni salt flats. A remnant of prehistoric lakes that evaporated here eons ago, the world’s largest salt flat stretches more than 4,050 square miles of Bolivia’s Altiplano (high-altitude Andean plateau), encrusted with salt and blending in with the horizon. Continue south by 4WD through the dramatic highlands, passing the villages of San Cristobal and Culpina K, the high Andean valley of Alota, and striking areas with stone formations created by the erosion. Continue on through high-altitude valleys until you reach the village of Villamar, where we spend the night at Mallku Cueva Hotel, a traditional Andean hideaway nestled beneath a rock on the lagoons of the Lípez route.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Mallku Cueva Hotel

Day 3: Villamar – Colored Lagoons – Ojo de Perdiz

Early morning today we enter the National Reserve Eduardo Abaroa in Bolivia’s far southwestern corner, an expensive protected area reaching up to 17,700 feet in altitude, home to pumas, Andean condors and vicuñas. Visit Laguna Colorada, which was declared a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of International Importance) due to the nesting of over 30,000 flamingos at high altitudes. Continue up to the Sol de Mañana geysers, passing the Challviri lagoon with its Polques hot springs known for their healing properties. Cross the surrealist-looking high desert of Pampas de Dali—the name is a nod to the surrealist master—to finally reach Laguna Verde in the foothills of the imposing Licancabur mountain. Journey back to Laguna Colorada, and on to the high deserts of Siloli painted with a range of colors that nature has capriciously combined, visiting the bizarre Arbol de Piedra rock formation, and finally reaching Ojo de Perdiz.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tayka del Desierto Hotel

Day 4: Ojo de Perdiz – Minor Lagoons – Uyuni Salt Flats – Colchani

In the morning, journey north through the minor lagoons and continue east through branches of the Andean range, reaching the high valley of Alota after three hours. Continue north through the highlands, passing the villages of San Agustin and San Juan, and entering the great Uyuni salt flat at Chuvica. Cross the Salar to Isla Incahuasi, a unique island habitat of volcanic rocks and dotted with giant cactus. Continue east to the village of Colchani, where the locals extract salt, just in time to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Check into your extraordinary home for the night, a hotel with walls, ceilings, chairs and tables made of salt.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Palacio de Sal Hotel

Day 5: Colchani – Uyuni – La Paz – Lake Titicaca

In the morning, we'll transfer to the nearby airport for your flight to La Paz. Upon arrival at El Alto’s airport, travel north through the majestic highlands, traveling parallel to the Andes Royal Range (Cordillera Real) until you reach Copacabana, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Titicaca is South America’s largest lake and the center of the Andes’ most important pre-Hispanic cultures. We’ll visit the Moorish-style basilica from the 17th century, well known as a Catholic pilgrimage site, and the famous Virgen Morena, a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, travel by motor boat for an hour to the legendary Sun Island, the largest of Lake Titicaca's islands. The Incas believed the sun god was born here, and modern life still eludes the island. The rocky hills have eucalyptus trees, but no cars or paved roads. At Huacani, enjoy an aptapi (a typical lunch in the highlands), and then move on by boat to the Inca ruins of Pilkokaina. Finally, we hike to La Estancia while enjoying a wonderful view of Lake Titicaca. We’ll spend the night at this solar-powered eco-lodge, with its thatch-roofed adobe cabins placed amidst pre-Incan terraces.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Ecolodge La Estancia

Day 6: Sun Island – Moon Island – Copacabana – La Paz

Today begins with a hike down to the village of Yumani, from where we take a boat to the Moon Island. Legends in Inca mythology refer to the island as the location where Viracocha commanded the rising of the moon and the highlight of our visit will be a trip to visit the ruins of Iñak Uyu Inca temple. Afterwards take a boat ride to Copacabana (1½ hours) and then drive back to La Paz (3½ hours). This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner folk show at a peña, a restaurant that showcases the singing and dancing of diverse Bolivian cultures, from the Andes to the tropical valleys. Performers present traditional dances in hand-woven clothing and play handmade instruments such as zampoñas (bamboo flutes) and charangos (small guitars made of wood or armadillo skin). 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:La Casona Hotel Boutique

Day 7: Depart from La Paz

Transfer to La Paz airport and depart on homeward-bound flights (your flight can depart at any time).

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Ecolodge La Estancia — Lake Titicaca

La Estancia is a unique ecolodge on the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. It combines Andean architecture with modern comforts while respecting the harmony of the environment and indigenous people. Fifteen cabins were constructed with adobe brick and thatch roofs, and use only solar power. Set between pre-Inca agricultural terraces, they offer spectacular views of the lake, Moon Island, and the Andes range. The lodge has a restaurant and bar, where you can savor local dishes and drinks while basking in the wonder of one of the most sacred places in Andean culture.

La Casona Hotel Boutique — La Paz

Set in a colonial-style mansion only 50 feet from San Francisco Square, La Casona places you right in the heart of La Paz. From here it’s an easy walk to the cathedral, markets, and hip cafes. But the hotel itself is an experience. Gabled roofs, grotto-like rooms, a courtyard, and warm Spanish décor add to the historic charm. The excellent restaurant specializes in Mediterranean and regional dishes, and the rooftop terrace is the perfect setting for relaxing with a drink above the bustling city streets.

Mallku Cueva Hotel — Uyuni

An interesting rock formation rises up behind this pleasant hotel situated in a remote region, south of Uyuni. The hotel's rustic architecture is inspired by regional Andean designs, and all the rooms feature private bathrooms and central or electrical heating. This is without doubt the best hotel south of Uyuni and a great way to escape from it all.

Palacio de Sal Hotel — Uyuni

Bolivia’s unique Hotel Palacio de Sal is located in the village of Colchani, surrounded by the spectacularly vast and beautiful landscapes of Salar de Uyuni. The walls, ceilings, chairs and tables at the “Salt Palace” are made of salt, making the hotel one of the world’s most extraordinary places to stay. In addition to the dreamy location and all the creature comforts, the hotel offers complimentary bicycles, so you can ride into the town of Uyuni, just 23km away. Rooms come complete with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi, and many have scenic mountain views. Facilities include a restaurant that serves delicious Andean cuisine, a bar, a lounge with a pool table, and a sun terrace.

Tayka del Desierto Hotel — Siloli Desert

Tayka del Desierto is a simple but cozy lodge surrounded by the spectacularly wild landscapes of Bolivia’s colorful Siloli Desert. Made of sandstone rocks and a straw roof, this community-run guesthouse—built by four local families—features typical Andean architecture. The well-heated rooms have private bathrooms with hot water, comfortable beds, and pretty views. Powered by solar energy, this lovely lodge makes a great base for exploring the nearby lagoons and the National Reserve Eduardo Abaroa. You can linger by the fireplace taking in the plateau panorama, admire star-splattered night skies, and enjoy tasty local specialties served at the restaurant.

Dates and Pricing

Jul 22 - 28, 2018

Sep 23 - 29, 2018

pricing

$3,295 (4 – 12 trip members)

Single supplement $550

Internal Air $375 per person La Paz/Uyuni/La Paz

Activity Level Moderate
Trip Length 7 days

From $3,295

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