Day 1: Arrival in La Paz
Today is our first day of our Bolivia tour in La Paz in order to acclimatize at roughly 3,100m. After lunch at around 14:00, we will embark on a 4-hour city tour that is nestled deep in the heart of the Andes. We will visit the Calacoto neighbourhood and visit some open-air markets, the colonial neighbourhoods and we will also head into the canyon of La Paz which offers spectacular views of Mt Illimani.
The acclimatization process continues today on our Bolivia tour and our plan for the day is to visit the jewel of the Andes, Lake Titicaca. Known as the birthplace of the Incas, its beautiful blue waters – the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,810m, also boasts fabulous views of the Cordillera Real mountain range and ancient agriculture terraces. With such magnificent splendour in ample supply, a number of viewpoints will be incorporated throughout our day in the vicinity. In the afternoon, we will head to back to La Paz and relax at the hotel and have dinner together.
Day 3: La Paz – Sajama National Park
Today our destination is Bolivia’s first National Park; Sajama, named for the strato-volcano that is the centre piece of this spectacular, high-altitude region abutting on Chile’s eastern border. Our drive from La Paz is on paved roads for roughly 5 hours, mostly due west-southwest towards Chile. Once at the park entrance, we will begin to see the details we have come for: llamas and alpacas feeding on the vast plateau, surrounded by volcanoes and puna wetlands, cut by ice-cold rivers draining from the summit glaciers. There are wild vicuñas (camelid), viscachas (friendly rodent that is a cross between a large rabbit and squirrel), condors, eagles, hawks and Suri (American Rhea) that all call this wind-blown region home. We will head to our hostel and rest before heading out to capture the sunset at some iconic locales found on our Bolivia tour.
Day 4: Sajama National Park
Today on our Bolivia tour we have all day to visit the geysers, multi-colored plateaus, rivers and canyons found in Sajama National Park. We will begin with a sunrise trip to the lagoon where Mt Sajama is normally found reflecting on its clear waters and will then return to our hostel for breakfast. After lunch, we will depart once again to another spectacular location to shoot and catch the sunset, after which we will return in time for dinner.
Day 5: Sajama National Park – Salinas de Garci Mendoza – Tahua
After an early breakfast, we will head east towards the main paved road that will take us to Patacamaya then south to Oruro. We will have lunch en-route and further our journey until we reach Salinas de Garci Mendoza by early afternoon. The last hour or so of our drive will be on a dirt road that circumvents Mt. Thunupa (5321 m), the dominant volcano on the northern edge of the Salar de Uyuni until we reach our destination, a community-owned hotel made of salt! We will check-in and before heading out for our first sunset shoot on the world’s largest salt flat – the Salar de Uyuni. We return after sunset to Tahua and rest before dinner.
Day 6: Tahua – Salar de Uyuni – Tahua
Today is our first full day on the Salar de Uyuni on our Bolivia tour! We begin with a pre-sunrise wake-up call and brief drive to the edge of the salt flat. We will arrive while it is still dark in order to have time to scout for the best location – looking specifically for water and textures that will be enhanced as the sun rises behind the Andes to the east of us. As water levels fluctuate, we will select where the best area will be to get different angles, photos and spectacular backdrops. We will return for lunch in Tahua and rest or download photos before departing again to the salt flats before sunset.
Day 7: Tahua – Salar de Uyuni – Tahua
We have numerous options today on our Bolivia tour for capturing images, therefore we have a choice to stay on the mainland or dabble at the edges of the salt flat. It is always a great idea to get up before sunrise and head to the edge as the location here produces amazing photos looking towards the sunrise or to the west. Anywhere you point your lens should provide great images! Depending on water levels, we will enter the salt flats via the villages of Jirira, Coquesa or Tahua, all of which sit below Thunupa Volcano so we can experience a little of what the flooded salar is like. In the afternoon, we will drive up about a 1000ft feet onto the flanks of Mt. Thunupa for a spectacular sunset. Our parking spot also happens to be a few minutes’ walk from mummies in a cave which are available for visitors to see.
Day 8: Tahua – Oruro – La Paz
Our drive to La Paz will take up a good part of our day but it’s pretty spectacular one! We return on a dirt road to Salinas de Garci Mendoza then it’s on a paved road all the way to La Paz. Along the way we will see multi-coloured valleys, high peaks, green puna with llamas and Alpacas grazing. The closer we get to La Paz, glacier-covered peaks of the Cordillera Real will rise above the Altiplano. The scenery is truly amazing and should provide plenty of visual appeal on our way back. Our aim is to arrive in La Paz in the late afternoon in time to enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate a wonderful and adventurous journey of the Bolivian highland region.
Day 9: La Paz and depart
Today is sadly the end of our Bolivia tour and you will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flights home.