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Home > CARAVAN OF LLAMAS

CARAVAN OF LLAMAS

The llama caravans appeared during the pre-Columbian period. To survive, the Andean people on the shores of Lake Titicaca and Uyuni salt desert needed to exchange food (quinoa, potato, salt and derived from llama meat).
We propose to join in on one of these caravans, leaving the deserts of Grand Lipez to join the valleys around Tupiza. There the "llameros" bartered salt, but also other products such as dried and salted meat ( "jerky"), pottery, bags and ropes made from camelid wool, leather and occasional products exclusive agricultural Andean regions like quinoa and dehydrated potato (chuño).

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz
  • Day 2: La Paz - Copacabana
  • Day 3: Copacabana - La Paz
  • Day 4: La Paz - Salinas
  • Day 5: Salinas - San Juan
  • Day 6: San Juan - Laguna Colorada
  • Day 7: Laguna Colorada - Quetena
  • Day 8: Quetena - Relave
  • Day 9: Relave - Cerro Thiokasa
  • Day 10: Cerro Thiokasa - Laire
  • Day 11: Laire - Jampato
  • Day 12: Jampato - Cerro Oidor
  • Day 13: Cerro Oidor - Río San León
  • Day 14: Río San León - Kalajara la Cumbre
  • Day 15: Kalajara la Cumbre - Chaquikocha
  • Day 16: Chaquikocha - Chicuna
  • Day 17: Chicuna - Tupiza
  • Day 18: Tupiza - Uyuni - Oruro
  • Day 19: Oruro - La Paz
  • Day 20: La Paz
  • Day 21: La Paz - El Alto Airport

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz

A private driver will pick you up at the international airport of El Alto and drive you to your hotel in La Paz.

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : transfer arrival, breakfast buffet , room

Day 2: La Paz - Copacabana

Departure from the hotel at 9 a.m. with a private transport. We will follow the Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real until Copacabana (3 ½ hours).

Night at La Cúpula hotel***.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 3: Copacabana - La Paz

In the morning, a motorboat takes us to the Northern side of Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), at the Inca site of Chincana. We begin the trek that follows the crests and takes us to the south side of the Island and to the village of Yumani (3 to 4-hour walk). Once in Yumani, our boat takes us back to Copacabana.
Cold lunch (included).
Hiking time: 4h; Elevation gain: +450m/-450m


Your private boat is available for you the whole day.


Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : guide expenses, entrance fees, box lunch, local spanish-speaking guide, english speaking guide, boat ticket, breakfast buffet , room

Day 4: La Paz - Salinas

We leave the hotel at 7 a.m. for the long traverse of the Altiplano (8 to 10 hours) in our private 4WD. We can admire some of the highest summits of the cordillera: Illimani (el. 6432 m.a.s.l.), Mururata (el. 5868 m.a.s.l.) and Huayna Potosi (el. 6088 m.a.s.l.), formidable guardians of La Paz.
After Oruro, we skirt lake PooPo and Uru-Uru and arrive in Oruro, then at Challapata we leave the asphalted road. We stop at the enormous meteorite crater Tambo Tambillo before reaching the village of Salinas.
Lunch on the way (included). All included. Lodging at an hostal. (Basic comfort)



Night at the Zucarani hotel**.
Included : lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 5: Salinas - San Juan

Partial ascent - no technical difficulties - good physical condition required
We start the day early to climb up the volcano Tunupa, a colorful mountain located only few kilometers from the salar. Tunupa is the name of the pre-Inca god of volcanoes and thunderstorms.
Our jeep will drop us off at the end of the track above the village, at an elevation of 3850 m.a.s.l. We will then trek 3 to 4 hours to the mirador (el. 4700 m.a.s.l.). What an exceptional panorama! It almost seems like we are above the clouds or the sea, but it’s the world’s largest salt flat we are looking at! The summit (el. 5432 m.a.s.l.) cannot be attempted since the path is too dangerous.
We will walk back to Jirira in the afternoon and from there drive to San Juan, where we will spend the night.
Trekking time: 4h - Elevation gain: +850m/-850m

Night at La Cabaña de Sal hostel* (basic comfort).
Included : lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), entrance fees, private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 6: San Juan - Laguna Colorada

After leaving San Juan, we will cross the Salar de Chiguana. From there, the dirt road climbs from 3600 m to about 4200 m of altitude. We will pass just below the volcanoes Tomasamil (el. 5900 m.a.s.l.) and Ollague (still active), on the Chilean border. Stop at the mirador of the volcano Ollague, a still active volcano containing one of the world’s highest sulfur mines. Following the Chilean border to the south we will drive on the “Road of the jewels”: lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Ch’arkota, Honda, sanctuary for three Flamingoes species. The track continues through the superb scenery of the Siloli Desert and its famous “Stone Tree” where we can spot some viscachas, before arriving to the Laguna Colorada in the afternoon. The intense red-brick color of this lagoon is due to the light sensitive phytoplancton present in its water.



Night in a basic accommodation.
Accommodation of the tour guide
Included : lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 7: Laguna Colorada - Quetena

We depart very early in the morning for an excursion to the Sol de Mañana Geysers (el. 4850 m.a.s.l.) a volcanic crater from which escape sulfuric fumes and heavy water. We then stop for breakfast in Polques before skirting Laguna Salada and crossing the Dali Desert (named after the scenery reminiscent of one of his paintings). We reach Laguna Verde, at the foot of volcanoes Juriques and Licancabur (el. 5960 m.a.s.l.) before noon, to witness a curious phenomenon: the wind picks up and the waters of Laguna Verde change to a spectacular emerald color.
In the afternoon, we return the way we came until we reach Laguna Salada where the dirt road turns northeast and takes us to Quetena.




Night at the Doña Braulia accommodation (basic comfort).
Included : lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), entrance fees, private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 8: Quetena - Relave

We go to the small village of Relave, the starting point of our caravan of llamas. Then we visit the ancient village of San Antonio (abandoned because its people believed that the devil had taken possession ...).
Preparation of loading llamas. Picking medicinal plants that will be taken with the caravan.
Cold lunch. All-in. Homestay overnight in Relave (basic comfort).
Night at Relave Shelter
Included : lunch (no drinks), private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 9: Relave - Cerro Thiokasa

Morning departure ceremony for the caravan ( "challah"). The whole community participates, poured alcohol on the ground as an offering to the Pachamama, and burn plants to thank the "achachilas" mountain spirits.
Starting in the late morning towards the Cordillera Relave. Our caravan will follow the contours of the surrounding hills to pass between Cerro and Cerro Orko Paco Porco.
We arrive late in the day at the first step of our caravan.
All-in. Bivouac (GPS: S 21º49.201 '/ W 066º40.325')
Walking time: 5 hours; Elevation gain: + 425m / -50m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 10: Cerro Thiokasa - Laire

Today we head towards the Cordillera Esmoruco. After crossing a pasture area, we go through a lunar landscape to cross the pass Kellu Apacheta (5100m, 5h) and then descend for about 2 hours to reach our camp.
All-in. Bivouac (GPS: S 21º49.201 '/ W 066º40.325').
Walking time: 7; Elevation gain: + 485m / -650m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 11: Laire - Jampato

We start the day with some flat and then we go slightly up to reach a plateau, leaving on our left the village of Guadalupe. We then continue by taking a little used track briefly and gently tackle the climb to Jampato Apacheta (4620m, 5h). The scenery is breathtaking and surreal completions. We will see geological formations reminiscent of an ancient Roman city (ciudad de Roma) and many colorful hills. We finally descend to find a canyon and follow the bed of a dry river where we bivouac.
All-in. Bivouac (GPS: S 21º53.895 '/ W 066º25.962')
Walking time: 7; Elevation gain: + 270m / -450m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 12: Jampato - Cerro Oidor

On the valley floor below and then join a ridge we descend to find a beautiful river. Our llamas désaltèrerons it before starting a big climb in a Wild West landscape. We set camp at Lake Oidor after spending the Oidor pass (4300m).
All-in. Bivouac (GPS: S 21º52.113 '/ W 066º21.625')
Walking time: 6 hours; Elevation gain: + 150m / -450m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 13: Cerro Oidor - Río San León

We begin a descent among the cactus in a true western decor. We continue through colorful landscapes for a long day of walking almost always flat. We reach in the late afternoon the river border "San Leon" where we set up camp.
All-in. Bivouac (GPS: S 21º52.363 '/ W 066º14.737').
Walking time: 7; Elevation: -490m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 14: Río San León - Kalajara la Cumbre

We cross the river and walk naked we find in Argentina (we will leave the next day). We ride about a hundred meters to a plateau covered many churquis (frequent thorn in the area). Then we plunge into the bed of a dry river to reach the little village of Angosto leaving on our left the Cerro Mojinete. Finally, we begin a climb up the day's stage. All-in. Bivouac.
Walking time: 6 hours; Elevation gain: + 750m
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 15: Kalajara la Cumbre - Chaquikocha

After a slight descent we cross the pampas of Santa Catalina where we find the Bolivian territory and relatives of those landscapes one can contemplate on the altiplano. This day, punctuated by walking llamas, is the longest and most sustained our trek.
All-in. Bivouac.
Walking Time: 7/8
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 16: Chaquikocha - Chicuna

During this day we rediscover the beautiful colorful scenery of the previous days. We begin a long descent to reach the river Talina. Then we go along and many local we reach along the way to practice a bit of bartering with the caravan.
Cold lunch. All-in. Bivouac near one of the many hamlets in the valley.
Walking time: 6 hours
Included : english speaking guide, catering

Day 17: Chicuna - Tupiza

After saying goodbye to our llameros team, we leave in private transport to reach the pleasant town of Tupiza where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ended their legendary epic (6 / 7h about track).
Cold lunch (included). Dinner.

Night at the Mitru hotel**.
Included : english speaking guide, catering, room & breakfast

Day 18: Tupiza - Uyuni - Oruro

ENJOY A NICE TREK IN TUPIZA'S CANYONS
A beautiful loop through canyons and interesting geological formations in the mountains, on the west side of Tupiza: Puerta del Diablo, Valle de los Machos (rock formations), Canyon de l´Inca, Quebrada seca, Cañon del Duende.
Cold lunch (included).
Train Tupiza - Uyuni : 7.15pm - 1.15am
Guide`s ticket.
Mondays and Thursdays, (Tuesday or Friday morning) departure of the train Wara-Wara for Oruro at 1:45 a.m. Hotel available until your departure from Uyuni. Arrival in Oruro the next day et 9:10 a.m.
Guide.
Included : lunch (no drinks), local guide, private transport, train ticket, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 19: Oruro - La Paz

Reception at the train station and private tranport to La Paz.
Guide-your language speaking.
This afternoon you will have some free time to enjoy the world’s highest capital. Maybe you can have a nice walk in the historical center, go handicraft shopping in the numerous stands of the Sagárnaga street, discover which artifacts are used for the offering ceremonies to Mother Earth ("Pachamama") in the Witches Market or even visit one of the various museums of the city… Or maybe you will prefer see the city from the air taking one of the three gondola lines of the capital?

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, breakfast buffet , room

Day 20: La Paz

Our private driver will pick us up in the hotel lobby at 09:00 am for a half-day tour around the best points of view over the city and into the Moon Valley. La Paz, world’s highest capital elected in 2014 as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, is surrounded by the high picks of the Andes. From many parts of the city we can admire the white summits of the Cordillera Real and the imposing Illimani, protector of the city. From the K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park we will enjoy a panoramic view over the capital. The Montículo, in the bohemian Sopocachi is the classical meeting point of lovers and newlyweds for romantic pictures. Since 2014 La Paz is proud of its new gondolas. From the sky the panorama over the city and the mountains is unique and we can get an impression of the social gaps while flying over different neighborhood. We will then drive to the south, cross the rich "Zona Sur" and get out of the city to enter the Moon Valley. Here we can enjoy the quietness and walk among the lunar rock formations during an hour.
NOTE: The K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park are closed on Mondays.

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : entrance fees, private transport, english speaking guide, breakfast buffet , room

Day 21: La Paz - El Alto Airport

A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.
Included : transfer departure, english speaking guide

Night hotel Naira   La Paz

Level : 3*
Included : breakfast buffet , room

Beautiful Naira Hotel is located in the heart of downtown of La Paz. With 22 warm, confortable and big rooms, private bathroom, hot water 24 hours, TV, Phone and room service. The aditional services included, laundry Service, Safety Box, travel agency and restaurant. It also has a cafeteria and Internet. Few steps from San Francisco Church.

Hotel La Cupula   Copacabana

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

La Cúpula is nestled on the hillside of lake Titicaca, a location, which overlooks both the lake and the Village of Copacabana in Bolivia. La Cupula lies 3,899 meters over sealevel. The hostal has a touch of arabic architecture with colonial and precolombian elements, giving it an unique and an unforgettable feeling. Each of the 17 comfortable and clean rooms are individually designed, with a variety of artistic details.

Hotel Sucarani   Salinas

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The ecolodge Zucarani is by far the best option in Salinas. The hotel offers private and shared rooms, hot showers and all the amenities needed to rest near the Salar de Uyuni.

Option : Accommodation driver

Hotel La Cabaña de Sal   San Juan

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The Cabaña de Sal is a nice little hotel built with salt blocks coming from the salt flat lake. The rooms are comfortable with private bathroom and hot water. There is no heating in the rooms.

Option : Accommodation driver

Lodging Don Roman   Laguna Colorada

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast

Accommodation, offering basic comfort, located in the town of Hullajara about 6 km from Laguna Colorada. It offers a beautiful view of the lake in the morning. There is no private rooms only shared.

Lodging Dona Braulia   Quetena

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Relave Hostal   Relave

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Mitru   Tupiza

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The Hotel Mitru was built in 1956. It offers comfort and amiliar, warm with a personalize service.

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