Bolivian Culture & Traditions
The itinerary start in Santa Cruz city. After a free day in the city we leave for a 3 day tour in the sourroundings. We discover and participate to the local activities. In santa Cruz we stay in a pleasant hotel, during the tour the accomodation are more basic.
Then we flight to Sucre. We visit the white city in the afternoon. The following day we leave to Candelaria, a small village at 2 hours 30 drive from Sucre. We enjoy the local traditions. We take part of the Chica's fabrication (tipical drink of the country), we share a lunch with the inhabitants and visit a smal textiles museum.
At the end of the day, we go to a dinner show where we will appreciate the tradicionals dances of the all country.
Then we head to Potosi in a private transport. In the afternoon we visit the House of the Money, to understand the story of the old richest city.
We also visit the mines of the Cerro Rico. An authentic and real experience where you can see the current hard life of the bolivians miners.
In the afternoon we reach Uyuni and the amazing salt flat. We discover le largest salt desert ! We also enjoy the sunset on the salar and spend the night in a unusual hotel entirely make by salt.
We arrive in La Paz with a domestic flight from Uyuni. We discover the city with a full day tour. The next day we leave in a private transport to Copacabana. We spend 2 days in the Titicaca lake area and stay one night in the Sun Island. We share a tipical lunch with the community and enjoy the beauty of the landscapes.
We will have a great navigation experience ! We stay at the hotel in the small village of Chuquiñapi, a old colonial house, A perfect place to relax and having a zen moment :)
In Tuni we live the real Bolivia ! We share the local activities with the community. A true experience !
PROGRAMME DAY TO DAY
A private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Night at the Armonia hotel***.
Santa Cruz - San Javier
Departure to San Javier (240 km), a former Jesuit mission founded at the end of the 17th century. After lunch, we start with a small visit to the church. Then we stop to visit Mennonite farms. These German-speaking farmers speak Old German and mingle very little with the inhabitants of other villages. They have very specific customs: their children do not attend public schools, the inhabitants all dress in the same way: men in overalls, shirt, boots and cowboy hat and women in robes, socks, Scarf and hat. These farmers have greatly contributed to the development of Santa Cruz. We're back on the road. The landscape after San Ramon becomes undulating. We are seeing more and more vegetation with a variety of typical trees in the area, and hopefully we can see wild animals. We are also in an area of large cattle farms. We spend the night in a farm, the Finca El Prado, which exports its meat to Peru and Chile. Note: La Finca el Prado has a maximum capacity of 4 people. If there are more travelers, they will then sleep in small lodge one kilometer from San Javier.
San Javier - Concepción
In the morning we taking part to the milking and cheese making process. We also participate to the daily tasks of the farm. For exemle, we help to cook dinner and in the same time learning a lot from the tradicional cuisine of the region. This will give us an idea about the way of life on a Bolivian farm. Then we go for a short walk along the " path of giants ferns" to reach a waterfall. Possibility to horse riding and bathing in the thermal baths. At 15.30 we arrive at the perfect moment to take pictures of the church with a beautiful light ! Visit of the small handicraft shop and possibility to participate to the mass.
Concepción - Santa Cruz
After breakfast, we take the road to Santa Rita, a comunity of indigenous peoples located about 7 km from Conception city. We meet woman how show us their handicraft tecnics : how they weave and how they make local dyes (cotton and natural pigments). We will then have the opportunity to visit their farms or small plot of land. The inhabitants of these city lives in constant harmony with the nature. In their mythology existed a guardian of the forest, of the river and the mountains. They still asking permission to JICHI (the guardian of the forest) before going to hunt, to fish or to pick fruits. We return to Conception city, the fiffh mission founded by the Jesuits at the beginning of the XVIII century. After admiring the details of baroque art and indigenous iconography, accompanied by our guide, we go to lunch at the typical restaurant "El Buen Gusto".
At 14.30 we take the road to Santa Cruz, we arrive around 18:00.
Night at the Armonia hotel***.
Santa Cruz - Sucre
A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.
Domestic flight Santa Cruz - Sucre.
A private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Departure at 09:00 in a private vehicle for the village of Candelaria (2h30 drive), in the country "Tarabuco", ethnic reputed for its fabrics. This charming village retains all its authenticity (most of the inhabitants only speak Quechua).
In the morning, participation in the artisanal production of Chicha, famous Andean drink made with corn and fruit. Its fermentation can last from a few days to two months. The shisha can then be very sweet (little alcohol) or very strong.
Traditional lunch, based on the products grown in the region, shared with the inhabitants of the community.
In the afternoon, visit the small museum with a weaver, who will also open the doors of his workshop. We will be able to make a walk in the surroundings before returning quietly on Sucre.
Lunch included. Free dinner.
Dinner-show at the Peña Orígenes Bolivianos restaurant.
Espacio Cultural Origenes is a restaurant set around a large stage where, almost every night of the week, they put on a colorful, high-energy dance show featuring traditional dances from Sucre and the rest of Bolivia. The dancers act out Bolivian folkloric scenes, such as courtship rituals and the struggle between good and evil, dressed up in very elaborated and typical costumes.. There is even a touch of humor in the show, for instance in the mockery of the Spanish conquistadors. The dances are fast-paced and very polished.
A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the restaurant.
Sucre - Potosi
Our guide will pick us up at 2:00 pm to visit the Casa de la Moneda, one of the most important historical buildings of the city - one of those which owed the city to be listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
Until the 19th century the coins of the Spanish crown were minted here. This beautiful colonial house is now an important historical museum.
NOTE: The Casa de la Moneda is closed on Sunday afternoon and Mondays.
Potosi - Uyuni
Today we will spend the day discovering the history and current life of Potosí. Our guide will pick us up at 09:00 am at the hotel lobby and we will go to the Cerro Rico to visit the mine and see the miners at work. This encounter can be overwhelming since the miners (of all ages) work in very hard conditions.
Before we go back to the city-center, we will stop in the small cooperatives that sell the stones and the silver found in the mines. We will then walk in the streets of the city-center and discover the historical buildings that owed the city to be listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
We will discover the architectural richness of the many historic buildings that earned it this nomination. We then enter the Santa Teresa convent, which today houses one of the most important religious art museums in Latin America.
NOTE: It is possible to visit the mine everyday but the miners do not work on Sundays and the activity is greatly reduced on Saturdays and Mondays.
The Santa Teresa Convent is closed on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.
Departure from the hotel to cross the Frailes Mountain range with a private car to reach the village of Uyuni, a remote small town at the limit of the Salar (3 to 4-hour drive).
Stop in Pulacayo on the way, a small town which used to be the second largest silver mine in South America in the 19th century.
It is now almost a ghost town, where we can visit a museum keeping traces of its glorious past.
Arrival in Uyuni at the end of the day.
Night at the Tambo Aymara hotel***.
Uyuni - Colchani
Today we will discover the world’s largest salt desert! At 9 a.m. we leave the hotel with our jeeps to the train Cemetery, the salt fabric and the village of Cochani to eventually arrive at the Cristal Samaña hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride on the salt to reach the Island of Incahuasi. This surprising island, lost in the middle of the salar, offers an incredible view over the salt desert and the several volcanos that surrounds it. Of volcanic origin, it is covered with stromatolites (stromatolites are fossilized bacterial colonies, first traces of life on earth) and giant cactus. We stay in the salar for the sunset until the night to gaze at the stars, if the weather allows it. We come back to our hotel at 9 for dinner.
Night at the Hotel Palacio de Sal****.
Located on the edge of the Salar d'Uyuni, the Palacio de Sal is built entirely of salt. With its Spa both modern and inspired by the Andean cosmovision, ancestral know, it is the perfect place to recharge its batteries!
Colchani - Uyuni - La Paz - El Alto Airport
A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport in Uyuni.
Domestic flight Uyuni - La Paz.
Our guide will pick you up at 09:00 am at the hotel lobby. Today you will discover the most traditional side of the city, walking into the day-to-day life of the “paceños” (inhabitants of La Paz).
You will first enter the indoor market of the Plaza San Francisco (Mercado Lanza) where many workers have breakfast. You will then take the cable car going up to El Alto and enjoy a unexpected view over the city and the mountains that surround it. You will fly over different neighborhoods and the general cemetery, in which you will then enter to discover the Andean post-mortem traditions: here the families leave elaborated offerings on the graves. Walking from the cemetery down to the historical center you will walk through the traditions of clothing and traditional celebrations of the city.
In the Los Andes Street you will feel like carnival is coming. It is the tailor’s street and every shop is filed with colorful costumes and masks. You will end our tour in the Witches Market (“Mercado de las Brujas”) where the locals buy all the necessary artifacts for ceremonial offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth): coca leaves and other medicinal plants, miniature figurines in sugar and lama fetuses.
La Paz - Copacabana - Yumani
Copacabana, a quiet town on the shores of Lake Titicaca, between the hills of Calvary and Calvary Child, attracts all year round tourists who come to enjoy the peace and beauty of the lake and the pilgrims of the Virgin of Copacabana .
In particular, for the "challa" of his new car, there is a blessing ceremony that protects the vehicle and its driver for the rest of the year. We visit the cathedral and we walk on the market and the harbor.
Possibility to climb Calvary if the weather allows us.
A boat takes us to the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), where we disembark at the old Inca Palace of Pilkokaina.
A 1h15 walk brings us to the village of Yumani, from where there is a magnificent view of the lake.
Hiking time: 1h15
For lunch we will share a traditional meal called “Apthapi”. This tradition of the Aymara people probably takes its source into the Tiwanaku pre-Inca culture.
It is a moment of sharing within the community: everyone brings some products of it land or livestock to the "table" and the meal is shared around a piece of traditional cloth (Aguayo) laid on the floor. Traditionally you will find corn, cheese, fish, fried or dried meat, quinoa and a great variety of potatoes from the Altiplano.
After our lunch, a traditional healer (“Yatiri”) will realize a ceremony dedicated to Mother Earth (“Pachamama”). We will enjoy these unique moments in the heart of the pre-Inca and Inca traditions: the Isla del Sol (“Island of the Sun”) owes its name to its important role in the cult to the Sun God “Inti” during the Inca Empire area. Here the people care about preserving the nature and their traditions.
Boat available for the full day.
Yumani - Chuquiñapi
From Yumani we descend towards Japari Beach where we sit on our catamaran (built by young people from the local community of Santiago de Huata).
We will cross the Titicaca Lake. Approx. duration of 5 to 6 hours (depending on the wind).
We can admire the Cordillera and the Island of the Moon where we will stop at 1 pm for lunch.
At around 16 pm, we will arrive on the beach where the citizens of Chuquiñapi's community will wait for ust and bring us to the colonial style Casa de Retiro for a hearty snack. We then visit the community.
We spend the night at Chuquiñapi.
Included dinner and night (in a colonial style lodge).
Chuquiñapi - Tuni
Departure by private transport at 10:00 for the village of Tuni (3h30 drive). Upon arrival sharing village life and discovery of local activity. Importance of the llama, the education of children, beliefs and rituals, social organization of an Aymara village.
Tuni - La Paz
Transport Tuni - La Paz. Approx.3h30
In the morning we will have a choice of activities according to your wishes and season:
- Trout fishing trip in the lagoons at the foot of Condoriri with the local guide. In some seasons, local indulge much fishing.
- Harvesting the fields.
- Visit the village school.
- Preparation of chuño, a dehydrated potato with ancestral knowledge highly appreciated by the Aymara (June-July)
- Short hike
Lunch we return to the village, participation in traditional cuisine and depart late afternoon to La Paz. Transfer to the hotel. Lunch included.