Incahuasi Island, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Highlights of Bolivia

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Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Trip code: 
APL
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Discover Bolivia's immense landscapes, ancient history and colonial cities 

Landlocked Bolivia is a quintessential South American country both in terms of the immensity of its landscapes and its strong indigenous culture. Although little-known, Amboró National Park boasts almost unparalleled bio-diversity and the charming, albeit rustic, gateway town of Samaipata also gives access to the nearby Pre-Columbian UNESCO site of El Fuerte. Nowhere else on Earth can you find salt flats of comparable scale to Salar de Uyuni; a comprehensive three day 4WD adventure reveals its multi-coloured lagoons, cacti islands and spouting geysers. In stark contrast to these natural wonders are the vibrant cities of Sucre, Potosi and La Paz whose heritage was shaped by both the Incas and the Spanish Conquistadores. Finally, wind down with a night in an eco-lodge on the Isla del Sol overlooking the deep, tranquil waters of Lake Titicaca - fringed by snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real.

Highlights

  • Three day Salar de Uyuni 4WD adventure including the train cemetery, salt flats, Incahuasi (cactus) Island, colourful lagoons, geysers and ancient volcanoes
  • Pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Sites of El Fuerte and Tiwanaku 
  • Daywalk to see the Giant tree ferns and spectacular landscape of Amboró National Park
  • Visit La Recoleta viewpoint overlooking the 'White City' of Sucre
  • Discover the colonial and silver mining heritage of Potosí
  • Walk to the 'Fountain of Eternal Youth' on the Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca
  • Full day city tour of La Paz including the cathedral, cable car and Moon Valley

Key information

  • 12 nights hotels, 1 night salt hotel and 1 night eco-lodge
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Time spent at altitude
  • Travel by private minibus, 4WD, boat and 2 internal flights
  • Some long drives and early starts
  • Daywalk in Amboró N.P

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Arrival and departure transfers (for group flights only)
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • La Paz - Santa Cruz internal flight (only included for flight inclusive bookings)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Laguna Colorada, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

On this trip we use the services of a local operator, employing local staff throughout the trip, and we stay in locally-owned hotels wherever possible, including an eco-lodge on the Isla del Sol - partially owned by local shareholders of the Aymara community. Ecolodge la Estancia has been constructed using natural materials such as thatch and stone and designed using traditional Andean architecture so as to preserve the pre-Inca terraces found here. The lodge operates sustainable practices including solar energy for water heating, black boxes for room heating, recycling rainwater, growing vegetables, and waste composting. 

Drinking water is provided in large containers throughout the tour so you can refill your water bottle and avoid buying single use plastic bottles. There are plenty of opportunities to try street food or buy handicrafts from local markets.

The entrance fees for the sites we visit help support their maintenance, restoration and upkeep, from El Fuerte and Amboró National Park, to Tihuanaco and the museums and churches visited during the city tours in Sucre, Potosí and La Paz.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Santa Cruz
to
Santa Cruz
  • Day 1

    Start Santa Cruz

    The group flights are scheduled to arrive into Santa Cruz this morning. Early hotel check-in is included for passengers who book a flight inclusive package but not for those making their own flight arrangements. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held.

    Armonia Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Drive to Samaipata, visit Las Cuevas Waterfalls en route and the Pre-Columbian UNESCO site of El Fuerte

    Located some 120km from Santa Cruz is the little-visited laidback town of Samaipata, set amidst beautiful countryside. The drive takes about three and a half hours direct but we break up the journey with a visit at Las Cuevas Waterfalls en route, where it is possible to take a quick swim in the clear water if you wish.

    In the afternoon we visit ‘El Fuerte de Samaipata’ (or Samaipata Fort), a Pre-Columbian archaeological site of UNESCO World Heritage status, located about 10km outside the town. The hilltop ruins form an excellent vantage point over the picturesque valley and although no standing structures remain, excavations (which continue today) have revealed over five-hundred dwellings. It incorporates buildings from three different cultures: Chanè, Inca, and Spanish. The main site is a gigantic stone slab (over 100m in length), covered in Inca and Pre-Inca carvings of geometric shapes and animal figures, thought to have been of religious/ceremonial significance.  We will also visit the museum which contains artefacts from El Fuerte.

    Hotel Quinta Pirai, Samaipata (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Daywalk to discover Amboró N.P., one of the world’s most botanically rich national parks

    Samaipata is also the gateway to the southern part of Amboró National Park, which stretches from the Andean foothills to the Amazon Basin. It is one of the most botanically rich and wildlife abundant national parks in the world, owing to its sharply divided topography, range in elevation (from 300m to over 3,000m) and unique geographical location spanning three different eco-systems.

    Following a short transfer, we set out on foot for a daywalk (approx. 10km but a shorter loop is possible). We will see Giant tree ferns which reach up to an impressive thirteen metres tall, and visit a viewpoint which unveils a panorama of sheer sandstone cliffs rising high above an endless expanse of tropical jungle.

    Amboró National Park is vast containing some 830 bird species (including Cock of the rocks, Blue horned curassows, hummingbirds, toucans and macaws) - we may see a few of these with the help of our local guides who will also identify some of the endemic plants. Elusive mammals (ocelots, Spectacled bears, tapirs, jaguars and pumas to name a few) also reside within Amboró but we are not likely to see them, especially in the daytime.

    Hotel Quinta Pirai, Samaipata (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Free morning in Samaipata; afternoon return to Santa Cruz

    This morning is free to relax (there are lovely gardens in the grounds of our hotel) or visit the small town of Samaipata, which has some nice restaurants for lunch overlooking the main square. Our hotel is located a few kilometres outside of Samaipata but transport into town can be arranged or it takes around 15 minutes to walk. In the afternoon we make our way back to Santa Cruz (approx. 3.5hrs drive).

    Armonia Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Short flight to Bolivia's capital, the 'White City' of Sucre (2,800m); afternoon city tour

    We take an early morning flight to Bolivia’s capital, Sucre (approx. 45min flight), which with its narrow streets and fine colonial white-washed buildings, is often said to be Bolivia’s most beautiful city; protected by its UNESCO status.

    After checking into the hotel we’ll embark on a guided tour of the sights, including La Recoleta viewpoint, monastery and museum of indigenous art, situated at the base of Churuquella Mountain overlooking the city. We’ll visit the main square, ‘Plaza 25 de Mayo’ and adjacent historic Casa de la Libertad (House of Liberty) where Simon Bolivar signed the Act of Independence in 1825. Following on from this we’ll come to the San Francisco Basilica, complete with its ‘freedom bell’, so named as it was allegedly rung so hard to mark Bolivian independence that it broke! A stroll through the manicured Bolivar Park and cemetery are also part of the tour.

    Hostal de Su Merced (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day in Sucre; optional excursion to the indigenous community of Jatun Yampara

    There is nothing planned today but your leader will be able to recommend some activities.

    It is possible to arrange an optional excursion to the indigenous community of Jatun Yampara, about half an hour's drive from Sucre. They produce some ceramics but are largely a weaving community, producing traditional textiles and llama fabrics with complex patterns in vivid colours. Taste the traditional ‘chicha’, a fermented corn drink with an acquired taste to say the least!

    Hostal de Su Merced (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Potosí (4,090m); walking tour to discover its colonial and silver mining heritage

    The drive to Potosí takes around three and a half hours. You will notice the increase in elevation as Potosí lies at 4,090m.

    This afternoon we have a tour of the city, which was the centre of the silver rush in the 16th century. The silver was mined from nearby Cerro Rico (‘rich mountain’) and was predominantly used to make coins but also other objects as it was so plentiful. We visit the famous museum ‘Casa de la Moneda’, the National Mint of Bolivia – the coinage minted here during this period was world-renowned.

    Potosí developed into a large and prosperous city with thousands of colonial buildings. The consequences for the indigenous miners and African slaves, however, were tragic – some estimates speculate that there were as many as nine million casualties.

    Amongst other sites, we also visit the market, San Francisco Church, notable for its 6th century architecture, catacombs and colonial art and San Lorenzo Church with its ornate 16th century stone carvings.

    Hostal Patrimonio (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Free morning; afternoon transfer to Uyuni

    This morning is at your leisure to talk a walk around Potosi or perhaps rest to acclimatise to the high altitude. In the afternoon we drive to Uyuni town (approx. 4 hours driving) with some wonderful landscapes on the way. 

    Hotel Jardines de Uyuni (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Begin a three day 4WD adventure to discover the incredible landscapes of Salar de Uyuni, including the train cemetery, salt flats, colourful lagoons and cactus islands

    Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering over four thousand square miles (ten thousand square kilometres). It is incredibly flat and the reflective vast white surface creates an optical illusion - a loss of scale and perspective (perfect for photo opportunities).

    We first visit the train cemetery located just outside of Uyuni town. The railway was originally built to transport minerals from the salt flats but when the mining industry declined in the 1940's the tracks themselves, together with a number of trains were abandoned ‐ a surreal sight in the midst of this vast open landscape.

    Next, we drive via San Cristobal village and through the rocky valley where we see some remarkable stone formations. Finally, we arrive at the area of Villamar, where our unique hotel is located (4,044m).

    Hotel Jardines de Malku Cueva (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Second day to discover more sights of Salar de Uyuni by 4WD

    We wake early and set off before sunrise; a beautiful spectacle at this altitude and over this vast landscape. Our first stop is usually the Polques Thermal Baths, where those who can brave the cold air temperatures before getting into the warm waters can enjoy a dip.

    A different highlight awaits today as our 4WD adventure brings us into Eduardo Avaroa National Park and to the Sol de Mañana hot springs (4,850m), meaning 'morning sun'. This sulphur spring field is one of the few places where you can get up close to volcanic (hydrothermal) activity. Across this expanse, lie boiling mud lakes and steam pools, and there are several geyser‐like features where pressurised steam spouts up to fifty metres into the air!

    Set against a backdrop of volcanoes and mountains, are colourful lagoons (the colours are a result of algae or the chemical composition) and we'll visit Laguna Colorada (red lagoon), Laguna Verde (green lagoon) and Laguna Blanca (white lagoon). Flamingo breeding grounds are found here and we’re certain to see flocks of them at the lagoons, as well as possibly vicunas and Andean geese.

    Today is a long day of driving after which we pass through Uyuni town on the way to a beautiful hotel in Colchani, constructed entirely out of salt bricks but which has all the facilities of a normal hotel.

    Hotel Palacio de Sal Salt (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Third day to discover Salar de Uyuni; evening fly to La Paz (3,640m)

    We spend today on the salt flats. Pyramids of salt are mounded up and in the dry season the ground is desiccated and hexagonal tiles of salt form as far as the eye can see. There are wonderful photo opportunities and we'll have time today to create some fun pictures. 

    In the middle of the salt flats we come to Incahuasi Island, known for its giant cacti and unusual fossils. This small island on the middle of the salt flats is an amazing sight and we have the chance to walk across it for 360 views from the top. 

    After more photo opportunities, we'll make our way to a spot to watch the sun come down and watch the light cast shadows and reflections on the water. 

    This evening we leave the amazing landscapes of Uyuni and fly to La Paz (3,640m), the highest administrative capital in the world.

    Hotel Qantu (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    La Paz city tour including the cathedral, cable car and Moon Valley

    We begin the tour at the main square, Plaza Murillo, in the old town, where we find the Presidential Palace, government congress buildings, and the Cathedral. Next, we visit the Basilica of San Francisco, famed for its mestizo-baroque façade depicting masks, dragons, tropical birds and snakes. There’s also a stone tunnel stairway which leads to the roof.

    From here we wander along the steep and narrow cobbled street, ‘Calle Jaén’, one of the city's best preserved colonial streets, lined with brightly painted houses, museums and shops. We go on to visit an open-air museum about Tiwanaku culture.

    A visit to La Paz would not be complete without riding the innovative cable car system for views over the entire city. Venturing a short distance outside the city we will also visit ‘Moon Valley’, known for its intriguing landforms of eroded canyons, pinnacles and cacti.

    Hotel Qantu (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Travel to Isla del Sol (4,100m) on Lake Titicaca; walk to the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’ and stay in an eco-lodge

    We drive towards Copacabana, crossing the Tiquina Strait by boat (a short ten minute ride) and following the shores of Lake Titicaca for much of the journey (the total drive time is around four and a half hours). On arrival at Copacabana we board another boat and travel for an hour to Lake Titicaca’s beautiful Isla del Sol, disembarking at Pillkokaina port where we ascend the steps to the 'Fountain of Eternal Youth'. It's about a one hour and fifteen minute walk to our eco-lodge, which allows us to take in the stunning surroundings; deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca in contrast to the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real. From the lodge the setting sun in the west casts a lovely light across the mountains ahead. 

    Your main luggage will be left on the transport (which we leave at Copacabana) so you need only take an overnight bag to Isla del Sol. We recommend keeping any valuables with you.

    Ecolodge La Estancia (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Transfer to La Paz via the Pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku; fly to Santa Cruz.

    We make the same return journey back (by boat to Copacabana, bus and then a short ferry ride across the Tiquina Strait) and head towards the Pre-Columbian ruins of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (approx. 3.5hrs driving). Founded around 1500BC, Tiwanaku became the capital of a massive empire that lasted almost thousand years, developing into a sophisticated urban ceremonial complex. After lunch we have a guided visit of the site. In the late afternoon we drive approximately one hour and a half to the airport in La Paz and then have an evening flight back to Santa Cruz. 

    Armonia Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    End Santa Cruz

    For those travelling on a land only basis, the tour ends after breakfast. The group flight is scheduled to depart very early this morning.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Bolivia

British Citizens, most Western European nationals, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities do not require visas. US citizens who are not of Bolivian origin need a visa of which full details are available on www.boliviawdc.com. If you are in any doubt, please contact the nearest Bolivian Embassy.

Vaccinations

Bolivia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. 

A Yellow Fever certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. 

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in parts of Bolivia. Vaccination is recommended for travellers aged 9 months and older travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the entire departments of Beni, Pando, and Santa Cruz, and some areas in the departments of Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija. 

Malaria is present throughout the year however, with the exception of the northern provinces of Beni and Pando (the Amazon region), and Nor Cinti province in the south, the risk of Malaria is low and antimalarial tablets are not usually recommended, although may be considered for certain higher risk travellers. If visiting the Amazon region in the north, Malaria precautions are essential. If visiting Nor Cinti province, Malaria precautions may sometimes be recommended for certain travellers.

You should be aware that Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever are present in the Amazon region in northern Bolivia - these are non-preventable diseases caused by daytime biting mosquitoes. You should always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 5 dinners are included. 

Some of the lunches are box lunches whilst others are restaurant meals. Where meals are not included your leader will be able to recommend a variety of local restaurants.

Drinking water will be provided in large containers to minimise the amount of single-use plastic bottles; please bring a refillable bottle with you.

Bolivian cuisine is a fusion between Spanish and Andean traditions and varies from one region to another. In the lowlands fruit, vegetables, yucca and fish are abundant whereas in the altiplano these are less readily available and there are more spiced dishes to combat the cold. Bolivian cuisine has a reputation for its meat dishes but corn (maize), quinoa and potatoes are also part of the staple diet.

Common street food and snacks include ‘salteñas’ (baked pastries filled with spiced meat or vegetables), ‘buñuelos’ (sweet or savoury bread – often stuffed with cheese) and ‘papas rellenas’ (deep-fried battered stuffed potatoes).

Popular main dishes include ‘pique a lo macho’ (a kind of beef stir-fry, served with chunky chips), ‘picante de pollo’ (spicy chicken) and ‘tucumanas’ (a sort of pasty). In Sucre try ‘mondongo’ (a dish made of chicharron – crispy fried pork usually accompanied by corn, potatoes and a rich chilli sauce) and in La Paz check out a ‘sandwich de chola’ (pork sandwich).

Weather

Differences in topography and climate separate Bolivia’s lowlands and highlands into distinct areas. Weather conditions vary significantly from region to region.

Lowlands, including Santa Cruz - A humid tropical climate with clear-cut wet and dry seasons and an average temperature of 30 °C (86 °F). One of the wettest regions in Bolivia, the rainy season extending from late September to May, sees an annual rainfall average between 1000 and 4000 mm (40 – 150″). The heavy rainfall is caused by winds blowing in from the Amazon rainforest. From the month of May there is less rain and more blue sky due to drier winds. 

Altiplano (highlands), including Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Sucre, Potosí and Uyuni - Climate varies from cool and humid to semi-arid. The average annual temperature ranges from 15 to 27°C (60 – 80ºF) but in the dry season its more likely to be 10 to 15°C with the coldest temperatures occurring in the south-western portion of the Altiplano during the months of June and July. Nights can get very chilly, dropping to around 0 °C. In Salar de Uyuni, night time temperatures in the dry season may fall as low as -15°C (particularly from May to August). Between April and September there is a chance of snow, especially to the north of the highlands, but it is not very common. The unrelenting rainy season occurs between December and March but we do not run any departures as getting around can be difficult and treacherous. 

La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia

Is this trip for you?

Bolivia is less developed than many of its South American counterparts and things do not always happen as planned; expect the unexpected and approach travel here with an adventurous spirit.

There is a daywalk through the jungle of Amboró National Park and a walk to our lodge at the top of Isla del Sol. The sightseeing around archaeological sites and tours of some of the cities may involve walking up and down steep streets or on uneven steps/ground. As such, you should have a good level of mobility and a reasonable level of fitness.

Although graded Leisurely/Moderate (level 2), the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. As this trip spends considerable time at altitude we ask you to refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness. The tour allows for gradual acclimatisation, spending two days in Sucre (2,800m) before continuing to Potosí (4,090m), Salar de Uyuni (ranging from between 3,650m and 4,850m), La Paz (3,640m) and the Isla del Sol (4,000m). The maximum altitude on this trip is 4,850m at Sol de Mañana – please ensure that your insurance covers you up to this altitude.

Due to the altitude you should expect some low temperatures, particularly during the Salar de Uyuni adventure when it regularly falls well below freezing at night. 

There are some long drives during the tour and in Uyuni you will spend a considerable amount of time in the 4WD vehicle, although there will be plenty of stops to enjoy the landscape, take photos, and to explore on foot. 

Samaipata is little-visited and accommodation and facilities here and also in Uyuni town are basic.

Strikes are not uncommon in Bolivia and whilst these are generally peaceful protests, they can result in roadblocks and disruption to travel. In this event, your leader will amend your itinerary if necessary to minimise any impact on the itinerary.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Salt Hotel & Eco-lodge

12 nights hotels, 1 night salt hotel and 1 night eco-lodge – all nights based on twin-share with en suite facilities.

The hotels usually used are listed within the itinerary and below, however occasionally these may vary by departure date due to availability. The hotels are generally a 3-star local rating and have been carefully selected for their location, quality and character. Accommodation standards in Bolivia are generally lower than their South American counterparts and standards of accommodation on this trip vary from one location to another.

Our hotel in Santa Cruz is new and contemporary in style; rooms have air-conditioning and there is an outdoor swimming pool. Accommodation choice within Samaipata is limited and so we stay at Quinta Pirai Cabanas, located on a hillside with views over the valley, about a few kilometres from town - it's fairly simple accommodation but has a pool and lovely gardens, so is a very tranquil spot. Hostal de Su Merced in Sucre is a family-run hotel of colonial style. The large converted colonial house has a roof terrace and the rooms are furnished with antique furniture. In Potosí, our accommodation is simple but has character and is close to the town centre. 

In Uyuni we stay in Hotel Jardines de Uyuni which offers a comfortable bed for the night and is located next to Tika, one of the nicest restaurants in Uyuni town. Salar de Uyuni tours have a reputation for being a bit of a hardship but we have selected some of the better hotels available. We stay in a cave hotel, Hotel Jardines de Mallku Cueva, which has been hewn out of the rock face. The rooms have a cosy feel and the views are fantastic. Probably the highlight will be our night at the Hotel Palacio de Sal, a unique property that is entirely built with salt, from the walls, floors and ceilings to the furniture and sculptures! It has hot water and heating (electric/central depending on the room), a games room, and a viewing room to observe the starry nights, sunsets and sunrises across the salt flats.  

In La Paz we stay in the comfortable Hotel Qantu located on a busy street but close to the famous Witches Market and around the corner from the Basilica of San Francisco.

We also spend one night in an eco-lodge on Isla del Sol (Lake Titicaca). Ecolodge La Estancia comprises of fifteen cottages with private bathrooms; all have a view over Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real, and there is a comfortable restaurant and bar. For more information regarding the lodge's sustainable practices please see the Responsible Tourism section of these Trip Notes or visit their website.

Should you wish to extend your stay, Exodus can also arrange extra nights in Santa Cruz for you before or after the tour. Single supplements should be requested at the time of booking and are subject to availability.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Carole Kinsey

    A wonderful introduction to Bolivia.

    An energetic holiday that packed things in, on a daily basis. We saw all that was promised & much more. Although tiring, as we moved on for most days, but extremely enjoyable, informative and interesting. We learnt a lot about a country we knew little about before we went. Highly recommended, but you need to be able to walk.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many unforgettable events & places - parades, marching bands & street dancing in Sucre, fantastic pre Incan archaeological ruins, impressive Baroque cathedrals & churches, spectacular scenery, places with beautiful jacoranda trees in purple bloom, women in colourful costumes, especially in La Paz, numerous rocks that were a geologists paradise, Lake Titicaca & a trip on a reed boat’ but our three day adventure by jeep, to Iyuni and the salt flats stood out. We saw desert scenery, ’ bubbling mud pools, experienced hot springs and visited the vast salt flats, as well as staying in the splendid Salt Hotel, it was a pity we were only there for one night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco, our group leader was very experienced. He was extremely caring & solicitous & made sure everyone was ok. Several people had tummy upsets & Marco produced medicine where necessary. He was very knowledgeable with an excellent command of English.He was also ably assisted by Linda from the office in La Paz, who was also friendly & very caring, checking every detail. She too spoke excellent English. Our third guide, Ericka was monitoring the trip as it was only the second recent trip.by Exodus. In several places we had local guides’ who were also very knowledgeable & spoke good English. I especially enjoyed Leroy on our trip to Iyuni who giggled at every opportunity & was instrumental in fishing out large quantities of salt crystals from below the salt crust. Also George we had at the end in Lake Titicaca & LaPaz. He too had excellent English & explained everything with enthusiasm. He was very dedicated to his job, & took us and a fellow traveller, to our hotels in La Paz on the last night’ while the rest of the group flew to Santa Cruz for their flight home. They all were superlative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a considerable amount of walking’ so make sure you have walking boots with a good grip. The was especially important on Isla Del Sol in Lake Titicaca. Walking poles there were also advantageous. We took a travelling kettle, tea & coffee with us. Important if you like early morning teà though milk was not usually available. Don’t pack too many clothes, Like others we took too much.. Strong insect repellent is a must in some places., with sunscreen/ sunblock especially in the Salt Flats with UV sunglasses. Hand gel was also useful on many occasions, though Marco had a supply, as well as toilet paper in toilets where we stopped by the roadside. Don’t forget a light towel if you want to go for a dip in the hot pools. We bought puffa jackets with hoods before we left & these were excellent. They are light, warm, wind proof & waterproof/ showerproof, with the added benefits of scrunching up small. I would recommend packing them into a small plastic bag. A good camera is another must as there is so much to photograph., Jeans were useful when it got cold, thought the bedsocks recommended by Exodus we’re not necessary. I managed with a pair of walking boots and a pair of trainers, though I would have liked a pair of light shoes , especially for the evenings. I also had a pair of slipper socks which were handy for bedrooms. Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs as there many lovely things on sale very cheaply. The Witches Market in La Paz was a good place to shop.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are reasonably fit & don’t mind a bit of walking, go for this trip. It is no way relaxing as each day was packed full of adventures. Some days were very long with early starts. Many in our group said they would have liked more time in various places, especially the Salt Flats, but then it would have been more expensive & extended the trip. Personally I would have liked another night on Isla Del Sol as it looked a very interesting place. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. It is one to be remembered & offers has something for everone as well as giving us an insight to a fascinating country & culture.
  • Reviewed October 2018

    Beautiful Bolivia

    There are areas of Bolivia that are outstanding and I feel very unique in the world. It was so satisfying and enjoyable travelling around the Alti Plano, it is out of this world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Uyuni was wonderful. It isn't all salt pan. In fact we only spent one day on salt pan. That was what made it so wonderful. We went to see the salt and saw so much extra interesting stuff. Thoroughly enjoyed the company and support of the drivers and local tour guide. Treated exceptionally and all told had an unforgettable time there. Sand, Salt, Rocks, Grass land, Lagoons, Wildlife (including rabbits with long tails but forgot their name), Flamingoes (lots) and LLamas/Alpacas/Vicuna.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was trying very hard. He speaks very good English.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready to go slowly in Altiplano. Its high and less oxygen. You can experience a lethargy, but I don't remember any of our group having altitude sickness. But this isn't a walking holiday so relaxed is ok. I remember some of the group getting sun burnt so cover up and use sun screen. There is lots of opportunity for photography so keep equipped with all cards and batteries.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Uyuni and the Altiplano is must see place in the world. theres nothing like it.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Paula Slater

    Highlights of Bolivia

    This holiday provided a great introduction to a fascinating country. Wonderful landscapes , busy but picturesque towns and cities. Very friendly people wherever we went and colourful too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The main reason for going on the trip was for the few days in the Salar de Uyuni. That didn't disappoint, I would have loved another couple of days in that area of Bolivia at a slower pace to take in all the wonderful sites and take loads more photographs. The cable car trip in La Paz was a surprise highlight, flying low over the city and looking into peoples gardens.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was a great leader. Helpful and informative and always cheerful. If any problems occurred (eg.vehicle breakdown) he had a solution to hand and on we went. He was ably assisted by all the drivers we had during the two weeks as well the local guides.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip has something for everyone. Masses of history, good hotels, great food, wonderful scenery, friendly locals and of course the superb salt plains plus a few hundred dinosaur footprints. Go and enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some walks (especially the first) were a bit tougher than expected but Marco ensured that the slower walkers were encouraged and not made to feel as though we were (read' I was') being a nuisance.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Amanda Hemsworth

    Lots of variety and stunning scenery

    This was the second trip to Bolivia that Exodus organised, and there are still perhaps a few things that could be changed in terms of the itinerary, that said we had a brilliant holiday which exceeded our expectations in terms of what we saw and did. From crowded cities, to the countryside, the salt plains and iconic Lake Titicaca, with flamingos and lamas along the way. It is a very scenic and vibrant country with people dressed in fabulous colours. There is something for everyone in this trip, history, culture, nature and different food to try. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a trip to Bolivia to experience all it has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt the three day 4WD jeep safari to the Salar de Uyuni. We saw the train cemetery, salt flats which are half the size of Wales, lagoons, and cactus island. Some of the days were long, but we felt that we saw it all and as we are unlikely to go back then it was good to pack it in, although perhaps an extra day here would have been good. We had great fun taking optical illusion photos on the salt plains, as well as other surprises the guide and jeep drivers laid on for us. The scenery was just beautiful, I took a lot of photos but there were so many photo opportunities I could have been there twice as long !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was enthusiastic about his country and genuinely wanted us to enjoy it. His English is excellent and he explained a lot of things to us along with local guides.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely go if you are thinking about it. the trip notes say take lots of layers, this is good advice as its pretty hot at times, but did get quite cold also. I took far to much, there were opportunities to wash a few things out even though we move hotels regularly. Sun screen a must, particularly on the salt plains when some people got pretty burnt, hats and sunglasses to vital for here. We thought there would be lots of nice coffee in hotels at breakfast but often it was a jar of instant, so coffee bags might be a good idea. Be prepared to feel the effects of the altitude, most were tired and a bit breathless at times from it, its manageable though and the guides do look out for you and carry oxygen if it was necessary.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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