Current as of: February 22, 2024 - 17:59

Incahuasi Island, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Highlights of Bolivia Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Bolivia
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 17 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 15 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: APL
  • Carbon Footprint: 533.7kg CO2e

Trip Overview

­­Discover immense landscapes, ancient history and colonial cities

Landlocked Bolivia is a quintessential South American country, with immense landscapes and a strong indigenous culture. Discover its many highlights on this wide-ranging adventure.

We visit Amboró National Park, which has almost unparalleled biodiversity, and the charming (albeit rustic) gateway town of Samaipata, which provides access to the pre-Columbian Unesco site of El Fuerte. Nowhere else can you find salt flats of comparable scale to Salar de Uyuni: our comprehensive three-day 4×4 trip reveals multi-coloured lagoons, cacti islands and spouting geysers.

In contrast to these natural wonders are the cities of Sucre, Potosi and La Paz, whose heritage was shaped by the Incas and Spanish Conquistadores. Finally, we wind down with a night in an ecolodge on Isla del Sol, overlooking the deep, tranquil waters of Lake Titicaca, which are fringed by the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real.

Aldo Kane Collection: A hand-selected range of adventures by our Brand Ambassador:

“Bolivia is one of my favourite countries. I have led two expeditions here and I just love the diversity, from the snow-capped Andean mountains and salt flats to cloud forests in the Amazon. This trip offers an all-encompassing three-day tour of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats, where you can see bubbling geysers, dormant volcanoes and vibrant lagoons. You’d be hard pushed to find anywhere else like it on the planet.”

At a Glance

  • 10 nights in hotels, two nights in a salt hotel and two nights in an ecolodge
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Time spent at altitude
  • Travel by private minibus, 4×4, boat and three internal flights
  • Some long drives and early starts
  • Part of the Aldo Kane Collection

Highlights

  • Enjoy a three-day Salar de Uyuni 4x4 adventure, which includes the train cemetery, salt flats, Incahuasi (cactus) Island, colourful lagoons, geysers and ancient volcanoes
  • Discover the pre-Columbian Unesco World Heritage sites of El Fuerte and Tiwanaku
  • See the giant tree ferns and spectacular landscape of Amboró National Park
  • Visit La Recoleta viewpoint overlooking the White City of Sucre
  • Learn about the colonial and silver mining heritage of Potosí
  • Walk to the Fountain of Eternal Youth on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca
  • Embark on an afternoon city tour of La Paz, including the cathedral and cable car ride
  • Part of the Aldo Kane collection

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

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.

Fitness and altitude

There is a walk 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.

The activity for this trip is graded at level 3 (Moderate), high altitudes can make even leisurely physical activities 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 (9,185ft/2,800m) before continuing to Potosí (13,320ft/4,060m), Salar de Uyuni (ranging between 11,975ft/3,650m and 15,910ft/4,850m), La Paz (11,940ft/3,640m) and Isla del Sol (13,120ft/4,000m). The maximum altitude on this trip is 15,910ft (4,850m) at Sol de Mañana – please ensure your insurance covers you up to this altitude.  Note – Oxigen is carried on the bus rides in Sucre, Potosi and Uyuni (salar).

Temperatures

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.

Drives

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

Facilities

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

Strikes

Strikes are not uncommon in Bolivia; while 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.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Highlights of Bolivia

Land Only

  • Start City: Santa Cruz
  • End City: Santa Cruz

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Santa Cruz to Amboró National Park

We gather our group in Santa Cruz this morning and drive (approximately 3hr 30min) to our hotel on the border of Amboró National Park.

The road to the hotel entrance is unpaved and we take a 4×4 ride for the last stretch (approximately 30 minutes). After check in, we have lunch and an afternoon at leisure. For those wanting to stretch their legs, we have optional walks available.

Accommodation: Refugio de los Volcanes (or similar)

Meals included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2
Amboró trek; drive to Samaipata

We start early and set out on foot for a day walk (approximately four to six hours). We see giant tree ferns, which reach up to 42ft (13m) tall, and visit a viewpoint for a panorama of sheer sandstone cliffs rising high above an 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 endemic plants. Elusive mammals (ocelots, spectacled bears, tapirs, jaguars and pumas to name a few) also reside within Amboró, but we are unlikely to see them, especially in the daytime.

Afterwards, we can shower and have lunch before we transfer to the little-visited laidback town of Samaipata (approximately 1hr 30min) and check into our hotel for the next two nights. En route, we visit Las Cuevas Waterfalls, where it is possible to take a quick swim in the clear water if you wish. The evening is free for you to explore town or rest after this morning’s walk.

Accommodation: Hotel Quinta Piray (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Morning guided tour of El Fuerte; afternoon at leisure

This morning, we visit El Fuerte de Samaipata (Samaipata Fort), a pre-Columbian archaeological site with Unesco World Heritage status, about 6mi (10km) outside 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 more than 500 dwellings. It incorporates buildings from three cultures: Chanè, Inca and Spanish. The main site is a gigantic stone slab (more than 330ft/100m long), covered in Inca and pre-Inca carvings of geometric shapes and animal figures, thought to have been of religious/ceremonial significance. We also visit the museum, which contains artefacts from El Fuerte.

Accommodation: Hotel Quinta Piray (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Return to Santa Cruz; short flight to Sucre

After breakfast, we return to Santa Cruz Airport (approximately 4hr 30min drive). In the afternoon, we fly to Sucre (approximately 45-minute flight), the Unesco-listed capital of Bolivia and often called the most beautiful city in the country, with narrow streets and colonial white-washed buildings.

Accommodation: De Su Merced Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Morning city tour; afternoon at leisure

After breakfast, we 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 come to the San Francisco Basilica, complete with its freedom bell (which was 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.

Accommodation: De Su Merced Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Drive to Potosí; afternoon visit local mine and walking tour of Potosí to discover the colonial and silver mining heritage

After breakfast, we drive (approximately 3hr 30min) to Potosí; you will notice the increase in elevation as Potosí lies at 13,320ft (4,060m) above sea level. This afternoon, we visit the entrance of the Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) mine, where we hear from a former miner about its history and tragic legacy.

Back in town, we have a walking orientation tour of Potosí, which was the centre of the silver rush in the 16th century, resulting in thousands of colonial buildings.

Accommodation: Hotel Santa Teresa (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Morning tour to Uyuni; afternoon transfer to Siloli desert

We depart from Potosí at 7am and transfer to Uyuni (approximately four hours). In Uyuni, we enjoy a break and switch to our 4×4 vehicle. Our journey takes us to a variety of sites, including the Train Cemetery and San Cristobal town (one of the largest silver mining facilities in Bolivia). We will not enter the mine but have a quick explanation of its history. Afterwards, we drive to Turkiri Lagoon to see a variety of local flora and fauna, there are many bird species in this area. We continue heading south with beautiful sights including the Ollagüe Volcano, until we arrive at the lakes of Cañapa, Hedionda and Honda.

These are flamingo breeding grounds and we’re certain to see flocks here, and maybe vicunas and Andean geese. Before we arrive at our hotel, we drive to the Siloli desert and view the Mountain of Seven Colours at Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve.  The altitude will vary during our time exploring the Salar de Uyuni (ranging between 11,975ft/3,650m and 15,910ft/4,850m).

Today’s driving time is approximately nine to ten hours.

Accommodation: Hotel Tayka del Desierto

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
First day of our 4x4 adventure to discover the incredible landscapes of Salar de Uyuni

Today we hop in our 4×4 and head into Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. Our first stop is Laguna Colorada, where the waters are tinged a rusty red. After, we visit Sol de Mañana geysers, the highest point on our trip at 15,910ft (4,850m) above sea level. Across this sulphur spring field are boiling mud lakes and steam pools, and there are several geyser-like features where pressurised steam spouts up to 165ft (50m) high.

Set against a backdrop of volcanoes and mountains is Polques Thermal Baths, where those who can brave the cold air can enjoy a dip in the warm waters. Later, we visit Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) and Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon).

Today’s driving time is approximately eight to nine hours.

Accommodation: Mallku Cueva Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9
Second day to discover more sights of Salar de Uyuni by 4x4

This morning, we visit the cave paintings in Villamar (made by the ancient Aymaras) and continue exploring Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, travelling through the otherworldly landscapes of the Valley of Rocks and Stone Tree. We arrive around 5pm at Hotel Palacio de Sal, sure to be a highlight stay of our time in the Salar de Uyuni.

Today’s driving time is approximately seven to eight hours.

Accommodation: Hotel Palacio de Sal (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10
Third day to discover more sights of Salar de Uyuni by 4x4

We spend today’s 4×4 adventure on the salt flats. Pyramids of salt are mounded up and, in the dry season, the ground is desiccated and hexagonal salt tiles form as far as the eye can see. There are wonderful photo opportunities, and we have time 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 in the middle of the salt flats is an amazing sight and we can walk across it for 360-degree views from the top. After more photo opportunities, we visit a spot to watch the sun set and the light cast shadows and reflections on the water.

Today’s driving time is approximately five to six hours.

Accommodation: Hotel Palacio de Sal (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11
Drive back to Uyuni; fly to La Paz; afternoon city tour

After breakfast, we transfer (30 minutes) to Uyuni airport and fly to La Paz, the highest administrative capital in the world at 11,940ft (3,640m) above sea level. Upon arrival, we transfer to El Alto to ride an innovative cable car system, which takes us to the heart of the city. We are met on the other side and transferred to our hotel.

We then start our walking tour, visiting the main square, Plaza Murillo, which is in the old town, where we also find the Presidential Palace, government congress buildings, and the cathedral. Finally, we enjoy the exterior artistry of the Basilica of San Francisco, which has a mestizo-baroque facade depicting masks, dragons, tropical birds and snakes.

Accommodation: Hotel Qantu (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12
Travel to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca; walk to our ecolodge

We drive towards Copacabana, crossing the Tiquina Strait by boat (a 10-minute ride) and follow the Lake Titicaca shores for much of the journey (total drive time: approximately 4hr 30min). 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 to the Sun Temple. We walk (approximately 1hr 30min) to our ecolodge, allowing us to take in the surroundings: the deep blue waters contrasting the snowy 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.

Accommodation: Ecolodge La Estancia (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13
Explore Isla del la Luna or relax on Isla del Sol

Today we take a short boat trip to nearby Isla del la Luna (Moon Island) to explore the ruins and learn about the ancient Inca and pre-Inca legends of Lake Titicaca. Or you can just chill out on Isla del Sol.

Accommodation: Ecolodge La Estancia (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14
Walk to the Fountain of Eternal Youth; transfer to La Paz; fly back to Santa Cruz

After breakfast, we walk to the Fountain of Eternal Youth before we make the same return journey back (by boat to Copacabana, bus and then a short ferry ride across the Tiquina Strait) and head to the pre-Columbian ruins of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage site (approximately 3hr 30min driving). Founded around 1,500 BCE, Tiwanaku became the capital of a massive empire that lasted almost 1,000 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 1hr 30min) to La Paz Airport for an evening flight to Santa Cruz.

Accommodation: TRYP by Wyndham Santa Cruz (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15
End Santa Cruz

The tour comes to an end after breakfast. If you’d like to continue exploring, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay. Alternatively, begin your return journey home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 11,480ft (3,500m) above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by acute mountain sickness (AMS). If left untreated, AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent, will be made immediately.

On some days, this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent-rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk-assessment process, we consider the ascent rate acceptable due to the additional safety measures in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude-safety standards, which minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring while travelling at altitude.

Several medical conditions or medications can reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. While we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Accommodation

Hotels, Salt Hotel and Ecolodge

10 nights hotels, two nights in a salt hotel and two nights in an ecolodge – all nights based on twin-share.

The hotels usually used are listed within the itinerary and below; occasionally these may vary by departure date due to availability. The hotels are generally a three-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. Wifi service in remote locations can be slow to non-existent (e.g…Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca).

Our hotel in Santa Cruz is 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 Hotel Quinta Piray, 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. De Su Merced Hotel is a large converted colonial house with a rooftop 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.

Salar de Uyuni tours have a reputation for being a bit tough (and due to location most are) but we have selected some of the better hotels available. Probably the highlight will be our night at the Hotel Palacio de Sal, a unique property built entirely from 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, which is located on a busy street but close to the famous Witches Market and around the corner from the Basilica of San Francisco.

Should you wish to extend your stay, your sales representative 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.

Single supplement from £ 525

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, seven lunches and seven dinners are included.

Some of the lunches are box lunches while others are restaurant meals. Where meals are not included, your leader can 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 (crispy fried pork called chicharron, which is usually accompanied by corn, potatoes and a rich chilli sauce) and in La Paz sample a sandwich de chola (pork sandwich).

Transport

A variety of transport is used during this tour and vehicle types may vary depending on group size: travel is by boat, 4×4, private minibus/coach and three internal flights.

In Uyuni, we spend three days exploring the salt flats and Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve by 4×4. There will usually be four passengers per vehicle.

The boat from Copacabana to/from Isla del Sol is a private boat. Crossing the Tiquina Strait is done on a shared ferry service.

Weather & Seasonality

Differences in topography and climate separate the lowlands and highlands of Bolivia 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 30C (86F). The rainy season (extending from late September to May) has an annual rainfall average of 40in-150in (1,000mm-4,000mm). The heavy rainfall is caused by winds blowing in from the Amazon rainforest. From 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 15C to 27C (60F to 80F) but in the dry season it’s more likely to be 10C-15C (50F-59F) with the coldest temperatures occurring in the southwestern portion of the Altiplano during June and July. Nights can drop to around freezing point. In Salar de Uyuni, night-time temperatures in the dry season may fall as low as -15C (5F), 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 at that time as getting around can be difficult and treacherous.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start point: TRYP Wyndham Santa Cruz, Av. San Martin, Calle 9 Este, No. 4, Equipetrol, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Phone: +591 3 3412900
Arrival time: 8.30am latest at TRYP Wyndham Santa Cruz to catch the 9am transfer to our hotel on the border of Amboró National Park
Airport: Santa Cruz Airport (VVI)

Getting to the start hotel
The start hotel is approximately 35 minutes’ drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer
Exodus provides a group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival our chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer time or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way
Taking a taxi from the airport to the start hotel costs approximately US$25 (Taxis Viru Viru). On arrival at the hotel, please make the reception staff aware that you are part of an Exodus group and they will have more details on meeting with your leader and group.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight
There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline’s website for the latest information prior to your departure.  Note – For Bolivia domestic flights the check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Santa Cruz
Location end: Santa Cruz

What To Take

Essential Equipment

You will encounter a range of temperatures throughout this trip and the best solution is to bring lots of layers. Below is not an exhaustive packing list but some essential items you should take in addition to your normal daily clothing.

  • Daypack/rucksack
  • Water bottle
  • High SPF sunscreen and lip balm (the sun is strong at altitude)
  • UV-blocking sunglasses – the salt flats give off a dazzling glare when it is sunny
  • Sunhat/cap
  • Woolly hat, gloves and thick bed socks
  • Thermal leggings/top
  • Warm jumper/fleece – it can get very cold at night in the highlands/Uyuni
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket – even if it doesn’t rain this will add warmth
  • Down/synthetic insulated jacket (particularly if travelling from May to August)
  • Swimwear and a sarong/thin towel – there is usually the chance to swim in the lagoons in Uyuni
  • Insect repellent – for the lowlands, Amboró, Samaipata, Santa Cruz
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirt – to protect against mosquitos and the sun
  • Lightweight trousers (pants)
  • Walking boots/shoes
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Copy of your passport – it is advisable to carry one with you in Bolivia

For your stay on Isla del Sol, your main luggage will be stored with our main transportation, and you will need to take a small overnight bag with you.

Optional Equipment

  • Camera
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Head torch/flashlight
  • Personal music player/tablet/book
  • Pack of playing cards/travel games

Practical Information

Visa

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.org. If you are in any doubt, please contact the nearest Bolivian Embassy.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Program, you are required to register in advance for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). There is a US$21 charge, which is only payable online. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information.

Please note, not all nationalities have the same eligibility for travel to or transit via the USA, and you may not be covered by the visa waiver program. Regulations stipulate that any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify. In addition, if you have travelled to Cuba since 12 January 2021 you will not be eligible for the visa waiver program and should instead apply for a visa.

If you are in doubt of your eligibility, please check the visa requirements with your local US embassy.

Vaccinations and Health

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.

Local Time

Bolivia's time zone: America/La_Paz (UTC -04:00)

Electricity

Bolivia's electricity: Plug types A (two flat pins) and C (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Money

Bolivia's currency: Bolivian boliviano (BOB)

ATM Availability

ATMs are a good way to get Bolivianos and are available in all major cities in Bolivia, including Santa Cruz, Sucre, Potosí, La Paz, Copacabana (but not Isla del Sol) and Uyuni town (but not the rest of the 4×4 trip). Most international credit and debit cards are accepted, but you should inform your bank you are travelling to Bolivia and check if your card will work in the local ATMs (use fees may apply).

Credit card acceptance is increasing, but generally they can be used only at the large (and more expensive) restaurants and shops.

If bringing a foreign currency to exchange, we recommended US dollars, as they are the most widely accepted exchange currency (US notes should be clean and unmarked).

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Small change is useful in Bolivia and may be needed for things such as using public toilets throughout the itinerary (usually 1 or 2 boliviano).

Food, drinks and similar incidentals can vary in price enormously. Allow about 100-140 bolivianos (US$15- US$20) per person for each meal not included in the tour price to eat at good restaurants. Cheaper food is abundant at small cafes, although sanitary conditions at these places cannot be guaranteed. Bottled water and soft drinks are readily available for around 7-14 bolivianos (US$1-US$2) or less each.

For the domestic flight from Uyuni to La Paz, an airport tax of 11 bolivianos (US$1.60) is payable at the airport in cash. Please ensure you have some change with you for this.

Tipping

In Bolivia, it has become customary for local staff to receive tips, which can be an important source of extra income for hard-working crew. Whether to tip and how much to tip should be a personal decision. As customers often ask us for a suggestion of how much is appropriate for different individuals, we have prepared some guidelines together with our local partner. Please note, US dollars are the preferred currency for tips.

Tipping kitty: On this trip, we recommend running a tipping kitty. This means we tip as a group, and individuals don’t need to worry about giving out small tips to various people who have helped during the trip (ie drivers, local guides, boatmen and hotel staff). We suggest a contribution of US$5 per person per day.

Tour Leader: Leaders are fairly paid for their role but are always grateful for recognition of their skills and hard work. Tips should be based on their performance and engagement with the group. If you are happy with their work, we recommend somewhere around US$5 per person per day, but customers are encouraged to contribute what they feel happy giving.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible. A number of the hotels used are family owned.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income, which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites.
  • We visit ASUR, an indigenous art museum that supports communities close to Sucre by helping to keep traditional weaving techniques alive.
  • We visit Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve and fees collected fund conservation initiatives.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration hereincluding our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • A number of the hotels we use are ecofriendly and use solar panels: Tayka de Piedra, Refugio de los Volcanes and La Estancia.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.