Salt, Silver & Starlight

Bolivia’s position in the Central Andes has made it one of the hubs of Andean civilizations for generations and its historical legacies continue to peek through into modernity. Lake Titicaca holds special cultural significance for the diverse peoples of the region while the burgeoning city of La Paz seems to cling to the spiritual relics of a forgotten past. Sucre and Potosi are infused with traces of the economic gravitas they once held in the Spanish colonies. But Bolivia is not just a land of historical and political intrigue; the iconic Salar de Uyuni is otherworldly in its ethereal splendor. Bolivia as a destination is simultaneously stunning and rustic, demanding a true spirit of adventure from travellers who are prepared to forgoe elements of comfort for the remarkable rewards of traversing this country’s terrain. On this eight day Salt, Silver & Starlight itinerary, experience the essence of this rich region.

Highlights
  • Take a cable car to El Alto to see the colorful Cholet buildings guided by the architect himself, Freddy Mamani
  • Marvel at the crystalline purity of the Salar de Uyuni.
  • Cruise around the sublime Sun and Moon Islands in Lake Titicaca.
Daily Summary

Day 1 La Paz Arrival in La Paz. Overnight at ATIX.

Day 2 La Paz City tour of La Paz, taking in the Witches’ Market, Museum of Ethnography and Salar Gallery. Table reservation at Ali Pacha. Then visit the Moon Valley OR Cholet buildings with the architect. Overnight at ATIX.

Day 3 La Paz - Lake Titicaca Transfer to Huatajata on the edge of Lake Titicaca. Cruise to Moon Island and visit the ruins of the Iñak Uyu and Sun Island. Dinner and overnight at Posada del Inca Eco Lodge.

Day 4 Lake Titicaca - La Paz Visit the Inca Grand Stairs and Sacred Fountain then cruise to Copacabana. Back to La Paz with dinner at acclaimed restaurant Gustu. Overnight at ATIX.

Day 5 La Paz – Sucre Fly to Sucre, Bolivias's most beautiful city. Explore the key sites. Overnight Hotel Parador.

Day 6 Sucre - Potosí Transfer to Potosi to visit the Casa de la Moneda or alternatively delve down into the mines. Dinner and overnight Hacienda Cayara.

Day 7 Potosí - Uyuni By road to the mesmerizing salt flats of Uyuni for an excursion. Dinner at overnight at Luna Salada and evening stargazing.

Day 8 Uyuni - La Paz Visit village of Colchani. Transfer to the airport for a local flight to La Paz. Departure via international flight.

  • Day 1

    La Paz

    International Arrival

    An English-speaking Aracari representative will greet you at your international arrival with a customized welcome pack, complete with a booklet of your trip itinerary and other useful information. You will then be whisked off to your hotel in La Paz and assisted with all check-in procedures.

  • Day 2

    La Paz

    La Paz City Highlights, Salart Gallery, Moon Valley OR Cholets tour

    The city of La Paz and its surroundings are rife with a living history where indigenous, colonial, and modern customs collide, all under the watch of the majestic Illimani mountain. Peruse the Witch's Market, where mysterious treasures await around every corner. During the morning, take a short break for salteñas, a savoury Bolivian baked empanada. During your tour of La Paz, stop for a visit to the impressive Museum of Ethnography and Folklore which showcases regional particularities and unique characteristics of the many cultures of Bolivia.

    You will also have the chance to visit Salar Gallery where you can meet the owner, Gastón Ugalde, or the gallery curator, his son Mariano Ugalde. Gastón Ugalde is Bolivia’s most celebrated living artist, considered a visual arts leader in the region and referred to by critics as the ‘Andean Warhol’. Salar is a gallery that operates on a global scale and represents a select group of international contemporary artists. The gallery showcases a 50 year retrospective of Ugalde’s own work, along with carefully curated work from international artists.

    Enjoy lunch at Ali Pacha (table reservation), meaning Universe of Plants in the native Aymara language, this exciting new restaurant has a menu entirely based on plant products, with the aim of showcasing under-used produce and championing micro-producers from around Bolivia. (Table reservation only – meal and drinks own cost).

    In the afternoon, you may choose from the following options:

    Continue to the Moon Valley, a series of polychromatic clay formations created by the persistent wind and water erosion of the area's mountains.

    OR

    Take a cable car, part of the capital’s public transportation system, high above La Paz to the El Alto plateau. An architecture tour of this district will reveal the socio-economic story behind the colourful luxury buildings known as Cholets. You will be guided by the famed architect driving the movement, Freddy Mamani. These futuristic façades have mushroomed in El Alto since the 2006 election of President Evo Morales, championing indigenous rights of the Aymara people. The architectural trend with its multi-coloured buildings has come to symbolise a new sense of pride from Bolivia’s indigenous bourgeoisie.

  • Day 3

    La Paz– Lake Titicaca

    Visit of Iñak Uyu & Transfer to Isla del Sol

    After an early breakfast, you will embark on your private overland transfer to Cocotoni Bay and the aquatic bird-lined port of Huatajata where you will board a boat to explore Lake Titicaca. Take a hydrofoil cruise to the picturesque Moon Island to visit the ruins of the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu,” where the most beautiful Inca maids were sent to keep an eternal sacred fire lit and eventually become the wives of the Inca nobles. Continue to Sun Island to visit the Pilcocaina Sun Temple, said to be the birthplace of the Inca Empire. Enjoy a 45-minute trek, surrounded by cheery llamas, to your hotel, where you will be served lunch upon arrival. Spend the afternoon at your leisure to explore the bucolic surroundings. Dinner at Posada del Inca Ecolodge.

  • Day 4

    Lake Titicaca - La Paz

    Isla del Sol & Transfer from Isla del Sol to La Paz

    Breakfast and morning at leisure. Around noon, walk down by the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain to taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Enjoy lunch at the Uma Kollu archaeological restaurant and visit the small handicraft market before taking a hydrofoil cruise to Copacabana where you will visit the local shrine and market with your guide. From there, you will return to La Paz by private car, enjoying views of the lake and the Andes along the way.

    Tonight enjoy dinner at leading restaurant Gustu (table reservation), from the founder of Denmark´s acclaimed two-michelin star restaurant, Noma.

  • Day 5

    La Paz – Sucre

    Sucre's City Tour

    Your guide will accompany you from your hotel to La Paz airport and assist you with the check-in procedures for your domestic flight to Sucre, Bolivia's most beautiful city. Spanish royalty and wealthy families involved with the silver mining in Potosí lived in Sucre. Today, Sucre shares capital city status with La Paz. Its gleaming white stucco buildings and preserved colonial architecture, green parks, and streets lined with cafes and restaurants make it a pleasant and historical city. Besides its aesthetic charm, Sucre has many cultural attractions to visit while strolling around the city. Take a half-day city tour to visit La Recoleta, Museum Azur and the San Felipe Nery Church.

  • Day 6

    Sucre - Potosi

    Potosi Highlights

    After breakfast, take an overland transfer to Potosi, the source of silver during colonial times and UNESCO “The Historical and Cultural Legacy of Mankind." According to legend, the mountain that towers over the city has produced enough silver to build a solid silver bridge from Potosi to Madrid! After you arrive, enjoy an authentic Bolivian lunch at a local restaurant. Visit the Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint), filled with fascinating wooden machinery used to make coins for the Spanish colonies. Alternatively tour a real, functioning silver mine, a key attraction in the area, for a glimpse at the industry's past and present.

    In the afternoon, take a tour of the Cayara Hacienda and Museum. Cayara is one of the surviving haciendas, or large rural estates, from the colonial era. When Spaniards controlled the region, these farms were developed to provide produce to sustain those involved in the large-scale mining operations around Potosi. The hacienda is a treasure trove of antique books, paintings, Colonial, Republican armor and much more. It has a lovely chapel that has just been restored by the owner, Dr. Arturo, and his team. You will arrive in time for lunch before meeting your guide for a tour of the museum and farming areas, most of which are no longer in production. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore the grounds or relax before dinner.

  • Day 7

    Potosi - Salar de Uyuni

    Full day excursion to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni

    After breakfast, make an overland transfer to Uyuni. Spend the day at the largest salt flat on Earth, Salar de Uyuni, with stunning sceneries unmatched anywhere else in the world. The surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, the endless sky, and the vivid lagoons peppered with cacti and flamingos, will certainly make you feel that there is no place like this in the whole world. When the salt flats have a layer of water on them, they act as natural mirror, reflecting the sky for a fantastic visual display. During your trip to the Salar, you will visit Incahuasi Island and explore the area with cacti towering over you. After a picnic lunch in a secluded spot, you will continue north to the impressive Thunupa Volcano.

    In the village of Coquesa, you will see the massive Thunupa Volcano rising up in front of you. The village affords excellent views all around, so you will have a few hours to explore and visit the small community museum. To finish off the day, you will be able to enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the salt flats before arriving at the Luna Salada hotel for the evening.

    At night optionally enjoy stargazing. The unobstructed expanse of the isolated salt flats makes night-time stargazing a truly spellbinding experience, as the full breadth and immensity of the night sky can be observed and appreciated.

  • Day 8

    Uyuni - La Paz

    Transfer from Uyuni to La Paz & International departure

    This morning you will have a chance to visit the village of Colchani and take your last photos of the impressive salt flats before heading to the airport for your domestic flight to La Paz. An Aracari representative will be waiting for you at the airport in La Paz to assist with your international departure.

Itinerary pricing as of 2017

Pricing Info - US$4,198

This is an example itinerary and can be entirely customized to suit you. Just get in touch and we’ll design your own tailor-made itinerary according to your interests, travel style and budget.

  • Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
  • Price is per person for the full 8-day itinerary
Pricing Alternatives
  • Please contact us for information on upgrading to a Deluxe Airstream overnight on the salt flats
What's Included?

This itinerary is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).

  • Includes all specified services in the itinerary description
  • All transfers and entrance fees
  • A welcome pack on arrival including: a pre-loaded cell phone to contact your travel consultant at any time, a printed booklet packed with insider tips alongside your detailed itinerary and up-to-date recommendations on dining and shopping
  • Hand-selected English-speaking guides
  • Specialist guides (where noted)
  • 24-hour support from our locally based team
  • 7 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Bolivia’s finest accommodation
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