- Explore the lovely colonial town of Sucre, one of the loveliest in South America, with its whitewashed mansions, convents, and leafy plazas
- Visit the indigenous market of Tarabuco and Hacienda Candelaria where you will meet the weavers of the region and enjoy a traditional lunch
- Discover South America's colonial past as you immerse yourself in Potosi, one of the most important cities in the world in the 17th century
- Witness one of the most awe inspiring landcapes, the Salar de Uyuni, the biggest salt lake in the world
- Embark on an expedition accross the altiplano viewing coloured lagoons dotted with flamingo, geysers and volcanoes.
- Cross the border into Argentina to continue your voyage of discovery along rugged, colourful canyons while staying at lovely haciendas.
- Discover the historic town of Salta, with its cobbled streets and colonial splendour
This is a unique journey will take you to discover the fascinating history of Colonial South America whilst getting you to witness some of the most awe inspiring landscapes in the world. Bolivia is a country steeped in history with much to discover, still away from the tourist track. You will visit the colonial cities of Sucre of Potosi whose monuments attest to a past of luxury and grandeur. You will explore the Silver mine of Potosi, which produced (legend goes) enough silver to pave a road all the way back to Spain. You will stay in a colonial hacienda now museum laden with works of art.
The following day you will reach the other-worldly landscapes of the Uyuni Salt Pans with its scattered islands and the coloured lagoons -red, green and turquoise- teeming with flamingo, on your way to Argentina. Here you will reach a wondrous valley with coloured mountains and canyons and small Andean villages nestled in tiny valleys. Once in Argentina, at lower altitude, you will also experience first class accommodation in owner-run hacienda hotels and boutique properties. A wonderful opportunity to unwind and reminisce on all you have experienced on this magnificent journey while soaking up the laid back and calm atmosphere in this Andean region of Argentina.
SucreView on map
International Arrival and Transfer to Hotel in Sucre
An English-speaking Aracari representative will be expecting you from your international arrival with a sign bearing your name. They will greet you, and assist you with check in procedures for your flight to Sucre. After you have checked in your luggage, they will accompany you until you pass through to the departure area. Take flight from La Paz to Sucre.
An Aracari representative will be expecting you from your domestic flight from La Paz, with a sign bearing your name. They will escort you to your hotel to assist you with check-in and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
3 nights at Parador Santa Maria La RealAccommodation options
- Day 2
SucreView on map
History and Tradition at Sucre
Sucre, which shares capital city status with La Paz, is the country’s most charming city and it was here that independence was proclaimed. Founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century, its history and importance has always been closely linked to that of nearby Potosí: Spanish royalty and wealthy families involved with the wealth of silver mining in Potosí lived in Sucre, seeking refuge from the high altitudes and cold temperatures. Sucre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a well-preserved example of the architectural blend between local traditions and styles imported from Europe, home to gleaming white stucco buildings, green parks, and streets lined with cafes and restaurants.
There are a variety of unique sites in Sucre which you can choose from depending on your interests. In a half day visit you can typically visit three museums. Our recommendations are noted below - the exact schedule and number of visits will vary depending on which you choose. Suggestions include: the ASUR textile museum, which showcases indigenous art and textiles, The House of Liberty (*closed Mondays), where the Bolivian declaration of independence was signed, the Convent of San Felipe de Neri, the Museum of La Recoleta, 16th Century churches, Simpon Bolivar Park, the Antrhpological and Modern Art Museum, local hat and chocolate factories, and the quarry of Cal Orck’o, outside Sucre, home to dinosaur footprints.Accommodation options
- Day 3
SucreView on map
Tarabuco Market & Hacienda Candelaria
The market village of Tarabuco and the traditional Hacienda Candelaria, outside Sucre, both offer fascinating insight into traditional indigenous life in Bolivia. This morning your private vehicle and guide will collect you from your hotel to head to the village of Tarabuco, approximately 1hr 15min away. Tarabuco is known for its bustling market, which only takes place on Sundays. Here, artisans and weavers arrive early and set up stands to sell and barter their colorful crafts and produce until mid-afternoon. You will have the opportunity to browse or purchase the likes of handcrafted tapestries and textiles, jewelry and ceramics, or just enjoy the bustling market environment where the majority of locals from the indigenous Yampara community still wear traditional dress.
Leaving Tarabuco, you’ll continue south-east for approximately 40 minutes by road to reach the town of Candelaria, known for producing quality woven textiles. You will be able to meet with locals in the community and visit their indigenous homes to see how people here live, as well as visit the community museum which displays beautiful local weaving work, which is available for purchase. Take a tour of 17th century colonial Hacienda Candelaria, where you will enjoy a typical Bolivia countryside lunch. Candelaria affords a window into both rural community living, as well as life before the land reforms of the early-1950s in Bolivia. The Hacienda is an attractive rustic adobe-brick building formed around a courtyard, harking back to its days of former grandeur. Visit its chapel, storage rooms, orchards and unique native museum home to agricultural tools. You can also participate in a textile workshop, learning to spin and dye the wool and try your hand at the intricate weaving process. Time allowing, you can walk to an Incan bridge. At the end of the visit you will be transferred back to Sucre, which takes approximately two and a half hours.Accommodation options
- Day 4
PotosiView on map
The City of Silver
Sitting at around 4000 meters (13,123 ft), Potosí was an unassuming Andean village until the arrival of the Spaniards and its conversion into the Empire’s economic center, delivering great wealth to the Spanish rulers. Founded in 1546, Potosí was established after the discovery of what seemed to be an endless supply of silver deposits in the Cerro Rico (meaning ‘Rich Mountain’) mine, located just to the south of the city. In the 16th Century, the city had evolved into a metropolis with a population larger than Paris. According to legend, the mountain that towers over the city has produced enough silver to build a solid silver bridge from Potosí to Madrid!
Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel this morning for the approximately three hour drive from Sucre to Potosí. Now a UNESCO World Heritage city, the city retains elements of its former grandeur. Today you will visit a few places of interest in the center of Potosí including the Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint), filled with fascinating wooden machinery used to make coins for the Spanish colonies. You’ll also visit the local miners’ market and delve into functioning silver mine for a glimpse at the industry's past and present, with an insight into the challenging conditions miners still undergo to this day. After lunch at a local restaurant, head to the Convent of Santa Teresa, which, besides its aesthetic beauty, is a great representation of religious life during colonial times. At the end of the day, you will transfer to the Hotel Museo Cayara, located approximately 30 minutes outside the city.Accommodation options
- Day 5
UyuniView on map
Silver Mines and Overland Transfer to Uyuni
Before leaving Potosi, you’ll have a chance to visit the local miners’ market and delve into functioning silver mine for a glimpse at the industry's past and present, with an insight into the challenging conditions miners still undergo to this day.
Take an overland transfer of approximately four hours from Potosí to Uyuni.
Overlooking the vast expanse of the Salar de Uyuni sits Luna Salada Hotel, constructed entirely out of salt blocks and local materials. The hotel design takes into account lighting and maximizing on space in the rustic rooms.Luna Salada is comprised of thirty rooms, each equipped with standard amenities that include down feather pillows and king or twin beds, private bathrooms, hot water, hair dryer, central heating system and electric blankets for chilly evenings.Desks are made out of salt, and there is At Luna Salada guests are invited to curl up by the cozy fireplace, borrow a book from the library, play a game of table tennis in the game room or spend an evening stargazing.Accommodation options
- Day 6
UyuniView on map
Salar de Uyuni
The largest salt flat on Earth, Salar de Uyuni affords visitors with stunning scenery unmatched anywhere else in the world. Covering 12,000 square kilometers (4,633 square miles) of Bolivian Altiplano, the vast salt flats are an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon and highly photogenic at any time of year.In the dry season, surreal pentagons of bright white crystalline salt form, while in rainy season the salt flats see a layer of water develop which acts as a natural mirror, reflecting the sky for a fantastic, other-worldly visual display.
During your exploration of Uyuni you will visit the eerie train cemetery located 15 minutes outside of Uyuni town, which has become an iconic site associated with the area. This is the fascinating resting place of freight trains that once passed through the area in the late 1800´s. Also visit Colchani, a village on the edge of Salar de Uyuni where locals process salt and sell salt figurines and bottles and bags of authentic Salar de Uyuni table salt as souvenirs. There is also a ‘salt museum’ in this town, which is not only made from salt, but also features salt furniture and sculptures of animals.
From here you will enter the mesmerizing salt flats. In the dry season you’ll see the bubbling ojosdesal ‘eyes of the salt’ and can reach Incahuasi Island, notable for its giant cacti. A short walk here on a petrified coral path offers views, before enjoying a picnic lunch in the middle of the salt flats. In the rainy season, thanks to the layer of water covering the crystalline salt you cannot drive across the salt flats but rather enjoy the spectacular ethereal sight and photography opportunities produced by the salt flats when it has rained. You can also visit the mummies of K’aka. Your exact route will be adapted to the weather conditions and season at the time of your visit.To round off the day, admire sunset over the salt flats.Accommodation options0
- Day 7
UyuniView on map
Surreal Landscapes & Small Lagoons
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head south towards the town of Uyuni to meet up with your guide. From Uyuni, continue to San Cristobal, a colonial town that is now the world’s largest source of silver. If interested, you can stop to visit the church, featuring beautiful original frescos on the walls. Take a walk alongside the Alota River, home to much of the region’s birdlife.Enjoy the surreal and highly photogenic landscapes of this region, including the Valley of Rocks, with its unusual rock formations offering great photo opportunities. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route today. In the afternoon, visit the small lagoons of this area, including the Laguna Hedionda, home to pink flamingos. End the day at Mallku Cueva, for dinner and to spend the night.
1 night at Jardines de Mallku Cueva | Located near the lakes of Lipez and perched upon a rock, this is a rustic and basic - but comfortable- Andean hotel. All 12 rooms have private bathrooms as well as electricity. The restaurant and bar area includes a cozy fireplace. This hotel, while remote, has magnificent natural surroundings and is located between Uyuni and the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve.Accommodation options
- Day 8
UyuniView on map
The Eduardo Avaroa Reserve
After breakfast, you’ll continue south with your private vehicle and guide, towards the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve.Today you will stop at the Laguna Colorada which displays various hues of red, depending on the light conditions. It is also the most important nesting site for three types of South American flamingoes. Continue to the Sol de Mañana Geysers, with intensely active fumaroles and volcanic craters filling with boiling lava. Afterwards, head to the Chalviri Lagoon, where you have the opportunity the take a dip in the natural hot springs.
Finally, pass through Dali’s Desert and make your way to the Laguna Blanca then the Laguna Verde, which looks like a liquid emerald, varying between shades of turquoise and green. Along the way you’ll stop for a box lunch, and have many opportunities to enjoy and photograph the stunning scenery.Accommodation options
- Day 9
TupizaView on map
Uyuni to Tupiza
Today you will transfer approximately 3hrs to the town of Tupiza, located close to to the Argentinian border and at a lower altitude of 9,350ft (2,850m). The journey will take in breathtaking landscapes, including surreal rock formations and flocks of suris and vicunas.
1 night at Hotel Mitru | The remote little town of Tupiza is not on the tourist trail, and the agreeable if basic Hotel Mitru is probably the best option around. One of its most attractive features is a well-proportioned outdoor swimming pool, screened by a rustic adobe wall and adjacent to a neat and pleasant garden. The décor has a certain quirky Bolivian charm, and the facilities, though simple, make for a reasonably comfortable stay even if the service can be reticent.
- Day 10
PurmamarcaView on map
Transfer from Tupiza to Purmamarca
This morning you will be met by your guide and driver to make the 1hr drive to the town of Villazon on the Bolivia-Argentina border.
Border to Purmamarca | La Quiaca is a city situated in the Jujuy Puna on the the Argentine- Bolivian border. It is separated from Bolivia by La Quiaca river and limits to the north with Villazón town, Bolivia. Located in a wonderful valley surrounded by hills, La Quiaca has dry land and a large scope of temperatures.
Worldwide known due to the imposing Quebrada de Humahuaca, professed as Humanity Heritage by UNESCO, shows a heavenly landscape where Río Grande flows and where great archaeological beds are found in colourful hills. In this region, tourists get in touch with Hispano-America roots in a landscape made of valleys and narow paths where Indigenous and Spanish cutures merged.
Due to the altitude in which all these touristic sites are located, it is highly recommended to walk slowly in order to avoid having mountain sickness that may be caused by the oxygen decrease.
When visiting Tilcara and Humahuaca, visitors feel transported in time. Both town reflect a lively history: the natives of the Andes here in Jujuy Province have experienced Spanish invasion, Catholic conversion and industrial revolution, yet their culture and customs remain basically intact.
At Tilcara, visitors should not miss the Pucará ruins. The renovated pre-Columbian village has tiny doorways to the houses and the distant, deep holes in the rock patios are a sure sign that progress has been made in sanitation. Another captivating fact is that the dead were buried alongside the houses of the ruins or under patios. Otherwise, the restored farming plot is a mirror image of those still used today, as are the materials of housing construction and the philosophy of not focusing on home interiors, but rather giving more importance to the natural world outside.
Purmamarca lies in one of the many secondary valleys that open onto the main valley of Humahuaca. Wander around Purmamarca village witnessing the authentic local life: habitant’s slow pace, their traditional agricultural techniques, the local market and the artisans working on their handicrafts. Go shopping for authentic handicrafts at Regionales el Cardón, the large shop facing the church, where excellent weavings, silver and wooden bowls and carved mate pots are for sale. Make a visit to the local church, Iglesia Santa Rosa de Lima, a traditional colonial church with thick white walls, a single bell tower, and the roof and pulpit of beautifully time-darkened cactus wood. The Cerro de Siete Colores (Seven Colors Hill) offers great walking. From the southwestern corner of the plaza, there’s a two-hour circular route around the back of the hill, with wonderfully eroded terracotta rocks set off by the lush greenery of irrigated fields. Purmamarca is a perfect base for exploring the whole Quebrada de Humahuaca. Don’t miss the Pucará at Tilcara, or the church with its paintings in Uquía.Accommodation options
- Day 11
PurmamarcaView on map
This tour begins in Pozo Colorado, at the eastern border of the Salt Flats. Its 200 inhabitants (native community) base their production activity mainly in extracting salt and breeding the most famous animal in the province: “the llamas”. The native community is currently working to recover its cultural heritage: spinning and weaving llama wool; carving laja stones; manufacturing salt stones crafts; and, recently, using the llama as pack animal. During the car trip towards the town of Pozo Colorado we can enjoy the spectacular landscape of “Cuesta de Lipán”, observing vicuñas and guanacos (South American wild camelids). When we arrive to Pozo Colorado we prepare the llamas for the expedition and we begin the llama trekking that lasts about and hour and a half. We penetrate the salt surface, we visit the salt extraction spots and then we have lunch. After a well-deserved rest, we return to the community to end the journey.Accommodation options
- Day 12
Pozo ColoradoView on map
Transfer to Estancia El Bordo de las Lanzas
Estancia El Bordo de Las Lanzas is set in the flat, fertile Siancas Valley, thirty seven miles east of Salta city and over twenty-five hundred feet above sea level, this finca of twenty-two hundred acres is one of the most historic of the province. Its colonial roots go back to 1609, belonging to Salta’s foremost patriot, General Martín de Güemes, who led his unorthodox gaucho cavalry to celebrated victories over the Spaniards in the war of independence, and still remains in his descendants’ hands.
The name El Bordo de las Lanzas is made up of two parts. El Bordo is the present name of a village that once formed part of the estate and that keeps popping up and then disappearing in old documents, so that currently it is linked to this finca. A lanza is the hardwood pole of a heavy wagon, used to haul goods to the market.
The manor is of pure Spanish colonial influence, built mainly of adobe brick and hardwoods from the estate’s own forests, considered one of the best examples of colonial rural architecture in all Salta. It holds an outstanding and lordly collection of colonial furniture breathing history in every corner. Lovely nine rooms appointed with religious paintings and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries. It has a marvellous collection of mantle pins and hand-carved images made by Jesuit missionaries (of Miraflores in Salta, Bolivia and Peru), archaeological artefacts found in the estate, valuable library with centenary books and documents, attractive porches and courtyard surrounded by verandas, ideal for lounging and enjoying the pretty landscaping.
Its owners, the Arias family, direct descendants of the patrician families that have occupied this finca for centuries, are excellent hosts. The food features the local delights: empanadas (delicious typical meat pies cooked in mud-ovens), and carbonada (typical meat, squash and corn stew served inside a pumpkin). Most of the food is produced at the ranch, there are plantations of beans and other vegetables, sugar-cane, tropical fruits, and cows, pigs, and ducks are raised on the farm.
The 9 rooms of the Estancia are different from each other. The construction is rustic and it has colonial furniture. All the rooms have private bathrooms, and some of them have a wood-burning stove.Accommodation options
- Day 13
SiancaView on map
Leisure day at Ecolodge La Estacia
Examples of the activities you can enjoy at the Estancia are:
- Go for a horseback ride for as long as you wish guided by a Gaucho.
- Take a walk through the fields and forests and discover the native flora and fauna, particularly the vast bird population diversity.
- Go for a bike ride or on the old carriage.
- Visit the nature reserve "El Totoral" (reeds fields) (1,500 ha. worth of native forest).
- Explore the different crops/plantations according to the season.
- Cooking class: learn how to cook some of the Estancia´s recipes.
- Swimming pool
- Day 14
SaltaView on map
City Tour at Salta
Morning private transfer from Estancia el Bordo de las Lanzas to House of Jasmines (1.5 hr drive).
Salta, the capital of the province by the same name, is probably the most appealing town of the northwest, due both to its setting in the lovely Lerma Valley and to the eye-catching contrast of its old colonial buildings with its modern urban architecture. The city’s architecture reflects its strong personality forged down through the years by a fascinating mixture of cultures: Spanish Colonial with its appealing arches, wrought-iron railings and beautiful churches, adobe dwellings in small villages and even its modern shopping malls. All are steeped in tradition.
This city tour of Salta starts at the traditional 9th of July Square, where we will visit the historic center of the city, its museums, monuments and colonial architecture. The main attractions that will be seen are the Cabildo, San Francisco Cathedral and San Bernardo's Convent. Then, we will go to the top of San Bernardo's Hill, passing by the Monument of General Güemes and then the surroundings of Salta, visiting the university campuses and San Lorenzo, a summer village. The tour will end at the Craft Market to allow us to do some shopping. A visit to the MAAM (High Altitude Archaeological Museum) is recommended to view the amazing Inca Mummies discovered in the high Andes Mountains, found with their belongings.Accommodation options
- Day 15
SaltaView on map
Transfer from House of Jasmines to Salta Airport (SLA) 15-minute drive
Fly from Salta to Buenos Aires, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
Aracari specializes in tailormade travel. Here are just some of our further trip suggestions. Contact us for more bespoke ideas to inspire your travels.
Journey pricing as of 2022
Basic Pricing - US$7,000
This is a sample journey and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.
- Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
- Price per person based on a party of 2 persons traveling
This journey is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).
The Vast and the CuriousA Private Journey to Bolivia & Northern Argentina
- Includes all specified services in the journey 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 journey 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
- Day 2