Bolivia

Crisis Map

Bolivia is one of the few places on earth where ethnography and ecology are preserved in their original state or very close to its original condition. Bolivia is also unique, intriguing and colorful, yet remains largely undiscovered by tourism. This bizarre country, culturally diverse, geographically exceptional and striking in so many other ways is the ideal destination for an authentic cultural experience in the Americas. Bolivia’s unique blend of cultures and climates are due in part to its long-standing isolation from the rest of the world, thanks to its land-locked location and low immigration rates. As such, Bolivia’s indigenous religions, languages, clothes, dances, music and medicine remain all intact, untouched by the passing of time and are an integral part of daily life. Also, the country’s diverse landscapes set it apart from any other. Indeed, in many ways, Bolivia is two countries in one: the high-altitude Western area and the lowland tropical Eastern area. The contrast between these two extremes could not be more marked: from mentality to lifestyle. As a land of staggering contrasts, Bolivia is home to an astonishing range of landscapes and sights; from snow-covered peaks of the Andes Mountain Range to windswept deserts, spectacular salt flats, lush valleys, tropical and subtropical rainforests and ancient historical treasures. The country where McDonald’s failed, where the Spanish left the living legacy of their colonial conquest and where ancient cultures still exist shoulder to shoulder with the trapping of modernity. It is this clash of cultures that makes Bolivia such an authentic, unique and intriguing touristy destination. La Paz whose full name is Nuestra Señora de La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia and the second largest city in the country (in population) after Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Bolivia has two capitals - while the official capital of Bolivia is Sucre and it is the seat of Justice, La Paz has more government departments, hence the "de facto" capital of the country. At a elevation of roughly 3,650 m above sea level, Laz Paz is also the highest de facto capital city in the world.


Bolivia is situated in the heart of South America bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru and it covers 1,098,581km2 (428,446 square miles).



Climate: Bolivia has an extreme range of climates depending on the altitude. Summer / rainy season falls between November-April and winter/dry season from May to October.

Capitals: Sucre (constitutional), La Paz (administrative). Bolivia is a democratic Pluri National State.

Population: Approximately 10,000,000, with 7 inhabitants per km2 (11 per square mile).

Language: Spanish followed by Quechua, Aymara, plus many other indigenous languages. 

Religion: 95% Roman Catholic but many people also hold traditional Inca and Aymara beliefs.

Currency: The Boliviano rate of exchange

Time: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Bolivian time is constant throughout the year and throughout the country.

Electricity: La Paz runs on both 220v and 110v. The rest of the country is 220v.

Business hours: From 9:00 to 12:00 in the morning and 14:30 to 18:30 in the afternoon.

Tipping: A 10% tip is expected

Getting to Bolivia: By air, there are direct non stop flights from Spain, the United States, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Panama. By land, the most common and suitable entry point is Peru, crossing Lake Titicaca. The Catamaran Cruise ships offer daily connections between Puno (Peru) and La Paz (Bolivia). The two other land entryways used by tourists are from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to the Uyuni Salt Flats and from La Quiaca (Argentina) to the city of Potosi.


La Paz



The city of contrasts, both topographically and culturally. Topographically, La Paz has an impressive setting and the view is staggering. It lies at the bottom of a huge canyon with triple-peaked snow covered Illimani Mountain providing dramatic backdrop. It belongs to the same scenic league as Rio, Cape Town, San Francisco or Hong Kong. The multicultural and multiethnic contrast is also fascinating. In no other capital of Latin America are there such differences between their inhabitants; from indigenous women in traditional bowler hats and voluminous skirts, selling Andean crops on the sidewalks, to businessmen hurrying to their modern office buildings.





Tiwanaku


It was one of the world’s greatest and largest running empires, as well as, the oldest civilization in the Americas - the cradle of America man that comprised nearly half of present-day Bolivia, southern parts of Peru, the Northwest section of Argentina and nearly half of Chile.

The site, which was once the capital of this empire, is just one hour away from La Paz.

At one time, over 20,000 people lived in this city and the Tiawanakean people were many centuries ahead of Europe in technology and farming until the civilization mysteriously disappeared around 1,150 B.C.


Uyuni Salt Flats

This is the largest and highest salt lake in the world - 12,000 square kilometers: twice as big as the Great Salt Lake in the United States. It resembles an impressive, overwhelming and solitary white ocean; bright blue skies contrast with the blinding white salt crust and in the rainy season the lake is covered with a small layer of water that adds a surreal experience. In the interior of this sea of salt there are islands with giant cactus.

 This spectacular natural attraction takes five hours drive from Potosi, six hours drive from Oruro and a seven-hour –journey by train from Oruro.

South of the Salt Flats, towards Chile is the Avaroa National Park featuring some of the world’s most beautiful and bizarre landscapes. It is empty and desolate, yet it has multicolored lagoons that brim with bird life.


Lake Titicaca


The sacred Lake of the Incas is a must in any touristic itinerary of Bolivia. This gigantic inland sea of sapphire-blue water covers 8,000 square-kilometers and is the highest navigable lake in the world. It straddles Bolivia and Peru. The towering peaks of the Royal Range of the Andes Mountains surround the Lake to the east, and all around, there are various traditional villages where ancient myths and beliefs are intact and Spanish is a second language. The Island of the Sun was the birthplace of the Inca Empire and the Incas believed that the sun itself was born there. The island features many Inca sites such as the Pilkokaina Palace, the Inca Staircase, the Fountain of Youth, the Chinkana Complex with the Sacred Rock. The Sanctuary of Copacabana, which is nestled between two hills on the shores of the Lake, is the home of the famous dark virgin. Even today, Copacabana is the main pilgrimage center of Bolivia.


Two new Catamaran Cruise Ship Services; specially for groups departing from Puno. Both products will offer more alternatives and flexibility to customers who want to enjoy Lake Titicaca and its connections between Peru and Bolivia.
Lake Titicaca map

TITICACA CATAMARAN DAY NIGHT CRUISE NOON

LATE DEPARTURE (1N / 1½D)

Puno/La Paz

 Day 1:

  • 12:00 pm (Peruvian Time) pick up at hotel and land transfer to Copacabana. Short visit to the Sanctuary.
  • Board the Catamaran Cruise Ship sailing to the Sun Island
  • Candle night dinner on board with live folkloric show
  • Overnight on board

Day 2:

  • Visit to Challapampa Village.
  • Breakfast and sailing to the South side of the Sun Island
  • Visit to the Inti Wata Complex
  • Sailing experience aboard the biggest traditional vessel on the Titikaka
  • Buffet lunch on board while sailing to Chua
  • Land transfer to La Paz. Arrival to the hotel at evening

TITICACA CATAMARAN DAY CRUISE

NOON LATE DEPARTURE (Full day)

Urus/Puno/La Paz 

  • Early in the morning transfer to the Puno harbor to visit the Uros floating island
  • Return to Puno, by land transfer to Copacabana Sanctuary. Short Visit Short visit to the Sanctuary.
  • Board the Catamaran Cruise Ship sailing to the Sun Island
  • Visit the Inti Wata Cultural Complex
  • Sailing experience aboard the biggest traditional vessel on the Titikaka
  • Navigation in the Catamaran Cruise Ship to Chua harbor while enjoying a buffet lunch on board
  • Land transfer to La Paz. Arrival to the hotel at evening



Inti Wata

The most important private touristic attraction of Bolivia. It is situated a few meters away from the Inca remains at Sun Island. It includes an underground museum with the largest collection of Sun Island archaeological and anthropological items. The Incas made agricultural terraces with a demo variety of Andean crops and medicinal herbs. There are also Andean Cameloids (llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos) in their natural habitat, a Tiwanaku altar where authentic Sun Island Kallawayas (witch doctors) perform a ceremony to greet visitors, a reed ship building display center, a traditional Medicine and Witchcraft display Center and the Inti Wata vessel, that is a 40-passenger totora reed raft. Aboard the Inti Wata, visitors can enjoy a fascinating sailing journey, experiencing Titicaca primitive navigation.



Bolivia to charge tourists an entry tax in 2017


Bolivia will charge a US$ 15 dollar entry tax to tourists arriving in the country by airplane. The new measure will become effective once there is an agreement with the private sector on the details, Deputy Tourism Minister Joaquín Rodas said.

 “It will be applied once we can have a consensus with both the private sector and the airlines, given that the tax will be charged through the plane ticket,” Rodas explained.

The Law of Creation of the Fund for Promotion, and Facilitation of Tourism and Special Contribution sanctioned in early December establishes a period of sixty days for the approval of a regulation that allows to have the norm in force.

However, according to Rodas, this term is “subject to the necessary consensuses”, therefore, “there is no official date” and it is clear tourists will not be paying the tax from the beginning of 2017.

The law also stipulates an entry tax for tourists arriving by land, which will be worth US$ 4, but the Ministry has two years to start applying it.

Bolivian officials hope to raise up to 10 million dollars a year, which will be reinvested in the Fund for Promotion of Tourism (Fontur). It remains to be seen, however, the impact of LaMia's flight crash in Colombia, which surfaced the country's extreme leniency on air travel, which poses security concerns on would-be travelers.

Once the arrangements have been made, the government will issue a Supreme Decree, whereby airlines flying to Bolivia will have to charge their passengers US$ 15. Travelers who have purchased their tickets before that time shall not subject to such payment, it was reported.

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Programs

BASIC BOLIVIA                                    PUNO – LA PAZ 3 Days /2N

 

Day 1      Titicaca Catamarán Day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2      Half day City Tour & Moon Valley.  Accommodation.

Day 3      Transfer out.


DIVERSE BOLIVIA             PUNO – LA PAZ – TIWANAKU – YUNGAS – ROYAL RANGE 6 Days /5N

Day 1      Titicaca Catamaran Day night Cruise Puno/La Paz overnight on board.

Day 2      Half Day Tiwanaku Tour. Accommodation.

Day 3      Half Day City Tour & Moon Valley. Accommodation.

Day 4      Full Day tour to Coroico Town –Yungas. Accommodation.

Day 5      Full day excursion to the Royal Range, Huayna Potosi Mountain. Accommodation.

Day 6      Transfer Out.

 

COLONIAL BOLIVIA        PUNO – LA PAZ – SUCRE – POTOSI –LA PAZ 6 Days /5N

Day 1      Titicaca Catamarán Day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2      Transfer out. Flight to Sucre. Transfer in. Accommodation. Half Day City Tour.

Day 3      Car trip to Potosi. Half Day City Tour. Accommodation.

Day 4      Tour to the Mines. Back to Sucre. Afternoon visit to the Dinosaurs footprints.

Day 5      Transfer out. Flight to La Paz. Transfer in. Accommodation. City Tour & Moon Valley.

Day 6      Transfer out.

 


SPECTACULAR BOLIVIA           PUNO – LA PAZ –UYUNI SALT FLAT – LA PAZ  6 Days /5N

Day 1      Titicaca Catamarán Day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2      Half Day City Tour & Moon Valley. Accommodation.

Day 3      Transfer by regular bus from La Paz to Oruro, continue by train to Uyuni.

Day 4      Full Day program to Uyuni Salt Flat & Incahuasi Island. Train to Oruro.

Day 5      Transfer by regular bus from Oruro to La Paz. Accommodation Half Day Tiwanaku.

Day 6      Transfer out.

 

FASCINATING BOLIVIA         PUNO – LA PAZ –SUCRE –POTOSI –UYUNI SALT FLAT – LA PAZ  7 Days /6N

Day 1      Titicaca catamarán Day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2      Transfer out. Flight to Sucre. Transfer in. Accommodation. Half Day City tour.

Day 3      Transfer by car from Sucre to Potosi. Accommodation. Half Day City tour.

Day 4      Tour to the Mines. Transfer to Uyuni. Accommodation.

Day 5      Full day program to Uyuni Salt Flat & Inacahuasi Island. Continue by train to Oruro.

Day 6      Transfer by regular bus from Oruro to La Paz. Accommodation. Half day City tour.

Day 7      Transfer out.

 

EXUBERANT BOLIVIA                 PUNO – LA PAZ – MADIDI NATIONAL PARK – LA PAZ 6 Days / 5N

Day 1      Titicaca Catamaran Day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2     City tour & Moon Valley. Transfer out. Flight to Rurrenabaque. Transfer in. Accommodation.

Day 3      Boat trip to the Chalalan Ecolodge.

Day 4      Madidi National Park. Chalalan Ecolodge.

Day 5      Return to Rurrenabaque to take the flight to La Paz. Transfer in. Accommodation.

Day 6      Transfer out.

 

BOLIVIA HERITAGE                          PUNO – LA PAZ – JESUIT MISSIONS –SANTA CRUZ (6Days /5N)

Day 1      Titicaca Catamaran day Cruise Puno/La Paz. Accommodation.

Day 2      Half Day City Tour & Moon Valley.  Accommodation.

Day 3      Transfer out. Flight to Santa Cruz. Transfer by car to Concepcion town. Accommodation.  Visit  to the Church.

Day 4      Transfer to San Ignacio. Accommodation. Visit to the Missions of Santa Ana and San Miguel.

Day 5      Return to Santa Cruz visiting the San Javier Mission. Accommodation.

Day 6      Transfer out.


CHUKURA - CHORO TRAIL                                                                                                4Days / 3N 

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 2 (Medium)

Day 1     Pick up hotel at 08:00 and transport to “La Cumbre” at 4.650 m.a.s.l. to start descending via a pre - Inca trail reaching Challapampa at 3,200 m. Camping night.
Day 2     Continue through Choro to start feeling the semi-tropical climate of the Yungas. Lunch at Bella Vista. Carry on to San Francisco (Kusillunani) for camping night.
Day 3     Hike through pre-inca terraces and sub-tropical vegetation. Arrive at Sandillani at the house of a Japanese hermit. Camping night.
Day 4     Arrival at Chairo town by mid morning, and optional transfer to Coroico or La Paz (Not Included on the price).
Tour inclusions: Bilingual guide english-spanish guide, cook, shared camping equipment, mattresses, kitchen utensils, and meals except on the last day.

What to bring?: Sleeping bag, Light clothes, some warm clothes, insect repellent, swim suit, sun-block, hat sunglasses 


Bolivia  -  Peru Express. 
Great Salt Flats -  Machu Picchu


Bolivian Salt FlatsDay 1. La Paz – Uyuni. Arrival to La Paz. Flight to Uyuni.  Contact at the airport on Uyuni Departure to the Great Salt Flats. At first we are going to visit Colchani. It is the best place to observe the methods of salt extraction from the salt flat, continuation to the Incahuasi Island where you can see the giant cactus. The lunch will be served in the middle of the salt flat. Continuation to Coquesa to see the Cave of the Mommies. At appropriate time we will return to Colchani. Accommodation at Palacio de Sal Hotel, the first hotel entirely made of salt. After dinner night walk by the surroundings of the hotel.

Day 2. Uyuni – La Paz -  Cusco. Breakfast, transfer to the airport on Uyuni. Flight from Uyuni to Cusco via La Paz. Transfer to Hotel.

  Day 3: Cusco. Breakfast. City tour of Cuzco that includes    the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square; the Cathedral, its  extremely sober renaissance façade contrast with the  baroque and plateresque style of its interior, and  Koricancha, a famous temple dedicated to the sun. Then  visit to the nearby ruins: Kenko, ancient ceremonial center  dedicated to the earth, Puca Pucara, administrative and  military center, Tambomachay, important place of worship  dedicated to the water, and Sacsayhuaman, a cyclopean  fortress built for the defense of Cusco.

 Day 4: Cusco - Machu - Picchu  -  Cusco. 5:30 Transfer to  the railway / train station and transfer by train to Aguas  Calientes. Then a short climb on a bus to the Lost City of the  Incas - Machu Picchu, which is considered the most  powerful energy center of South America. In the afternoon  descend to Aguas Calientes, dinner in the restaurant and                                                                                              return to Cusco.    

Day 5:  Cusco – Lima. Transfer to the airport. Flight from Cusco to Lima. 


Subpages (1): Bolivia and Chile
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