Travel to the top of South America for an out-of-this-world Bolivian experience – encounter awe-inspiring geography, cities rich in colonial history, and indigenous culture. From La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, travel to the crest of the Andes and the middle of nowhere for 3 days of incredible off-road exploration of the Uyuni Salt Flats and the surrounding desert altiplano. Take the road less traveled and meet locals for an immersive cultural experience that few travelers get to know. If you are looking for an authentic experience away from the tourist track, Bolivia is the perfect place for genuine adventure.
You may arrive in La Paz at any time today. There are no planned activities, so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. We will have a group meeting in the evening around 6:00 p.m. There will be a note at the front desk to let you know the precise time of the meeting. The note will also tell you what time to meet in the lobby in the morning, if you arrive too late for the meeting. If you miss this meeting, please don’t worry, your tour leader will go over everything with you in the morning.
La Paz, which lies between 10,650 and 13,250 feet above sea level, is the world’s highest national capital. We recommend taking it easy for the first 24 hours as physical activity can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness. See our optional activities list further below for suggested activities in La Paz.
This morning, you are free to explore the city before boarding an afternoon flight to Sucre. Once in Sucre, you might choose to explore this beautiful colonial city or to go hiking in the surrounding area. See our optional activities list further below for other suggested activities in Sucre.
Sucre is considered Bolivia’s most beautiful city and the symbolic heart of the nation. It was here that independence was proclaimed. While La Paz is now the seat of the government and treasury, Sucre is recognized in the constitution as the nation’s capital.
Approximate travel time: 1 hr by plane
There’s plenty to see and do in Sucre, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Today, feel free to relax or try optional activities like hiking, mountain biking, or visiting the Textile Cooperative. Your tour leader has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!
You may want to go to the Tarabuco market where, every Sunday, indigenous groups from the surrounding area gather to sell their goods. It offers a glimpse into daily Bolivian life and the diversity of its people.
Today is another free day for you to explore Sucre. Perhaps you might want to go on the dinosaur tracks excursion!
Today, we journey from Sucre to Potosí. You will spend the afternoon exploring the city, including possibly going on a silver mine tour or checking out the National Mint museum.
Potosí’s story is tied to its silver. During the boom years, when the country was still a part of the Spanish Empire, the metal must have seemed inexhaustible. It became the largest and wealthiest city of the Americas, which you can still see in its grand churches and ornate colonial architecture.
Despite this colonial beauty, working conditions for miners were appalling and a large portion of the indigenous population was decimated. African slaves were brought in to replace the native workers, and it is estimated that as many as 8 million indigenous and African people died in the mines during the first three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Once the silver more or less dried up, the city went into decline and its citizens slipped into poverty. The ore, plus tin, lead, and other minerals, is still being extracted by miners. Unfortunately, little has changed throughout time and working conditions have remained the same. Although this is not an excursion for everyone, we do recommend an optional tour of the mines as it is an eye-opening experience that gives you a chance to glimpse the realities of life in the Andes in general and more specifically in these mines. Please note: we do not condone the working conditions of the mine.
Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by private vehicle
Today, we head south to Uyuni, the starting point for the salt flats excursion. This area is cold and windy, especially at night, so be ready to wear a warm coat. Despite its isolation and challenging climate (cold and blustery most of the year), the town of Uyuni has earned the nickname of Hija Predilecta de Bolivia (Bolivia’s Favorite Daughter).
Founded in 1889, Uyuni occupies a desolate corner of southwestern Bolivia. It has an important military base, and tourism and mining make up the other major sources of employment in the town. The world’s largest lithium reserve – about 100 million tons – lies beneath the neighboring salt flat and could potentially fuel all the smartphones and electric cars the world will build over the next century.
Approximate travel time: 4 hrs by private vehicle
Today is the first of 3 days spent in the stunning landscape between the Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama Desert in Chile. We will enter a world unlike anything else as we take 4×4 vehicles across the salt flats, where the piercing blue sky contrasts against the blinding white of the flat salt beds. You will have plenty of opportunities to take memorable photos of the unusual landscape, complete with mountains, active volcanoes, geysers, and boiling mud pools. We stop by the red lagoon of Laguna Colorada.
We will visit the Santiago de Agencha community, located 2 hours across the salt flats from Uyuni, a rural village surrounded by towering cacti and part of a small desert oasis. The community-owned salt lodge was renovated and expanded through a major project in 2016 funded by G Adventures’ foundation, Planeterra. With many of the village’s younger residences fleeing for economic opportunities, this lodge is seen by the community as a way to rescue their indigenous culture and provide opportunities for the future. Learn about their traditional agricultural practices, including their specialization in quinoa production, and take a guided walk with a community member to the sacred Jukil mountaintop for a beautiful view of the village below and the salt flats beyond. Meals of local ingredients grown in the village are prepared by ladies who were provided culinary training through the project.
In the evening, settle into your G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow, complete with salt floors and furniture.
This morning, we depart the Jukil Community Lodge knowing our visit is creating opportunities for a whole new generation of people in this community to improve their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren. We will spend the day continuing to discover the Uyuni Salt Flats on a 4×4 excursion.
This will be our final day to enjoy exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats before boarding an overnight bus back to La Paz.
Approximate travel time: 8 hrs by night bus
Our final full day is a free one to explore the capital further, walking along the winding streets, shopping in the markets, and taking in the nightlife.
Thrill seekers might opt to bike the famous “death road” (North Yungas Road), which gets its nickname courtesy of a notoriously high mortality rate for people risking its passage. In 1994, the Inter-American Development Bank even dubbed it the “most dangerous road in the world.” People risk their wellbeing, however, because the views are also notoriously spectacular, providing stunning glimpses off the mountainside and over the canopy of the Amazon. It is important to take the trip with a reputable tour guide/company.
Alternatively, and definitely less adrenaline requiring, you might choose to visit the Witches’ Market or take one of several other optional excursions.
Our tour concludes today, and you may depart La Paz at any time.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note: if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops, except nights 3-4 in Salar de Uyuni.
Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
Alto International Airport is a spectacular drive from the center of La Paz, where our joining hotel is located. The easiest way to get there is via taxi. You can pay for the car at set rates (approximately $8 USD) from an official uniformed taxi driver. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes and is very scenic. The money exchange desk is open 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in Buenos Aires. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures, your arrival transfer will be arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer, but we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Buenos Aires, Argentina
During office hours (Weekdays 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Local Time)
From outside Argentina: +54 11 2150 2581
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 2150 2581
After hours Emergency number
From outside Argentina: +54 9 11 3425 0380
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 15 3425 0380
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Buenos Aires, they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Outside North America: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Americans need a visa to enter Bolivia, but according to most sources we have found this can be purchased at an airport or border for $160 USD. If you wanted to be extra cautious you could apply in advance for the visa. See this notice from the US Embassy in Bolivia that suggests purchasing it before arrival. If you are purchasing it on arrival see below.
*IMPORTANT: U.S. Dollar notes must be in perfect condition. Old, torn, or marked notes will
not be accepted by officials.
U.S. Citizens Must Present:
IMPORTANT: It is the personal responsibility of each passenger to ensure that they
have all the correct documentation to present for their visa application. Border
officials are very strict so you will want to come prepared and ready.
As currency exchange rates fluctuate we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency – this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in excellent condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-$10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
At the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-$25 USD per person per week can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/), which has travel clinics throughout the United States. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins and ends in La Paz. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in La Paz. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose. You can depart any time on the final day of the trip.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Bolivia uses 2- and 3-pronged power plugs similar to those in the United States, as well as a European-style two-prong plug. Bolivia’s voltage is mostly 220-230V, with a few homes with 110V on the European-style outlets. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Consisting of temperate valleys, semi-arid highlands, humid jungles, and balmy lakeside villages, Bolivia’s weather differs greatly depending on the altitude and topography of the region. Because most of the country is situated at a high elevation, temperatures vary from hot and humid during the day to freezing cold at night. From May to October, Bolivia’s highland areas are cool and dry during the day, making it a consistently good time to visit. Days feature clear blue skies and light breezes, and evenings can get very cold, dropping to below freezing at night. July is one of the best times to visit Salar de Uyuni as it sees lots of sunshine and very little rain.
You should prepare for weather that can get up into the 80s during the day, but most of the time will be in the 50s and 60s. Night temperatures will typically be in 20s and 30s. You will probably be wearing jeans and a fleece during the day and adding on a winter coat at night.
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See price in top right corner
Roughly $600-$1,100 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have emergency medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $40 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $40 USD to tip guides and drivers for other activities.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance.
Variable; at your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please use them as a rough guide for budgeting your trip. The prices below are in USD and Bolivian bolivianos (BOB), where prices are available.
Witches’ Market Visit: Free
Learn more about the pre-Columbian Aymara beliefs at the Witches’ Market. You can witness locals buying products such as dried frogs, potions, and talismans for use in rituals and offerings.
Valley of the Moon Tour: 150 BOB per person
Tour the lunar landscape of the Valley of the Moon, observe the clay formations carved into the landscape by years of erosion.
La Paz City Tour: 90 BOB per person
Explore the city on a guided tour. Check out stunning cathedrals, impressive museums, and lively markets, learning more about the history of this fascinating city. Look for majestic Mount Illimani in the background.
Chacaltaya (Aymara for ‘cold road’) is a mountain in the Cordillera Real, part of the beautiful Bolivian Andes.
Death Road Biking Adventure: 115 USD per person
Get your adrenaline pumping as you soar down the “world’s most dangerous road.” Start high up in the Andes at 4,700 m (15,420 ft) and wind your way down this steep, narrow road on the mountainside into the depths of the Bolivian jungle. This is not one for the faint of heart – adrenaline junkies only!
Take a guided mountain biking trip on the outskirts of Sucre and explore more of this beautiful region.
Head out of town, take in some fresh air, and explore this scenic area by foot.
Dinosaur Tracks Excursion
Get ready to get up close and personal with the prehistoric times: Sucre is home to one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur footprints made some 68 million years ago. Discover more than 5,000 footprints perfectly preserved footprints in the Cal Orck’o cliff just outside the city center. See the world’s longest trail – 347 m (1138 ft) – left by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex, now affectionately known as ‘Johnny Walker’.
Silver Mine Tour: 150 BOB
Take the opportunity to visit a working silver mine and learn more about the process of extraction and working conditions faced by as much as half of the people who live and mine in Potosí. Bring a bandana and wear protective gear (boots, helmet, and headlamp) as you head deep into the bowels of Cerro Rico (Rich Hill).
Casa de la Moneda: 40 BOB
Learn about the first global currency at this renowned National Mint museum.