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Home > Culture, landscape and tradition of Bolivia

                     Culture, landscape and tradition of Bolivia                      

Let Bolivia catch you by surprise with its dramatic landscapes and multiple facets. Get a glimpse of Bolivia's rich past and visit three of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites: the City of Potosí, the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos and the Historical City of Sucre. Starting in the lowlands of Santa Cruz's subtropical forest, the tour begins with the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, jewels of the colonial era. Followed by two days in the 'white city' of Sucre where you will enjoy its peaceful atmosphere and architectural treasures. A day is then dedicated, of course, to the largest salt flats in the world where you will have the privilege of sleeping two nights in the beautiful 'salt' hotel. Your ascension continues to the highest capital in the world: La Paz, welcome to one of the world's seven city wonders! The Andes are nearby, the panorama is breathtaking, your are indeed in the closest place to heaven, ... it's time to let your taste buds be tickled by the Andean 'nouvelle' cuisine.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Santa Cruz
  • Day 2: Santa Cruz - Concepción
  • Day 3: Concepción - San Ignacio
  • Day 4: San Ignacio - San Jose de Chiquitos
  • Day 5: San Jose de Chiquitos - Santa Cruz
  • Day 6: Santa Cruz - Sucre
  • Day 7: Sucre
  • Day 8: Sucre - Potosi - Colchani
  • Day 9: Colchani
  • Day 10: Colchani - Uyuni - La Paz - El Alto Airport - La Paz
  • Day 11: La Paz
  • Day 12: La Paz - El Alto Airport

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Santa Cruz

Your guide and a private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Our guide will pick us up at 02:00 pm at the hotel lobby for a city-tour of Santa Cruz. We will walk along the main square (Plaza 24 de Septiembre) and visit the buildings that surround it: the San Lorenzo basilica, the cathedral and the Casa de la Cultura. We will visit the Contemporary Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History Noel Kempff, before going to the zoological garden. Here we will see a great diversity of endemic South American species. With its great geographic diversity and important Amazon territory Bolivia shelters the 13th greatest biodiversity in the world.
NOTE: Depending on the day, the visit of the closed museums will be replaced by visit of the butterflies’ garden. On Sundays the city-tour will start at 04:00 pm in order to visit the Cathedral Museum, the only one that opens on Sundays.

Night at hotel Cortez****
Included : english speaking guide, transfer arrival, local guide, entrance fees, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 2: Santa Cruz - Concepción

Departure from the hotel at 08:30am for a journey by private vehicle, with a first stop in San Javier (3 hours on sealed road). This first jesuit mission was founded in 1691 and also hosted the first music school and a violins fabrication workshop.
After lunch we will drive to Concepcion 70 km further to the East (1h30), with a stop the "piedras de Paquio" site a geological formation with balanced rocks.
Free time for the rest of the day.

Night at the Hotel Chiquitos ****
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local guide, entrance fees, private transport

Day 3: Concepción - San Ignacio

Visit in the morning of the church and the Missions museum which was the birthplace of the General Hugo Branzer (dictator then Bolivia president in the 70s and 90s). Original handwritten scores which were played in the missiones are exhibited in the museum. They were conserved thanks to the indians who kept these documents and transmitted them after the jesuits were expelled from the Spain Kingdom in 1767.
Lunch in Concepcion then trip to San Ignacio (3h30 on dirt track). The church which was destroyed in 1948 was totally rebuilt in 2001.

Night at hotel La Mision*****
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local guide, private transport

Day 4: San Ignacio - San Jose de Chiquitos

Early departure to San Miguel and San Rafael. The opulence of these missions contrasts with the quietness of this forgotten villages. We will continue to Santa Ana which missions was destroyed by the indians after the jesuits had left.
After lunch we will follow a long track through all the mennonite country until San José de Chiquitos. The low lights of the end of the day are a pleasure for the photograph lovers.

Night at hotel Villa Chiquitana****
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local guide, private transport

Day 5: San Jose de Chiquitos - Santa Cruz

The village of San José at the base of the Turubo mount is founded a few kilometers from the original site of Santa Cruz. The city was quickly displaced to become the metropole as it is now known.
Visit of the missionary site in the morning. This site contrasts with the rest of the circuit as the lack of big trees in the area implied that the building were made with stones.
We will then head West following the railway of the "Oriente" linking Santa Cruz with Brazil. After crossing the bridge over the Rio Grande (same bridge than the train!) we will join the sealed road leading to Santa Cruz (5 hours drive from San José on road).

Night at hotel Cortez****
Included : lunch (no drinks), local guide, private transport, breakfast, room & breakfast

Day 6: Santa Cruz - Sucre

Your guide and a private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.
Domestic flight Santa Cruz - Sucre.
Your guide and a private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel.
We will spend the two next days getting to know the beautiful “white city” of Sucre. Listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, the constitutional capital of Bolivia is famous for its flair of quietness, its beautiful colonial architecture and its numerous churches. Our guide will pick us up at 09:00 am at the hotel lobby to show us the most famous buildings and museums of the city. We will start with the Convento de la Recoleta, monastery of the Franciscan order build in 1601. We will then learn more about the culture of the region and the country in the Museum of Indigenous Art (ASUR) and about the Bolivian history in The Casa de la Libertad, where the Independence Act was signed in 1825. We will end the day visiting the Monastery of San Felipe Nery, enjoying a beautiful view over the city from its terrace.
NOTE: Museums are closed as following: Convento de la Recoleta and Monastery of San Felipe Nery - Sundays, ASUR - Saturdays and Sundays, Casa de la Libertad - Mondays.
Meal at the Peña Orígenes Bolivianos restaurant.
Espacio Cultural Origenes is a restaurant set around a large stage where, almost every night of the week, they put on a colorful, high-energy dance show featuring traditional dances from Sucre and the rest of Bolivia. The elaborately dressed dancers act out Bolivian folkloric scenes, such courtship rituals and the struggle between good and evil. There is even a touch of humor in the show, for instance in the mockery of the Spanish conquistadors. The dances are fast-paced and polished.

Night at hotel Parador Santa María La Real*****.
Included : transfer departure, domestic flight, english speaking guide, transfer arrival, entrance fees, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), drinks, breakfast buffet , room

Day 7: Sucre

Today we will continue discovering the architectural and cultural richness of Sucre. Our guide will pick us up at 09:00 am at the hotel lobby. We will visit the San Francisco church and admire its beautiful painted ceilings; and then the Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the city. We will then visit the University Museum, museum of anthropology that also displays many paintings of the colonial time. We will walk along the city and explore the cemetery, the market and the Simon Bolivar square (a beautiful French formal garden). At the end of the afternoon we will visit the Su Merced church and appreciate its Baroque altarpieces.
NOTE: The Museum is closed on Sundays.

Night at hotel Parador Santa María La Real*****.
Included : lunch (no drinks), breakfast buffet , room

Day 8: Sucre - Potosi - Colchani

Departure from the hotel by private vehicle. We will cross Sucre bridge with its anachronical design, over the Río Pilcomayo (the river separates Argentina and Paraguay further South). We will then leave the Chuquisaca Valley to climb to the Potosí plateau (4100 m.a.s.l.) where we will arrive 3 hours later (asphalt road).
Our guide will pick us up at the hotel lobby to spend a half-day discovering the city-center of Potosí. We will walk along the streets enjoying the rich architecture and discovering the historical buildings that owed the city to be listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. We will then enter in the Santa Teresa convent that houses one of the major museum of religious art in Latin-America.
NOTE: The Santa Teresa convent is closed in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Friday.
We will leave Potosí in a private car and cross the Cordillera de los Frailes to reach Colchani, a small village at the shores of the Uyuni salt flat, 3650 m.a.s.l. On the way, we will stop in Pulacayo, village that sheltered the second largest silver mine in South America in the 17th and 18th century. It is now almost a ghost town but the museum relates its glorious past. We will arrive in Colchani at the end of the day (total ride: 3 to 4 hours, 205 km).

Night at hotel Palacio de Sal****.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, entrance fees, lunch (no drinks), room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), drinks

Day 9: Colchani

Today we will discover the world’s largest salt desert! At 9 a.m. we will leave the hotel with our jeeps to the Salar de Uyuni (el. 3650 m.a.s.l.) and visit a salt exploitation and the only salt hotel buit on the Salar (closed since 2001). We will then ride 73 km on the salt desert (around an hour and a half) to reach the Island of Incahuasi. This surprising island, lost in the middle of the salar, offers an incredible view over the salt desert and the several volcanos that surrounds it. Of volcanic origin, it is covered with stromatolites and giant cacti (stromatolites are fossilized bacterial colonies, first traces of life on earth). In the afternoon, we will return to Colchani.

Beautiful aperitif in front of the sunset over the Salar.

Night at hotel Palacio de Sal****.
Included : lunch (no drinks), entrance fees, private transport, drinks, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 10: Colchani - Uyuni - La Paz - El Alto Airport - La Paz

A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport in Uyuni.
Domestic flight Uyuni - La Paz.
A private driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel.
This morning you will have some free time to enjoy the world’s highest capital. Maybe you can have a nice walk in the historical center, go handicraft shopping in the numerous stands of the Sagárnaga street, discover which artifacts are used for the offering ceremonies to Mother Earth ("Pachamama") in the Witches Market or even visit one of the various museums of the city… Or maybe you will prefer see the city from the air taking one of the three gondola lines of the capital?
Our guide will pick us up at the hotel lobby to spend half-a-day learning more about the history and culture of Bolivia. Located very close to the Plaza Murillo, the National Museum of Ethnology and Folklore (MUSEF) occupying the palace of the Villarverde marquises, a beautiful colonial house built in 1730 and declared National Monument in 1930. The museum presents a wide and extensive collection of articles that tell the story of the many cultures of Bolivia from the pre-Inca time to our time. Our guide will explain us the signification and symbolic of the textiles, masks, ceramics and feather art that we will admire. We will also see a vast collection of coins and banknotes from the colonial time.
Gastronomic restaurant Le Diner
Your driver will pick you up at the restaurant and take you back to your hotel.

Night at hotel Casa Grande*****.
Included : transfer departure, domestic flight, transfer arrival, local spanish-speaking guide, english speaking guide, private transport, drinks, dinner, room & breakfast, breakfast buffet

Day 11: La Paz

Our driver will pick us up at 09:00 am at the hotel lobby. Today we will discover the most traditional side of the city, walking into the day-to-day life of the “paceños” (inhabitants of La Paz). We will first enter the indoor market of the Plaza San Francisco (Mercado Lanza) where many workers have breakfast. We will then take the cable car going up to El Alto and enjoy a splendid view over the city and the mountains that surround it. We will fly over different neighborhoods and the general cemetery, in which we will then enter to discover the Andean post-mortem traditions: here the families leave elaborated offerings on the graves. Walking from the cemetery down to the historical center we will walk through the traditions of clothing and traditional celebrations of the city. Do you remember the “cholitas”, the women using traditional Andean clothing? In every street we will find an article of their outfit: skirt, heat, shoes, jewelry… nothing is missing! In the Los Andes Street we will feel like carnival is coming. It is the tailor’s street and every shop is filed with colorful costumes and masks. We will end our tour in the Witches Market (“Mercado de las Brujas”) where the locals buy all the necessary artifacts for ceremonial offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth): coca leaves and other medicinal plants, miniature figurines in sugar and lama fetuses.
​Treate your taste buds tonight with a gourmet dinner in the best restaurant in town​ !​ Voted as one of the 50 best restaurants in South America, the Gustu is the culinary delight of La Paz​ !​ The danish star chef,​ Claus Meyer, co-founder of Copenhagen's Noma, a three-time winner of the World's 50 Best Restaurants (and the current number two) has chosen​ Bolivia to​ open​ his new​ restaurant.
His philosophy:​ meet Bolivia, through its products. That's why the​ ​chef​ Kamilla Seidler (Danish)​ and​ Michelangelo Cestari (Venezuela) and th​eir​ Bolivian team​ work uniquely and exclusively with Bolivian products seeking appreciation and recognition of the local production and the hands that make it possible​ to make a unique Andean fusion cuisine​ !
​You will​ be ​delighted by the ​5-course ​tasting menu​ pairing with the drink (alcoholic) that best marries it.
Your driver will pick you up at the restaurant and take you back to your hotel.

Night at hotel Casa Grande*****.
Included : lunch (no drinks), entrance fees, private transport, english speaking guide, drinks, dinner, room & breakfast, breakfast buffet

Day 12: La Paz - El Alto Airport

A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.
Included : transfer departure, english speaking guide

Hotel Cortez   Santa Cruz

Level : 5*
Included : room & breakfast

The Cortez Hotel is the ideal choice for large conferences, group tours, private dinners and weddings. Upon entering the hotel you will immediately feel welcomed with exceptional levels of service. The hotel has one of the city largest conference facilities with a banquet room, shed which also gives access to wireless internet. The hotel offers spacious rooms with air conditioning, heating, excellent workspace and WIFI access.

Hotel Chiquitos   Concepción

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

The hotel has a beautiful colonial style, for its construction they have been used traditional local materials (Cuchi, Tajibo, etc.). Built in a luxurious vegetation which makes your trip unforgettable

Hotel La Mision   San Ignacio

Level : 5*
Included : room & breakfast

The Hotel was built to convey the heritage and atmosphere of the old Jesuits. Columns of carved wood, each depicting local history and generous patios with topical gardens all create a unique atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. The Hotel invites the visitor to enjoy the most comfortable surroundings in the region.

Hotel Villa Chiquitana   San Jose de Chiquitos

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Jérome and Sophie MAURICE, French globetrotter, invite you to benefit from the eco-lodge, Villa Chiquitana, to relax and discover the nature and unique history of San José de Chiquitos.

Parador Santa Maria La Real   Sucre

Level : 5*
Included : breakfast buffet , room

This unique hotel with its past, its history and its piece of art in each room, has a singular charm that you will fall in love with. It occupies a magnificent masonry of XVIII century. The whole structure of the old building has been retained to the last detail and in parallel, the hotel has been equipped with all modern facilities (WIFI, underground parking, elevator, spa ...) to make your stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible .

Hotel Palacio de Sal   Colchani

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Palacio de Sal Hotel & Spa, recently renovated and unique in the world, is built entirely of salt: from walls to ceiling through the floors and most of the furniture (chairs, tables, beds). The Palacio de Sal has received several awards. He was chosen among the most unique hotels in the world. He also drew the attention of several programs and channels of world-class TV such as "Discovery Channel", "National Geographic", the "BBC" and many others. Finally, in March 2010, he was selected another time by the French magazine "Tendances" (=trends) as one of the most unique hotels in the world.

Hotel Casa Grande   La Paz

Level : 5*
Included : room & breakfast, breakfast buffet

The Casa Grande Hotel is a 5 star hotel with 65 luxury rooms, including a presidential suite, a restaurant, a bar, a café, a glacier, a lounge, an indoor pool, a gym and a spa. The hotel is located in the most exclusive residential area of La Paz, at an altitude of 3240 meters, 400 meters below the city center and only 15 minutes from it.

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