Wines and Colors of Bolivia – 17 days

Travel Itinerary Idea

When we talk about wine, you don’t necessarily think about Bolivia where altitude dominates! Let yourself be surprised by the cheer diversity of high-altitude wines in Tarija and Santa Cruz, with the incredible story of Francisco and Humberto. You will also be charmed by the two colonial cities Sucre and Potosi and breathtaking by the incredible Salt Flat of Uyuni and the desert landscapes of South Lipez. A colorful travel full of delightful encounters!

Suggested duration: 17 days

Theme: Food & wine

Difficulty : For all public

Visited countries: Bolivia

Your tailor-made trip

Travelers reviews : 9,5/10

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Day 1 : Santa Cruz - Refuge of Volcanoes

Arrive in Santa Cruz. Meet and greet at the airport and private transfer to your hotel.

Check in to your hotel and meet again your English-speaking guide at 08:30 for your private tour to the Refuge of Volcanoes. From there you are going for a guided walk (3-4h) on the trails around the refuge, and explore the refreshing natural baths formed by the Elvira Cove Falls.

Night at the refuge.

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Day 2 : Samaipata

After breakfast, you head to the mine hill in 4×4 for 20km off-track. This is an area of ​​Amboro Park that makes the transition between the Amazon and the Andean Cordillera, at an altitude of 2,000 metres above sea level.

You will visit the caves and then go for a two-hour walk and dive into the giant fern forest. Some measure up to 15 meters high. They are estimated to be several thousand years old, as they grow only a few centimetres per year. You will enjoy an amazing view.

*The trail is only accessible in the dry season.

**Cold lunch included. Dinner free.

Night at the El Pueblito Resort hotel****

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Day 3 : Samaipata - Uvairenda Wine Tour

At 9am you leave to explore Uvairenda Wine Estate owned by Francisco and Humberto, two friends passionate about wine and their region.

Maria Eldy, the oenologist of the estate, will immerse you in the history and experience of this cruceño terroir.

After a complete visit of the vineyard, you will be able to taste a whole of grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tannat , etc.

Lunch near the estate.

The 1750 wines (high altitude wines) are produced in the Samaipata Valley, in Santa Cruz. The winery is dedicated to the production of high quality wines on a small scale. The tasting allows its visitors to understand and know the nature of the development of samaipateño terroir wines while enjoying the beauty of the valley.

You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide throughout the day.

*Be prepared for an early morning start tomorrow to drive from Samaipata to Santa Cruz airport.

Night at casa patio hotel boutique ****.

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Day 4 : Santa Cruz - Fly to Tarija

Early in the morning you will be picked up by yur private guide and taken to the airport. You board your domestic flight Santa Cruz – Tarija.

Upon arrival in Tarija, you will be met and greeted before your private transfer to your hotel. Vincent, your private English-speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel at 2.30pm.

The Afternoon will be spent exploring the region of Tarija, known for its condors and unique wine varity.

You will spend a convivial evening with Vincent and his wife Julia, a warm couple who will make you discover their farmhouse where you will spend the night.

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Day 5 : Tarija - Trekking Day

The next day, you will go trekking in the neighboring valleys of the city of Tarija. About 9 hours in the mountains will allow you to discover the wonderful landscapes of the region but also to observe the majestic condors.

After dinner, you will return to Tarija.

The trek is part of a solidarity tourism approach ; Vincent works in close collaboration with the inhabitants of the village of Rosillas.

Night at the Carmen hotel ***.

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Day 6 : Tarija - Wine Route

Wine route.

The bulk of Bolivian wine production is located in the Tarija Valley, in the south of the country, at an altitude between 1,700 and 3,000 metres. This wine, among the highest in the world, can count on a rich aroma due to intense exposure to ultraviolet rays. This characteristic has also given its identity to Bolivian wine. Most of the vineyards are in the valleys of Santa Ana, Concepción and Los Cintis, where the prestigious Aranjuez, Campos de Solana and Concepción are located. These valleys also produce a very sweet wine called Oporto.

At 9:00 you leave our hotel and we head to the surroundings of Tarija. You visit vineyards and family wine estates where the best wines of Bolivia such as Singani are produced. Wine tasting is served with ham and cheese. Return to Tarija at the end of the day.

Singani is a brandy made from the distillation of muscat wine. The first productions started with the arrival of the Jesuit and Augustini missionaries in the XVI century, on the Bolivian territory, when they planted vines to produce their own wine for the mass. These plantations where first developed in the southern valleys of Potosi, at the time of the Golden Age of the mining town.

Today the majority of this liquor is produced in the central valleys of the department of Tarija, even if the departments of Chuquisaca and Potosi continue their production. The two most famous Singani cocktails are Chuflay (Singani, Ginger Soda and Lemon Juice) and Yungeño (Singani and Orange Juice).

Night at the Carmen hotel ***.

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Day 7 : Tarija - Tupiza

Today you are heading towards Tupiza.

You will get picked up at your hotel for a private 4-hour drive, including picture breaks.   A picnic lunch is planned along the way.

Night at the Mitru hotel**.

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Day 8 : Tupiza

Today you explore the absolutely stunning region of Tupiza, accompanied by your English-speaking guide. You drive towards the Poronga (12 km). After a short walk, you head to the north and the Quebrada Seca, where you will see appearing incredible multi-colored rock formations of unusual shapes like Duende Canyon. You visit the Puerta del Diablo then the Valle de los Machos, ending with the Canyon del Inca.

You then drive back to Tupiza. where you get into your private 4×4, for your transfer to Uyuni.

Night at the Los Jardines de Uyuni hotel****.

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Day 9 : Uyuni

Departure from the hotel at 09:30 in a private 4×4 for a visit of the train cemetery on the outskirts of the city. You then head south. On the way, you visit several villages, including the urbanization model of Culpina K.

For your lunch break, you will be in San Cristobal where you can, if it is open,  and you can visit the rich colonial church. After lunch, you drive across Rio Grande, known as the vicuña and ñandus (cousins of the ostrich) area, so keep your eyes peeled.

You will arrive in Villamar in the afternoon.

*Lunch box. All-inclusive.

Night at the Jardines del Mallku Cueva hotel**.

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Day 10 : Villamar - Laguna Colorada

Today you drive south to the iconic Laguna Colorada. The intense red-brick color of this lagoon is due to the light sensitive phytoplancton present in its water. You will keep heading south for an excursion to the Sol de Mañana Geysers (4,850 metres high.) a volcanic crater from which sulfuric fumes and heavy water escape.

After capturing your best shot, you will stop for breakfast in Polques before getting around the Laguna Salada and crossing the Dali Desert (which indeed look like one of his paintings).

You will then go to the lagunas Blanca and Verde, at the base of the Juriques and Licancabur volcanoes ( 5,960 metres high) towards late afternoon and see the curious phenomenon of the wind rising and changing the color of the Laguna Verde into a spectacular emerald color.

Finally, you return to the Laguna Colorada at the end of the afternoon.

The track continues through the superb landscapes of the Siloli desert and its famous rock tree where some viscaches can be spotted.

Night at the Hotel del Desierto***.

*availability of double room with matrimonial bed not guaranteed

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Day 11 : Siloli Desert - Scenic Route

Today you head north along the Chilean border on the scenic “route of the Jewels” owing its name to all the lagoons along its way. You will be delighted to see the following lagoons: Honda, Ch’arkota, Hedionda, Cañapa, including a sanctuary to 3 species of flamingoes. You stop at the mirador of volcano Ollague. This volcano is still active and shelters one of the world’s highest open pit copper mines.

The track then descends from 4,200 to 3,600 metres above sea level. You cross the small Salar de Chiguana located at the foot of Tomasamil volcano(5,900 metres high), before reaching San Pedro de Quemez at the end of the day.

*Lunch box. All included. 

Night at the hotel de Piedra***

**availability of double room with matrimonial bed not guaranteed

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Day 12 : Uyuni Salt Lake

A 2-hour drive from San Pedro will take you to the fantastic Uyuni Salt Lake (3,650 metres high). The atmosphere is surreal as the horizon seems to not have any limits and the feeling is overwhelming.

You head north to the Incahuasi Island. This island of volcanic origin is covered with stromatolites (fossilized bacteria representing the first traces of life on earth) and giant cactus. On the way you visit the “ Galaxy Cave ” and its stalactites that look like lace.

In the afternoon you head east towards Colchani. On the way you visit the Salt Hotels (Closed since November 2001) and the salt exploitation.

*Lunch box. Dinner at the hotel.

Finally to end your lovely day, you enjoy a unique moment: you get to experience the gorgeous sunset on the salt lake while enjoying a glass of Bolivian wine of your choice that you have selected with your travel designer.

Night at the Hotel Palacio de Sal****.

Located on the edge of Uyuni Salt Flat, the Palacio de Sal is built entirely of salt. With its Spa both modern and inspired by the Andean cosmovision, ancestral know, it is the perfect place to recharge its batteries!

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Day 13 : Colchani - Potosi - Sucre

You will leave Colchani in a private car at 8:30 am and cross the Cordillera de los Frailes to go to Potosí (3,900 metres high).

The so-called “Imperial City” had a time of international glory in the 16th and 17th century when it sheltered the world’s largest silver mine. Nowadays the Cerro Rico (“Rich Hill”) is still exploited. On the way, you 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. You will arrive in Potosí after 3 to 4 hours on the road (205 km).

You then leave Potosí in a private car and drive to the nice small colonial city of Sucre (2,810 metres high). You should arrive by late afternoon. On your drive, you will leave behind the Altiplano and descend to the Chuquisaca Valley.

Here you will cross the Pilcomayo River on the Sucre Bridge; an interesting structure that looks like a medieval construction, even if built in the 19th century. You will arrive in Sucre after about 3 hours on the road (160 km). You will meet Christophe, French producer living in Sucre since a few years, to take a local aperitif. Christophe develops his own liquors based on local fruits. You will have a great time!

Night at the Pueblo Samary hotel****.

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Day 14 : Sucre - Tarabuco Community

Departure at 09:00 in a private vehicle for the village of Candelaria (2h30 drive), in the Tarabuco ‘s territory, ethnic group known for its fabrics. This charming village retains all its authenticity (most of the inhabitants only speak Quechua).

In the morning, you can take part in the local production of Chicha, famous Andean drink made with corn and fruit. Its fermentation can last from a few days to two months. The Chicha can then be very sweet (little alcohol) or very strong.

Traditional lunch, based on the products grown in the region, shared with the inhabitants of the community.

In the afternoon, visit the small museum with a weaver, who will also open the doors of his workshop. We will be able to make a walk in the surroundings before returning quietly on Sucre.

*Lunch included. Free dinner.

Night at the Pueblo Samary hotel****.

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Day 15 : Sucre - Food Tour

Your guide will pick you up at 9:00 am at the hotel lobby for a walk to the central market.

You will discover new products, greet the caseras (the vendors) in the very warm and colorful atmosphere of one of the most beautiful markets of Bolivia.

You then head to La Guarida, a magical place in the heart of Sucre, to meet your host and learn some secrets about the traditional Bolivian cuisine and share a typical meal accompanied by your English-speaking guide.

Night at the Pueblo Samary hotel****.

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Day 16 : Sucre - City Tour - Fly to Santa Cruz

Today you will have the entire afternoon focusing on 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.

Your guide will pick you up at 02:00 pm at the hotel lobby to show you the most famous buildings and museums of the city. You will start with the Recoleta Convent, monastery of the Franciscan order build in 1601. You will then learn more about the culture of the region and the country in the Museum of Indigenous Art (ASUR) and end the day visiting the San Felipe Nery Monastery and enjoying a beautiful view over the city from its terrace.

*Note: Museums are closed as following: Convento de la Recoleta, ASUR and Monastery of San Felipe Nery – Sundays

A private driver will take you to the airport. Board your domestic flight Sucre – Santa Cruz. Your guide and a private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel in Santa Cruz.

Night at casa patio hotel boutique ****

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Day 17 : Santa Cruz

Your guide and a private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.

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