Bolivia’s Sleeping Giant Presidents Pick

I love the phrase sleeping giants. It’s a term applied to many countries in South America and one long overdue for Bolivia. I’m so excited to see the authenticity of Bolivia re- emerge.

Ashish Sanghrajka 
President's Picks | Big Five Tours

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  • Experience thrilling activities from wildlife watching and sand boarding to river rafting and hiking
  • Visit Tarijeña to attend wine tastings and learn about the infamous wines produced here.
  • Visit Uyuni, enjoying a beautiful highland landscape surrounded by llamas and vicuñas
  • Explore the amazing Witches Market, where you can listen to some Bolivian myths and legends brought to life by local people
  • Discover a foodie’s hidden dream, from soup with volcanic stones to chirriadas” the Bolivian Pancakes

Day 1: Arrive Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Welcome to Bolivia! Upon arrival at the Santa Cruz International Airport, please proceed through Customs and Immigration. Once you have cleared Customs and Immigration, collect your bags, and exit the airport. As you exit, a Big Five Representative will be waiting for you with a sign indicating your last name. You will be welcomed, assisted, and privately transferred to your hotel.

Strategically located in the most prosperous business district of Santa Cruz, The Hotel Camino Real is surrounded by lush gardens and is the only hotel in Santa Cruz that offers an indoor pool and an outdoor pool with a giant slide. Upon arrival, you will be greeted in a bright, elegant atrium-style lobby outfitted with contemporary furnishings and a manmade waterfall. Most evenings, the front door is visited by native parrots offering a touch of local charm.

One of the fastest-growing cities in the world, Santa Cruz is a true example of Bolivia’s ability to combine a modern lifestyle with traditional values. Differentiating itself from other parts of the country, Santa Cruz shines due to its tropical savanna climate, low-lying altitude, gorgeous wildlife, vibrant nightlife, and unique culture. While unassuming at first, given time, the bustling metropolis unveils itself to be a vivacious city of contrasts. Up-scale restaurants operate alongside local street vendors, colonial architecture blends with native art, traditional outfits stand out among urban streetwear and time-honored customs hold strong against the latest trends. Camino Real Hotel Santa Cruz – Suite


Day 2: Santa Cruz

Today, you will have an immersive learning experience about the city. Located at the foothills of the Andes, Santa Cruz is not only the main hub for flights in and out of the country but the gateway to some of Bolivia’s most adventurous outdoor activities. From wildlife watching and sand boarding to river rafting and hiking, there’s something to suit every travel taste. Santa Cruz, while still developing, is by far the country’s most contemporary city. It is an ideal starting point for those looking to ease themselves into the Bolivian way of life and a great place to get off the beaten track – exploring parts of the country often not featured in magazines and guidebooks.

visit the main attractions such as the Cathedral, Anthropological Museum, the old part of the City and Arte Campo a small shop that synthesizes the crafts of the Indigenous communities that live in the surroundings of Santa Cruz.

After enjoying a delicious typical lunch, you will taste Santa Cruz pastries in a local bakery.Camino Real Hotel Santa Cruz – Suite (B,L)


Day 3: Santa Cruz/ Tarija

This morning, you are transferred to the airport to board your flight to Tarija. Upon your arrival, you will check in at your hotel.

Los Parrales Resort Hotel, where the hospitality and warmth of its human talent will make you feel at home. Located in the residential area of El Carmen de Aranjuez, its impressive infrastructure is strategically located, surrounded by the Guadalquivír River and panoramic views of the Tarijeña countryside.

Tarija is famous for its wines produced at altitude (at around 1600 to 2400 m.a.s.l.) where the grapes grow under an intense blaze of ultraviolet rays, giving them a unique aroma that is then transferred to the wine produced in Bolivia. Vineyards cover 2490 hectares of Bolivia, and 80% are in the valley of Tarija. Hundreds of hectares of vineyards make up part of the colorful landscape. The barrels are leather, oak, or American oak, which has helped Bolivian wine to win different international competitions. The main wines produced here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the amazing Tannat, which has given Bolivia many prizes, being considered during several contests with double gold and as the best in South America. The soil is eroded, which improves the wine’s texture and taste.

You will visit industrial and gourmet wine factories such as Barbacana and Aranjuez wineries to taste different types of wine, such as the most popular Tanat.

You will visit the Ulloa Hacienda, where you will learn about the “Jamon serrano” production, an enjoyable workshop where you will also try the different types of cheese and the delicious ham produced there. Meet the owner; he will enjoy telling you his stories and how he decided to start this business.

Continue to visit La Casa Vieja, where you try wine, Ice cream, and the delicious “chirriadas” the Bolivian Pancakes. You will also try some locally made delicatessen products that pair nicely with the wine: hams, cheeses, pastries, grapes, and blackberry desserts. Los Parrales Hotel – Suite (B, picnic)


Day 4: Tarija / Cintis Valley/ Sucre

Early transfer from Tarija to Sucre. On the way, you stop at the “Valle de los Cintis” where Bolivia’s national drink, Singani, is produced. Singani is a pomace brandy distilled from white Muscat of Alexandria grapes and is one of a kind. This variety of grape was brought by the Spanish to be eaten but later was used to make communion wine and became part of the traditional diet of the colonizers. Singani was born from the need to combat the extreme cold in Potosí. However, not only Singani is produced in the small and exclusive wineries of Los Cintis, but also wines, each one with unique aromas and flavors. We will visit small wineries such as Bodega Sepa de Oro, where you will taste the Vischoquena which has been awarded worldwide, and we will enjoy their homemade gastronomy.

Then, you continue your drive to Sucre where you will check in at your hotel.

Hotel Santa Maria La Real is a renovated hotel, preserving the colonial style of the building. Luxuriously furnished rooms and suites with antique furniture, high-quality restaurant, spa, corporate events room, terraces with panoramic views of Sucre. Santa Maria La Real – Suite (B,L)


Day 5: Sucre

Early in the morning, you will visit this beautiful city which has preserved much of its colonial past, as seen in its winding streets and carved balconies. The weather is balmy and comfortable. This visit to the city of Sucre allows you to get to know the most representative sites of the capital.

In the morning, the visit begins with the Recoleta Mirador (lookout point), the Museum of the Recoleta, then the ASUR Textile Museum, which is one of the best collections of textiles in the Bolivian valley region. You will go on to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the museum of the Merced, the Church of San Lázaro, Santo Domingo, the Casa de la Libertad, where they signed the Independence from Spain, the patio of the University of San Francisco Xavier, and the Parque Bolivar where many important monuments are located.

Also, after enjoying a traditional lunch in a typical restaurant, you will visit the Convent of San Felipe Nery. Here you will learn about traditional products like chocolates and hats characteristics of this amazing city.  At the end of the afternoon, you will move on to the General Cemetery, where you can have a look at different mausoleums containing the remains of famous Bolivians. Santa Maria La Real – Suite (B,L)


Day 6: Sucre / Potosi / Uyuni

In the morning, you will be driven for 3 hours from Sucre to Potosi. Potosí is a city in the southern highlands of Bolivia. Its long mining history is on view at Cerro Rico, a mountain and working silver mine south of the city. Potosí’s former mint, the central Casa Nacional de la Moneda, is now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history. Next to the mint, Plaza 10 de Noviembre is a square lined with ornate colonial buildings, including the cathedral.

Your experience starts with visiting the Royal Mint (Casa de la Moneda), the most important mining center which became the world’s largest industrial complex in the 16th century. Stroll down cobbled streets to peer into colonial churches that reflect Potosí’s once wealthy past. Then, you visit the silver mine to encounter the treasure and the reality of the Bolivian mining inside of it.

Lunchtime is also a nice experience, you will enjoy Kalapurka, a soup with a volcanic stone inside.

In the afternoon, you will be driven to Uyuni (3-hour drive), enjoying a beautiful highland landscape surrounded by llamas and vicuñas. The views from the road are amazing, and you will be able to see more of the Bolivian Altiplano and its countryside.

Upon your arrival, you will check-in and rest at your hotel. Luna Salada Hotel is a sumptuous, secluded retreat for adventure nestled at the edge of the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia. Fashioned almost entirely out of salt, the hotel welcomes you to discover one of the most mystical places on Earth. Step out onto the salt pans just meters from its doors to experience a vast expanse of brilliant white as far as the eye can see. Equally stunning views of Salar de Uyuni can be taken in from every window at the hotel.

Within the hotel, the warm Andean décor of vibrant colors and ancient textiles mixes with rustic bricks and woods and the salt block construction to create an ambiance that is truly one-of-a-kind. During the winter, glowing fireplaces lend a touch of coziness and warmth.

After dinner, our team will pick you up for an amazing stargazing experience. You will be driven for 20 minutes away from the hotel and will be provided by a telescopic, and the specialist Guide will show you the astronomy shapes and astrology symbols, then, you will be getting back to the hotel. Hotel Luna Salada – 1 Deluxe Room (B,L,D)


Day 7: Uyuni

This morning, after breakfast, you will feel you are visiting the past salt flats, a small settlement called Colchani, where the locals’ process salt. They will show you how they process the salt manually.

Then, you will be driven to get to the middle of the salt flats to see the eyes, salt mountains, and salt blocks. This singular route takes you into one of the world’s most isolated areas, where you will be alone, surrounded by a glittering white landscape. After a couple of hours, arrive at Isla del Pescado or Incahuasi Island to look at giant cacti, birds, and vizcachas that have made this island their own.

At midday, stop for a picnic of delicious local products in the middle of the salt flats. In the afternoon, you will cross to Tunupa Volcano, located on the north side of the Uyuni Salt Flats here, you will have amazing views of the Salt Flats and the mountains that surround it; Later, you will go through Chantani Community Museum, and the Coquesa Mummies, later you take one of the hundreds of routes across the salt flats to watch the sun go down in a blaze of intense colors, our team will be waiting for you in the middle of the salt flats with an amazing table of wine, cheese, and delicatessen. Hotel Luna Salada – 1 Deluxe Room (B,L,D)


Day 8: Uyuni/ La Paz

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to take a regular flight to La Paz. The city of El Alto is perched on the brow above La Paz here, you will see luxury homes of the Aymara nouveau riche. These “Cholets” (a combination of the word Cholo – an indigenous man who has migrated to the city – and the word Chalet) are built by local entrepreneurs who have accrued a fortune in the informal economy and are a blend of pre-Colombian symbols and vibrant colors., in El Alto set off to explore the amazing Witches Market, where you can listen to some Bolivian myths and legends, brought to life by local people. You will see some of the mystical herbs and potions required when performing daily rituals to glorify Mother Earth (Pachamama), as well as dried llama fetuses and dried frogs. You could also buy less alarming articles like candles, statues, and amulets to bring you good fortune – these make great souvenirs to take home with you.

After exploring the Witches Market, the tour moves on to visit the Kallawayas, or traditional healers, by cable car. You will visit the city from the sky each cable car line transports you to a neighborhood, a social condition, a way of living, and a lifestyle. At the end of the afternoon, transfer to your hotel.

Bearing the torch for design-led luxury in La Paz, Atix Hotel is a showcase for Bolivian culture, art, and gastronomy. Modern, sophisticated, cool, and contemporary—Atix uses the work of renowned artist Gastón Ugalde to capture the essence of the country’s most remote locations, as well as an interior of local materials that speak to the very heart of Bolivian culture. Hotel Atix – Deluxe Room (B)


Day 9: La Paz

This morning, we start off our exploration of the city by looking at the physical structure and syncretism and the striking contrasts of this highland city. We set off to look around the city’s historical center, where we can see the Spanish influence in the two separate cities. They set up either side of the river during the colonial period – the city for the indigenous people and the city for the Spaniards. We take a look at the Plaza Murillo with the Legislative and Government Palaces, walk a couple of blocks to the Calle Jaén where you will find the traditional and authentic approach to the La Paz traditions, visit Mamani and Mamani art gallery and later visit the impressive Museo de Etnografia y Folklore.

You will enjoy a typical lunch at a Manq’a Restaurant, a social restaurant that celebrates, values, and highlights national products. They work with young chefs trained in the Manq’a schools in El Alto and Sucre, sharing a quality experience with pride in Bolivian cuisine.

After lunch, you will visit the Miraflores area, a replica of Tiwanaku temple that shows you the cultural richness of one of the most important civilizations in America. You leave behind the buzz of the city center and float down to quiet residential neighborhoods before arriving at the hotel.

Tonight, get ready to enjoy a farewell dinner. Hotel Atix – Deluxe Room (B,L,D)


Day 10: La Paz/Depart

This morning, you Will be transferred to the airport to board your flight back home (B)

USD 550.00 per person per day, Land only


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