Bolivia Highlights Trip Notes

Bolivia Highlights

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016
Bolivia Highlights
Trip code: GGSV
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Explore the best of Bolivia on this adventure through lively cities, breathtaking scenery and colourful market towns. From the extreme elevation of bustling La Paz through the history of Potosi and on to the surreal salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, there's a diverse mix of adventures and activities that deliver excitement, intrigue and pleasure. Discover the highlights of this fascinating part of South America and be swept away by the colour and beauty flourishing in this corner of the earth.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodationVisas
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
- You'll be spending a lot of time in a 4WD crossing some bumpy surfaces. This is the best way to see the sights in and around Uyuni, and is all part of the adventure.
- In Bolivia (especially in Uyuni), sometimes things don't go to plan. For example, an attraction may be closed for the day with no notice or reason. Although this doesn't happen very often, please be prepared for the possibility.
- Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.
Why we love it
- See the many different sides to Bolivia in La Paz and let the city’s weird and wacky Witches Market cast a spell over you
- Choose to explore the extra-terrestrial landscapes of Valle de la Luna, a maze of canyons and colossal clay spires that feels like the surface of the Moon
- Discover the heart of Bolivia in the elegant colonial architecture and immaculately landscaped gardens of historical Sucre
- Delve into the steep streets and Spanish colonial architecture of Potosi, once one of the richest cities in the world
- Empty, haunting and spectacular, the laws of earthly physics bend on the surreal Salar de Uyuni saltpan – experience it on a three-day 4WD adventure across the rocky Atacama Desert
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 La Paz
Kamisaki! Welcome to Bolivia. At around 3,600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world its far from it! Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. After the meeting, maybe head out into the city, situated in the middle of a vast volcanic crater. Breathe the ‘thin’ air, marvel at the vistas of buildings clinging to the canyonsides, and explore the lively streets like Calle Jaen.

Notes: Altitude Sickness – This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this. Death Road Biking To Coroico – Please note that our leaders are not able to organize this activity for you due to safety concerns. Injuries are very common and there have been a number of fatal accidents.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 La Paz
Today is free for you to explore the city and its surrounds. Perhaps hop on a local bus out to the extraordinary landscape of Moon Valley. This isn’t a valley, but a maze of canyons and colossal clay spires. These rugged oddities, caused by erosion, make for staggering views. La Paz is also renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches’ Market. Take a cable car 13,000ft to the twin city of El Alto and browse through the weird and wonderful stalls that sell everything from potions to incantations made from herbs, seeds and unidentified bits and pieces to cure any ailment. If this is all too much for you, try the more conventional markets where you'll find ponchos, gloves, hats and many other products made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials. If you want to discover more about the region’s fascinating history, maybe enjoy a half-day tour to the Tiwanaku ruins outside of La Paz. Another great optional activity is a full-day tour to the coffee and coca plantations of Coroico, situated in the rainforest below the city.

Notes: This trip is part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip in Lima, 15 days ago on Peru and Bolivia Uncovered (GGSUC).
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • Chacaltaya tour half day (Pool) - BOB80
  • Coca Museum - BOB8
  • La Paz - Moon Valley tour - USD10
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast
    Day 3 Uyuni Town
    Travel to Uyuni by private transport (approximately 9 hours), with stops along the way to stretch legs and enjoy the scenery. Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano, a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. So it's hardly surprising that the town has a bit of a wild west feel about it. Uyuni is best known for its proximity to the Bolivian salt flats known locally as the Salar de Uyuni. The town was once a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals on their way to Pacific Ocean ports. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed and many trains were abandoned. Tonight you’ll stay at a hotel in Uyuni Town. The hotel is basic, however it’s clean, comfortable and has hot water (make the most of this as you may not have a shot shower for the next couple of days).
    Accommodation
    Basic Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast
    Special Information
    The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers.
    Day 4 Salar de Uyuni
    Uyuni is the starting point of your three-day 4WD excursion into Salar de Uyuni and the Andean desert. Stop by the Train Cemetery three kilometres outside of Uyuni Town, connected to it by the old train tracks, and see where families of geriatric locomotives rust slowly in the sun. The remainder of the day is spent mostly on the salt lake itself. Spanning over 12,000 square kilometres, and heaving with around ten billion tonnes of salt, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest saltpan. Pass salt-mines and visit Isla Wasi – a rocky, cactus and coral-like structure covered island erupting from the monotonous salt crust like a hallucination. Spend time walking around admiring the unusual yet beautiful landscapes. The massive salt plains of Bolivia are an incredible sight and offer plenty of opportunities for bizarre, perspective-defying photos. Endless blue skies meet endless white salt on what was once a prehistoric lake. Make the most of your time here, taking as many photos as possible in this incredible place, as the following day you’ll leave the salt flats for the Andean Desert. At the end of the day, drive to your basic accommodation on the salt plains.

    Accommodation
    Dormitory (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
    Special Information
    December to March departures:
    Please be aware that from December to March, there’s a risk of the salt lake being flooded. If this is the case, the itinerary will be adapted to accommodate this.

    Accommodation:
    Our accommodation tonight is very basic. Toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style.
    Day 5 Andean Desert
    Today will be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. During this drive you’ll reach an altitude of approximately 4,900 metres above sea level, so it’s important to revisit the notes on altitude sickness (please see the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes). Stop by Laguna Colorada (red lake), a rich red lake vividly coloured by algae and rich minerals. One of the strangest sights in such arid and inhospitable land is the abundant wildlife. Spot llamas, flamingos, vicuñas, and foxes.
    Accommodation
    (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
    Special Information
    Accommodation:
    Accommodation in the desert is basic. Shower facilities can be unreliable and cold, as the pipes often freeze in the winter months. Electricity is generated by solar panels, so there won’t be enough power to charge electronic devices. The Desert is at high altitude and can experience extremely cold weather, particularly at night.


    Day 6 Uyuni Town
    Apart from geysers and snow-capped volcanoes, the volcanic landscape also hosts some stunning natural hot springs. This morning stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for a soak and then head back to Uyuni. Back in town wander around the streets of this outback settlement and just chill out before heading to Potosi tomorrow.
    Accommodation
    (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast
    Day 7 Potosi
    In the morning take a local bus to Potosi (approximately 3-4 hours). The highest city of its kind in the world, Potosi has had a turbulent past, centred mostly around its mining successes and failures. During the Spanish colonial days, the extensive mining of Potosi's silver rich Cerro Rico was said to have kept Spain running for 300 years. During this time, Potosi briefly celebrated life as one of the richest cities in the world. In the 1800s, the supply of silver declined, as did the market price, and the city started to suffer. Working conditions in the mines were appalling and huge numbers of indigenous people died. African slaves were brought in to replace them and it's said that as many as 8 million people died in the mines during the Spanish era. Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls.
    Optional Activities
    • Potosi - Casa de la Moneda - BOB50
    • Potosi - Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa - BOB21
      Accommodation
      (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Special Information
      Potosi Mine Tours:
      We strongly recommend against doing a tour that enters the mine, and should you do so anyway it will be at your own risk. Please note that our leaders are not able to organize this activity for you due to the safety concerns
      Day 8 Sucre
      A journey by local bus along a well-maintained road takes you to Sucre (approximately 3-4 hours). Descending more than 1,000 metres to the temperate valleys of Chuquisaca, small rivers, cactus fields, fruit and vegetable plantations dominate the valley. Sucre is a pleasant city set in a valley surrounded by low mountains and has retained the flavour of its colonial heritage in its churches, museums and ancient mansions. Bolivia's official capital, Sucre was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1991. Most of the town's colonial buildings have been whitewashed, earning it the nickname the 'White City'. On arrival, you'll have plenty of free time to explore the city and get your bearings.
      Accommodation
      (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 9-10 Sucre
      The next two days are free to explore the town or partake in some of the optional activities available. Please speak to your leader for more information. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta. This 400-year-old convent on top of the hill provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. Maybe head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and investigate the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced. For something completely different, compare shoe sizes with a dinosaur at Cal Orcko, where 60 million-year-old footprints have been discovered. This is the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world, over 5,000 of them! There’s also proud food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious empanadas at a restaurant or fresh juice at the Central Market.
      Optional Activities
      • Sucre - Casa de la Libertad - BOB25
      • Sucre - Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko - USD7
      • Tarabuco Market - USD20
        Accommodation
        (2 nt)
        Meals
        2 breakfasts
        Day 11 La Paz
        Take a flight back to La Paz from Sucre airport today, which should only take around 30-40 minutes. The rest of your day is free to relax or explore more of the city. Maybe head to the Mirador Killi Killi Lookout, located on top of a steep hill in the neighbourhood of Villa Pabon, and one of La Paz’s most impressive viewing points. Nearby is the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, which exhibits a wide collection of stunning works that takes you through Bolivian history. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. If there’s time, you might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure tours. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, gather together you travel buddies and join the locals in seeking warmth in a bar or restaurant, and celebrate the end of your Bolivian adventure.
        Accommodation
        (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 12 La Paz
        Your exploration of Bolivia's highlights comes to an end this morning. As there are no more activities planned, you're free to book your departure flights when you like and you can leave the accommodation at any time.
        Optional Activities
        • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
        • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
          Itinerary disclaimer
          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
          Physical rating

          Important notes
          SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
          A single supplement is available on this trip except for Day 5 at Salar de Uyuni where accommodation is multi-share

          GROUP SIZE IN UYUNI:
          The excursion to Uyuni salt lake is on shared basis and your group size may be larger than12 travellers.

          BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
          Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
          Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information.


          Group size
          Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
          Your fellow travellers
          GROUP TRAVEL
          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

          SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
          Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
          Accommodation
          Dormitory (2nt), Hotel (9nt)
          OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
          The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

          TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
          Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

          CHECK-IN TIME
          Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

          PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
          If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

          Due to limited time and energy supply in some places, please be prepared for some cold showers.
          Meals introduction
          While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.
          To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

          DIET REQUIREMENTS
          Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stools, markets, etc.

          More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

          Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

          SIMPLE BREAKFAST
          Some of the included breakfasts along this trip can be quite simple: toasts, spreads, juice and coffee or tea.
          Meals
          10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
          Money matters
          When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

          Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

          MEALS NOT INCLUDED
          For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out?

          Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

          Lunch. If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15.

          Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.

          These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

          EMERGENCY FUNDS
          We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

          CREDIT CARD & ATMS
          Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

          ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout this trip (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

          Traveller cheques have become less accepted and generally quite cumbersome to exchange. The best “Plan B” is to carry USD100 – USD200 in small notes in case of an eventuality (your bank card doesn’t work, you are unable to withdraw funds, etc.)

          DEPARTURE TAX:
          In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase.

          Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip.


          Bolivia currency information:
          The official currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).

          TIPPING:
          Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

          Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine, but your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go.

          Tipping Guide:
          To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

          - Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest USD1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

          - Local guides: There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD2 – USD3 per day.

          - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.

          - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
          Group leader
          All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

          Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
          Safety
          Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

          MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
          In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

          TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
          Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

          SEAT BELTS:
          Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

          FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
          Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
          Joining point
          Hotel Osira
          Av. 20 de Octubre N 1494 Esq. Nicolás Acosta Plaza Mariscal Sucre (San Pedro)
          La Paz
          BOLIVIA
          Phone: 5912 2492247
          Finish point
          Hotel Osira
          Av. 20 de Octubre N 1494 Esq. Nicolás Acosta Plaza Mariscal Sucre (San Pedro)
          La Paz
          BOLIVIA
          Phone: 5912 2492247
          Emergency contact
          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

          For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

          In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.


          Intrepid Peru office:: +51 9 9605 5559
          Visas
          As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking.
          Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.


          Passport:
          As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
          Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

          Visas:
          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

          Also remember to check whether a transit visa is required on route to join this trip or on the way home.


          BOLIVIA VISA:

          Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.

          This visa has a validity of 30 days from first day of entry.

          In order to apply for this visa, you will need to provide the following documentation:

          A – Original passport valid for a minimum of 6 months.
          B – One passport photo (color, 4cm x 4cm)
          C - Evidence of a hotel reservation in Spanish (Intrepid can provide this upon request)
          D - A copy of the voucher and trip notes that you receive after purchasing this trip.
          E-  Proof of economic solvency (credit card, cash, or a current bank statement)
          F-  International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever

          This Visa can be obtained in Peru (Lima or Cuzco) and is usually processed withing the day, providing all paper work as mentioned above is in order annd payment has been made. We only recommend this option if you simply dont have enough time to get the visa prior to leaving the U.S.

          For more information please visit the following website:
          http://bolivia.usembassy.gov/information-on-bolivian-visas.html




          What to take
          What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. 

          Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although a small suitcase with wheels is ok too. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even short walking distances (max 30 minutes).

          In terms of weight, keep in mind that if you are flying domestically (either on this itinerary or during your personal time) airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage.

          Finally, you'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc. for day trips.

          Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


          ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST

          Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document
          Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
          Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
          Money belt and small padlocks
          Personal medication
          Daypack
          Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
          Torch/flashlight (your phone’s may suffice)
          Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
          Toiletries/travel wipes
          Insect repellent
          Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
          Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
          Refillable water bottle
          Phrase book
          Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
          Wind and waterproof rain jacket
          Travel Towel
          Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
          Camera with spare memory card and charger/batteries
          Swimwear (dependent on itinerary)
          Emergency fund as mentioned in the Money Matters section
          Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities are widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies between USD1 to USD3 (approx.) per kilo and it can normally be dropped off and picked the same day.

          SLEEPING BAGS
          It’s not essential that you bring a sleeping bag for any of our trips however on some itineraries we will recommend either bringing one from home or hiring one on the ground. If this is the case it will be mentioned in the ‘region specific’ packing list.


          SALAR DE UYUNI / ANDEAN DESERT

          Night time temperatures are often well into the minuses it can often get as cold as -5 degrees.
          Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.

          Sleeping bags can be rented in Uyuni for the 3-day tour for about 10 USD (total cost, not per day).
          We strongly recommend that you either rent or bring your own sleeping bag.

          Climate and seasonal information
          Night time temperatures during winter (May to August) on the Bolivian Altiplano are very cold and can drop to -20 Celsius. Please ensure you bring adequate warm clothing if travelling in the winter months.
          Health
          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

          WHO – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
          The World Health Organization has identified the following mosquito transmitted diseases in this region:

          Dengue, Yellow Fever, Malaria and Zika (amongst others)

          For more information, please visit www.who.int


          Zika virus.
          According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
          In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
          In line with the above, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
          At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
          More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
          World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/


          ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
          Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

          Before your trip:
          Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

          During your trip.
          While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

          Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

          http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf

          YELLOW FEVER:
          A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

          It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

          DENGUE FEVER:
          Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
          Travel insurance
          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
          A couple of rules
          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

          Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
          Responsible Travel
          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

          The Intrepid Foundation
          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

          Feedback
          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback