Travel from Bolivia down to Buenos Aires and experience South America's wild interior

Get off the tourist trail on this extraordinary adventure through Bolivia and Argentina. Uncover the rural history of Potosi, explore the cities of La Paz and Sucre, and travel across the sprawling landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni before arriving in vibrant Buenos Aires. There are plenty of thrills to be found in Salta or, for those seeking a more relaxed place, simply indulge in wine tasting in Mendoza. This overland tour really does have it all.


Start
La Paz, Bolivia
Finish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Countries
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGRJ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • From diverse landscapes to deep-rooted cultures and contrasting destinations, this trip covers a lot of ground across South America in a relatively short period of time

  • La Paz provides insight into the many sides of Bolivian culture. While young people flock to the city for its booming industry, traditionally dressed residents sell ancient potions at the Witches’ Market

  • Enjoy free time to discover the elegant colonial architecture and immaculately landscaped gardens of historical Sucre

  • The landscapes of Salar de Uyuni are so unique they’re almost extra-terrestrial. Embark on a three-day adventure via 4WD across the rocky Atacama Desert and the largest salt lakes in the world - passing cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos

  • Stay in the heart of Argentina’s most famous wine region, Mendoza. Enjoy easy access to local cellar doors, where you can refine your palate by tasting signature varieties of Malbec

  • The last stop of the trip gives you a couple of days to get under the skin of Buenos Aires. With its eclectic neighbourhoods, emphasis on food and wine and huge theatre scene, this is the perfect way to end your adventure

Is this trip right for you?

  • While in the Andean Desert, you’ll reach altitudes of up to 4,900 metres. La Paz, Potosi and Uyuni all have high altitudes too. Even at 2,900 metres above sea level, the air is a lot thinner and it can take a bit of time to adjust. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and take it easy. Although altitude sickness can affect anyone, it’s important that you’re healthy enough to travel, as pre-existing medical conditions can worsen at high altitude. During your trip, ensure you monitor your health carefully. It may even be a good idea to arrive into La Paz early so that you have time to acclimatise to the altitude. Please see the important ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. There will be long travel days spent in 4WDs on dusty and bumpy tracks. 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.

  • Bolivia is the least developed and most challenging country you’ll travel around during this trip. Facilities are basic and food might be simpler than what you’re used to. Transportation between different locations can be slow and isn’t as easy as it might be in developed countries. Yet this is all part of the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ charm and adventure that makes Bolivia such a great place to visit.

  • There are some long travel days and two overnight bus journeys on this trip. Although the buses feature comfortable reclining seats, they are not beds. There’s also usually a toilet on-board, and some of the buses make toilet stops. These trips can be tiresome, but an adventure trip around South America wouldn’t be complete without an overnight bus journey.

  • Please note that our leaders are not able to organise a trip to the ‘Death Road’ to Coroico for you, due to safety concerns. Injuries are common along the road and there have been a number of fatal accidents. Our leaders are also unable to organise tours to the Potosi Mines for safety reasons.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. As La Paz is 3,600 metres above sea level, please ensure you take the necessary measurements in regards to altitude sickness (refer to ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections for important information).

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your second day in La Paz is free to explore. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance - most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as the Food With Altitude or To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond tours.

Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Sucre (approximately 12-13 hours). There are comfortable recliner seats on the bus, but it can be cold on-board so it’s important to bring warm clothing and wear base layers. There’s usually a toilet on the bus and the driver will also make a couple of stops along the way.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Bus (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
  • La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB12
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • La Paz - Guided City Tour - USD18
  • La Paz - City Tour & Moon Valley - USD18
  • La Paz - Chacaltaya & Moon Valley Tour - USD16
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On arrival into Sucre, drop off your luggage at the hotel before heading out to explore in your own time. Bolivia’s World Heritage-listed capital is a hub of progressive culture and Spanish colonial architecture. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta. This 400-year-old convent provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. If you have time, head to the 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, discover the prehistoric landscape of Cal Orko and tread in 60-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. There’s also proud food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious empanadas at a restaurant or fresh juice at the Central Market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (3 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Sucre - Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko - BOB35
  • Sucre - Casa de la Libertad - BOB21
  • Potosi - Casa de la Moneda - BOB48
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
In the morning take a local bus to Potosi, which should take around 3-4 hours. This colonial mining city sits at the base of Cerro Rico, a mountain rich in silver ore. A tour and brief history of Cerro Rico could be a highlight of your trip here, but due to safety concerns we strongly advise you not to enter the mines (please see notes below). Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls.

Notes: We strongly recommend against doing a Potosi Mine Tour, which actually enters the mine. Should you decide to go against our advice, you will do so at your own risk. Please note that our leaders are not able to organise this activity for you due to safety concerns.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Potosi - Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa - BOB30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, leave Potosi behind and travel to the city of Uyuni (approximately 5-7 hours). This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano, a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers. Tonight, stay at a hotel in Uyuni Town. The hotel is fairly basic, but it’s clean, comfortable and has hot water. As you’ll be heading out into the desert and salt flats over the next few days, make the most of the structured bathroom facilities tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Uyuni this morning and venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion. Be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be at a rusty Train Cemetery, before you continue on to Salar de Uyuni - the world’s largest salt flats. While this may be a typical stop for many travellers, it’s also often a highlight. Make the most of your time on the salt flats taking lots of photos and explore Inka Wasi Isla, which is a rocky island covered in cacti and coral-like structures.

Notes: 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
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 4x4 tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife such llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters.

Notes: 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. In the rainy season, the itinerary may need to be altered depending on the accessibility of roads.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for a soak and then head to the Bolivia/Chile border, where the Bolivian part of your trip comes to an end. Pass by geysers, salt flats and snow-capped volcanoes on your way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. As a small oasis town, San Pedro is surrounded by extraordinary scenery. Use your free time to wander around, perhaps checking out the quaint Church of San Pedro de Atacama, the Museo Gustavo Le Paige (archaeological museum) or the town’s central plaza
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use today to get under the skin of this burgeoning tourist destination. San Pedro’s cafe and restaurant scene has grown considerably over the last couple of years. With a mix of Chilean, French and Italian influences, you’ll be sure to find a great spot for lunch and dinner. Perhaps head out on an optional tour to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) or join an astronomical tour once the stars come out.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today will be a long day of travel (approximately 12 hours), as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and surrounding natural attractions make it one Argentina's main attractions. If you have time on arrival, spend some time getting to know the area in the vicinity of the hotel. The gardens, fountains and historic buildings in Plaza 9 de Julio are a great place to start.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Salta - Cerro San Bernardo Chairlift - ARS110
  • Salta - Archaeological Museum - ARS80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The next two days are free to explore Salta and its attractions. If you’re after something active, hike up the 1,070 steps to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo; the mountain that looms over Salta. You can take a gondola (cable car) to the top if you’d prefer. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent. There are plenty of other adventure activities available in Salta, such as rafting, bungee jumping and horse riding (all at your own expense).

Perhaps stroll the streets, take a paddleboat on the lake or pop into one of the many museums. In the afternoon or early evening of your last day in Salta, travel by overnight bus to Mendoza (approximately 18 hours). The bus is quite comfortable, with reclining seats and a toilet on board.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Arriving at around midday on Day 15, spend the next few days in the heart of Argentinian wine country, Mendoza. Use the first day to get your bearings: the Plaza Independencia is a good place to start. The city centre is precisely landscaped and filled with trees, squares and parks. Please note that most commercial activity in Mendoza takes a break from 1 pm until 4 pm to allow for the traditional siesta.

As this is Argentina's most important grape growing region, you may like to head out on a winery tour. Making up 70% of the country's wine, Malbec is the region's signature variety. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can zipline high above Mendoza’s lakes along a series of canopy wires. Various city and mountain tours are also available if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground. At night, the city’s attention shifts to the many restaurants, bars and pubs along the Avenida Aristides Villanueva.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (3 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Mendoza - Winery tour - ARS105
  • Mendoza - City Tour - ARS63
  • Mountain Tour - ARS210
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Today take the short flight to Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. On arrival, perhaps explore the cobblestone streets of San Telmo and browse its antiques markets, then continue to the Plaza de Mayo to see the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada. In the evening, you might like to enjoy a tango show, a football match or a steak and glass of Malbec in one of the city’s fashionable restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your last full day in Buenos Aires is free to discover more of the city. Join the tourists and walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. There are also some great museums to check out in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors.

Perhaps take part in an Urban Adventure centred on the city’s love of food, such as the Malbec Trail of Palermo or the Gourmet Buenos Aires Food tour (contact us for more information). If you need to rest your feet, settle down at one of the many street side cafes to watch the world go by with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD77
  • Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventure - USD50
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, your adventure around Bolivia and Argentina comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day so you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

17 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Plane, overnight bus, local bus, 4x4

Accommodation

Hotel (15 nights), Overnight bus (2 nights), Dormitory (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • 4x4 tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 2 & 14 (Overnight  bus) and 8 & 9 (Salt flats) where you will be in shared accommodation.

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.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Discover Bolivia & Argentina trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 32 reviews in the last year.

Discover Bolivia & Argentina, September 2016

Brenda Rogers

Discover Bolivia & Argentina, October 2016

Sarah Tiffen