Uncover South America’s encapsulating interior of colonial cities and vast salt lakes
Get exploring South America with Intrepid and Lonely Planet on a 15-day small-group experience that takes you deep into Bolivia and Argentina. Beginning in La Paz, journey from whimsical potion-filled markets through Sucre’s landscaped streets to the once-rich silver ore mines of Potosi. Take on the Bolivian desert as you embark on a 4WD adventure across the salt pans of Salar de Uyuni, winding up among the cactus-filled valleys of Bolivia’s wild west. Cross the border into Argentina to discover indigenous cultures in Tilcara, before spending a few days at leisure in the fiery capital of Buenos Aires. Local knowledge will lead the way, and plenty of freedom to explore will give you the power to see South America in your style.
La Paz gives 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.
Elegant colonial architecture, political history in spades and the hilly neighbourhoods dotted with terracotta roofs – Sucre might be Bolivia’s most beautiful city.
Discover the Bolivian mining town of Potosi – once a hive of activity due to its nearby abundance of silver ore, and now a historical snapshot of small-town industry.
Take an unforgettable 4WD adventure across the Salar de Uyuni – some of the largest salt lakes in the world. Pass cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos.
Get under the skin of Buenos Aires with plenty of time to explore. With its eclectic neighbourhoods, emphasis on food and wine and huge theatre scene, it’s the perfect place to travel independently.
La Paz, Potosi and Uyuni all are situated at high altitude. Even at 2900 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 to be safe, 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 Essential Trip Information for more information.
Making your way across the Salar de Uyuni 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 through 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 an overnight bus journey 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.
1. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1 in La Paz. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.
2. This trip ends on Day 15 and you are free to leave at any time.
3. 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.
4. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for bus tickets, train tickets or flight tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
5. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 2 (Overnight Bus) and Days 7,8 (Dormitory) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
6. Parts of your trip go above 2800 meters / 9200 feet where it is common for travelers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
7. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilize the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/altitude-sickness
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.View Essential Trip Information