Andes Overland

Adventure Santa Cruz – La Paz

Optional Excursions

It isn’t necessary to book any of these excursions in advance. You can decide on the day before the excursion, making the overall trip more relaxed and spontaneous.

 

City Tour – Sucre

Sucre’s pristine Spanish colonial-era houses and state buildings give the city its beauty, but the backdrop deserves a special mention too. The Cordillera de los Frailes is a mountainous region in the Bolivian Andes, which complements almost every street. Your guide will guarantee the best photo angles!

 

City tour – Potosi

Potosi was once the world´s largest industrial operation. In 400 years, around 70,000 metric tons of silver were extracted and shipped abroad.

Today´s tour leaves from the hotel in private transport, taking you through all the landmarks in Potosi, including the central square, the Santa Teresa Convent museum, Torre de la Compañía, the famous Casa de la Moneda, San Lorenzo Church’s exteriors, several patrician houses with a unique colonial style, and also the neighborhood where the mining slaves once lived.

 

Mine Tour – Potosi      

We begin with a visit to the miners’ market, where we can observe various implements and materials used by the tradesmen. Next up is the live processing/smelting of minerals. During the tour we can buy coca leaves (a mild stimulant for chewing), cigarettes, alcohol and dynamite as gifts for the miners and offerings to their deity. Then we strap on a jacket, pants, a helmet and a headlamp, to visit Potosi’s oldest silver mining tunnels!

 

City Tour – La Paz

The capital city with the highest altitude in the world is set inside a giant bowl that always impresses visitors descending into it for the first time. At 4,000 meters above sea level, there are only the slightest traces of vegetation. Oxygen is scarce here, so take it easy! Though the land is almost all brown, the colors of La Paz are evident in its people and culture.

Indigenous women with bowler-hats (which they wear on one side when single, and on top when married) and voluminous skirts, the white-shirted businessmen and politicians, the armed soldiers and the beggars, all give La Paz a unique character. During the tour we visit all the urban highlights, with our guide explaining both the architecture and culture of La Paz.

 

Tiwanaku Ruins

Tiwanaku is located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, at an altitude of 3,850 meters. Most of the ancient city, which was built largely of adobe, has been engulfed by the modern city. However, the monumental stone buildings survive as protected archaeological sites.

From our hotel in La Paz, we first stop at the museum which exhibits a collection of lithic and ceramic pieces unearthed at the site. Then we continue to Tiwanaku itself. The ruins are obviously in a state of disrepair, but nevertheless boast many carved images and designs along its walls and doorways, as well as giant stone monoliths.

After observing the whole complex, we have lunch at a local family-owned restaurant, before returning to La Paz.

 

Mountainbike Death Road

We depart from La Paz at 08:00 and two hours later reach an altitude of 4,670 meters. The guide explains the tour and we double-check our bikes before starting the ride.

At first we descend an asphalted highway for a couple of hours, twisting sharply around wind-swept plains and snow-covered peaks, passing alongside grazing llamas and alpacas.

The end of this road is the entrance to the subtropical rainforest, or the Yunga jungle. We take a car up to Chúspipata, where the famed “Death Road” begins, cut into the side of a mountain and descending some 2,000 meters past waterfalls and dramatic overhangs. Though we ride through some mist and dust, we all follow the leader, and nobody gets close to any cliff edges!

Eventually we arrive at the beautiful village of Yolosa at 1,200 meters. Time for a cool drink and lunch at a local restaurant. From here we return to La Paz.