Discover the world’s largest salt flats, experience a silver mining city perched 13,000 feet above sea level, and delve into the cultural gems of Sucre, Bolivia’s capital. On this extension, you’ll explore the Uyuni Salt Flats by day and night and admire Potosi’s rich Spanish colonial legacies.
- It's Included:
- Airfare from La Paz to Sucre and from Uyuni to La Paz
- Accommodations for 2 nights in Sucre, 1 night in Potosi, 2 nights in Uyuni, and 1 night in La Paz
- 15 meals—6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 3 dinners
- 6 small group activities
- All land transportation
- Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
- All transfers
- Porterage for 1 bag per traveler
Today, we fly to Sucre, the capital city of Bolivia, where we transfer to our hotel and have lunch. This afternoon, experience the culture and history of Sucre in an included tour, visiting Sucre Cathedral, which was built over a 200-year period beginning in the late 16th century. We’ll also see the House of Liberty, a museum on the site where Simón Bolívar declared Bolivia free. The Salon of Independence here houses the original Bolivian Declaration of Independence. We return to our hotel this evening in time for dinner together.
The traditional fabric arts of Bolivia are on full display for us this morning as we visit ASUR, the anthropology museum of Bolivia. A half-dozen salons display textiles from across the centuries that reflect the diversity of Bolivian styles and regions. While here, we witness weavers at work in the main salon, where they continue crafting intricate woven patterns that tell stories of life in the region.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we tour Simón Bolivar Park, a lush botanical garden punctuated with white stone replicas of French landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe, a tribute to the French revolutionary spirit, which was deeply admired by Bolivar. Our final discovery of the afternoon is San Felipe de Nery Monastery, a quiet 18th-century church with a lovely tiered colonnade, a bell tower, and some of the best views of the city from its brick rooftop terrace. This evening, choose from among the many local restaurants for dinner on your own.
This morning, we travel overland to Potosi, stopping for scenic views en route. At 13,420 feet, Potosi is one of the highest cities in the world. Spanish colonizers settled here when they discovered the local mountains were full of silver, and Potosi became a mining town and the site of a historic mint. When we arrive in Potosi we check into our hotel, and then enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant. We discover more about the silver legacy here in a visit to Casa de la Moneda (the National Mint) this afternoon. The massive building was so grand and expensive when it was built in the 16th century that locals joked that the building itself must be made of silver. Dinner on your own this evening.
This morning we begin our overland journey to Uyuni, with several memorable destinations en route. We visit the “Mining Market” where we gather gifts of dynamite and coca leaves for the miners of the Cerro Rico mines. Then we visit the mines themselves and present our gifts to miners who we meet in a friendly visit. After lunch in a local restaurant, we continue on to Uyuni, arriving late this afternoon. Settled as a trading outpost in the late 19th century, the city of Uyuni remains a transportation hub for railroads, but is best known as the gateway to the Uyuni Salt Flats. Sprawling across more than 4,000 square miles, these are the world’s largest salt flats, and a critical breeding ground for South American flamingoes. After time to get settled in, we enjoy dinner together at our hotel. Then, we head out for to experience the Uyuni Salt Flats on a night tour.
After breakfast, we get a glimpse of ancient tradition as we visit the Viluyo Mummies. Then we learn about this fascinating region in depth at the Salt Flats Museum (Playa Blanca), before we get our first daylight perspective on the flats in a late-morning visit and lunch on-site. This afternoon we tour the Colchani Salt Factories, wrapping up in time to visit a salt mine for one last perspective on the flats, this time at sunset. We return to our hotel and enjoy a Farewell Dinner together as our adventure draws to a close.
After breakfast, the morning is at leisure in Uyuni. Following an included lunch, we fly to La Paz and check in to our hotel. The evening is at leisure, with dinner on your own.
Very early this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home via Lima.