This nine-day itinerary balances excursions into the remote highlands with multiple days of activities in Bolivia's most exciting cities. Begin in the modern, high-altitude city of La Paz before taking a private car to the northern shore of the Uyuni Salt Flats, where you will hike the Tunupa Volcano and learn about indigenous Andean cultures. After exploring the flats, you will continue on to Sucre to tour its colonial-era streets, visit its impressive museums, and learn about Bolivian independence before enjoying a final free day in the capital.

Highlights

  • Take a Mi Teleférico cable car to bustling El Alto
  • Hike up the side of the Tunupa Volcano
  • Explore the great Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Enjoy traditional Andean meals and handicrafts
  • Go on a walking tour of Sucre's colonial streets and museums

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in La Paz La Paz
Day 2 Walking Tour of El Alto La Paz
Day 3 Transfer to the Uyuni Salt Flats Tahua
Day 4 Transfer to Cayara Cayara
Day 5 Cayara Hotel Museum - Tour of Potosí - Sucre Sucre
Day 6 Tour of Sucre Sucre
Day 7 Flight to La Paz La Paz
Day 8 Free Day in La Paz La Paz
Day 9 Depart La Paz  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in La Paz

A view of La Paz
An aerial view of La Paz

Welcome to Bolivia! A representative will greet you at El Alto International Airport (LPB) in La Paz and transfer you to your hotel. Once you check in and get settled, you can share a cup of coca tea with your guide and go over your itinerary, ask questions, and learn a bit more about Bolivia.

We recommend that you take it easy today since there is 50% less oxygen at this altitude, and steady acclimatization is essential to enjoying your trip.

Day 2: Walking Tour of El Alto

Cable car in La Paz
Cable car in La Paz

Today, you will take a cable car ride on the famous Mi Teleférico transit system up to El Alto, a large city adjacent to La Paz. Once your cable car arrives, you'll take a four-hour walking tour through the center of the city.

At a dizzying 13,615ft (4,000m) above sea level, El Alto is one of the highest cities in the world, and you will tour colorful streets, alleyways, neighborhoods that seem to hang on the mountains, plazas, and historic landmarks. 

Near the end of the tour, you will take a micro or local bus to the heart of the city's district of markets. Here, you’ll be able to shop around and go to different markets, including the famous Witch’s Market

You'll take the cable car back to La Paz in the late afternoon, and you will have the evening free to rest or explore more of the city.

Day 3: Transfer to the Uyuni Salt Flats

A view of the Tunupa Volcano
A view of the Tunupa Volcano

Today,  a driver will pick you up at your hotel and drive you 323 miles (530 km) to the south of the altiplano or "high plateau."

In the middle of your eight-hour trip, you will make a stop in the mining city of Oruro, where you will have a traditional lunch and stretch your legs. Then, you will continue to Tahua, a village situated on the edge of the salt flats that is surrounded by views of colorful fields of quinoa and herds of alpacas.

You will spend the night in a hotel made of salt at the base of the Tunupa Volcano.

Day 4: Transfer to Cayara

A view of the Uyuni Salt Flats
A view of the Uyuni Salt Flats

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel at the base of the Tunupa Volcano and transfer you to your next overnight stop, Cayara.

On your six-hour drive, you will make a stop in a small community museum in Coqueza to chat with the administrator and learn about life on the edge of the salt flats. You will be able to see the museum's ancient mummies and take a hike up the volcano to enjoy the clean air and incredible views of the salt flats below.

At the end of your afternoon in Coqueza, you'll continue on until you reach your accommodation in Cayara, a former hacienda nestled in a remote valley in the outskirts of Potosi. You'll have the evening free to explore the hacienda's grounds and relax.

Day 5: Cayara Hotel Museum - Tour of Potosí - Sucre

Inside the Cayara Hotel Museum
Inside the Cayara Hotel Museum

You'll start your day with a guided visit to the Cayara Hotel Museum, a restored colonial hacienda that dates back to 1557. The museum hosts a collection of notable paintings and pieces of furniture along with two impressive libraries. Military history buffs will be especially interested in the museum's collection of armor, muskets, and sabers that were used during the War of Independence.

After your tour of the house and the surrounding grounds, a driver will take you to Potosí for your walking tour of the city with a local guide and lunch.

After lunch, your driver will continue to your final destination of Sucre. After you check in at your hotel, you'll have the evening free to explore this historic city.

Day 6: Tour of Sucre

View from a rooftop in Sucre
View from a rooftop in Sucre

This morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the place where the first resistance movements seeking to overthrow the Spanish colonial government began. 

On your tour of the city, you will learn about the city's role not only in Bolivian history but in the history of Latin America. First, you will visit La Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia's proclamation of independence from Spain was signed. You will also visit the ASUR Museum of Indigenous Art, a "living" museum with textiles from the southern Andes, art by indigenous groups from the region, and local artists working in the city. 

After your museum visit, you'll have the rest of the evening free to continue exploring Sucre or stay at your hotel.

Day 7: Flight to La Paz

Sunset in La Paz
Sunset in La Paz

Today, a driver will pick you up at your hotel in Sucre and drive you to Alcantarí International Airport (SRE) for your short flight back to La Paz.

When you land, another driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Once you check in, you'll have free time to rest, or you can talk with a representative about booking an additional activity like a city tour, cooking class, or an excursion to Moon Valley.

Day 8: Free Day in La Paz

A colorful neighborhood in La Paz
A colorful neighborhood in La Paz

Today, you'll be able to enjoy a free day in this beautiful city. We'll be happy to suggest restaurants, help you arrange additional activities such as hiking to nearby Huayna Potosí Mountain, or assist you in hiring a guide or private driver. 

If you opt to explore on your own, you can walk through its colonial streets, try local food at Plaza San Francisco, or do as the locals do and enjoy an afternoon tea. If you want to skip the tourist spots, go to the Coca Museum, see a cholita (women in traditional braids and petticoats) wrestling match, or visit the eerily beautiful Cementerio General.

Day 9: Depart La Paz

View of the Andes mountains outside La Paz
View of the Andes mountains outside La Paz

It's time to say goodbye to Bolivia! After you have breakfast and spend a final morning enjoying La Paz, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport to catch your flight home.

Map

Map of Explore the Bolivian Highlands - 9 Days
Map of Explore the Bolivian Highlands - 9 Days