This two-week trip takes you to the heart of highland Bolivia. Due to its rugged landscapes, remote location, and the well-defined character of its indigenous communities, it's a place that has long resisted outside influences. You'll have plenty of chances to interact with Quechua and Aymara natives as you tour the famous silver mine of Potosí, explore the islands of Lake Titicaca, spot flamingos standing in colorful lagoons, and walk around the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Salt Flats of Uyuni.

Highlights

  • Tour the famed Cerro Rico mine in Potosí 
  • Explore the otherworldly Salt Flats of Uyuni
  • Hike to indigenous communities around Lake Titicaca
  • Discover southern Bolivia's colorful lakes, home to bright pink flamingos
  • See Jalq'a weavings produced in the villages of the Maragua Crater

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sucre Sucre
Day 2 Explore the Ciudad Blanca of Sucre Sucre
Day 3 Day Trip to the Maragua Crater Sucre
Day 4 Transfer to Potosí & Visit the Casa de Moneda Potosí
Day 5 Sightsee in Potosí & Transfer to Tupiza Tupiza
Day 6 See Ghost Cities & Super Volcanoes  Quetena Chico
Day 7 Discover Lakes, Geysers & Hot Springs  Laguna Colorada
Day 8 Spot Flamingos in the Wild at Laguna Colorada San Juan
Day 9 Explore the Salar de Uyuni & Isla Incahuasi  Overnight Bus
Day 10 Free Day in La Paz La Paz
Day 11 Travel to Lake Titicaca Isla del Sol
Day 12 Tour Isla del Sol Isla de la Luna
Day 13 Hike on Isla de la Luna  La Paz
Day 14 Depart Bolivia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sucre

The church-towers and rooftops of the colonial buildings in Sucre's city center.
The white-washed buildings of Sucre

Welcome to Bolivia! Begin the trip in the UNESCO-protected colonial city of Sucre. At around 9,000 feet (2,745 meters) above sea level, Sucre is filled with whitewashed buildings and narrow cobblestoned streets. It was once the home of the Spanish aristocrats who were made rich by the silver mines of Potosí and came to this temperate valley to escape the harsh climate near the mines. You can spend the afternoon strolling the bustling streets of the historic town, pausing in quiet plazas under the stone walls of centuries-old cathedrals and mansions. It's an ideal place to rest and adjust to the altitude before heading higher up into the heart of the Bolivian highlands. 

Day 2: Explore the Ciudad Blanca of Sucre

Bolivia, family sells potatoes
Potato vendors in the central market

Venture into the heart of the city this morning with a stroll through the busy central market. On a guided tour of Sucre, you will learn about the city's role in Bolivian history and in the history of Latin America. You will visit La Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia's proclamation of independence from Spain was signed. You will also visit the Museum of Indigenous Art (ASUR), featuring textiles from the southern Andes, art by indigenous groups from the region, and original pieces by local artists.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Maragua Crater

Maragua Crater, Bolivia
A village inside the Maragua Crater

Today you'll trade the white walls of Sucre for the towering red-rock wall of the Maragua Crater. Amazingly, there are villages inside the crater. The region is known for the Jalq'a tapestries that are hand-woven in village homes. As you pass, Quechua villagers may invite you into their adobe huts to show you their looms. Continue exploring the crater, keeping your eyes open for fossils embedded in petrified Jurassic mud. Then return to Sucre for a relaxing evening.

Day 4: Transfer to Potosí & Visit the Casa de Moneda

Bolivia - Potosí - city center
The historic center of Potosí

After breakfast this morning, a guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a three-hour journey to the colonial city of Potosí, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once you arrive, you'll go on a walking tour of the city, strolling down streets lined with colonial architecture, stopping into the artisan market and the Cathedral Basilica of Potosí, and visiting the famous National House of the Mint (Casa Nacional de la Moneda). Considered one of South America’s finest museums, it takes up a whole city block. Since its construction in the mid-18th century, the building has also served as a prison and the headquarters of the Bolivian army. 

Day 5: Sightsee in Potosí & Transfer to Tupiza

Bolivia - Potosí - Cerro Rico
Tour the Cerro Rico mine in Potosí

Above Potosí's stone mansions and cathedrals, Cerro Rico rises up. The name means "rich mountain," which makes sense — Cerro Rico was the source of huge quantities of silver mined by the Spanish during colonial times. You'll visit the historic mine today. You'll be outfitted with a hard hat and headlamp before venturing down twisting passageways to see mining crews hack at stone walls with their pickaxes. If you are feeling inspired, leave an offering at the monument to the god of the underworld. In the afternoon, you'll enjoy a scenic four-hour drive to Tupiza, a jumping-off point for exciting excursions into the wild.

Day 6: See Ghost Cities & Super Volcanoes 

The volcano Uturunku in the background.
A distant view of the dormant Uturuncu Volcano

This morning you'll drive through the red-rock canyons around Tupiza, the road winding up to a high plateau of the Andes. On the barren slopes of a volcano, the wind hisses through the abandoned stone city of San Antonio de Nuevo Mundo, once a booming silver mining center in the 1600s. Today it's an eerie ghost town. The road continues across rivers and llama-filled plains to Quetena, a herders' village set among slot canyons. Above it is the Uturuncu Volcano, the highest in the area. According to one study, the supervolcano likely sits atop a pool of magma the size of Lake Superior.

Day 7: Discover Lakes, Geysers & Hot Springs 

Bolivia - Sol de Manana -
The geyser field at Sol de Mañana 

Rise early and head to the Sol de Mañana geyser field, where you can jump through plumes of warm steam hissing up through subterranean cracks. The streams with no geothermal source may be iced over and sparkling like jewels strung out across the desert, but you won't have to suffer from the cold: the warm waters of the Polques Hot Springs invite you to take a soothing soak.

After a relaxing dip, the journey continues south to the Salvador Dalí Desert, where strange rock formations resemble the artist's surrealist paintings. Beyond the desert, near the Chilean border, are the emerald waters of Laguna Verde. Later, make your way to your hotel near Laguna Colorada, the crown jewel of the high lakes in the region.

Day 8: Spot Flamingos in the Wild at Laguna Colorada

Bolivia - Laguna Hedionda
The flamingos of Laguna Hedionda

At dawn, you'll skirt the edges of Laguna Colorada and travel north to the rock formation of Árbol de Piedra (the Stone Tree). The route passes by a string of high-altitude lakes — Cañapa, Hedionda, Ch-arkota, Honda, and Ramaditas — each with their distinct coloration and resident waterfowl, including three species of flamingo. 

As the route descends slightly and leaves the harshest high-elevation terrain behind, keep your eyes open for the vicuña, a cousin of the alpaca and llama, and the ñandu, an Andean ostrich. The landscape becomes even more magnificent as you near the Ollagüe Volcano, a massif on the Chilean border. After crossing the salt flats of Chiguana, you'll arrive at the village of San Juan to spend the night.

Day 9: Explore the Salar de Uyuni & Isla Incahuasi 

Bolivia - Incahuasi - Salar de Uyuni
Cacti on Isla Incahuasi

From San Juan, you'll venture onward to the famed Salar de Uyuni salt flats. This immense white expanse, about the size of the US state of Connecticut, is the flattest place on the planet. Use the endless horizon to take pictures that play with perspective. A thin layer of rainwater turns the flats into a perfect mirror, suspending you in an ethereal world of sky and clouds. Then you'll stop at the cactus-studded Isla Incahuasi (Incahuasi Island). Climb to the island's peak to appreciate the vastness of the salt flats. The journey then continues to Uyuni. Tonight, you will take an eight-hour sleeper bus to La Paz.

Day 10: Free Day in La Paz

Mt. Illimani, the undisputed monarch of La Paz.
Illimani Mountain and the city of La Paz

Today you'll have your breath taken away (literally!) at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above sea level in La Paz. You'll have time to explore the popular Witches' Market, where you can purchase medicinal herbs, and visit the San Francisco Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the city. You’ll see the main square, Plaza Murillo, continuing onward to the southern neighborhoods and a fascinating geological anomaly called Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) because of its bizarre, moon-like surface. End with a cable car ride, taking in panoramic views of La Paz.

Day 11: Transfer to Lake Titicaca 

Boliva - Isla del Sol - Lago Titicaca
Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca

Today you'll move on to Lake Titicaca. Drive along the lakeshore, crossing the Strait of Taquina to arrive at Copacabana. The main port town on the Bolivian side of the lake, Copacabana has indigenous origins and important Inca ruins. Take some time to explore the village before boarding a boat to Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun). On the island, ascend the 500 steps of the famous Escalera del Inca staircase to viewpoints overlooking the stunning azure waters below. A local guide will take you along the crest of the island above the terraced slopes, still farmed by the Aymara people. As the light fades, enjoy the sunset over the highest navigable lake in the world.

Day 12: Tour Isla del Sol 

Sunset over the lake edged with reeds used for millennia to make fishing nets.
A quiet sunset over Lake Titicaca from Isla de la Luna

Spend a relaxing day on the lake's islands. After visiting the Inca temple of La Chinkana, the most important Inca ruin on the south side of Isla del Sol, you'll take a boat to the lesser-traveled Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon). You'll share a traditional meal with members of the Aymara community and learn about the landscape and culture of the island. You'll have the chance to try your hand at reed-net fishing, the natives' traditional fishing method. Then stay overnight at a homestay on the island. 

Day 13: Hike on Isla de la Luna

Bolivia - Trek the ancient path along Lake Titicaca's shoreline
The ancient path along Lake Titicaca's shoreline

This morning, you'll board a private boat and cruise to the village of Yampupata on the mainland. Trek along the ancient stones of a pre-Colombian path. The trail leads you through Sampaya and Jinchaca, two villages untouched by tourism. You'll see residents hoeing fields and tending to their herds of llamas between the bright blue expanse of the altiplano sky and the sparkling waters of the lake. Later, transfer back to La Paz. You'll have one more chance to sample the city's culinary and cultural delights before the trip ends.

Day 14: Depart 

Bolivia - La Paz Mi Teleferico and downtown
Cable cars over La Paz

The trip ends today. Enjoy one last look from the airplane window — look for the Amazon on one side and the shimmering waters of Lake Titicaca on the other — before the adventure is officially over. Safe travels!

More Bolivia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bolivia? Check out these other 14-day Bolivia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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Map

Map of Adventure in the Bolivian Highlands - 14 Days
Map of Adventure in the Bolivian Highlands - 14 Days