I am originally from Colorado, but after walking across Guatemala and nearly rattling to pieces on a 125 cc Honda in Patagonia, I settled down eight years ago in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I am the point person for Amaru Bolivia’s English-speaking travelers. I see travel as something highly personal, so my goal when I work with travelers is to create a trip that reflects their unique identity, interests, and longings. As a citizen of Bolivia, I also aim to make sure travel benefits the local people, giving foreigners a chance to use their privilege to form a global community characterized by mutual learning and assistance.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I specialize in Bolivia, more specifically in facilitating interactions between travelers and Bolivia's rural and indigenous communities. This activity goes by various names: cultural tourism, community-based tourism or experiential travel. The experiences themselves are as rich and varied as Bolivia's culture: mending reed nets and using them to fish the water of Lake Titicaca, herding llamas under the smoking volcanoes and around the flamingo-filled lakes of southern Potosí, or learning to gather herbal medicine with the Mosetén tribe in the Amazon. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"I started out in adventure tourism, as a raft and hiking guide in Colorado, and later as a motorcycle guide in Bolivia. While I still love the rush of plunging off a pour-off on a wild river or scaling an airy crag, I began to realize the reward of the next thrill was not the whole picture. This shift led to my involvement with Amaru Bolivia, where the essence of travel is a shared moment of understanding between two people from distant lands and a celebration of the sublime cultural and natural beauty on this earth."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"My sister and I were walking cross-county through the green turf, snow drifts and stone huts of llama herders in the high Andes. A dog suddenly charged out of a hut at us, fangs bared, barking and growling. Behind it, a Quechua woman appeared, whirling a slingshot and flinging rocks in our direction. She was yelling, and we were afraid. But after a moment we realized that her shouts and wrath were directed at the dog. Once she subdued it, we moved towards her and we began to talk. She showed us her hand-woven slingshot and how to use it. I gave it a try, subjecting us all to the only moment of real danger of the day as the projectiles launched willy-nilly across the landscape and provoking much laughter all around. She showed us how she was jerking lama meat in the intense high-altitude sun and the way they thatched the roof of their stone huts with the coarse grass of the pampas. Before we continued on our way, we practiced a phrase we had learned in her language: "Tinkuna kama"-- Until we meet again."
Featured trips & expertise
Bolivia's urban centers and otherworldly landscapes are equally fascinating. On this weeklong journey around the country, you'll get the best of both. Explore gorgeous Lake Titicaca, learning about quinoa farming and llama herding on an island in the middle of the lake. Then eat your way through La Paz on a food tour and ride high over the city on a gondola, admiring incredible Andean scenery on the way.
Immerse yourself in the stark beauty of the Atacama Desert and the snow-capped Andes on this journey around Chile and Bolivia. Explore the strange rock formations of the Valley of the Moon and drive across the endless, dazzling white of the Uyuni Salt Flats. You'll see steaming geysers shooting out of the earth, go for a dip in natural hot springs, and find bright pink flamingos in the wild along the journey. Then contrast the space and silence with a visit to the bustling streets of La Paz, the highest capital city in the world.
With glaciated peaks over 21,000 feet high and mighty rivers rolling through the largest forest on earth, Bolivia is a land of superlatives. Explore diverse extremes from the Andes to the Amazon on this complete 18-day itinerary, starting in one capital, Sucre, and ending in the next, La Paz. Along the way, you'll visit high-altitude lakes and bubbling mud and geysers in Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, herd llamas and farm quinoa in Santiago K, trek Isla de la Luna on Lake Titicaca, and seek out exotic wildlife in the Amazon's Madidi National Park.
In the Bolivian Amazon, the mountains meet the jungle. In the span a few miles, the icy peaks drop down to green tundra, which gives way to dwarf cloud forest, alive with the vibrations of hummingbirds. A little lower the trees are taller, sheltering ferns, orchids and birds, and lower still mighty rivers wind through massive forests teeming with a greater diversity of life than almost anywhere else on the planet. This trip is about exploring the richness of the birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects in this area, and connecting to the people who have coexisted with and formed part of this life for centuries. But this trip also about protection. The ecosystems are under threat from logging, hydroelectric projects and mining. The tribes in this jungle are dwindling and losing their traditions as the outside world closes in. But through these sustainable tourism projects, which are designed, run, and owned by natives, you can help affirm the value of the natural and human inhabitants of these areas and slow the advance of destruction.
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.
From the world's highest capital in the Andean highlands to the lush Amazon rainforest, Bolivia's natural wonders enchant visitors. Explore the hilly streets of La Paz, visit a community-based agritourism village run by indigenous artisans, and walk along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the second-largest lake in South America. Then float down a jungle river on a log raft and see a wide variety of wildlife in the Bolivian Amazon, including capybaras, macaws, caimans, anacondas, and the unique pink river dolphin.
Recent trip reviews for Collin
The guides were exceptional. All of them wen... · Bolivia - Aug 1 - Aug 11, 2021
The guides were exceptional. All of them went out of their way to help us resolve any issues we encounter. They were very accommodating based on our capabilities and needs. Without their knowledge and willingness to please this trip would not be possible.
I want to reiterate this on all of them, Juan Carlos, Moises, Pablo, Elsa were unbelievable on the way they conducted themselves. Their knowledge of the place, people, culture were crucial to make the experience what it was.
BOLIVIA TRIP WITH DESIREE · Bolivia - Sep 22 - Oct 4, 2019
We really enjoyed the trip and Collin was great about listening to what we wanted and making it happen for us. For the most part, the trip was easy and enjoyable and things ran smoothly. The accommodations, food and guides were excellent for the most part.
There were a couple of communication errors -- For the Salar de Uyuni trip, we were not informed of any details during the 3 days, so for example, we were not told to bring suits and towels for the hot springs. Also when we arrived to... read more