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active 9 hours ago

Collin Stewart

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

Drive through unique landscapes in the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve to see the Árbol de Piedra
Explore Bolivia: Andes to Amazon - 18 Days

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.

View over the Bolivian Amazon
The Bolivian Amazon and its Native Peoples - 6 Days

Explore the richness of wildlife and connect with the native people of the Bolivian Amazon on this culturally immersive 6-day adventure. You'll experience life in the jungle as you stay at sustainable eco-lodges designed, run, and owned by local tribal communities—eco-tourism projects developed to protect their way of life and slow the advance of deforestation. You'll canoe rivers and their tributaries, sway in hammocks, fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle, fish for piranhas, and hike into the thick of it all.

A llama scales the rugged mountains in Potosí
Sonq'oman: Into the Heart of the Bolivian Highlands - 14 Days

This complete two-week trip takes you to the cultural and geographical core of highland Bolivia, a place that has long deflected outside influences due to its rugged remoteness and the tenacity of its native cultures. Still far removed from the effects of mainstream tourism, western Bolivia offers a wealth of unmediated exchanges with its Quechua and Aymara inhabitants as they go about life as farmers, herders, miners, and fishermen. The high plateau holds glaciated volcanoes, enormous basins with a surreal menagerie of creatures—from ostriches to llamas to flamingos—and deep canyons with stones of every hue.

Recent trip reviews for Collin

Bolivia trip with desiree, Bolivia - Sep 22 - Oct 4, 2019

Traveler: alton r. - Local specialist: Collin Stewart

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

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 our hotel in Sucre, we were told they did not have a booking and we were sent to a different hotel, where they told us they had booked a matrimonial suite with one bed for us. Everything worked out in the end, but it was a little stressful and we don't understand why we weren't told of the change until after we had arrived at the wrong hotel.
For the Salar de Uyuni tour, we had been told it was just us on the tour, but when they picked us up to leave the next morning, they left us waiting for another family for over one hour and we didn't depart for the salt flats until after 11:30 am. This family expected a French language tour and came with a screaming 5-year old child. They kept us waiting several times over the 3-day tour, resulting in some rushed sight seeing and late arrivals in the evenings. The Uyuni guide was good, but also said some things that we thought were less than professional. While we understand this is "luck of the draw," we can't help but feel that this wasn't quite the tour we had arranged and paid for.

Collin Stewart profile photo
Collin Stewart, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Alton,

I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed the trip and felt I listened to you well during the planning stage. I'm also happy to hear that the accommodations and services were, on the whole, excellent.

I also really appreciate you taking the time to give us feedback on specific points where we can improve. I'll be adding the bathing suit recommendation to the info right away! I'm sorry about the miscommunication with the hotel. That was our mistake, and I'm sure it was frustrating after... read more

Hi Alton,

I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed the trip and felt I listened to you well during the planning stage. I'm also happy to hear that the accommodations and services were, on the whole, excellent.

I also really appreciate you taking the time to give us feedback on specific points where we can improve. I'll be adding the bathing suit recommendation to the info right away! I'm sorry about the miscommunication with the hotel. That was our mistake, and I'm sure it was frustrating after a long day of travelling. And in Uyuni, I'm sorry to hear the group was less than ideal.

I hope you're return to the US went smoothly and that you brought away some great memories and photos from Bolivia!

Collin