Code: 4WSAJUYU Duration: 4 days
|Single Room Supplement:||Upon request|
Bolivia / Highlands
|Duration Nights:||3 nights in hotels|
|Suggested Seasons:||Autumn - Winter - Spring|
The volcanic lava formations near Sajama national park - known as Stone City or “Ciudad de Piedra” in Spanish - is one of the most extraordinary creations that nature could have made. Millions of years ago, a lava flow covered a huge extension that due to erosion caused by water and wind turn in a bizarre maze of canyons and valleys surrounded by big walls and monolithic stone sculptures that remain Dali’s surrealistic paintings.
According to a very old legend, the supreme god Wiracocha punished Mururata Mountain by cutting its head off and making it fly south for form what it is Sajama volcano. Nowadays, Sajama is still the highest mountain of Bolivia, actually an old volcano covered with glaciers. Besides hosting the highest mountain of Bolivia, this park is one of the most interesting landscapes in the highlands. It was the first protected land in Bolivia. Their main attractions are the Alpacas and Vicuñas living in these plains, and the highest woods on earth; the indigenous Keñua trees (PolylepisTarapacana), living as high as 5,200m (17,056ft). Several hot springs and geysers can also be found in this park.
Sajama National Park is the first protected area created in Bolivia; it hosts the highest Keñua tree forest in the planet, geysers, hot springs and spectacular views of the highest volcanoes in Bolivia. After Sajama our route will take you to the Uyuni salt flats, ideally visiting Coipasa salt lake on the way (depending of the intensity of the rainy season, Coipasa can be sometimes flooded and therefore dangerous to cross).
Uyuni salt flats were originally called Tunupa by locals before the foundation of Uyuni Town in 1889; approximately 200 km wide, this is the biggest salt concentration and one of the most impressive landscapes in the planet. Located at an average altitude of 3,653m (11,981ft) and with very low rain precipitation (100 to 325 mm per year), this is one of the driest areas in the Bolivian territory, a very delicate and unique ecosystem.
Day 1. Transport to Sajama. Hotel
Day 2. Transport to Tawa. Hotel
Day 3. Full day visit of Uyuni. Hotel
Day 4. Transport to La Paz.
- Great sightseeing of the highlands and Sajama National Park on the way to Uyuni salt flats.
- Unforgettable journey traversing Coipasa and Uyuni salt flats; unique salt concentrations surrounding by bizarre surrealistic landscape.
- 1350km total distance covered.
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
- Full land transportation during the trip.
- Hotel accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
- Bilingual guide during the trip.
- Luggage transportation in the vehicle (20 kg/44 lb per person max weight).
- National Park entrance fees.
Services Not Included
- International & local flight tickets & fees.
- Transfers IN/OUT to airports.
- Meals & accommodation while in La Paz and other main cities.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Any expense due to a rescue operation (rescuers fee, transportation, or medical cost).
Day to day details
A pleasant drive traversing the flat highlands will take us to Sajama National Park where we will enjoy a great landscape; a microclimatic high-altitude valley dotted by thousands of Alpacas, Vicuñas and Llamas, and surrounded by the highest volcanoes in Bolivia.
Despite its height this protected land host a bizarre forest of Keñua trees, some of them subsist up to 5100m (16728ft) or higher, according to some scientists being the highest forest in the planet.
There we will experience the hospitability of the local Aymara indigenous that own Tomarapi lodge where we will spend the night.
On the way, if we can find the key keeper, we may visit the church of Curahuara de Carangas, considered the “sixteenth chapter” of the Bolivian Andes because of its magnificent mural paintings. Before getting to our lodge we will make a short visit to the geysers and the hot springs; those who want can enjoy a relaxing bath (the local community charge a small extra cost).
Overnight: Hostal Tomarapi
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)
Sajama: 4,303m (14,114ft)
Driving: 7-8 Hrs (350km)
After traversing a sandy desert southern than Sajama National Park, we may cross Coipasa salt flat if it is not flooded during the rainy season. Although smaller than Uyuni this salt lake is really spectacular containing a huge volcano island and a salty water lake in its center.
In the afternoon we will get to the Uyuni. Arriving to this salt lake; the largest salt concentration in the planet; is a really amazing experience. There we will stay in a town called Tawa located in the northern shores; our hotel is mostly built with salt bricks.
Overnight: Hotel de Sal Tayka
Uyuni: 3,665 m (12,021 ft)
Driving: 9-10 Hrs (443km)
Today we will spend almost all the day exploring and enjoying Uyuni salt lake. Along of the way, we’ll enjoy the wild landscape that surrounds the salt lake with its colored volcanoes.
Once at the Uyuni Salt Flats, we will navigate over the rock hard salt. In the midst of the Salar's blinding sea of white (take sunglasses!) there exist several solid rock and earth islands each having distinct flora and fauna.
We will visit one of them called “Fishback” island where we will hike to a spectacular viewpoint. After having lunch somewhere in the middle of the salt lake we will head towards the village of Colchani where we will spend the night in the in one the most exotic hotels all built with salt blocks.
Overnight: Hotel Luna Salada
View point: 4,050m (13,284ft)
Uyuni: 3,665m (12,021ft)
Driving: 7-8Hrs (150km)
A long day to drive to La Paz, the paved road traverses interesting highland landscape yet the most fertile part off the “Altiplano” and one of the most populated areas of Bolivia.
El Alto: 4,100m (13,450ft)
La Paz: 3,650 m (11,972 ft)
Driving: 8-9 Hrs (550km)