3 days from £545pp plus international flights.
This itinerary will take you off the beaten track to discover Sajama National Park and all it encompasses. Starting in La Paz, this tour through Sajama will showcase some stunning scenery and will take in one of the most successful community projects in Bolivia. From Tomarapi Eco-lodge, you will be able to see archaeological and historic sites as well as discovering the flora and fauna of this region. The colourful Inca chullpas (burial towers) are rather impressive too, and it's very interesting to learn their significance, but we'll leave that to the local guides to explain. Hike through the Polylepis forests and travel on to the vast plains where llamas and alpacas roam. A visit to Caripe village will provide an opportunity to meet the villagers and see how important the llama and alpaca wool is to them. There may also be time to visit a local school. If class is in session, the pupils love to receive visitors and are most welcoming.
As well as seeing local village cultures you will also have the opportunity to admire the scenery, the beautiful lakes and the wildlife they support. You are likely to get sightings of flamingo, crested ducks, woodpeckers and perhaps small falcons and eagles, all with a beautiful scenic backdrop in this remote Bolivian landscape close to the Chilean border.
There's a lot to see en-route from La Paz to Sajama. The first stop will be Curahuara de Carangas. It's a small town in Sajama province with a beautiful adobe and thatch church known as the Sistine Chapel of Bolivia. Stunning frescos adorn the interior. Nearby you can see stone monoliths, these are known as chullpas, or burial towers. The journey then continues through Polylepis forests and the varied flora of Sajama NP. Keep your camera handy to record the beautiful landscape and you will come across vicunas and possibly suri, the Andean ostrich also known as Darwin’s Rhea. After visiting the Church of Sajama, the journey will continue to the geysers. Later in the day there is time for a walk to the Polylepis (queñua) forest, before arriving at the village of Tomarapi. Dinner
It's an early start today as we set off for the Chilean border and the Lauca River Cultural Circuit. You will get an insight into the culture and nature of this remote region. After 2 hours you reach the community of Macaya and you can visit the chapel on the banks of the lake. It's a nice spot to see some of the local birds and fauna. You then continue south to the multi-coloured chullpas dating back to Incan times. Markedly different in decor from the chullpas you saw yesterday, the towers are painted in colourful patterns as a display of respect for those buried within. There's time for a snack before continuing to Laguna Saquewa. From a vantage point you’ll be able to see three different varieties of flamingo, amongst other aquatic birds. You have a picnic lunch in this beautiful location before making your way back to Sajama in the afternoon. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning a visit to the small village of Caripe will highlight the importance of llamas and alpacas to the local community. This is where garments are made using their wool. There will be an opportunity to visit a local school, and if classes are in progress you can go in and meet the children. There are about 60 students here and they love to receive visitors. You stay in Tomarapi for a lunch stop and then visit Laguna Huaynacota, a haven for birdlife. You may see Chilean flamingos, crested ducks, eagles, small falcons and woodpeckers. After enjoying the lake and the views, you return to La Paz. Breakfast, lunch
Guide price from (pp sharing): £545 (ex. international flights)
Return road transfers between La Paz and Sajama National Park
International flights and taxes
Getting there: This itinerary starts and ends in La Paz and is easy to add on to your itinerary as an extension.
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Time: Bolivia GMT -4 hours
Flight time: approximately 21.5 hours (no direct flights from the UK)
Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Visas: Visas – not required for British nationals for stays of up to 90 days
Health: Yellow Fever vaccine should be given to travellers 9 months of age and upwards if travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the whole departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz, and parts of the Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija departments. No other vaccinations are compulsory.