We get things started by taking the "old," less traveled road to city of Cochabamba, known for being the culinary capital of Bolivia. From there the real climb begins and the air gets thin, with landscapes of snowcapped mountains in nearly every direction, before we descend into the quaint village of Quime. We'll see our fair share of dirt roads the next couple of days, including riding the infamous "Death Road" from the bottom to the top, then climb some more until we reach the "La Cumbre" which sits at an elevation of 4,700 meters/15,500 feet, and then drop down into an expansive valley, home to the city of La Paz, where we’ll spend the night just a few blocks from the Presidential Palace. After riding through the altiplano (high plains) region, we'll arrive to the old railroad town of Uyuni, which resides on the edge of the largest salt flats in the world. We spend an entire day exploring the salt flats before pushing on to the cities of Potosi and Sucre, both of which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. We'll get a first hand perspective of the life of Bolivian miners before we pick up the trail of the famous rebel, Ernesto “El Che” Guevara during his last days. To wrap the tour up it's a perfect mix of gravel and curvy blacktop as we wind our way back to where the tour began. (motorcycle tours, tours - operators & promoters)
Day 1 (Sunday) - Arrival: Welcome to Bolivia
We’ll personally pick everyone up at the airport. After making the short trip from Santa Cruz to El Torno, we’ll help you get settled you into your hilltop cabin. After dinner we have an informal orientation and prep session, followed by a good nights sleep.
Day 2 (Monday) - To the Garden of Eden
We take the bikes on a 70km. (40 mile) round-trip practice run up to the “Jardin de las Delicias,” where we’ll encounter a series of breathtaking waterfalls on the edge of Amboró National Park. Hanging bridge, dirt roads, stream crossings, hiking, swimming, picnic lunch and rappelling down one of the falls (depending on weather & group size) are just part of todays adventure. Back in town we’ll head back up into the hills to our cabins where we’ll spend the night.
Day 3 (Tuesday) - Jumping off day: El Torno to Cochabamba (460km./286mi.)
We leave our comfy cabins and take the mountain route up to Cochabamba, central Bolivia’s green farming valley. We’ll maneuver our way up a picturesque older highway with a mix of dirt and pavement riding. Cochabamba is known as the culinary capitol of Bolivia, so we’ll arrive in time to try some of the local cuisine for dinner.
Day 4 (Wednesday) - The BIG Climb Begins: Cochabamba to Quime (317km./197mi.)
Leaving the city we’re back out on the highway again this morning. The first of many passes that we traverse today sits at 4,000 meters above sea level, with the highest being over 4,700 meters. As we ride we’ll get to take in the majestic beauty of the snow-capped Andes Mountains. We then descend into Quime through a steep glacial valley.
Day 5 (Thursday) - Quime to Chulumani (191km./119mi.)
We pick up where we left off yesterday as we continue our descent today, there’s no pavement today though as we head towards the Amazon Basin. Our journey today is a roller coaster of sorts as we ascend and descend through several valleys with steep drop offs.
Day 6 (Friday) – Death road and beyond: Chulumani to La Paz (181km./113mi.)
We continue traversing the mountain roads throughout the morning hours. At midday we’ll take a break for lunch and try our hand at zip-lining high above the valley floors. From here it’s all up hill as we embark onto the infamous “Death Road” with it many twists, sheer drop-offs and spectacular views. We keep climbing after we reach the highway, the summit pass (La Cumbre) sits at an elevation of 4,700 meters. From there we descend into the city of La Paz, one of Bolivia’s capitol cities, with its vibrant mix of Aymara, Quechua and Spanish cultures.
Day 7 (Saturday) - The Great Altiplano: La Paz to Oruro (224km./140mi.)
After climbing up out of La Paz it's an easy ride cruising along the Altiplano (High Plains) region on tarmac to the city of Oruro, one of the largest cities in Bolivia.
Day 8 (Sunday) - Oruro to Uyuni (317km./197mi.)
Leaving Oruro we head straight south, along the way expect to see plenty of wildlife, namely llama, alpaca and the occasional vicuña. It’s a long(ish) day in the saddle but the roads are in good shape, so we’ll make good time. As we near our destination we’ll get our first glimpse of the worlds largest salt flats. After we get settled into our rooms, we can watch the sun set over the salt flats.
Day 9 (Monday) - The Flats: El Salar de Uyuni
We ride the salt flats following part of the Dakar route to the “Isla Incahuasi,” (Cactus Island) the only island in the salt lake with ancient cactus plants, some over 500 years old. Along the route we’ll stop for a delicious picnic lunch out on the salt flats and leave plenty of time to take some incredible photos.
Day 10 (Tuesday) - To the Silver City: Uyuni to Potosi (204km./126mi.)
Leaving the salt flats we climb higher to the imperial city of Potosí, capital of 17th century Spanish America. The whole city is an architectural treasure listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. At over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) it sits in the shadow of El Cerro Rico, the huge dome holding the richest silver mines in the history of the New World.
Day 11 (Wednesday) – El Cerro Rico
It’s a relaxed pace this morning, we’ll take a mine tour of el Cerro Rico and then have lunch near the central plaza in Potosi. From there it’s an invigorating cruise over the mountain highway before descending into the city of Sucre, Bolivia´s judicial capital. It´s also known as “la ciudad blanca” (the white city) for the whitewashed walls of its pristine old city center. Its many churches and mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries still adorn the downtown streets.
Day 12 (Thursday) - Potosi to Sucre (156km./97mi.)
It’s an invigorating cruise over the mountain highway before descending to the city of Sucre, Bolivia´s judicial capital. It´s also known as “la ciudad blanca” (the white city) for the whitewashed walls of its pristine old city center. Its many churches and mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries still adorn the downtown streets. We’ll arrive with plenty of time to explore the downtown area as well take a tour of the “Casa de la Libertad.”
Day 13 (Friday) - Charango & Che: Sucre to La Higuera (286km./178mi.)
Today we take the back roads to La Higuera, the lonely village where revolutionary Che Guevara was executed in 1967. The road to La Higuera is a pilgrimage of sorts for the admirers of el Che. On the way, we’ll stop to check out the market in Tarabuco and then again for lunch in the town of Villa Serrano to admire what the town boasts as the world´s largest charango. Reaching La Higuera in the evening we stay at the rustic Casa del Telegrafista, once home to the telegraph operator that informed the authorities of el Che’s presence.
Day 14 (Saturday) - Che’s Memorial: La Higuera to El Torno (266km./165mi.)
After a wonderful breakfast we visit the memorial room in the schoolhouse where el Che was executed. The days route takes us through the mountains of Vallegrande and down the old highway. By late afternoon we’ll arrive once again to our hilltop cabins where our journey began.
Day 15 (Sunday) - City Streets of Santa Cruz
We relax the pace today, we’ll pack our bags and say goodbye to our hilltop refuge and head into the city for a day of sight-seeing —last minute souvenir shopping, open markets, swimming and good food are a few of the options. It’s a decompress day before returning to life as usual.
Day 16 (Monday) - Departure Day
We’ll take you from the hotel to catch your flight home at the airport. You’ll want to stretch out your sore backside before you board your flight and flip through your pics as you grin (and groan) thinking of all the fun that was had. From here it’s time to start planning your next adventure!
taking a break on the way to Quime, Bolivia
taking photos on the Uyuni Salt Flats is always a hit with guests
it's cold, but it's hard to beat the sunset over the Uyuni Salt Flats
"In the world there are two kinds of people; those that ride and those that wish they did."
(alternate dates can be arranged per guest/s request)
the life of a Bolivian miner, Potosi, Bolivia