(alternate dates can be arranged per guest/s request)
train Cemetery near the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
El Che or Goliath? La Higuera, Bolivia
"Should I ride to work or call in sick and ride all day?"
We spend the first day beating the pavement south towards the border, setting ourselves up for an adventures riders dream ride on day two as the road we travel clings or more accurately is cut out of the side of a mountain high above a river. We push on to Tarija, Bolivia’s wine country, before following the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to the spot they were said to have taken their last breaths. Next we ride the Uyuni Salt Flats where we’ll leave plenty of time to take some crazy photos. On we go exploring two cities listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. We learn about the life of Bolivian miners before we pick up the trail of another famous rebel, Ernesto “El Che” Guevara. From here the ride back home is a perfect mix of gravel and curvy blacktop.
Day 1 (Sunday) - Welcome to Santa Cruz!
We’ll personally pick everyone up at the airport and settle you into a hotel in the city. After dinner we have an informal orientation and prep session and a good night´s sleep.
Day 2 (Monday) - To the Garden of Eden
We take the bikes on a 70km. (40 mile) roundtrip practice run up to the Jardin de las Delicias, a waterfall on the edge of Amboró National Park. Dirt roads, stream crossings and maybe rapelling down the falls (depending on weather & group size). Back in town we’ll head up into the hills to our cabins where we’ll spend the night.
Day 3 (Tuesday) - Straight South: El Torno to Villamontes (438km./272mi.)
Today´s the jump off day! We head straight south for Villamontes at the foot of the Cordillera range, gateway to the Pilcomayo river canyon and to the East, the thorn forests of the Chaco.
Day 4 (Wednesday) - Through the Narrows: Villamontes to Tarija (247km./154mi.)
We follow the Pilcomayo river through the dramatic El Angosto (the Narrows) up through subtropical Entre Rios, over the ridge and into the valley of Tarija, Bolivia´s wine country. Wine tasting, then dinner and lodging in the lovely city of Tarija.
Day 5 (Thursday) - Valley to Rally: Tarija to Tupiza (230km./143mi.)
Up the new hiway from Tarija and into the tunnel through el Sama mountain to the high plateau country. Then we start negotiating the narrow gravel switchbacks up and down the canyons on the road to picturesque Tupiza, the valley along the Argentine border where the Dakar rally crosses into Bolivia.
Day 6 (Friday) - The Butch & Sundance Route: Tupiza to Uyuni (221km./137mi.)
Part of today´s route follows the Dakar rally´s cross country route. We eat lunch in the desolate village of San Vicente where Butch and Sundance were gunned down. We climb to the high desert, reaching Uyuni, the old railroad town on the edge of the world´s largest salt flats.
Day 7 (Saturday) - The Flats: El Salar de Uyuni
We visit the train cemetery and ride the salt flats following the Dakar route to Isla Incahuasi, the only island in the salt lake with ancient cactus plants, some over 500 yrs old. Lots of photo ops, lunch in the Salt Hotel.
Day 8 (Sunday) - To the Silver City: Uyuni to Potosi (204km./126mi.)
Leaving the salt plains 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 9 (Monday) - El Cerro Rico
We explore the city of Potosi and the historic silver mines of Cerro Rico. Photo ops everywhere! ...from expansive mountainscapes to claustrophobic mine shafts.
Day 10 (Tuesday) - Potosi to Sucre (156km./97mi.)
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.
Day 11 (Wednesday) - 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 more adventuresome historians and admirers of el Che. On the way, we’ll pass through Tarabuco and then stop 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 12 (Thursday) - 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 13 (Friday) - 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 14 (Saturday) - 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!
in the footsteps of El Che near La Higuera, Bolivia