La Paz to Rio de Janeiro Tour

Company : Oasis Overland
Activity: Tours
Countries: Bolivia / Brazil
Duration: 3 weeks to 4 weeks
Approx Costs: 1500 to 2000 £ Pound (UK)

An intoxicating 25 day trip through Bolivia and Brazil.

Visit the vibrant Bolivian capital, La Paz and continue south via train to witness the amazing Salar de Uyuni.  After seeing the mines in Potosi we continue on and cross into Brazil.  Visit the massive Pantanal wetlands and the gaze in awe at the mighty Iguazu Falls.  Enjoy some well earned R&R on some of Brazil's most beautiful beaches before finishing it all off by joining in the Carnival celebrations in Rio after the trip ends - the ultimate mix!

 

Trip Specifics

  • Start Location: La Paz
  • End Location: Rio de Janeiro
  • Duration: 25 Days

 

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in La Paz city (3,600 ms / 11,800 ft), and you will be met and transferred to your hotel. There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6pm, where your Tour Leader will brief you on the tour in the evening, so the rest of the day is yours to get over your flight and to acclimatize to the altitude.  La Paz is like no other city you will have visited, set in a stunning valley, surrounded by 6000mtr peaks!  The streets are narrow and winding, full of brightly dressed Andeans selling their wares!  You may chose to visit the main sights such as Murillo Square & Cathedral, Congress and Government Palace (built in 1800's), The Incan Gold Museum, Valley of the Moon and the famous Witches Market.  Alternatively you could make your way out to the Killi Killi lookout point to enjoy a 360 degree view of the city!  After your meeting the rest of the evening is yours to get over your flight and to acclimatise to the altitude.  No meals included For those who are feeling adventurous, you may wish to arrive a few days early to partake in the Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road, or visit the worlds highest ski resort at over 5000mtrs!   

 

Day 2
Depending on the departure time of our train (these do vary!) we should have a free morning to browse the local markets, find a café and watch street life go by or visit one of the museums. We take a bus (3 hours) to the mining town of Oruro, followed by a high altitude train ride (7 hours) to our final destination of Uyuni - home to the vast Salar (Salt flats). As our arrival in to Uyuni is likely to be quite late in the evening, we will transfer straight to our hotel. Breakfast

 

Day 3
Today marks the start of our 3 day expedition to explore the Salt Flats and stunning lakes, deserts and volcanoes. After breakfast we board our 4x4 Land Cruisers and drive to the eerie but evocative Train Cemetery.  Here lie old steam locomotives, pristinely preserved in the dry climate, dating back to Bolivia's booming gold and tin mining days. Next we visit Colchani village and look at the traditional Salt bagging process - you can even buy yourself a small ornament made of salt gathered from the Salar! Once we get out on to the Salar, you realise quite how vast the area is, and our guide will explain some of the weird and wonderful geological facts as we head out in to the heart of the flats to visit Inca Huasi Island. We have time to walk to the top of the island, passing giant cactus, and enjoy the spectacular view of the beautiful Tunupa Volcano (5300 mtrs) and the 10,000 square kms of Salt Flats that now surround you! After lunch we head for San Juan Village, where we visit a Pre Inca Cemetery, a small museum and we stay overnight in basic accommodation. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 4
We continue driving south on our way to the little Chiguana Salt Flat.  Huge volcanoes (Ollague 5850mtrs) surround us as we take our time, stopping for photos at a lookout point and finally reaching Canapa Lagoon at a height of 4130mtrs!  From here we can see pink Flamingos and many other species of bird. Hedionda (Stinky!) Lagoon is our next stop, although we may make it a quick one as it certainly lives up to its name, due to the high sulphur content! Passing scenic lagoons, we drive up towards the amazing Siloli Desert, crossing altitudes of almost 4600mtrs, to see the incredible natural rock formations eroded by the powerful winds. We end our day at the Red Lagoon, a breathtaking 40 square kilometre area which has been declared a Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to 3 endemic species of Andean Flamingo.  We stay close to the shores of the lagoon in Wayllajara Village in basic accommodation. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5
Today we need an early start to catch the first rays of sun on the Sol de Manana Volcano Crater.  The route takes us to almost 5000mtrs at one point!  Beautiful steam geysers and colourful boiling volcanic mud pools await us at the top and you'll be staggered by the extraordinary power of the earth which has been partially harnessed to generate electricity! We breakfast on the banks of Challviri Lagoon where those of us that want to can enjoy a hot spring! Passing through the barren volcanic environment of Dali's Desert, we are presented with fantastic photo opportunities as we approach the southwest tip of Bolivia and at the foot of Licancabur Volcano (5900mtrs), we see the breathtaking Green Lagoon.  From here we head back to Red Lagoon and take another route back to Uyuni via Rock Valley, stopping off in some small villages along the way. We complete our day by visiting the highest pizza restaurant in the world!  (Optional). Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 6
We leave behind Uyuni and its spectacular Salt Flats, and take the bus along the scenic road to Potosi, enjoying the beautiful mountain views and bouncy gravel roads along the way!  Our journey will take approximately 6 hours, but there will be plenty to see as we travel along. At 4090m high, few can despute Potosi’s reputation as the ‘World’s Highest City’.  The city has an interesting past which depicts wealthier times as its reputation grew as having prolific supplies of silver.  Working conditions were (and remain) appalling and millions of workers (both indigenous people and African slaves) died. Good times turned sour in the early 19th Century when production began to wane.  Nowadays this city is UNESCO World Heritage listed and a combination of tourism, and a renewed demand for zinc and lead keeps the city alive.  Breakfast     

 

Day 7
After a good night’s sleep, there is the option to visit the once famous Silver Mines in Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) and step back in time to experience life as a miner in these harsh conditions.  The tour is not for the faint hearted, and at times in the mine you can get extremely hot, dirty and feel very claustrophobic! For those not visiting the mines, there are several other attractions worth visiting in Potosi, such as the ancient Mint, which tells the history of the silver mined here and shipped to Spain in Colonial times.  There is almost a church on every block, some with very impressive interiors, but one to check out is San Francisco where you can view the city from the roof! Breakfast

 

Days 8 to 9
We have a morning of leisure to do some last minute exploring of Potosi, before we head to one of Bolivia's most beautiful cities, Sucre, via bus (approximately 3 hours). We have a full day and a half to explore the city.  Sucre is known as 'The 4 Names City' because of its long and varied history - Charkas (its Indian name), La plata (The Silver), Ciudad Blanca (White City) and Sucre (Sugar in French).  Wander the charming streets of the UNESCO World Heritage site and possibly visit Liberty's House where Bolivia was created a new free Republic in 1825. 

 

Days 10 to 11
We board a short flight to travel the 35 minute journey from Sucre to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz has built its population (and reputation!) as officially Bolivia’s second-largest city.  Whilst the city now has a modern cosmopolitan feel, there are still traces of its illustrious past.   The sloths that were once resident of the main plaza have been re-house to the Jardin Zoologico, but there is still plenty to see and explore with all the handicrafts markets and paddle boats.  Try your hand at negotiating to buy some coca leaves – famed for their medicinal properties in helping with altitude sickness.   You will have plenty of time today to wander the streets as well as the terrace in the Plaza 24 de Septiembre with its ornate Cathedral. From Santa Cruz, we continue our journey and board the Expreso del Oriente train.  Bring some snacks for the 21 hours journey and come prepared to watch the World go by!

 

Days 12 to 13
As we cross the border to the Brazilian town of Corumba, we will switch from Spanish to Portuguese, and it is time to get our tongues around a new linguistic challenge! We begin our travel to Brazil in earnest as we journey into the Pantanal region - the vast wetlands which are home to over 600 species of birds and 350 kinds of fish, piranha being common, as well as an abundance of reptiles and animals.  The Pantanal is a vast wetland and covers a massive 21,000sq km (about the size of Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and Holland combined!).  Much of this area is only accessible by boat or foot and large areas flood each year during the rainy season.  Once the rains subside, the wildlife flock to this magnificent feeding ground.  Over the years there have been problems with poaching, but thankfully any form of hunting is now prohibited and is punishable with a four year imprisonment.  Fishing is also controlled and not allowed during the spawning seasons. The sunrise over the Pantanal is not to be missed, so be sure to be up in time!  The activities available will depend on numbers, but you will have the opportunity to go in search of alligators (of which there are somewhere between 10 and 35 million!), Capybara, Jaguars (you will need to be lucky for these!), ocelots, pumas, deer, anteaters, armadillos and a variety of monkey.  As well as spotting wildlife, there may be the opportunity to go horseback riding, canoeing as well as swimming or maybe you want to simply sit back and relax. 

 

Days 14 to 16
We depart early on our bus ride to ‘beautiful’ Bonito.  Here we will swim and snorkel in some of the clearest rivers and lakes in the world.  The area is littered with cascading waterfalls and deep caves.  A favourite with local Brazilians, it is an area not to be missed.  You will have the opportunity to go on some spectacular walks in the mountainous forests which, fingers crossed, may reveal wildlife that includes monkeys, alligators and anaconda.  Keep your eyes peeled!  We board our comfortable overnight bus to Foz do Iguazu.  The bus is air-conditioned, with toilets on board and reclining seats with footrest.  Sit back and relax.

 

Days 17 to 18
We arrive at the mighty Iguazu Falls in the morning.  The Falls form the natural border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls they are an awe-inspiring place to spend the next two days before we continue on with travel to Brazil. The lush tropical forest surrounding the falls has many walking trails leading to smaller hidden falls, ideal to refresh from the steaming heat and abounding with parrots, toucans (five different species), woodpeckers, butterflies and colourful plants. Here you can also undertake a number of optional activities such as rafting, helicopter flights and mountain bike riding.

 

Day 19
We say goodbye to the Falls and board our bus towards Curitiba (approximately 8 hours).  The scenery changes as we travel on the Brazilian inter-state highways, passing farmland and ranches as we go.  We arrive into Curitiba late afternoon in time for you to do some self-exploration at dinner time.  This cosmopolitan University City has a reputation for having a good nightlife, so your overnight stay here will give you the chance to party with the locals!

 

Days 20 to 21
When possible*, we catch a short flight (approximately 1 hour) to Sao Paulo and then transfer by bus to the coastal village of Parati.  This World heritage-listed and unspoilt picturesque town has remained fundamentally unaltered for three centuries. Cars have been banned from the cobbled streets that run down to the seashore, instead mountain bikes are used and are a good way to get around. The town’s Port played a huge role in the export of gold during the 17th Century and coffee exploring in the 19th century and there is still a heavy European presence in the town. Sit back and relax or alternatively take a sailing trip in one of the traditional schooners to explore the secluded islands of this pristine coastline.

 

Days 22 to 23
We set off from Parati in the morning, and travel by bus (approximately 2 hours) tracking the Atlantic coastline.  We switch our bus for a boat in Angra dos Reis and catch the ferry over to the magical Island of Ilha Grande.  We base ourselves here for two days. Surrounded by the tropical forest and emerald sea, we will see why Ilha Grande boasts some of the World’s most beautiful beaches.  The Island is still relatively undeveloped, so you will find that you travel by foot through the forests, or take the opportunity to do some snorkelling.  Enjoy your time in this tropical paradise.

 

Days 24 to 25
Our final drive takes us to the playground of Rio de Janeiro, where this picturesque city awaits. Rio de Janeiro rarely fails to impress with its vibrant sense of fun.  You could spend your free day visiting one of the many historic sites and museums, strut your stuff on one of Rio’s World Famous beaches, or visit the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain or Christ the Redeemer.  In between there will be plenty of opportunity to party like a local, and possibly take in a football match (schedules permitting). If you are ending your trip in Rio and want to spend some extra time here, we can arrange accommodation for you and a Sambadrome ticket for you to watch the World-famous samba parades.  It is well worth adding a few extra days onto your trip in order to experience the atmosphere during Carnival - there is plenty to do in this fun city so you will not be bored! 

 

What’s Included

  • Train from Oruro to Uyuni
  • Orientation tour in Potosi & Sucre
  • 4x4 Salt Flat 3 day excursion, meals & guide
  • Flight from Sucre to Santa Cruz
  • Overnight Sleeper train from Bolivia to Brazil
  • Pantanal
  • Bonito
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Curitiba
  • Boat to Ilha Grande
  • Arrival airport pick up
  • All accommodation (small, simple hotels & guesthouses, 2 nights basic on the Salt Flats & basic jungle lodge)
  • Meals as per itinerary (approx 45%)
  • Services of Oasis Tour Leader
  • All local transport

 

What’s Not Included

  • Optional Excursions & entrance fees as listed in the pre-departure information
  • International Flights
  • Meals not specified
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport Taxes
  • Drinks
  • Visas
  • Tips

 

Tour Price

Trip Price From: £1650.00 + Local Payment: US$750.00

Start Dates

12-01-2016

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