15 Days. Level: Easy 1750 km, 30% offroad extended price info
Road to Potosi
Road side restaurant
Not all roads are easy.
photo Berten Steenwegen
Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures
The best way to explore Bolivia by motorcycle
Specially for those of you who can´t take long vacations and for those who are not sure if their riding skills are up to the challenge of riding lots of “off-road”, but still want to see the most of what Bolivia has to offer.
The 30% off-road sections are mostly well maintained gravel-roads with little to no traffic and on days with off-road, the distance is limited so there is plenty of time to “go easy”.
Starting with the "Ruta del Che" we cross the mountains towards the colonial capital of Bolivia: “Sucre” and the indigenous market of Tarabuco. Then the, 500 years old, silver mines of Potosi, followed by the largest salt-flats in the world: “Salar de Uyuni”, Cochabamba and the highest "Cristo Statue" of South America.
The roads we follow are among the most scenic of South America with endless valleys, towering mountains and amazing natural beauty.
(This tour always starts on Wednesday!)
Day 1. Airport pickup at Viru viru, Santa Cruz (alt. 400 mtr.)
We pick you up at the airport of Santa Cruz, Bolivia from where we drive to the small town Samaipata (120 km, 3 hours). There we check into a comfortable hotel and spend the rest of the day to relax and rest from the flight. If your flight arrives late, we will spend the night in Santa Cruz. In that case the following day is considered day 1.
Day 2. Samaipata (alt. 1,600 mtr.)
We start with a "briefing" where we learn more about our route, the weird local "traffic rules" and about each other. To get used to your bike we go for a ride to the archeological site "El Fuerte" which is an old Inca town build around the, much older, largest stone-sculpture in the Americas.
Day 3. To La Higuera. (alt. 1,900 mtr) 175 km, 50% offroad
In the morning we go towards the tiny mountain-village La Higuera, the place where revolutionary hero Ernesto Che Guevara was captured and executed.
We stop for lunch in Vallegrande where we also visit the "Che Guevara" museum and the hospital-laundry where Che’s lifeless body was presented to the world.
At the end of the afternoon we arrive in La Higuera. With some luck you can have a chat with eye-witnesses of the events
Day 4. To Villa Serrano. 120 km, 100% offroad
After visiting the school-building where Che Guevara was killed we leave towards Villa Serrano. On the suspension-bridge over the Rio Grande we’ll have a picnic-lunch and if the conditions are good (mostly the water level) you can go for a swim.
We’ll arrive in Villa Serrano in the afternoon where, if we are lucky, we can also see the world's largest charango (a 6 meter tall guitar) build to commemorate don Mauro, a local charango hero.
Day 5. To Sucre. (alt. 2,800 mtr) 190 km, 50% offroad
We leave Villa Serrano early in the morning so we can visit the Tarabuco “Sunday-market”. This is the only place in Bolivia where you can take photos of traditionally dressed indigenous people without them turning away or throwing stuff at you.
After lunch we continue to Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. The rest of the afternoon and evening is for exploring this beautiful colonial city. The entire city-center is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Day 6. To Potosi. (alt. 4,000 mtr) 155 km, 0% offroad
We leave Sucre after lunch. On smooth tarmac we start to climb towards the altiplano (high planes) until we reach Potosi, at 4,000 meters above sea level the highest city in the world.
Day 7. The silver mines.
In the morning we visit the "miner's market" where you can buy anything, ranging from coca leaves to dynamite. Here we do some interesting shopping to have some "boys fun" later. (When we come out of the mines we'll find something to "blow up".)
Then we continue to the mines where we will be "geared up" and descent into the belly of "Pajcha Mama" (mother earth) to see the 500 year old, still operating silver mine. (Not suitable for those who don't like small spaces).
After lunch you can explore the “Casa de Moneda” (the mint). At one time every single coin, used in the western world, was made here.
Day 8. To Uyuni. (alt. 3,700 mtr.) 205 km, 0% offroad
Crossing incredible scenery and passing tiny villages and thousands of lamas, we go to Uyuni where we visit a “train graveyard”; a fantastic collection of discarded railway material dating back to the 19th century. This includes at least a dozen steam locomotives.
Day 9. Salar de Uyuni (Largest salt-flats in the world) 230 km, 100% offroad (salt)
The “Salar de Uyuni” is a dried up salt-lake the size of a small country (11.000 square kilometers). Since there are no references what so ever (no trees, houses, roads or mountains) and because there are only two colors in the world (blue sky and white salt) there is no perspective. Your brain will have a meltdown and you can take the most weird photos. (See our Uyuni Weird Photo Contest). Even the human eye cannot see the difference between a real car in the distance and a toy car nearby.
Of course we take some photos at the “Dakar monument”.
Day 10. To Oruro 320 km, 0% offroad
In the morning we leave Uyuni behind us. Passing several small villages, we make our way to Oruro, famous for its markets and grill-restaurants.
Day 11. To Cochabamba (alt. 2,500 mtr.) 220 km, 0% offroad
On curvy roads with amazing views we climb to 4,500 mtr. before we descent to the valley of Cochabamba where you can visit one of the largest markets with a big souvenir department. Due to the fact that Cochabamba is not a typical tourist-destination, prices of souvenirs are among the lowest in Bolivia.
Cochabamba is also called the “culinary capital” of Bolivia, so dinner will be a treat.
Day 12. To Totora (alt. 2,800 mtr.) 145 km, 0% offroad
In the morning we visit the largest "cristo" sculpture of South America. With almost 40 meters, quit a bit higher than the famous "Cristo de Rio de Janeiro".
After this we leave the city to have a fresh fish (trout or carp) lunch and, passing beautiful valleys, we make our way to Totora, a small colonial town in the mountains.
Day 13. To Samaipata. 265 km, 60% offroad
This last day of riding we return to Samaipata via a marvelous motorcycle road that curves though the mountains.
Day 14. To Santa Cruz.
We leave our bikes behind and set off for Santa Cruz where we can do some last minute souvenir shopping and enjoy Brazilian Churasquero as well as oriental cuisine.
Day 15. To the airport.
Always a sad moment when we say goodbye at the airport. But who knows? You won´t be the first to come back for more.
BOLIVIA MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES
Casa El Barquito, Camino a San del Rosario, Barrio Arriba, Samaipata, Santa Cruz, BOLIVIA
Phone: 00591-67777277 / 00591-3-944-6716. firstname.lastname@example.org
Weird photos on Salt Flats
Beautiful colonial towns