21 Days. Level: Medium 2969 km, 40% offroad U$ 4,010.- extended price info
Hotel in La Higuera
Tarabuca indigenous market
Salar de Uyuni
Water is always fun.
photo Berten Steenwegen
The Miners market in Potosi
Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures
The best way to explore Bolivia by motorcycle
For those who want to see most of Bolivia´s “high lights”.
Lots of off-road, but nothing too difficult for the average motorcyclist.
Ascending from 400 mtr up to more than 5.000 mtr and back down again on a selection of the best motorcycle-roads available, including the infamous “Death Road”.
Starting with the “Ruta del Che” we make our way to Sucre, capital of Bolivia. Continuing to ascent we reach the highest city in the world and the oldest operating silver-mines in the world. This is followed by the largest salt-flats in the world and the highest navigable lake in the world. We continue with the most dangerous road in the world until we reach the highest “cristo statue” in the world. A tour filled with extremes.
(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-vilage 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. 95 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 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 rest of the afternoon and evening is for exploring this beautiful colonial city. The city-center itself, originally Bolivia’s capital, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Day 6. To Potosi. (alt. 4,000 mtr) 155 km, 0% offroad
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.
In the afternoon 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. Then we continue to the mines where we will be "geared up" and descent into the belly of "Pajcha Mama" (mother earth) to see a 500 year old, still operating silver mine. (Not suitable for those who don't like small spaces).
When we come out of the mines we'll find something to "blow up" with the goodies we bought in the market..
Day 7. To Uyuni. (alt. 3,700 mtr.) 205 km, 0% offroad
Crossing incredible scenery and passing tiny villages we go to Uyuni where we will 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 8. Salar de Uyuni (Largest salt-flats in the world) 230 km, 100% offroad (mostly 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 9. To Oruro 320 km, 0% offroad
In the morning we leave Uyuni behind us and passing several small villages and a 150 meter river-crossing (no bridge) we make our way to Oruro, famous for its markets and grill-restaurants
Day 10. To Copacabana, Lake Titicaca 360 km, 20% offroad
To avoid the chaotic traffic of El Alto (basically a overgrown slum with more than a million inhabitants) we take a short-cut towards Lake Titicaca. Crossing the crystal-blue waters to the peninsula of famous Copacabana on a pontoon, we enjoy views of snow-capped mountains over the clear blue lake.
Day 11. “The island of the Sun” and "The island of the Moon"
Exchanging our bikes for a boat, we visit 2 legendary islands from the Inca times. On the island of the Sun we make a short hike with fantastic views of the mountains that border lake Titicaca.
Day 12. To La Paz (alt. 3,600 mtr.) 145 km, 0% offroad
In the morning we leave Lake Titicaca behind and arrive in La Paz halfway the afternoon. It is possible to visit the "witches market" where you could buy anything ranging from magic potions and amulets to mummified llama embryos. In the evening we can see the “changing of the guards” at the presidential palace.
Day 13. Visit Valle de la Luna or / and Climb Chakaltaya. (alt. 5,400 mtr)
In the morning we visit the “Valle de la Luna” (moon valley), a surreal valley filled with chaotic mud-sculptures from rains and floods.
In the afternoon we climb Chakaltaya, a 5,400 meter high mountain. There is a ski-lodge at 5,300 meter which makes it the highest ski-piste in the world.
Day 14. The death road (alt. 4,700 to 2,500 mtr.) 85 km, 80% offroad
From La Paz we ride to Coroico on what was once officially "the most dangerous road in the world". Plummeting down into the Yungas the views are magnificent and if you keep your speed down, you have a very good chance to arrive safely in Coroico. For the really brave we'll finish today's ride with a 1,5 km zip-line adventure.
Day 15. To Chulumani 78 km, 100% offroad
We leave Coroico and follow narrow unpaved mountain-roads through the Yungas, well known for its coca-plantations. Passing small picturesque mountain-villages we’ll arrive in Chulumani around noon. Time to soak in the swimming pool or explore this bustling (read chaotic) “trade-center” of the Yungas.
Day 16. Chulumani to Quime (alt. 3,000 mtr.) 195 km, 100% offroad
Again an entire day of narrow, unpaved roads following deep ravines, crossing rivers and passing tiny settlements. Late in the afternoon we’ll arrive in Quime, a small town cradled in between massive mountains. Our dinner and hotel will be very basic and very Bolivian.
Day 17. To Cochabamba (alt. 2,500 mtr.) 315 km, 0% offroad
After a breakfast in the market we leave Quime. Crossing several high mountain-passes (4,500 mtr) we make our way to Cochabamba, a very large city surrounded by huge mountains. It is also known as the culinary capital of Bolivia, so dinner will be a treat.
Day 18. 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 trout or carp for lunch and, passing beautiful valleys, we make our way to Totora, a small colonial town in the mountains.
Day 19. 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 20. 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 21. 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, Casilla de correos 2992, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
(+591) 75 051 051 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ride across the salt flats