“The altitude hits everyone differently, but if you’re off your game, try some coca tea. Just don’t bring any home – it sends the wrong message at Customs.”
If you’re planning a bespoke adventure in Bolivia, there’s only one rule to remember: don’t make any jokes about the Bolivian navy. Yes, it’s a totally landlocked country hemmed in by Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. But you’ll encounter patrol boats plying the waters of Lake Titicaca, and for the sailors who ply them, there’s a serious vigil to keep until the day when Bolivians once again look out over the Pacific.
This is the kind of paradox you come to expect in a country where you can see your breath on a mountain slope and plunge into steaming jungle – all in the same day. From La Paz, the world’s highest capital at 12,000ft, you can set out in any direction on extraordinary adventures, whether to climb towering peaks, cross high desert plains, trek through dense rainforest or commune with a shaman (we know a few) beside the world’s highest lake. With nearly two-thirds of the population boasting an indigenous heritage from more than 30 ethnic groups, Bolivia’s a land worth visiting solely for the fascination of its people.
A mix of helicopter flights and short hops by plane will get you quickly from A to B while offering awe-inspiring views of the Andes – and the only easy access to remote jungle hamlets. We can organize expert-guided mountain climbing or skiing expeditions in areas where you’ll be the only ones for miles around. Bolivia’s tallest peak, Nevado Sajama, rises over 21,000ft from the altiplano and is a photographer’s dream – especially if you find a few llamas grazing on the lower slopes. Then there are the world’s largest salt flats at Uyuni, where it’s hard to stop shooting the surreal reflections, crystalline skies and incredibly abundant birdlife, including thousands of flamingos.
On what feels like the other side of the planet, the Amazonian rainforest cuts into Bolivia, as biologically profuse as it is across the border in Brazil. We’ll set up a wildlife viewing camp and have your group joined by renowned scientists or documentary filmmakers. Or, if you’re interested in Inca and pre-Columbian ruins, we’ll have an archaeologist and an anthropologist accompany you to ruins such as Tiahuanaco, built more than a thousand years ago by pre-Incan residents.
For some final downtime, how about a houseboat on Titicaca, repressing schoolroom jokes about the name as you meet islanders who still build reed boats like their ancient ancestors did? And with a word in the right ear, we could have you join a Bolivian admiral on patrol – and be the first to climb the mainmast to catch a glimpse the Pacific.
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To discuss what interests you about this or any other destination, call us: +44 203 358 0110