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Bolivian Altiplano Tour From Puno

An alluring expedition of the Bolivian altiplano from Puno, and perfect extension to a Peru trip.

Overview

This 7-day exploration of the Bolivian Altiplano takes you on a journey of beauty and adventure across a dramatic natural landscape of rich colors, contours, and cultures. Spend time exploring lake villages and islands, expansive salt flats, volcanoes and geysers, and charming cities while on this mesmerizing Bolivian Altiplano Tour from Puno.

Discover the Villages and Islands of Lake Titicaca

The tours to Bolivia from Puno take you across the Peru-Bolivia border and along the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake. At Copacabana, you’ll visit religious and historical sites before boarding a hydrofoil to take you out onto the lake itself.

Your lake cruise lands you first on the Island of the Moon (Isla de la Luna) then on to the larger Island of the Sun, or Isla del Sol, both offering sacred Incan ruins to explore.

On Sun Island, you’ll trek to your hotel for the night, which offers spectacular views out over Lake Titicaca and the snow-capped Andes mountains in the distance. Spectacular photo opportunities abound here. Spend a day visiting historical sites like the Chincana Labyrinth, Roca Sagrada, Sacred Fountain, and Grand Stairs on the island.

When it’s time to depart Sun Island, you’ll again enjoy a hydrofoil cruise to the mainland. The village of Huatajata awaits you, with many historical and cultural sites to see and experience before heading to La Paz.

Explore La Paz & Uyuni

The breathtaking city of La Paz will provide you with opportunities to wander its exciting squares, historic center, and beautiful local landmarks. Seek out indigenous, colonial, and modern sites throughout the city, and venture to the nearby Moon Valley and take a thrilling ride on the Telferico, the world’s highest and longest cable car.

From La Paz, you’ll fly to the otherworldly realm of the largest salt flats in the world at Uyuni. See flamboyances of flamingos, herds of vicunas, and volcanic vistas from a near-endless white canvas peppered with salt-covered cacti. Visit the island oasis of Isla Incahuasi, Laguna Hedionda, Coquesa Mummies, as well as the Siloli Desert and more before heading towards the Atacama Desert and the Chile Border.

Enjoy the Natural Scenery in Eduardo Avaroa National Park

No Bolivian Altiplano tours are complete without spectacular views of the active volcanoes and geysers within the remote Eduardo Avaroa National Park. Founded back in 1973, this park is also home to high-plain deserts, vibrant lagoons, and unique rock formations.

A highlight is the visit to the Laguna Colorada (Colored Lake) where you can admire its red tone waters, three species of flamingos, and roaming llamas. Beautiful lakes abound in this region of Bolivia, and stops at a few more are the perfect way to round out your tour before heading back to La Paz to catch your flight home.

Itinerary & Prices

7 Day - Bolivian Altiplano Tour From Puno
itinerary map

Welcome to Bolivia!

Goodbye Peru, hello Bolivia! Today you’ll leave Puno on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca and follow its shoreline overland across the border to Copacabana in Bolivia, which sits on a peninsula jutting out into the southern side of the lake. Here you’ll visit the most important pilgrimage destination in all Bolivia, the “Black Madonna” or “Dark Virgin of the Lake” statue of the Virgin Mary located in the Basilica of the Virgen de la Candelaria, sculpted from dark wood by Inca craftsman Tito Yupanqui in 1576 that is believed to work miracles.

The main reason most travelers visit Copacabana is to use it as a base from which to explore the nearby Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna islands of Lake Titicaca and their sacred Incan archaeological sites. Indeed, later you’ll take a hydrofoil cruise to the Island of the Moon and visit the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu”, before continuing to the Island of the Sun to visit the Pilcocaina Sun Temple. On the Isla del Sol you’ll enjoy a llama trek to your hotel – a gentle walk of approximately 40 minutes along Inca roads accompanied by llamas – where you’ll have lunch upon arrival. The afternoon is yours to explore the bucolic surroundings at your leisure.

Meals (L, D)

Location
Puno
Day
1 / 7

Copacabana & Sun Island

Sun Island is the perfect place to watch the sunrise, just as the Inca did hundreds of years ago. After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll have the whole morning to explore the island. The north side of Isla Del Sol has many historical sites, including the Mesa Ceremonica (ceremonial table), Roca Sagrada (sacred rock), and the Chincana Labyrinth. You can also hike around the Cerro Tikani for some excellent views of the lake.

Around noon, you’ll meet your guides to visit the Inca Grand Stairs and the Sacred Fountain. Incan legend makes this the fountain of youth, as it supposedly offers eternal life and happiness. After exploring the ruins, you’ll get to have lunch at the Uma Kullo Archeological Restaurant. This cafe is remarkable for both its menu and its views of the water. Once you’re done with your meal, you can explore the nearby village and buy various handcrafted souvenirs.

From Sun Island, you’ll take a boat to Huatajata, which has several cultural and historical sites. The most notable is the Andes Roots Eco Village, where you can see how the indigenous Chipayas people lived in ancient times and today. You’ll also visit the Altiplano Museum, which highlights the rich heritage of the region and its impact on the world.

After exploring Huatajata, you’ll ride back to La Paz, where you can check into your hotel for the night. Dinner is purposefully not provided in order to give you the chance to dine at your choice of La Paz’s decadent restaurants.

Meals (B, L)

Location
Sun Island
Day
2 / 7

Treasures of La Paz

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel ready for this morning’s half-day city tour of La Paz, including a visit to Moon Valley and chance to take the Teleferico. Beneath the majestic Illimani mountain, La Paz is a chaotic carnival of color and noise, where indigenous, colonial and modern worlds meet and new adventures lurk around every street corner. Explore the local landmarks of its historic center, taking in the bustling squares, palaces and cathedrals, not to mention the mysterious Witches’ Market. Later, visit the lunar landscape of the nearby Moon Valley – a nickname given by Neil Armstrong himself in 1969 when he came to La Paz after the region reminded him of his famous moonwalk – and admire its colossal clay spires steeped in legend.

For the finale, you’ll hop aboard the city’s towering Teleferico for a sky-ride between the depths of Zona Sur to the heights of El Alto, and enjoy the incredible views that only the world’s longest and highest cable-car can afford. The afternoon is yours to spent at your leisure, a chance to rest up after the morning’s exertions or for the adventurous to discover the city’s hidden treasures. Why not head out in search of the House of Congress’ backwards clock, paying homage to Bolivia’s indigenous heritage, or the ‘hidden’ works of famous architect Eiffel in the form of the bus station and Museum of Contemporary Art.

Meals (B)

Location
La Paz
Day
3 / 7

The World's largest Salt Flats

After breakfast you’ll be transferred to the airport of La Paz for your flight to Uyuni, where you’ll immediately begin an unforgettable full-day tour of the Salt Flats, starting with a drive to the small village of Coquesa, at the foot of Tunupa Volcano, the so-called Guardian of the Salt Flats. Small ponds located at its base are home to flocks of Andean flamingos wading through their shallow waters. A checkerboard of stonewall pens decorate the slopes as herders walk with their llamas and plant quinoa in the fertile soil of the volcanic earth. Toward the volcano’s crater, different layers of sediment are visible giving way to a spectacular smorgasboard of color under the vivid blue sky.

Climbing up the trails of the volcano, you’ll witness some of the most beautiful vistas of the Salt Flats the area has to offer. After a stroll through the village you’ll hike to the cave of the Coquesa Mummies, ancestors of the ancient Urus Chipayas civilization. Believed to have been killed together by poisonous gases leaking up from underground, they have remained untouched for over 1,200 years; though some speculation as to how they died and whether or not they are in fact related still remains as archaeological research has yet to be conducted. Due to the dry air and their protected enclave, the bodies are remarkably preserved with the colors of their clothes and even fingernails still visible.

Meals (B, L, D)

Location
Uyuni
Day
4 / 7

Uyuni & Hedionda Lagoon

Today you’ll visit the oasis of Isla Incahuasi, a couple of hours drive into the salt flats. There, you can see the massive salt-covered cacti that have been growing for hundreds of years, preserved by the salt. The water also draws massive herds of flamingos, which stand out against the brilliant white salt plains.

You’ll have lunch at Isla Incahuasi, then you’ll make the journey south to Laguna Hedionda, seeing much of the Bolivian countryside along the way. You might even spot wildlife like vicunas, llamas, and more. Southern Bolivia is much more arid and desert-like compared to the north. However, the lakes down here are divine. Laguna Hedionda is one of the prettiest natural sites in the region, but you’ll also visit more highlights like the Charkota and Honda lagoons, as well as the Siloli Desert.

You’ll spend the night and dine in basic but blissful accommodation in the desert itself, surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Meals (B, L, D)

Location
Hedionda Lagoon
Day
5 / 7

Geysers, Lakes & Volcanoes

After breakfast, you’ll hit the road for the short journey to the Eduardo Avaroa National Park, which sits at the bottom tip of the country. This national park has many active geological elements, such as volcanoes and geysers, but perhaps the main attraction is the Laguna Colorada (Colored Lake), characterized by the red tone of its waters and the red, white and pink plumage respectively of the three species of flamingoes that can be found there.

A boxed lunch will be served by the lake, and while it might not be gourmet, is still a once-in-a-lifetime experience surrounded by exceptionally beautiful scenery and wildlife, which isn’t just limited to flamingos – vicuñas, llamas and vizcachas can all be seen on its shores.

Other highlights on your journey include the Sol de Manana Geysers, which shoot steam far up into the air, thanks to the boiling lava underneath the surface. Even though you’re about 4,900 meters above sea level, this area is a hotbed of geological activity.

You’ll also explore more lakes in the region, including Laguna Verde, which has an emerald-green appearance due to its high magnesium content that makes it look like a jewel in the desert. The lake also boast spectacular views of the neighboring Licancabur Volcano, which straddles the border between Bolivia and Chile. You’ll actually cross the border into Chile before heading back to Uyuni for the night.

Meals (B, BL)

Location
Laguna Colorada
Day
6 / 7

Returning to La Paz and Farewell to Bolivia

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll be transferred from your hotel to Uyuni airport for your flight back to La Paz and international connection.

Meals (B)

Location
Uyuni to La Paz
Day
7 / 7
1 / 7

Accommodations

Hotel Options

Boutique

Posada del Inca Eco Lodge

Lake Titicaca
5 Star

Casa Grande

La Paz
4 Star

Palacio de Sal

Salar de Uyuni
Boutique

Tayka del Desierto Hotel

Salar de Uyuni
Boutique

Jardines de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni