The sacred lake of the Incas, so big that waves form and you feel as if you are sailing on a far-off sea. Titicaca is also considered the highest navigable lake in the world, at 3812 m.a.s.l. Legend has it that Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, founders of the Inca Empire, emerged from the lake. It is surrounded by the Andes’ Cordillera Real mountains and has always been one of the most important sources of living culture in the Andean region, the home of ancestral peoples who still live there and are jealous guardians of local knowledge and nature. A cruise with stops at each of its islands enables you to enjoy local hospitality, learn ancestral values and envisage a future full of possibilities.
La Paz is a blend of contemporary city and historical beauty. Its surrounding areas take visitors back to an enchanting past, where each street has a secret that may lead to a new adventure. Its living culture, its indigenous and colonial neighbourhoods full of flavour and tradition, colourful fruit and vegetable markets, handicrafts markets and the so-called Witches Market where you can buy spells and charms. Its guardian, the majestic snow-capped Illimani, can be admired from anywhere in the city, while the neighbouring Valle de la Luna contains clay formations that resemble the surface of the moon itself.
TIWANAKU ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
The Tiwanakotas were experts at agriculture, water engineering, architecture and medicine, as well as having an advanced social organisation. So much so that they were one of the most powerful cultures of that era (1580 BC to 1050 AD) and a cradle of civilisation in the Americas. Tiwanaku (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was based on an agrarian economy and the total population, estimated at 115 000 people, carried out the different tasks that contributed to its development. Agriculture was under the control of the Tiwanacota State and produced to supply the urban centres and the administrative system. Today the ruins are in a very good state of preservation and you can see the Puerta del Sol, the Kalasasaya temple, the Akapana pyramid and mysterious monoliths. Nearby is Puma Punku, which is thought to have had an administrative function and a large jetty in Lake Titicaca. An economic crisis caused by a lengthy drought caused the Tiwanaku to collapse in about 1050 AD.
Uyuni Salt Flats
One of the most impressive in the world. Uyuni salt flats are located in the department of Potosí (Bolivia) and form the largest salt desert on the planet, covering an area of 12 000 Km2. The surface layer of salt alone is 10 metres thick. More incredible still is that you can cross it as if it were a desert and everything is reflected in its immensity. The area around the salt flats contains active volcanoes, thermal springs, lakes of changing colours and elegant flamingos, plains and deserts. The silence at night is absolute and under the clear star-studded sky, you begin to understand the meaning of the word infinite.
Sucre is a living expression of the Colonial era. Its cathedral, churches and cloisters are very well preserved and it contains the second oldest university in South America: San Francisco Zavier, while its museum contains exhibits from local cultures. On Sundays, you can visit the fabulous market at Tarabuco, where hundreds of colourful and ancient textiles are on display and you can admire the authentic traditional costumes of the food sellers.
Known as Cerro Rico, it is the most historic city in Bolivia. They say that during the Colonial period Potosí produced enough silver to build a bridge from Potosí to Madrid. Today you can visit the silver and tin mines of Cerro Rico, as well as its cathedral, the church of San Francisco and La Casa de la Moneda.
Tropical. Exuberant. The green and magical Santa Cruz is a traditional Bolivian city and the centre of a fantastic biodiversity. Discover orchids and butterflies in Guembe Biocentre (just an hour and a half from Santa Cruz) or visit the Samaipata ruins, a gigantic sculptured representing a serpent and other enigmatic figures. Santa Cruz is also the starting point for a tour of the Jesuit missions, relics of the Jesuit’s attempts to convert the Amazon tribes.
RURRENABAQUE AND MADIDI NATIONAL PARK
The Entry to the Bolivian Amazon, in the lowlands to the north of La Paz. This national park is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, with undisturbed fauna, luxuriant vegetation and canoe trips on the River Madidi. Chalalan Lodge in the heart of the Madidi, is a project administered by the local native community with support from Conservation International, which guarantees sustainable development and preservation of the habitat. It is a comfortable and agreeable place to experience the tropical rainforest and its surprising flora and fauna.