Cycling the Bolivian Salt Flats & Hiking the Amazon

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Bolivia Cycling Biking Hiking Tour BikeHike Lead image 1
Bolivia Cycling Biking Hiking Tour BikeHike Lead image 1
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Bolivia Cycling Biking Hiking Tour BikeHike Lead image 1
Cycling the Bolivian Salt Flats & Hiking the Amazon
Duration:
11
Days
Priced from:
2899.00
USD

Cycling the Bolivian Salt Flats & Hiking the Amazon

Trip Overview

Bolivia Salt Flats and Amazon Adventure tour with Bikehike Adventures as featured on National Geographic Traveler's Trip of a Lifetime(Biking, Hiking & Canoeing)  On this multi-sport adventure tour across Bolivia, we experience the unparalleled diversity of Bolivia, Latin America’s most indigenous nation. A country that is undeniably rough around the edges and wild in spirit, Bolivia has become a top adventure destination with those seeking authentic, culturally rich adventures. On this Bolivian adventure vacation, we blend exhilarating days and dramatic scenery with lessons in culture and wildlife from indigenous guides. In Uyuni, the tour includes high altitude biking across the largest salt flat on the planet with an overnight in a hotel made entirely of salt. We then descend 2,100 m / 7,000 ft by bicycle, along a winding mountain road, through the mist and into the rainforest. Here, we immerse ourselves in Amazonian life, staying in jungle lodges and learning to spot wildlife as we canoe and hike with our knowledgeable indigenous guides. If we are really lucky, we may even spot a jaguar. At the end of this 10 day adventure odyssey across Bolivia, we will emerge from the jungle having gained an understanding of the region’s sublime diversity and distinctive cultural heritage. 

This is the ultimate adventure vacation. 

AS FEATURED ON FORBES.COM (JANUARY 2018)
"7 Amazing Adventures That Could Change Your Life in 2018"
Awarded as a 2018 South America 'Tour of a Lifetime' by National Geographic Traveler

WOW FACTORS

  • Cycle Bolivia's world famous Salt Flats
  • Hike into the Amazon lead by an indigenous guide
  • Experience the Amazon's diverse wildlife, including wild pigs, Tamarin monkeys and sloths

    Watch a Bolivia video here.

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Questions?

Itinerary & Map

Day 1

La Paz
Arrival
Upon arrival to La Paz/El Alto International Airport a BikeHike representative will meet and bring you to your hotel in the center of the capital La Paz, just a few blocks from the President's Palace, located at 3,600 m / 11,800 ft above sea level. A cup of coca tea will come in handy to help you adjust to the high altitude. 

Meals: none

Day 2

La Paz
Sightseeing
Today we will do a half day city tour to ease ourselves into the high altitude. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight at same hotel in La Paz.

Meals: none

Day 3

Uyuni - Pulacayo Mines - Colchani
Biking
We have a very early start this morning, with a drive back to the airport for our flight to Uyuni, located just outside the world's highest and largest salt flats. As soon as we arrive, we will drive through the beautiful Andean mountains and get on our bicycles to ride 10 km / 6 mi on a rolling paved road to the historical mines of Pulacayo. We will also see the last train that Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid robbed before we continue on a biking tour of the mining town. We will then cycle (mainly downhill) 20 km /12 mi towards Uyuni along the oldest railroad in Bolivia. We'll enjoy a box lunch in this amazing high plateau landscape and then continue pedaling on a paved road to the Train Cemetery. Uyuni was and still is the train capital of Bolivia. Afterwards, we'll transfer 45 minutes to the village of Colchani, where the inhabitants work extracting salt for commercial use. We'll arrive at our hotel located by the salt flats in time to enjoy the sunset. Then it's dinner and overnight.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Salt Flats and Inkawaski Island
Biking
After breakfast, we return to our bikes and cycle 50 km / 30 mi on the salt flats towards the island of Inkawasi. Here we'll go for a walk amongst coral reef and huge cacti plants. After we have had our box lunch, we'll continue another 20 km / 12 mi, either by bike or by car, towards the impressive Volcano Tunúpa. We'll take in the sunset over the salt flats before dinner and then overnight in a hotel made of salt.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Tunupa
Biking
In the morning, we'll walk among lamas and alpacas to visit pre-Inca ruins in the village and then drive 25 minutes up the slopes of the volcano to visit ancient mummies. Then, we'll return to our bicycles pedaling back towards the village of Colchani. Lunch is served out on the salt flats. In the afternoon, we'll shuttle to Uyuni airport for our flight back to La Paz. Overnight will be at the same hotel as the first night. Tonight we'll enjoy a traditional Bolivian dinner! 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Death Road
Biking
We'll rise early, enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then transfer 45 minutes to La Cumbre, the starting point for our amazing 70 km / 43 mi downhill bike ride along paved and dirt roads towards the town of Coroica. In the past, the road was nicknamed the World's Most Dangerous Road. A new highway is currently being used for trucks and buses, which have made it much safer and enjoyable for bikers to cruise down the spectacular road. We will have a box lunch along the way. We'll then shuttle back to La Paz and arrive back to the hotel in the early evening. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Biking: 70 km / 43 mi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Amazon Jungle
Hiking
We rise early for breakfast then a shuttle to the airport for our 40 minutes flight to the charming jungle town of Rurrenabaque. Upon arrival, we'll go directly down to the river Beni to catch our motorized canoe and go up the river into the Madidi National Park. After lunch, we'll hike 7 km / 4 mi, led by our local indigenous guide, to our camp in the primary forest. If we are lucky we might spot howler, spider and Tamarin monkeys, wild pigs or even a jaguar on the way! Upon arrival to the camp site, our chef will prepare a delicious dinner over the open fire. In the evening, we'll go for a hike in the light of our headlamps. Tonight, we'll sleep at the camp. The campsite has a roof and we'll sleep on a ramp 2 feet / 0.6 m above the ground, tucked in under a mosquito net. It is sure to be a very memorable night as you fall asleep surrounded by the sounds of the jungle. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Amazon Jungle
Hiking
Very early this morning, just as the sun is starting to rise, we’ll head out for a 6 km / 3 mi hike to a lookout point, in hopes of finding green and scarlet macaws in their nesting area. There are very few places in the world to be able to view flocks of scarlet macaws flying in the sky, but here in the Bolivian Amazon it is possible. Afterwards we’ll return to our camp where our camp chef will have a hot- cooked breakfast awaiting us. In the afternoon we’ll build a bamboo raft and float down the river back to the jungle lodge where we started our hike from yesterday. This lodge is rustic, and electricity is on a generator, giving us a true sense of being on a jungle experience. After we’re settled in our local Tacana indigenous guide will take us on a hike educating us about the flora and fauna in the area and how his people use nature to construct homes and for medicinal purposes.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

The Pampas - Wetlands
Motorized Canoe
This morning we will cruise two hours by motorized canoe down the River Beni to the town of Rurranebaque. Here we change our mode of transport to vehicle for a 2.5 hour drive into the wetlands region, known as the Pampas. We'll drive through cattle breeding land where there is a strong possibility of spotting sloths, capibaras (the world's largest rodent), wood storks, jabirus and more along the way. Upon arrival, our canoe will be waiting to take us 10 minutes down the River Yacuma to our comfortable lodge. The region is a paradise for bird watchers so don't forget your binoculars! After lunch, we will take our canoe to search for either pink dolphins or anacondas, depending on how high the river is flowing, and in the late afternoon we will fish for piranhas, enjoying the sunset over the Pampas. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

The Pampas
Motorized Canoe
After having breakfast a little bit later than usual, we will head out in the motorized canoe in search of cayman, turtles, dolphins and more. We'll be back by the lodge for lunch and then we go by canoe and car back to the town of Rurranebaque for our late afternoon flight back to La Paz. Then, we will check in at our hotel and go for the last dinner together in Bolivia. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11

La Paz
Departure
You will be transferred to La Paz International Airport for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all internal transportation excluding domestic flights, equipment and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, Domestic airfare (La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz and La Paz - Rurrenabaque - La Paz), airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not included and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 10 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Bolivia

In Bolivia, the best time to travel is in their winter months, June through August. Although it is their winter, the days are consistently sunny and the days relatively dry. September and October, the rains increase slightly, but it is still a good time to visit Bolivia. November through April is Bolivia's summer, the rainy season on the highlands as well as in the Amazon. Overland transportation becomes difficult during the summer rainy season. 

Weather in Bolivian Highlands

November to March: Summer. Rainy season. 
April to October: Winter. Cooler months. Dry, sunny, and cool, with clear blue skies. 

Weather in Bolivian Amazon

November to March: Summer. Rainy season. 
April to October: Winter. Cooler months. Dry, sunny, and cool, with clear blue skies. 

November to April: Summer. Hot and humid, rainy season. 
May to October: Winter. Cooler at night. Less rain. Daytime highs still quite hot.  

Travel Documents

Citizens of Canada and the US only require a valid passport to enter Bolivia. Please ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival, or you may be refused entry. Always carry a photocopy of your passport in the unfortunate case of loss or theft; this precaution will speed up the reissue process. Visa requirements vary from country to country. Canadians do not require a visa to enter Bolivia and can enter as a tourist for up to 30 days. However, US do citizens require an entry visa.It is a traveller's duty to confirm this information before travel by calling their nearest Embassy, as this information can change at any time. The entry visa fee for Americans costs $160 at consulates or $135 at airport or land borders. However, as the entry visa for Americans is a complicated one, requiring copies of hotel reservations, International Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate and more. Therefore, US citizens are advised to arrange their Bolivian entry visa in advance through their nearest embassy in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, New York or Washington, DC. 

Food, Drink and Water

Bolivian cuisine is influenced by Spanish cuisine, with the infusion of Bolivian ingredients. Carbohydrates are abundant in Bolivia with the primary staple food being potato, followed by corn. Bolivia has 2000 varieties of corn. Thus, corn is used in various food and drinks.  Various meats dishes also abound in Bolivia, with a favorite national delicacy being guinea pig and deep-fried pork. Almost all animal parts are eaten in Bolivia as well. Most meals are served with hot pepper sauces. Morning meals are usually accompanied by coffee, tea or hot maize drinks. In countryside areas and smaller towns, breakfast is often a toasted cereal with cheese along with a thick soup. Some simple countryside evening meals can include boiled potatoes, homemade cheese, hard boiled eggs and a rice stew. Water is chlorinated in some places in Bolivia, but it is advisable to drink only bottled water in Bolivia due to lack of consistent water standards across the country. Fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea are all widely available and safe to drink. 

Vaccinations

Yellow Fever is stated as a mandatory vaccination for US citizens. There are also some recommended ones including Hepatitis A. We advise you to contact your nearest travel clinic for information on health requirements, as this information changes frequently. A good website for current information is The Centre for Disease Control.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “challenging” trip. You should have a good level of fitness and stamina.

The main challenge of the trip is the physical demands of altitude. Although the activities themselves are not particularly strenuous, they may feel more taxing than expected. Days are full, activities lasting on average 6-9 hours per day. The winds can also be strong and the temperatures change from one moment to the next. For the most part, you are only expected to carry your daypack. Your daypack should be large enough to include your lunch, water, camera, sunscreen and any layer clothing you may need to adapt to the changing weather.

We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program - that is if you are not already doing so. Working out four times a week, 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. In addition, try to get in some longer distance rides or hikes beforehand to prepare for your adventure. 

 

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women of varied ages and nationalities. Most of our clients on this trip are regular mortals in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge.

As well, the age range on this trip is typically from 35-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

What airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

La Paz, Bolivia. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip, although there is a group dinner arranged in the evening. You can depart on day 11. However, BikeHike recommends adding one additional day post tour to account for possible flight delays out of the Amazon. 

Do I need a yellow fever vaccine for this trip?

It is mandatory to have this to enter Bolivia. You may not be checked, but if you are, and don’t have it, you may be refused entry.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

While most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active teenagers. However, this trip is generally only suitable for older teenagers or young adults. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

More about this trip…

Can you tell me more about the bikes on the trip?

For the Salt Flats part of the trip we use light aluminum framed bikes that are typically Giant or Coots brand. They’re equipped with Alivio and Deore gears (27 gears) and V-brakes (note: some disc brakes). For the Death Road portion of the trip, we use downhill bikes equipped with fat tires, heavy frames, disc brakes and big shocks. Not much gear changing required as its downhill. 

What is the best time of the year to go on a trip to Bolivia?

May to July is great because the rainy reason is over, and on the Andes we have sunny days with very nice views of volcanoes and mountain peaks. The water level in the Amazon is high enough to see and swim with river dolphins. Overall the months of May to October are the best time frame to visit. 

What is the culture like in Bolivia?

Bolivia is very culturally diverse, with the indigenous Quechua and Aymara people, who are descendants of the Incas, as well as Spanish influences from colonization. As well, the Amazonian cultures are very distinctive, such as the Tsimané people.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS

In an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels, bungalows, and haciendas that showcase the character and local flair of each destination.

CAMPING

Camping on this trip is rustic and involves pitching your own tent and is closer to what most people define as “traditional” camping. This is an incredible experience though as you'll be tenting in the Amazon! 

JUNGLE CABIN

This accommodation is comfortable but more rustic and showcase the natural character of the staying the night in the Amazon Jungle.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Oct 10 - Oct 20, 2019
  • Apr 23 - May 03, 2020
  • Jul 16 - Jul 26, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
2899.00
USD
per person plus domestic flights are not included in trip cost

*Important: Domestic flights are not included in trip cost
No single supplement fees
*Guaranteed departures on four travellers

Are You Organizing a Group Trip?
Discover our private group discounts

Add-Ons

  • BikeHike recommends adding one additional day post tour to account for possible flight delays out of the Amazon. 
  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour.  Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity Distance Lodging Meals
1
La Paz
Arrival
Hotel
2
La Paz
Sightseeing
Hotel
3
Uyuni - Pulacayo Mines - Colchani
Biking
30 km
18 mi
Hotel
b,
l,
d
4
Salt Flats and Inkawaski Island
Biking
70 km
42 mi
Hotel
b,
l,
d
5
Tunupa
Biking
50 km
30 mi 
Hotel
b,
l,
d
6
Death Road
Biking
70 km
43 mi
Hotel
b,
l
7
Amazon Jungle
Hiking
7 km
4 mi
Tent
b,
l,
d
8
Amazon Jungle​​​​​​​
Hiking
6 km
3 km
Cabin
b,
l,
d
9
The Pampas - Wetlands
Motorized Canoe
Cabin
b,
l,
d
10
The Pampas
Motorized Canoe
Hotel
b,
l,
d
11
La Paz
Departure
b

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LB
Liz B
June 6, 2019

What a great trip to Bolivia with BikeHike Adventures!  The variety of activities was outstanding, from biking in the Andes mountains and Altiplano, to rafting, hiking, and boating in the Amazon basin and pampas.  Each of the bike rides was unique and allowed us to experience different aspects of the Bolivian environment and culture:  amazing rides across the salt flats, a downhill ride on the Death Road that descends through various ecosystems, and a ride along an old abandoned railroad bed steeped with historical ambiance.  And there was so much to see and do in the jungle and pampas areas – lots of wildlife and bird life, swimming with freshwater dolphins (so much fun!), fishing for piranhas, and just watching the sunset among the giant Amazon water lilies.  The hotel in La Paz was charming and the staff was very helpful.  I found the accommodations in the Amazon basin to be quite comfortable, and the food was excellent!  Jorgen is an absolutely awesome guide!  Our local guides for biking support (Dimitrio) and the jungle and pampas (Ismael) were great also – very knowledgeable and supportive.  And a big Thank You to BikeHike for communicating the logistics of the trip so well – I was given all the information I needed ahead of time, with the details all nicely spelled out.  It was such an enjoyable trip – each day was filled with fun!  This was my second trip with BikeHike Adventures, and they have both been great experiences.

Alaska, USA
AA
Allen A
November 30, 2018

I just finished the Bolivia trip with Jorgen and it truly was epic. After looking at the trip for a couple years I finally made it happen and it left me hoping more people go. Visually amazing...better yet mind blowing. Our group was the best set of people I have been involved with. it was truly the trifecta. 1) trip involved sights, sounds and tastes I had never had 2) the guide made the trip awesome letting us push our envelope of adventure and 3) the group was matched perfectly. When you go, bring small local gifts for the chefs and children you come across. It is great to see how excited they are

Kingston, MA, USA
CS
Chris S
May 10, 2018

Wow Bolivia! What a varied, off the beaten path adventure.... I was taken to another era exploring the history, culture and food in the city of La Paz. You must ride the cable cars there (Mi Teleferico)!! Being from the coast, I will never forget the bigger than life mountains, or the rewarding challenge of cycling at 3600 metres on the endless Salar de Uyuni. Riding at times oh so close to Llamas and alpacas. In the jungle we hiked to see Macaws at sunrise, always flying in pairs outside their cliffside nests. As well, maybe my best experience ever..... Swimming with the Pink Dolphins.

Vancouver, BC, Canada
WB
Willow B
June 4, 2017

I have been on three BikeHike tours (Costa Rica, Bolivia, and Peru). I would recommend BikeHike to anyone (and I do... all the time...).
I travel alone (or at least, sign up for these tours alone) and I have met incredible people on these tours. The range in ages, nationality, background, everything, results in such a great mix. It seems like everyone is always up for something. For people who want to travel, but cannot find anyone to travel with, This is the way to go! You meet fantastic people, you're safe, you don't have to worry about how you're going to get from one place to another, and you can really enjoy the country you are exploring.
The tours are well planned. I have been impressed by the amount of local influence in the tours, and the guides are INCREDIBLE! Can't say enough good.

Calgary, Canada
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