Expeditions Coipasa Uyuni Salt Flat Potosi Mines 12D/11N
A Brief Description
Expeditions Coipasa Uyuni Potosi Mines 12D/11N Welcome to the ultimate adventure with Photo Expeditions Coipasa! Join us on an unforgettable 12-day/11-night journey through some of Bolivia’s most stunning landscapes, including the renowned Uyuni Salt Flat and the awe-inspiring Potosi Mines. Your adventure begins as you arrive in Bolivia. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for a well-deserved rest. Get ready to be mesmerized by the vast expanse of the Uyuni Salt Flat, the world’s largest salt flat. Witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets as the salt flats transform into an otherworldly landscape. Our expert guides will take you to the most photogenic spots, ensuring you capture the perfect shot. Venture off the beaten path to the lesser-known Coipasa Salt Flat. Experience the serenity of this remote and untouched location, providing unique photography opportunities away from the crowds. Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Desert of Siloli and the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. Discover colorful lagoons, geysers, and otherworldly rock formations that will leave you in awe. Journey to Potosi, a city with a rich history and colonial charm. Explore the renowned Potosi Mines, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and learn about the fascinating world of mining in Bolivia. Capture the spirit of resilience and determination displayed by the miners. Our Photo Expeditions Coipasa team is dedicated to providing you with an unforgettable experience, combining adventure, culture, and photography. Our knowledgeable guides will ensure you make the most of every moment, capturing memories that will last a lifetime. Embark on this extraordinary 12-day/11-night adventure, and let your passion for photography come to life amidst Bolivia’s breathtaking landscapes. Book your spot now and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!
1 – 8 Guests
Experience | Difficulty
- Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
- DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
- Moderate schedule
- Travel by car or minibus
- Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and hiking (none of our adventures have difficult hikes)
- (non-photographers also welcome)
Weather | Sun
September – Temps 75/42 F 24/5 C Sunrise 6:10 | Sunset 6:35 (18:35)
- 13 Days
- Travel, landscape, nature, wildlife and people photography
- Professional photographer | guide
- Photo walks & discussions
- Small group size (1-8 guests)
- Hostels-Lodges- hotels
- All Meals
- National Park Permits
- Local transportation
Arrival Airport:Cusco– Transfer time to hotel 30min
Departure Airport:Cusco – Transfer time to hotel 30min
Our adventure begins in the morning on the first day and ends at and of the last day.
Travel Visa: Visa required
ITINERARY COIPASA, UYUNI SALT FLAT POTOSI MINES
Arrive in La Paz early in the AM. The altitude at El Alto International Airport is 13,200 ft (4.02 km) and is on the Altiplano, so it’s common to feel symptoms of light-headedness, shortness of breath and slight nausea upon arrival. After doing immigration and customs you’ll be met by us at the general passenger meeting point where you will board our private vehicle and head down into La Paz, loosing altitude quickly, and likely feeling much better. We suggest you have a basic photo kit easily accessible so you can take photos along the way. The hotel is located in the Valley of the Moon sector at the lowest level of La Paz (approximately around 10,500’) where you will check in and rest, relax or sleep for the rest of the morning. Lunch at the hotel. At 2 PM we begin a 3-hour city tour of this fascinating city deep in the heart of the Andes; visiting the busy downtown, the open air markets, and the colonial neighborhoods with great views of the city. Dinner is on your own tonight and we recommend a light dinner at the hotel. Avoid alcohol and caffeine tonight, drink plenty of water and mate de coca during the day.
Continuing the acclimatization process and still see spectacular things, we head to Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca on a day trip today. We depart to Tiwanaku after breakfast for an in-depth tour of this pre-Inca port city with a professional bilingual guide who will explain the history of Tiwanaku, the Incas and the ties with modern Bolivian society. Lunch in Tiwanaku. A short drive puts us on the shores of Lake Titicaca to see it’s beautiful blue waters, the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 ft (3.81 km) asl. We journey back to La Paz in the afternoon, crossing the Andes once again and be back at the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner on your own tonight.
The most off the beaten track of our 4WD expeditions begins early this morning by meeting in a designated place in La Paz (hotel, office). Climb aboard our jeep and spend the morning traversing the vast Altiplano countryside through roads abundant with llamas, alpacas and traditional Andean villages. This first day will take place in a region literally untouched by tourism, en route to Sajama National Park. Along the way we stop at traditional villages where the railway past of Bolivia can be seen in the means of abandoned train stations reminiscent of the USA’s Wild West. View Andean fauna including birds, alpaca, vicuña in green marshlands by the river.
After a picnic lunch, hike to an ancient & mysterious archaeological site that sits atop a flat – topped mountain. Discover hundreds of chullpas (burial tombs from ancient cultures) and magnificent views of the extensive Altiplano and Mt. Sajama – Bolivia’s highest peak – in the distance. You will see and live traditional Bolivian life by staying in a small, Aymara village tonight.
After an early rise today, a short 20 – minute drive takes us to an undiscovered natural wonder in the region. Enjoy a hike in nature during the morning and view local flora and fauna, impressive views of the barren Altiplano (high plateau) and remains of ancient cultures that inhabited the region.
After lunch, climb back aboard our 4WD for one of the most isolated and beautiful drives you will ever experience. Drive through the heart of the remote highlands, passing tiny villages’ en route to Parque Nacional Sajama using an off-road we like to call “the smuggler’s trail” (it is so remote it is only known and used by a few wanderers who occasionally smuggle goods from Chile to Bolivia or vice versa). We make several stops at natural places such as lagoons, mountains, rivers and local farms to break the relatively long, afternoon drive (5-6 hrs).
A full day is spent exploring the marvels of Parque Nacional Sajama and the vicinity. We have several options to spend an active day. We start off with an early visit to an otherworldly geyser field. In the morning, you may choose to hike to the Queñua forest (dwarf, endemic Altiplano species of tree) or to Mt. Sajama’s base camp (which climbers use as a first stop before ascending the mountain). You may also decide to hike to a lagoon amidst the snow-capped mountains that surround the area or alternatively, climb to the top of a volcano at 5900 m. (vehicle can get you near the top). Whichever you pick, there is plenty to do to stay active in this natural playground. We follow up with an afternoon southbound drive to have our first taste of stunning flamingos feeding in the Andean lagoons. We discover hidden archaeological sites and learn about the region’s natural and cultural history.
What makes today special is that we’ll find ourselves off the tourist trail, since this region is known to very few people who venture out here to see Bolivia’s hidden mountains and thus, we have this natural wonder almost entirely to ourselves (few other travelers visit occasionally). We spend tonight in a larger town which will serve to break the long trip to Uyuni making a convenient stop to have a good enough rest.
Leaving our resting stop in the larger town on our third day, drive along roads abundant with herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas across the vast Altiplano (high plateau) en route to Salar de Uyuni. It is a less hectic day but full of surprises along the way. Pass remote villages and hike to a secret, ancient burial town in the mountains where well-preserved, ancient mummies can be seen (one of the last remaining places on the continent). Continuing our drive, we traverse the country’s second largest salt flats: Salar de Coipasa which is an isolated white 3.000 km2 sea of salt to which no other tourists venture, before reaching our accommodation in a small village on the northernmost tip of Salar de Uyuni at the end of the day. Enjoy a side trip for sunset and spend an evening at leisure.
Today, take in the wonders of the world’s largest salt flats for an entire day. Begin by witnessing a striking sunrise on the Salar. A full day is then spent exploring as much of the 12.000 km2 of salt as it is possible. Highlights include hiking on Isla Incahuasi – a rocky outcrop covered in ancient coral rock and giant cacti – which provides us with an excellent base for a moderate hike and beautiful views of this white sea. Visit a former salt hotel and take your time get creative with your camera (bring your props along) to take advantage of the depth illusions created by the endless white of salt which result in fun photography to show those back home.
Resume your expedition today and head further south, stop at the pristine chain of lagoons called Cañapa, Hedionda and Honda where the unique wildlife and sweeping views will leave you in awe. Later, traverse the Siloli Desert, located within the boundaries of Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, lying along the Bolivia – Chile border not before we stop at Arbol de Piedra* (Stone Tree) and other rock formations along the way. The day ends with a grand finale by watching the beautiful pink flamingos at Laguna Colorada* before we retreat into our lodge for the night.
*If choosing our Premium package, you will see these attractions on the following day
Our once-in-a-lifetime expedition comes to an end today. Continuing our drive through Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, we reach the trip’s highest point: Sol de Mañana (Rising Sun, 4.900m) an otherworldly, steaming geyser field. We later enjoy a soothing soak in natural hot springs, photograph Licancabur Volcano overlooking Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) before making our way to Uyuni the town (or if you wish at this point, arrange a bus transfer over the border to continue to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, 1.5 hrs. away). Our tour ends upon arrival in Uyuni Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch (lunch is not available if you are transferring to San Pedro de Atacama).
Our direction today is northeast to Potosi – the sky-high imperial colonial city that made the Spanish rich. The drive is a little over 3 hours on a new paved road and very impressive. The terrain and scenery along the way encompasses river canyons, rugged mountains and mining centers, still active after centuries of exploitation. The red earth and weeping willows are a beautiful contrast to the desert-like Altiplano we just left. In the late morning we will arrive in the world’s highest major city, Potosi that sits at 3,960m/12,989′ asl. and its’ height will take your breath away. We will have lunch in Potosi upon arrival. After checking-in to our hotel we visit the Casa de la Moneda, the Spanish Mint, where we will get a lesson in the cultural complexity that is part of the Bolivian historical tapestry
Today we get to experience what truly manual labor is all about. We are partaking of a brief visit to a mine cooperative in the heart of the Cerro Rico in the morning. The visit will put in perspective the struggle these miners have in making a living underground using antiquated methods – not an easy life. After the sobering visit, we’ll have lunch then head down and spend the night in a colonial-era hacienda called Cayara. This is a living museum and working hacienda and a great place to re-live Bolivia’s colorful history and see how life in the Spanish colonial era was like. The hacienda sits well below Potosi and is about 30-minutes away next to an idyllic village made of stone walls and multi-colored cultural plots. We freshen-up before having dinner at the hostal.
The drive to La Paz is long but pretty spectacular because it stays high in the mountains for the first half of the trip and it’s on a paved road all the way to La Paz so, it’s fast and comfortable. Along the way you will see multi-colored valleys, high peaks, green puna with llamas and alpacas grazing. The closer we get to La Paz you will see the glacier-covered peaks of the Cordillera Real rising above the Altiplano. The scenery is truly amazing and should provide plenty of visual appeal along the entire route. We should arrive in La Paz in the early evening. Group dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate a wonderful and adventurous journey of the Bolivian highland region.Tonight marks the official end of this photo tour but we provide complimentary shuttle service to the airport the next day. Please let us know your flight schedule ahead of time to coordinate the shuttle service.