Ride your dreams...
The best way to explore Bolivia by motorcycle
15 Days Level: Easy 1.750 km, 20% off-road Price info
Specially for those who can´t take long vacations and for those who are not sure if their riding skills are up to the challenge of riding lots of off-road, but still want to see the most of what Bolivia has to offer by bike.
The 20% off-road sections are mostly well maintained gravel roads with little to no traffic and on days with off-road, the distance is limited so there is plenty of time to go easy.
Starting with the “Ruta del Ché” we cross the mountains towards Sucre, the colonial capital of Bolivia and the indigenous market of Tarabuco. Then the 500 years old, silver mines of Potosí, followed by the “Salar de Uyuni”, the largest salt flats in the world, the train grave yard, Cochabamba and the highest “Cristo Statue” of South America.
The roads we follow are among the most scenic of South America with endless valleys, towering mountains and amazing natural beauty.
Highest riding peak: 4.400m altitude.
This tour always starts on Wednesday.
Day 1. Airport pickup at Viru-Viru, Santa Cruz (alt. 400 m)
We pick you up at the airport of Santa Cruz/ Bolivia from where we drive to the small town of Samaipata (120 km, 3 hours). There we check into a comfortable hotel and spend the rest of the day to relax and discover.
If your flight arrives late, you need to spend the night in Santa Cruz. In that case the following day is considered as Day 1.
Day 2. Samaipata (alt. 1.650 m)
We start with the briefing where we learn more about safety riding, our route, the local traffic rules and about each other. To get used to our bike, we go for a ride to the archeological site of “El Fuerte”. Classified World Heritage by UNESCO, it is an old Inca town build around the, much older, largest stone sculpture in the Americas. For some people, it is an ancient Alien landing field!
Day 3. To La Higuera (alt. 1.900 m) 175 km, 50% off-road
Leaving early in the morning, we stop in Vallegrande to visit the hospital´s laundry building, where revolutionary hero Ernesto Ché Guevara´s lifeless body was first presented to the world in 1967.
After lunch, we continue our ride towards the tiny mountain village of La Higuera, the place where the Ché was captured and executed. On the road its possible to observe condors, the world biggest bird.
Before arriving at the hotel in La Higuera we have the option to detour on a special ride to a fantastic view.
In the evening around the campfire in the courtyard of our hotel, we listen to Don Juan’s experiences from the time of the guerrilla war.
Day 4. To Villa Serrano (alt. 2.100 m) 120 km, 100% off-road
After visiting the historic school building where Ché Guevara was executed and the related sites, we leave towards Villa Serrano. On the suspension bridge over the Rio Grande we have a snack stop and if the conditions are good and the water level is safe, we can go for a swim.
In the aftenoon we arrive in Villa Serrano, Bolivia’s capital of charango music. It´s a kind of a small, double 5 strings guitar, very difficult to play.
Day 5. To Sucre (alt. 2.700 m) 190 km, 30% off-road
We leave Villa Serrano early in the morning so we can visit the Tarabuco Sunday market. This is the only place in Bolivia where we can take photos of traditionally dressed indigenous people without them turning away.
After lunch we continue to Sucre the capital of Bolivia. The rest of the afternoon and evening is for exploring this beautiful colonial city. The entire city center is painted white and is classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Day 6. To Potosí (alt. 4.100 m) 155 km, 10% off-road
We leave Sucre after lunch. On smooth tarmac we start to climb towards the altiplano (higland planes) we stop and visit a strange monumental bridge. Then onwards to the mining city of Potosí which sits at 4.100 m altitude making it the the highest city in the world and also classified Word Heritage by UNESCO. During the ascent, the guides will give us instructions about to deal with altitude sickness.
Day 7. The silver mines in Potosí
In the morning we visit the miner’s market where we can buy anything, ranging from coca leave´s and dynamite. Here we have some time to look around and buy some interesting souvenirs.
Then we continue to the mines where we will get “geared up” and descend into the belly of “Pajcha Mama” (mother earth) to visit the 500 year old but still operational silver mine. This is not suitable for those who don’t like small spaces or suffer from claustrofobia.
After lunch we visit the “Casa de la Moneda” (The mint house) museum. At one time every single coin used in the western world, was mined in Potosí.
Day 8. To Uyuni (alt. 3.700 m) 205 km, 5% off-road
Riding through incredible scenery we make a stop at a spectacular canyon, after passing some tiny villages we stop and have the option for an intrestresting exsperience. Along the road look out for for vicuña (family of camelids), emus and thousands of lamas. We arrive at the small mining village of Pulacayo. Here we walk around the ancient railway station, past the mine entrance and we can climb the train wagons which are the very same ones the American outlaws Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid arrived in when they came to Bolivia 110 years ago.
Next break is Uyuni where we visit the train grave yard, a fantastic collection of discarded railway machinary dating back to the 19th century. This includes at least a dozen steam locomotives. Perfect for photo shooting.
Day 9. Salar de Uyuni daytrip 195 km, 90% salt-road
The Salar de Uyuni is a dried up salt lake the size of a small country (11.000 km square). Since its the largest salt lake of the world and because there are only two colors blue sky and white salt, there is no visual perspective and we can take amazing photos (crazy photos with crazy bikers).
On our way to the cactus island “Inca Huasi”, we visit the salt market, the flag monument, the salt hotel and of course the Dakar monument.
Day 10. To Oruro (alt. 3.700 m) 320 km, 0% off-road
In the morning we leave Uyuni behind us. Passing scenic “altiplano” landscapes and several small villages, we make our way to Oruro, famous for its markets and grill restaurants. So “grill” will be treat in the evening.
But before we observe a strange phenomenon. More should not be divulged here!
Day 11. To Cochabamba (alt. 2.500 m) 220 km, 10% off-road
On curvy roads with amazing views we climb to 4.400 m altitude, before we descent to the valley of Cochabamba.
After we have mastered the traffic, we rush straight to the plaza, from where we cuddled the bustle. At one plaza corner is the best us known coffee “cortado” café and for dinner we enjoy the best us known “Pique Macho”, a traditional dish.
Day 12. To Totora (alt. 2.800 m) 145 km, 0% off-road
In the morning we visit the largest “Christo” sculpture of South America. With almost 40 m, quit a bit higher than the famous “Christo de Rio de Janeiro”.
After this we leave the big city to have a fresh fish lunch and passing beautiful valleys. We make our way to Totora, a small colonial town in the mountains, where time stands still since 100 years. Paradise for photographers.
Day 13. To Samaipata (alt. 1.650 m) 265 km, 50% off-road
This last day starts with an 80 km (roman!) stone road, let us feel like Ben Hur.
Passing the valley of Rio Mizque we curve on a marvelous motorcycle road though the mountains.
In the afternoon we arrive back in Samaipata, leave our bikes behind and hurry to jump into the hotel´s pool.
Day 14. To Santa Cruz.
Late in the morning, we set off for Santa Cruz where we can relax, hanging around the plaza and do some souvenir shopping. In the evening, we have a farewell dinner.
Day 15. To the airport.
Always a sad moment when we say goodbye. But who knows? You won´t be the first to come back for more…