21 Days. Level: Hard 3.030 km, 60% dirt-road Price info
Mission Impossible tour is basically a Wild Wild West tour, included 5 desert days.
Our mission, if we choose to accept it, takes us to the unbelievable beauty of the South Lipez desert (Hight plateau desert), located between 4.400 and 5.010 m altitude.
The desert sections are simply hard. Big sands and wide volcanic gravel fields, rocky roads, no roads, 1.000m wide corrugated roads… it´s all included.
We will drive a peak at 5.014m altitude and on top of this all we will attempt to ride our motorcycles on the absolute highest road in the world, the double super Uturuncu volcano, 5.800 m or 19.000 ft above sea-level!
For all our efforts, we get compensated by a bath in a hot spring, thousands of flamingos, a geyser at 4.950 m altitude, a railway line that crosses a salt lake, spectacular rock formations, lakes of all colors, an active volcano and a fantastic “Martian” landscape in the middle of snow-covered volcanoes. At the end of the third day, we will stay in a 4-star hotel, entirely ecological, in the middle of nowhere…
This is the best South America has to offer.
Naturally we will also visit a lot of classical tourist site of Bolivia: 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, the Dakar monument, follow the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid in the spectacular scenery of Tupiza, pass an old tunnel, tasting a selection of wines in Tarija, Bolivia’s wine capital, ride the actual most anxious road of Bolivia, have a “high” snack on an yesteryears railway bridge and enjoy the fantastic roads and scenery of the wild west of Bolivia.
Highest peak: 5.800 m
This tour always starts on Wednesday.
Day 8. To Uyuni (alt. 3.700 m) 205 km, 5% dirt-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. To Quetena chica (alt. 4.200 m) 260 km, 100% dirt-road
Leaving Uyuni we enter the desert. Almost nothing grows here but the emptiness is far from boring. Until Alota, the roads are clearly, but the further we go, the less obvious the roads become and the more spectacular the scenery becomes. Far before reaching Quetena chica we notice awful the double peaks of Uturuncu volcano.
We will spend the night in a basic comfort lodge at the base of the Uturuncu volcano.
Day 10. Climb Uturuncu volcano and to Polques (alt. 4.400 m) 120 km, 100% dirt-road
We will try to scale Uturuncu volcano via the absolute highest road in the world (5.800 m or 19.000 ft). At the end of the track, at 5.800m altitude, the landscape looks like it looked already 4.5 milliards years before: Sand, rocks, scree fields and gases hissing from the ground, nothing has change since.
After lunch, we continue our route to Polques at the “laguna Chalvin”. We will spend the night next to a hot spring where we can sit in steaming hot water, gazing at a zillion stars. Only basic comfort available.
Day 11. To Laguna verde (alt. 4.300 m) and Agua de Perdiz (alt. 4.300 m) 182 km, 100% dirt-road
Heading south we pass painted desert landscapes, endless valleys littered with massive rock pillars until we arrive at the “Laguna verde”, the green lagoon.
After lunch back in Polques, we turn north passing volcanic vents that blast their gasses into the cold sky, bubbling boiling colored mud pools and geysers at 4.950 m altitude and the colored lagoon (Laguna Colorada) with islands made of crystal white borax where thousands of flamingos come to breed.
Passing the famous stone tree (arbol de piedra) we end the day at Agua de Perdiz, an amazing sandy valley where the “road” is 1.000 m wide.
4-star hotel service for this night.
Day 12. To San Juan del Rosario (alt. 3.700 m) 150 km, 100% dirt-road
This morning we first have a date with soft sands, than with an ambush canyon, followed by a snack at the 1.000 flamingo view point at “Laguna Hedionda”, the stinking lake.
At the visitors viewpoint to the active volcano Ollague we make our lunch picnic.
Before we arrive at the remote town of San Juan del Rosario, we have to pass a railway over a salt lake.
Day 13. Crossing the salt flats to Uyuni (alt. 3.700 m) 247 km, 95% dirt-road/ salt road
Still surrounded by empty desert we make our way to an even more desolated area, the Uyuni salt flats.
The Salar de Uyuni is a dried up salt lake, the size of a small country (11.000 km square). Since the largest salt lake of the world has no references, what so ever and because there are only two colors in the world (blue sky and white salt), there is no perspective. Our brain will have a meltdown and we can take the weirdest photos (crazy photos with crazy bikers).
On our way, we visit the cactus island “Inca Huasi”, the salt market, the flags monument, the salt hotel and… the Dakar monument.
Day 14. To Tupiza (alt. 2.950 m) 185 km, 20% dirt-road
In the morning we leave Uyuni behind us on a new asphalt road. We will be surprise to find a huge Expresso machine at café “Alamo” in the small mining village of Atocha, where we have lunch.
Before entering Tupiza we will ride the Bolivian Monument Valley. This is a part of the region where the (in)famous Banditos Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid operated and were finally killed. But with all the spectacular stone monuments, don´t forget the hotel´s pool!
Day 15. To Tarija (alt. 1.860 m) 205 km, 40% dirt-road
When the rubber touches the dirt-road track, the landscape changes instantly into scenic back country roads with deep canyons. There is no infrastructure among our itinerary, so a picnic lunch is the only option.
The ride to Tarija, the wine capital of Bolivia continues quite diverse, just after passing the last mountain, a fantastic panorama opens up to the Tarija valley.
Dinner will be served at restaurant “El Marqués”, a gastronomic highlight.
Day 16. Rest day in Tarija
Options for those who don´t want to rest:
Visit of Casa Dorada and Castillo Azul,
Wineries tour with local tour operator,
Visit of the paleontological museum (Extinct mammals).
Day 17. To Villamontes (alt. 390 m) 245 km, 20% dirt-road
Snaking mountain roads take us from the rolling hills of Tarija to the arid dry Chaco region. The last part of this road is considered one of the scariest bus rides in the country. On the motorcycle, where we are in control, it is a lot less hazardous. Photographers get ready… and if you miss the part, no problem, we will ride it again…
Day 18. To Abapo (alt. 445 m) 321 km, 10% dirt-road
After all the dirt-road stages, it is again pleasant to feel asphalt under the tires. Our way leads us through the gas production zone of Bolivia. We ride a special to a monastery and cross an abandoned, very narrow railway bridge. An exciting ride, nothing for people with fear of height. Only basic restauration, so we have a Bolivian grill dinner.
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% dirt-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% dirt-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% dirt-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% dirt-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 19. To Samaipata 206 km, 0% or 20% dirt-road, variants depending on weather conditions
The road to Samaipata takes us alternately over sandy tracks or asphalt roads along the Piraí River, the Eastern cordillera up to Samaipata, our starting point. We leave our bikes behind and hurry to jump into the hotel´s pool.
Day 20. 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 21. 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…
The best way to explore Bolivia by motorcycle
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