Explore Bolivia offers a variety of soft adventure tours

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Traveling in Bolivia is always an adventure, and that's what Explore Bolivia offers with packages of soft adventure involving natural history, bird-watching, sea kayaking, four-wheel-drive touring and photography.

According to company president Sergio Ballivian, "We find that people who go to Bolivia are looking for something different, and from the Andes to the Amazon, the country is full of once-in-a-lifetime sights and experiences."

First, on its western Andean flank, Bolivia has a near monopoly on things called "the world's highest": the highest navigable lake, Titicaca; the highest ski resort, Chacaltaya, and the highest capital, La Paz, at 12,160 feet.

Many of Explore Bolivia's programs are focused on Lake Titicaca. One involves traveling the giant body of water by sea kayak for five days in September and October and in May and July. For two people, the cost is $860 per person.

The tour begins in La Paz, then travels to the ancient Tiwanaku ruins and to the lake to circumnavigate the Island of the Sun -- birthplace of the Inca civilization and still home to the Aymara people -- and the Island of the Moon.

Navigating with two-person sea kayaks, visitors also travel among other islands but are close enough to the mainland to visit the weavers and reed- boat builders who constructed the rafts for Thor Heyerdahl.

During both short and long trips, visitors camp near Inca ruins and on secluded beaches, perfect viewpoints for the lake's spectacular sunsets and sunrises, Ballivian said.

In the highlands of Bolivia, Explore Bolivia offers clients a four-wheel-drive journey for one or two weeks across the Altiplano, south from Lake Titicaca through towns and villages dotting this harsh, windswept high plain.

Attractions along the way include wildlife such as vicunas, ostriches, eagles, falcons and flamingos and dozens of volcanoes and ancient burial mounds from long-gone tribes, as well as the world's largest salt flat -- Salar de Uyuni.

Ballivian reminds us, however, that the Amazon region is as superlative as the highlands, "for North Americans have yet to discover that in the tropical Yungas valleys, the jungles and savannas of the upper Amazon basin and [in] the scrub forest of the Chaco region lie some of the greatest natural history tours in the Americas."

More than 21 national parks offer excellent opportunities to see plants and animals in their totally undisturbed ecosystem.

He also pointed out there are new lodges such as the Chalalan in the Madidi National Park and Flor de Oro in Noel Kempff Mercado Park.

Explore Bolivia offers four- to eight-night programs in Noel Kempff. Per person costs, based on three to five passengers traveling together, range from $1,570 to $2,595.

Explore Bolivia
Phone: (303) 708-8810
Fax: (303) 649-9017
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.explorebolivia.com

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