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Signature Bolivia: The final frontier

14 days from £3,729pp

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Signature Bolivia: The final frontier

14 days from £3,729pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

Private Journey

 

Bolivian missions circuit

4 days from £1,661pp

When the Spanish Conquistadores had difficulty in subduing the ferocious indigenous tribes of eastern Bolivia, they invited the Jesuits in to have a go. This Catholic order trained the indians in construction, and as a result ten glorious, ornate wooden churches, sparkling with gold leaf, were built in the small communities of adobe huts where the newly settled populations lived. The Chiquitanos also crafted the musical instruments they used to perform baroque pieces, many of which were composed in situ.

Following the expulsion of the Jesuits these churches fell into disrepair but now they have been restored to their former glory, and the musical skills and performances resurrected. On this intriguing trip you will penetrate deep into rural Bolivia to discover the isolated churches and the modest but amiable little towns and villages in which they are found. Be among the first to discover this magic.

Day 1: Depart from Santa Cruz in a private vehicle with driver and English-speaking guide heading through fields of cattle, sunflowers and small immigrant and river -fishing communities, arriving at the tranquil little town San Javier, where a cluster of adobe houses surrounds a broad leafy plaza dominated by the  pitched-roof wooden mission church, decorated with graceful frescoes. Continue through undulating cattle country to the larger town Concepción, whose church is more ornate, featuring abundant gold and silver leaf. Dinner and overnight in a colonial-style hotel.

Day 2: Visit the church, the two  museums and the town before continuing  via a visit to an enterprising weaving community to San Ignacio, where the church is equally ornate but contrasts with Concepción’s.  Wildlife such as caimans and parakeets can be observed in the low forest and wetlands either side of the dirt (currently being paved) road.   Dinner and overnight in the town.

Day 3:Following a remote,  little used country road, you visit three more villages each with its own distinctive church including San Raphael, with a carved pulpit representing Bolivian children being received by Christ and Santa Ana, the only one with an organ where Bach is played by a local man.  Arrive at San José, where the church is the only one built from brick and where frescoes narrate stories from the Spanish occupation. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4:  Return to Santa Cruz on the new, good paved road which leads to the Brazilian border.


Madidi Rainforest Reserve

4 days from £626pp

Harbouring almost 1,000 species of bird and nearly half of all the mammal species found anywhere in the Americas, the diverse habitats of Madidi National Park are a haven for Amazonian wildlife.This well-protected reserve is home to jaguars, ocelots and tapirs, although easier to spot are the numerous capybaras, caimans, spider monkeys and colourful birds, including toucans and parrots.

On this four day trip you’ll travel by boat down the jungle-fringed rivers Beni and Tuiche through steep canyons for 5 hours to reach isolated Chalalan Lodge, a community-run eco-project.  From there you will venture out both on foot and by boat with an expert guide who can point out exotic creatures hiding in the tree tops, and there are nocturnal hikes to experience the forest when most of its wild inhabitants are at their most active (unless it's unseasonably cold!).

Day 1: Accompanied by a pilot and guide, you will travel by motor launch from your hotel or the airport in the attractive little river-port Rurrenabaque. After an hour cruising down the broad River Beni, flanked by fields of crops and vegetables and dotted with small farmsteads through a steep gorge o its junction with the smaller, livelier river Tuiche, negotiating small rapids. Once within the park, there is no more farming: just pure rainforest. Arrive at Chalalán and walk for 30mins, possibly accompanied by birds and monkeys, to the lodge. Lunch, and your first guided excursion into the surrounding jungle or by canoe on the serene Lake Chalalán below the lodge..

Days 2-3: There are at least two outings per day on foot, exploring well marked circuits through the surrounding rainforest and up to viewpoints over the surrounding jungle. You’ll be very likely to spot several species of monkey, caimans lurking in the lagoon, and loads of tropical birds including macaws, parakeets and toucans. 

Day 4: Return by boat to Rurrenabaque. 


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