Discover the best of Bolivia and Brazil in this thrillingly diverse tour! You'll be taken from the great heights of La Paz to the luscious beaches of Rio De Janeiro, with everything from dense rainforest to expansive salt flats in between. Dive into history, learning about the colonial influences of Spain and Portugal in the region, experience South America's wonderfully varied wildlife and have the chance get your adrenaline pumping, with mountain-biking, horse-riding and hang-gliding all on offer. You'll start on a high with spectacular views in the lofty city of La Paz, browsing its quirky street markets. Then it's on to the immense white plains of Uyuni where you'll rest your head in a hotel made of salt! From here you'll take a step back in time into the era of colonialism in the town of Potosi. Then it's a short journey to the gleaming white city of Sucre, famous for its sunny climes and delicious variety of indigenous cuisines, before you fly to the thriving city of Santa Cruz. At Pantanal, you'll get your fill of Brazil's wonderful range of wildlife before you end this whirlwind tour chilling out on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
Tucan Travel is proud providers of incredible tours that cater to the adventurous souls of the world, whilst keeping one very simple thing in mind: sustainability. Their aim is to make adventure travel sustainable for the long term. To achieve this, Tucan Travel has implemented measures that respect the delicate ecosystems, wildlife and natural habitats that they are exploring, following strict rules to minimise the effects of tourists' presence. They have developed waste management solutions to help recycle, repair and reuse materials, and have also introduced a carbon offset scheme that encourages the use of public transport wherever possible, further helping to minimise their carbon footprint. Many of Tucan Travel’s tours include opportunities to view local wildlife in national parks or at dedicated conservation centres. Animal welfare is a big focus for Tucan Travel who even have their own policy which includes only working with suppliers who meet their animal welfare standards, and offering wildlife encounters only insofar as they directly benefit that species. With so many sustainability initiatives and more, such as contribution to local community schemes, supporting the work of World Land Trust and LATA in Latin America, Tucan Travel are truly committed to eco-tourism and their long term target of sustainable tourism.
Touch down in La Paz, one of the highest cities in the world. Resting on Bolivia's Andes' Altiplano plateau, La Paz offers breath-taking scenery, with a sprawling city-scape full of sky-scrapers that is dwarfed by the 6,348 foot Mount Illimani. Your hotel is centrally located in the bustling city, which is sprinkled with street markets, including 'witch markets' touting peculiarities such as dead cats and llama foetuses! The main square is within easy walking distance, often hosting traditional peňa shows of Andean music and dance, and with other wonders such as the Presidential Palace. Additional exciting excursions are available including an exhilarating downhill cycle to the nearby lush jungle region in Coroico!
Enjoy the view as you fly from one of the tallest plateaus in the world onto your next destination: Uyuni.
Uyuni is a boundless salt flat which will make a striking contrast to the dizzying heights of the mountains in La Paz. Arguably the largest salt flat in the world, its gleaming white plains cover 10, 500 square metres and contain approximately 10 billion tons of salt! You'll be arriving in style at the ironically named 'Fish Island', a rocky outcrop of land amidst this ocean of salt. Here you will be staying in a hotel made entirely of - you guessed it - salt. From here the remarkable terrain around you can be properly explored, with giant cacti and wandering llamas punctuating an alien landscape.
After traversing the salt flats, you'll have a chance to rest your feet at the city of Uyuni. The city is a bridge for commerce and traffic between Bolivia and Chile, and was originally founded as a trading post in 1890. There's a lively street market if you fancy checking out the wares on offer and a 'train cemetery' – where trains once transported minerals to the Pacific Ocean ports before the mining industry collapsed in the 1940s.
Next stop is the old mining town of Potosi, established in 1545 by the Spanish after the discovery of abundant silver in the nearby hill of 'Cerro Rico'. Potosi was a figurative gold mine for the Spanish for centuries, helping to fund the monarchy's extravagant spending and colonial escapades. Pop into the Casa de Moneda Museum which exhibits coins, artworks, mummies and other artefacts illustrating Potosi's murky history. You can also visit the shrines the workers made to 'el Tio' or 'The Lord of the Underworld' as they believed they were working in the devil's backyard. Finally stop at the miners' market to pick up mementoes such as cocoa leaves, cigarettes and even dynamite if you fancy giving someone a particularly explosive gift!
A short journey will bring you to Sucre, the heavenly capital of Bolivia, where all buildings are painted white by law! Founded in 1538 by the Spaniards, the city is famous for its amicable, charming atmosphere and sunny climes. Noticeable landmarks include the city's cathedral which has a beautiful jewel-encrusted painting of Sucre's patron – the Virgin of Guadalupe. A must-see is the colourful Tarabuco street market, full of locals wearing traditional Yampura costumes which are a sight to behold. On sale are hand-made textiles including gloves, hats and other clothes in the Yampari style - very popular with tourists. Also, visit the food market where you can sample some spicy local delicacies that are all organically sourced!
Santa Cruz is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, producing a third of Bolivia's GDP. However, this hasn't tainted the quaint charm of the city which has preserved its local traditions, culture and cuisine. There's an array of historical landmarks for you to visit here, including the Noel Kempff Natural History Museum, which houses research departments that monitor deforestation, land-use change and protects Bolivia's magnificent bio-diversity. Also, make sure you visit Santa Cruz's impressive main square, Plaza 24 de Septiembre, which boasts the ancient cathedral 'Basilica de San Lorenzo' at its southern end. Enjoy a drink at one the numerous outdoor cafe or bars whilst taking in the picturesque beauty of the square.
You'll take an overnight train to the border town of Puerto Suarez, before crossing the border to the Brazilian port city of Corumbá and then continuing south to your next stop: Pantanal.
Pantanal is certain to be a favourite among the nature-lovers of this tour, with the Pantanal National Park boasting an embarrassment of riches in terms of wildlife. The Park is situated on an enormous wetland, home to a thriving eco-system that includes 650 species of birds, 3.500 species of plants, 100 species of mammals and 80 species of reptiles. You'll be staying on a ranch in the Miranda Province which is set on 800 hectares of protected land, home to a wealth of rare animals such as maned wolves, giant ant-eaters, tapirs and pumas, amongst others. You'll be given ample opportunity to discover as much of Pantanal's wildlife as possible, with nature walks, boat rides and truck excursions all on the agenda!
Brazil's capital is famous for being one of the most vibrant, lively and entertaining cities in the world, and on day 13 you will see exactly why! Enjoy a dip in the sparkling waters of Copacabana beach, overlooked by the striking Sugarloaf mountain and iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Check out the 'Selaron Steps' which were designed as a 'tribute to the Brazilian people', and are an apt one at that as they are just as colourful and vibrant as the locals! Those who appreciate a fine view will want to climb to the top of Sugarloaf mountain and marvel at all that lies below: from the quaint neighbourhood of Santa Teresa to the towering skyscrapers in the city centre.
This is where your monumental journey will come to an end. Leave satisfied in the knowledge that you got to experience so much of the beauty and wonder that South America has to offer in only two weeks.