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17 Day Guided Wild Wild West Motorcycle Tour in Bolivia

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Bolivia Motorcycle Tour

Wild Wild West tour is a great motorcycle adventure for those who are not afraid to leave the tarmac. There are some pretty challenging off-road sections, but nothing too long or too difficult. Crossing the wild west of Bolivia on a Dual Sport bike is feels like John Wayne on his horse!

Key information

  • Terrain: 40% off-road, 60% asphalt
  • Bike: rental bike (Suzuki DR650SE)
  • Riding gear: not included
  • Total mileage: 2,300 kilometers / 1,429 miles
  • Daily rides: 120 - 321 kilometers / 75 - 199 miles
  • Meals: all meals included

Highlights

  • Starts in Samaipata and ends in Santa Cruz
  • Ride to Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat
  • Visit archaeological site of El Fuerte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Descend into the ground and see 500-year-old, still operating silver mines
  • See local people in traditional clothes at Tarabuco Sunday market
  • Tour led by multi-lingual, experienced guide
  • 16 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


12 riding days in English
The organizer also speaks: French, German
Group size: Maximum of 8 participants
Airport transfer included: Viru Viru International Airport
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Accommodation

Various hotels will be your home during your stay in Bolivia.

Program

Overview

Starting with the Ruta del Ché, you 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. The highest peak of the tour is 4400 meters.

Day 1: Airport pickup at Viru-Viru, Santa Cruz (altitude 400 meters)

A staff will pick you up at the airport of Santa Cruz, Bolivia from where you drive to the small town of Samaipata (120 kilometers, 3 hours). There, you check into a comfortable hotel and spend the rest of the day to relax and explore. 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 (altitude 1650 meters)

You start with the briefing where you learn more about safety riding, the route, the local traffic rules, and about each other. To get used to the bike, you'll go for a ride to the archaeological 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 (altitude 1900 meters, 175 kilometers / 109 miles, 50% off-road)

Leaving early in the morning, you stop in Vallegrande to visit the hospital's laundry, where revolutionary hero Ernesto Ché Guevara's lifeless body was presented in 1967 to the world. After lunch, you continue our ride towards the tiny mountain village of La Higuera, the place where Ché was captured and executed. On the road you may observe condors, the world biggest bird.

After your first special drive, you arrive at the end of the afternoon in La Higuera. In the evening at the campfire in the courtyard of the hotel, you listen to Don Juan’s comments from the time of the guerrilla war.

Day 4: To Villa Serrano (altitude 2100 meters, 120 kilometers / 75 miles, 100% off-road)

After visiting the ancient school building where Ché Guevara was executed and the related sites, you leave towards Villa Serrano. On the suspension bridge over the Rio Grande, you have a picnic lunch and if the conditions are good (mostly the water level) you can go for a swim.

You arrive in Villa Serrano in the afternoon. It is Bolivia’s capital of the charango. Charango a kind of a small, double five-strings guitar, very difficult to play.

Day 5: To Sucre (altitude 2700 meters, 190 kilometers / 118 miles, 30% off-road)

You leave Villa Serrano early in the morning so you can visit the Tarabuco Sunday market. This is the only place in Bolivia where you can take photos of traditionally dressed indigenous people without them turning away.

After lunch, you continue to Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. The rest of the afternoon and evening is for exploring this beautiful colonial city. The entire white painted city center is classified World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Day 6: To Potosí (altitude 4100 meters, 155 kilometers / 96 miles, 0% off-road)

You leave Sucre after lunch. On smooth tarmac, you start to climb towards the altiplano (high planes) until you reach a strange bridge, which you'll intent to ride. The mining city of Potosí, with 4100 meters altitude, is the highest city in the world and also classified Word Heritage by UNESCO. During the ascent, the guides will give you instructions about altitude sickness.

Day 7: The silver mines in Potosí

In the morning, you'll visit the miner’s market where you can buy anything, ranging from coca leaves to dynamite. Here you do some interesting shopping to have some "boys fun" later.

Then you continue to the mines where you will be "geared up" and descent into the belly of Pacha Mama (mother earth) to visit the 500 year old, still operating silver mines. This activity is not suitable for those who don’t like small spaces.

After lunch, you visit the Casa de la Moneda (the mint house) museum. Once, every single coin used in the western world was coined in Potosí.

Day 8: To Uyuni (altitude 3700 meters, 205 kilometers / 127 miles, 5% off-road)

Crossing incredible canyon scenery, passing tiny villages, watching for vicuñas (family of camelids), emus (ostrich family bird) and thousands of lamas, you arrive at the small mining village of Pulacayo. Here you walk a little around the ancient railway station, the mine entrance and you climb the train wagon with which the American outlaws Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid arrived in Bolivia.

Next break is Uyuni where you visit the train grave yard, a fantastic collection of discarded railway material dating back to the 19th century. This includes at least a dozen steam locomotives. Perfect for photo shooting.

Day 9: Salar de Uyuni day trip (195 kilometers / 121 miles, 90% salt-road)

The Salar de Uyuni is a dried up salt lake, the size of a small country (11,000 square kilometers). Since the largest salt lake of the world has no references whatsoever and because there are only two colors in the world (blue sky and white salt), there is no perspective. You brain will have a meltdown and you can take the weirdest photos (crazy photos with crazy bikers).

On your way, you visit the cactus island Inca Huasi, the salt market, the flags monument, the salt hotel and the Dakar monument.

Day 10: To Tupiza (altitude 2950 meters, 185 kilometers / 115 miles, 20% off-road)

In the morning, you leave Uyuni behind you on a new asphalt road. You will be surprise to find a huge Espresso machine at café Alamo in the small mining village of Atocha, where you have lunch.

Before entering Tupiza, you 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 11: To Tarija (altitude 1860 meters, 205 kilometers / 127 miles, 40% off-road)

When the rubber touches the off-road track, the landscape changes instantly into scenic back country roads with deep canyons. There is no infrastructure in the area, so a picnic lunch is the only option.

The ride to Tarija, the wine capital of Bolivia, is 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. Enjoy a gastronomic highlight.

Day 12: Rest day in Tarija

For those who don't want to rest, you can visit Casa Dorada and Castillo Azul, enjoy wineries tour with a local tour operator, or visit the paleontology museum (extinct mammals).

Day 13: To Villamontes (altitude 390 meters, 245 kilometers / 152 miles, 20% off-road)

Snaking mountain roads take you 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 you are in control, it is a lot less hazardous. Photographers, get ready! And if you miss the part, no problem, you will ride it again.

Day 14: To Abapo (altitude 445 meters, 321 kilometers / 199 miles, 10% off-road)

After all the off-road stages, it is again pleasant to feel asphalt under the tires. The way leads you through the gas production zone of Bolivia. You 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 restaurant here, so you have a Bolivian grill dinner.

Day 15: To Samaipata (206 kilometers / 128 miles, 0% or 20% off-road, variants depending on weather conditions)

The road to Samaipata takes you alternately over sandy tracks or asphalt roads along the Piraí River, the Eastern Cordillera up to Samaipata, your starting point. You leave your bikes behind and hurry to jump into the hotel's pool.

Day 16: To Santa Cruz

Late in the morning, you set off for Santa Cruz where you can relax, hanging around the plaza and do some souvenir shopping. In the evening, you have a farewell dinner.

Day 17: To the airport

Always a sad moment when you say goodbye. But who knows? You won't be the first to come back for more.

Skill level(s) required for this tour:

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

About the motorcycles

Kawasaki KLR 650/685

A reliable “thumper”. One cylinder 650/685cc, no surprises travel bike. The large fuel tank gives it a comfortable range and the seating position is relaxed. Suitable for a passenger.

Honda XR 650 R

This monster would do great in the Dakar rally. With more than 60 HP and less than 140 kg it is like sitting on top of a crate of dynamite (only kickstarter).

Honda XR 650 L

The "little" sister of the XRR. Not as fast, not as light, but with an electric starter and more comfortable suspension and seat.

Suzuki DR 650 SE

The bike for shorter people and woman. Easy to handle. Steers like a razorblade.

About the tour

Safe drive at all time and minimizing potential dangers are Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures' principal concerns. Their tours consist of maximum 6 people, 8 people for groups.

Each tour is accompanied by a 4x4 assistance vehicle with a motorcycle trailer and for some tours also with a spare bike: Luggage, medical material, technical assistance but also offers riders the opportunity to rest during the tour. Riders drive only with a small daypack, containing camera, bike gear, snack, drinks, personal belongings, etc.

Main guide speaks 5 languages, assistance vehicle driver and local guides speak English. The main guide is medically trained and holder of pre-hospital emergency certificates: Recommendations, venous access, arterial pressure, pulse oximeter, basic and emergency drugs, procedures and emergency equipment (spinal board, stifneck). Medication against altitude sickness, snake bite serums.

There will be three communication methods, cellular phone, radio, and satellite. The main guide is equipped with a basic survival kit and an advanced First Aid kit. The main guide includes a PLB system (personal location bacon) registered at the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC).

Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures respects the age, physical conditions and special interests (such as photographers) of their guests, with regard of breaks and drive rhythm. Their main object is to have fun, while traveling, visiting sites and inside the group.

The daily stages are never too long and calculated that even with several flat tires, the daily destination can be reached in any case before darkness. During some breaks, they offer snacks, coca tea and they give specific information about Bolivia. The team is specialized in nature, culture, history, ex-urban art, archaeology, prehistory, and rock art.

Rest days will be in pleasant climatic zones with many options for those who do not want to rest. Laundry service is available 24 hours. You will stay in some choice of good touristic hotels and restaurants (heating, buffet, A/C).

Your family members and friends can follow your adventure via GPS live tracker, at the BMA website and via BMA Facebook where they will post each evening (if possible) a picture from the day stage with a comment.

During the second day, the team offers a two-hour essential briefing on the particularities of Bolivia and safe driving. Before each tour (not before Mission Impossible tour), the Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures team offers "off-road and safe driving" training at the rental price of the bike. Please send inquiry for more information.

Their tours are adventure tours. The team recommends a few days of altitude acclimatization at Samaipata (1650 meters) before starting the tour. Ask them for more details.

Location

This tour will take you to fascinating places in Bolivia, such as Potosi, the highest city in the world, Salar de Uyuni, the biggest salt pan in the world, La Higuera, a small village where Ernesto Ché Guevara was executed, and many more.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Entrances
  • Restaurants
  • 16 nights accommodation
  • Gasoline
  • Motorcycle rental

What's not included

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal items

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Viru-Viru airport (VVI) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is your arrival airport. Direct flights with BOA and Air Europa from Madrid and with American Airlines and BOA from Miami. All offer luggage formula: Piece concept 2 x 23 kg. Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures offers transfer service to / from Samaipata.

Airport: Viru Viru International Airport Airport transfer included: Viru Viru International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 10% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 28 days before arrival.
17 days / 16 nights
from --

Availability

Start: Wednesday May 5, 2021
End: Friday May 21, 2021

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