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Cacti of Bolivia

Searching for the biological treasures of the High Andes

14 Days – 13 Nights

Starts in Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Ends in Tarija.

Tour runs on request – Prices based on group size.

Landlocked Bolivia is a biological paradise nestled in the heart of southern South America. Surrounded by Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, Bolivia’s rich and diverse territory is clerarly split into a wet eastern slope -where the Bolivian lowlands form part of the Amazon Basin- and a dry western slope, dominated by the mighty Andes. Bolivia’s tropical lowlands occupy roughly 70% of the country’s land mass. Cacti species are not as diverse here as they are in western Bolivia given the type of habitat, but the area is incredibly rich in other wildlife.

It is on the Andean foothills -where the habitat turns into dry forests surrounded by impressive cliffs- that Bolivian cacti species start showing in good numbers and with great diversity. The habitat continues to be a forest -rather dense in some areas- all the way to Cochabamba, where scenery becomes really spectacular, with the forest merging into fertile basins with long ribbons of cultivated crops.

Continuing northwards from Santa Cruz, we will finally reach the “Altiplano”at around 3,650 meters (12,000 feet). It is here that we will be rewarded with the most spectacular vistas of the Andes, as we will visit the famous Lake Titicaca. Cacti species in this area are incredible, and examples of Neowerdermannia, Corryocactus, Sulcorebutia and Orecereus will be among the numerous species that we will see here. From the heights of La Paz, we will loop southwards, to spend the last few days of our journey visiting the three south westernmost departments of Bolivia: Oruro, Potosí and Tarija, where we expect to find a diversity of Lobivia, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia and other wonderful examples of Andean cacti.

Our Bolivian cacti expeditions start in the lowlands of Santa Cruz, and over the next 14 days we slowly climb up to the high Andes, reaching roughly the 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). They are scheduled to run during the peak of cacti blooming season, and making sure to spend enough time in the field to enjoy watching as many cacti as possible, but also to discover Bolivia’s unique flora and fauna, making frequent stops to take pictures of the breathtaking lanscapes, and to watch birds, mammals and places.

Our itinerary in a Nutshell

Our journey starts in Santa Cruz where you will be welcomed by your Trogon Tours’ leader. Our two-week overland journey to discover Bolivia’s cacti, its wildlife and culture starts here. From day 1 to day 4 we will explore the dry forests and Andean crevasses between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, looking for such cacti species as Cleistocactus samaipatanus, Echinopsis obrepanda, Gymnocalycium pflanzii and Hildewintera colademononis to name but a few. We will leave Cochabamba in the morning of day 5, to start exploring the Bolivian “Altiplano” all the way to La Paz. On day 6 we will have the chance to go visiting Lake Titicaca and finally, on day 7, we will turn down to the south, all the way to Oruro. We expect to see in the Altiplano area such cacti species as  Oreocereus pseudofossulatus, Rebutia steimanni var. eucalyptana and Austrocylindropuntia teres among others. On day 8 we will set off from Oruro, to start our visit to the westernmost part of Bolivia. This day we will drive all the way to Potosí, looking for such species as Maihuaniopsis boliviana, Tunilla orurensis, Lobivia pugionacantha and Rebutia haagei. On day 9, we will start a loop that will take us from Potosí, to Sucre and back through a different road on day 10. During these two days, we will look for species like Gymnocalycium millaresii, Weingartia platygona, Trichocereus pachanoi, Blossfeldia liliputana, and at least four of the Sulcorebutias. On days 12 and 13 we will explore the south westernmost corner of Bolivia, the area around Tarija, where we will have the opportunity to enjoy watching an incredible variety of cacti. Some five species of Rebutia, Lobivia tiegeliana, Sulcorebutia pilayensis, Cleistocactus tarijensis, Cereus hankeanus, Trichocereus caulescens and Cintia knizei are only a few of the many species that we expect to find along the way, during the last part of our Bolivia expedition. On day 14 we will drive to Tarija, where the tour ends at the local airport.

Tour highlights

Around 110 species of Bolivian cacti. Lake Titicaca. The Bolivian High Andes. An incredible wildlife diversity. Unique photo opportunities for fauna, flora and landscapes.

Best time to go

This tour is possible during the dry season only, which in the areas visited is between May and ends of October, but cacti blooming season is at its best here in September and October.

What is included?

Private transportation for all transfers and excursions. Accommodations on a twin/double basis. Single supplements on request. Full time Trogon Tours’ leader to accompany the group from day 1 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra to day 14 in Tarija. All breakfasts, lunches, box-lunches and dinners with one non alcoholic drink per person/meal. Admission fees to all national parks and nature reserves.

What is not included?

International and domestic airfares and airport taxes. Tips to guides, drivers, hotel & restaurants personnel, etc. Personal travel and medical insurance. Anything not specified in “What is included?”