8 independent reviews for Bolivia tour, tailor made

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 10 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Uyuni Salt Flats. We were fortunate enough to see it after a rainfall and it was looking into a reflective pool.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for any weather we had some hot weather, cold weather, and rain. Also, be prepared for altitude as La Paz starts at over 3000m and everyone reacts to altitude differently.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we used local guides, stayed at a mix of hotels/local homestays, and ate at local restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a wonderful time in Bolivia, we wish we had more time to explore the country more, we'll be back!

review 7 Feb 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Going in the hot spring and watching the sunset at 4900m in Bolivia Getting an Inca tattoo in Cusco. Second Home Peru Hotel was amazing and we would like to come back just to stay in that hotel for a week. The hotel in Salar de Uyuni was incredible.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Going to a different city by airplane everyday was exhausting, especially most of the flight were very early in the morning. I suggest to combine some flights and stay in one place for a few days.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not sure what the question mean.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was truly amazing. We had a great time. Good coordination between local operators and no major errors (except Lima airport, the driver didn't show up and we had to take a taxi). Great hotel choices. Some flight choices were questionable. For example, we took 6:45am flight from La Paz and Uyuni. We got to Uyuni before 8:00am, had to wait till 11am for the tour departure. We could've taken later flight. Also, another day, we had to fly from Uyuni to La Paz to Santa Cruz to Lima while there was a direct flight from La Paz to Lima.

Read the operator's response here:

We are very happy to read that our clients had a marvellous time ! It is very rewarding for a whole team of local operators and trip design to hear that a travel worked out that well. We have some extra comments about the flight schedules. The departures of flights La Paz Uyuni are always at 06:00 and 06:20. Very early but that is it how it they are programmed and sometimes they even decide to go earlier. When you have a private Salar tour or jeep trekking you can start directly after arrival with your flight with the Salar tour. When it is a grouptour you will have to wait until the operator and group are ready for departure. The best alternative for a flight is to take the bus from La Paz to Oruro, from there continue by train to Uyunyi and stay overnight in Uyunyi. The next day the Salar Uyunyi jeep trekking starts, whether as private or group trekking. This combination of bus with train to arrive to Uyunyi is however not offered on all days. It is therefore not very practical for travelers with only few days and compact programs. The flight Uyunyi - La Paz via Santa Cruz to Lima was unfortunately the only connection available for our customers on this particular date.

review 28 Oct 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We had such a wide range of interesting and exciting experiences that it would be difficult to choose just one. From trekking to base camp in the Condoriri Mountains (the snowstorm made it particularly memorable!) to the magnificent spaces of the Uyuni Salt Flats, the legacy of the Jesuits in the Missions to the impoverished lives of some of the indigenous people now, the colonial charm of Sucre and Potosi, the vibrancy and colour of La Paz, the wealth of wildlife in the pampas, the heat, the height, the cold, the people we met (both indigenous and travelling) I could go on.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We had a mixture of private tours with our own guide and driver, and small group tours (Uyuni and pampas) - this worked really well for us. Local hotels are often converted colonial houses, which have a charm of their own. Guides' recommendations for restaurants tended to be higher-end, but the food was excellent and there was no problem at all with food hygiene (we even ate the salads).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We were very aware of concerns for the environment and conservation, particularly in Uyuni and even more so in the pampas - attitudes that we would wish to encourage and support. I hope our visits to local indigenous people may bring some benefit - our small gifts seemed very meagre. We hope we put some money into the local economy, through our choice of local hotels and restaurants rather than big international chains.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an excellent trip - Marcel went to a great deal of trouble to ensure that we covered all the things we wanted to do. The guides and drivers were all outstanding, as was the service and attention to detail. We did not feel that a single moment was wasted, with a good balance of different activities and experiences. I am converted to tailor-made travel (we have mostly done small-group travel before) - you see so much more and can focus on your personal interests. (I am torn between 5 stars and 4 stars, but only because we have been on many wonderful holidays before, and each experience is so different that they cannot be compared. On balance I will go for 5 stars, with the reservation that it is ONE of the best holidays I have ever been on.)

review 22 Jul 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

travelling up from Tupiza past volcanoes and lagoons and over the salt flats

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be careful with public transport! We got stuck in a roadblock protest and the bus couldn`t go any further. The protesters themselves advised us to cross and find a taxi on the other side. Definitely worth doing. Got to our destination in time for the pre-planned activities. Had we stayed with the bus, who knows when we would have got there.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All the hotels appeared to be run by the locals. Our guides were all locals. So the money seemed to be going back into the local communities. It is difficult to assess either of the other 2 criteria.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. A couple of minor hiccups - confusion over when the bus went meant we had to change plans at the last minute, but it all worked out in the end. The roadblock meant we had to organise our own transport then and there. Otherwise everything had been well planned and arranged.

Read the operator's response here:

We are very happy that the overall experience of the holiday for our clients was excellent ! The whole itinerary was tailor made and we did our very best on all trip details. We like to make a small note on the following subject that is mentioned. When road blockades are announced and form part of regional or national strikes itineraries are immediately adapted together with our customers, when they are not foreseen and very local, they are out of control of any operator at that moment, esp. when you travel with public transport and the bus can not continue. All the itineraries can be made with private taxi transfers, in this way you have and more comfort but also more flexibility to make photo stops and in case of a local roadblock you may have alternative small mountain ways to drive around a local strike for instance. The public transport in Bolivia gives a very basic service, that is why in general we recommend all private taxi transfers when this is possible within the given budget.

review 1 Jul 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Bolivia salt flats and altiplano.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take loads of warm clothes its beautiful but freezing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Provided employment locally.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Brilliant.

review 8 Dec 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Amboro and Refugui log Volcanes. Noel Kempf National Park. Altiplano (Sajama and Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve).

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This holiday was in its entirety planned by me, so I guess my advice is to do your research well and plan accordingly.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It's unclear, as in Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve there were blocades and lock-outs, and even the Salar itself was closed after I left. All this is due to the locals strong opinion that their cut is just a drop in the ocean. Which in turn means that my fees in most part does not go to the people in the parks, but the park authorities and local government. I do feel that my trip to Noel Kempf National park did benefit the people of Florida, as 2 locals (the driver Enrique and the guide Ronald) were employed during my trip. The same goes for the spectacularly well run Refugio los Volcanes - all employees with children are Bolivian, but I'm not certain that they are locals. In Amboro/Chalalan my visit did benefit the local people as the entire establishment is owned and operated by them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Awesome!

Read the operator's response here:

The itinery that we developed together with this client was not a classical roundtour but a very specific journey for nature photography and nature experience throughout the best national parks of Bolivia among others. We were very happy of course to hear that the expecations for his travel were met. We always work with and for the clients to be able to give the travel experience and services they are looking for. We have developed already a specialized photography and nature trip through Brasil and we will design the same for Peru & Colombia. We work as much as possible with local people, to support local hostels, refuges and services like we did in this tailor made itinerary so that the benefits go to the local communities in one way or another.

review 9 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

El Salar De Uyuni.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't go during the rain season but around December, I think the weather is better and the rain can begin so maybe there is also water in the Salar, but not too much so that we can really visit it entirely.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

No because apart for some nights spent in people's house in small villages, we went to big hotels and didn't go to see a lot of small communities..

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was really good.

Read the operator's response here:

It all depends where travelers wish to go on their roundtour if they can directly support local communities. We do offer excursions to local communities and accommodations that are operated fully by local indigenous communities of which the income stays within the community. Below this review we give three examples. 1) The Eco-Lodge San Miguel del Bala - Community Ecotourism was built at the initiative of the Tacana community of San Miguel for lovers of nature, adventure and indigenous culture. The tourism operation will help to conserve and maintain the culture Tacana. Tacana maintain the culture through the appreciation of history, such as crafts, dances, language, architecture, stories and music. San Miguel del Bala is located in the municipality of San Buenaventura, Abel Iturralde Province, Department of La Paz, Bolivia. It is in the catchment area of the Madidi National Park and within the TCO Tacana (The Tacana people`s territory). 2) Visit with a possible overnight stay at JATUN YAMPARA. Located 23 km from the city of Sucre, at 3100 mts. s.n.m. , Tarabuco route, is the Indian Core Jatun Yampara which is a new option for tourism, symbolizes the efforts of a tourism business in the city which claims that the benefits of this activity to reach the rural area and thus can community members to improve their standard of living. The visitor to this place, on a short hike, you can see native houses, their way of life, customs and have a small coexistence with residents from the community. Background on Yamparas: - In the late sixteenth century, northern Chuquisaca characterized by the presence of various ethnic groups, various documents and testimonies agree Yamparas identify as the main group of people who inhabited this region of Chuquisaca, this group existed prior to Inca presence in the area .. This culture belonged politically to 3 domains: The Lordship of Quila - Quila, the Yampara Jatun Manor (manor vanished which the exact location is unknown, but according to documentation is believed to have been between the pampas and Yotala Yampara) and the Lordship of Yotala, these domains have disappeared and only in the case of Quila - Quila and Yotala have been the name in the current population. They were devoted mainly to the development of tissues which are characterized by the originality and colorful designs and today have artisan and tourism value, it was a traditional practice in the beginning, only to meet the need of personal clothing, their current high value money can be utilized for the sale or barter for other goods, for which the Yamparas on Sundays to attend Tarabuco for the sale of tissues and / or stock up on supplies for the week. The Quechua-speaking yamparas mostly owned much of what is now the province Oropeza, Chuquisaca Department, thus made a gift of some of their land to the Spanish crown to the founding of the Villa La Plata, now Sucre, so that the population was divided Yampara, surrounding the city and relegated to the end of two ethnic groups in northern ayllus above (J'alcas) and south ayllus below (Tarabucos) likewise kept the roots their music, their dances and customs. Jatun Yampara supports in different ways the operation of the small school community that welcomes 25 children. 3) The Tayka hotels in the Uyunyi saltflat area which can be visited on private 4x4 jeep tours are operated by local communities. Their mission is to contribute to improving the quality of life of indigenous Southwestern Potosi via a model of community tourism, by the inclusion of the communities in limited liability companies as fundamental dynamic actors and shareholders of hotel companies, produces a multiplier effect of economic and social benefits.

review 28 Oct 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The trip to San Miguel del Bala.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Expect the unexpected and go with the flow. if going to the Eco Lodge at Bal Tours, take a head torch, a padlock and crocs. Also be prepared to be bitten very badly by mosquitoes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

More than some holidays, but I feel that many of my guides were paid little and work hard for their employers who take most of the money. There was a lot of litter around, much of which is dropped by tourists.

Read the operator's response here:

We always stimulate travelers to tip local guides when they are satisfied with the given services according to what they feel is appropriate. It is unfortunately the reality of working as a guide in general worldwide, that they have to earn an important part of their living by tips for maintaining their lives & families. Even the salaries of European tourguides, although relatively much higher in relation to their Latin American collegues, are far not enough for making a good living and not according to the management qualities requested. See also our remarks on this issue on our site under Responsible Travel. In office of the local touroperator you can always inform the employer that you are very satisfied with the services given (this protects their work) and by sending photos, dvds or presents to your guide later when you are home again, you can always express your gratitude for the special moments received.

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Unedited reviews from other travellers

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
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