- Bolivia -
- spirit of the andes -
- itinerary -
Our journey begins at the Miami airport, where we will meet and travel together to Bolivia. Landing at the El Alto International Airport, the highest international airport in the world, we are greeted by snow-capped peaks and dramatic views of the city of La Paz. Upon arrival we take a short domestic flight to Sucre, the judicial capital of Bolivia and a beautiful colonial city in the southern part of the country. Heading into the surrounding hillsides, we arrive to Candelaria, a small town famous for it’s rich textile traditions. We settle in for three days of workshops on intercultural communication, goal setting, group dynamics, and introductory lessons on Bolivian culture, politics, and language. We also take time to relax, hike in nearby canyons and mountains, and get to know each other and the community around us. After orientation, we return to Sucre to explore the rich history and culture of this charming city. We also take this time to prepare for our first trek in the unique Frailes Range. We partner with Condor Trekkers, a socially-oriented trekking company, who work to support local community initiatives in the Sucre countryside.
Departing for our first trek, we backpack for four days through the stunning Cordillera de los Frailes. Our route will take us through an ancient crater, past cave drawings and dinosaur footprints, below beautiful waterfalls, and through several Quechua communities known for their brilliant weavings. During this time we come together as a group and begin to hone our trekking skills. Ascending to the altiplano (high plain) that flanks the Andes, we then travel to Potosí, one of the most historically significant cities in Bolivia. We visit an active mine, learning about the history of natural resource extraction in the region, social and political mobilization, and contemporary mining realities. We will also partner with Connatsop, a union of child laborers, which will provide insight into labor and development issues in Latin America.
|From Potosí we travel overland to Cochabamba, the bread-basket of Bolivia and site of important political activism. We settle in for a week of homestays in the semi-rural community of Tiquipaya, connecting with a local family while participating in intensive language classes. Afternoons are dedicated to Independent Study Projects, with potential topics including weaving, Andean music and dance, socio-political issues, traditional agriculture, and Bolivian cooking. We also meet with guest speakers and learn about the vibrant history of social mobilization in the region.|
|Returning to La Paz, we head into the Expedition Phase of our program, in which students take on increased ownership over planning and logistics. For five days, the group leads us on a trek from the high Andes down into the tropical cloud forest below. This time allows us to take in the breath-taking scenery, while discussing conservation issues and observing the stark ecological transitions between glaciated peaks and lush montane forests. We close out our time together in a beautiful eco-lodge in Coroico, in the magical Yungas region of La Paz. Here we reflect on our journey, celebrate our time together, and prepare for the transition home.|