October 27 to November 6, 2012
A tour to see the biodiversity of Bolivia including potatoes, wheat, maize, barley and citrus. Cochabamba is Bolivia’s fourth largest city and where we begin our Andean ag-venture atLos Portales and Pairumani, a large country estate that today houses an organic, biodynamic dairy farm and seed-saving center that specializes in Andean grains and tubers. We will be briefed on Andean agricultural systems by the PROINPA Foundation, a local NGO that provides organizational and technical support to small farmers throughout Bolivia and has built up a seed bank of over 2000 varieties of potatoes, as well as other lesser known Andean crops such as Oca, Quinoa and Canawa.
La Paz, Bolivia’s capital city, spread across a dramatic highland valley at 3600 meters above sea level. La Paz will keep you spellbound by its incredible views, hilly, narrow streets, small shops and plethora of native crafts and woolens. We will sample local cheeses and Bolivian wines.
Then it is on to Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s largest and highest freshwater lake that Bolivia shares with Peru. We cross Titicaca by boat, arriving at the traditional Aymara village of Santiago de Okola, located at the base of a scenic mountain referred to locally as the Sleeping Dragon. Enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by local families who explain how they have grown quinoa, canawa and other Andean crops for centuries. Learn their ancient weaving techniques and local history before returning to La Paz and then on for a day-trip to the steamy cloud forests of the Yungas region, located on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
This time, the village of Coroico is our destination where we will visit coffee and coca plantations. The coca leaf has been a traditional crop of the Bolivian people for thousands of years and has many medicinal and spiritual purposes, as well as its more notorious uses.
Learn of the agro-biodiversity and culture of the Andean people. A possible Peru Add-On to the Inca capital of Cusco and Macchu Picchu is available.