Show Me Your Titicacas

Trip Region: South America
Country(ies): Bolivia
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $2262
Airfare Estimate: $1588
Nightlife: 3   •   Activity: 2

Do you like motor boating? As a child, were you frustrated by the training wheels on your bike? Are you excited by the prospect of taking the best jumping pic ever? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the trek for you! Come join 5 section 6-ers on an epic journey through one of South America’s best kept secrets. Get ready to get your adrenaline fix biking down (down being the operative word) the world’s most dangerous road, snap some epic photos on the stunning salt flats, kick it with the likes of flamingos, parrots, spider monkeys, and white lipped peccary, whatever those are, and get schooled at slap cup against the backdrop of a jungle symphony produced by a variety of nocturnal animals. The trip will culminate in a visit to the famed Lake Titicaca, which was funny in third grade, and is even funnier now. Just think how many likes you’ll get on Facebook.

Day 1 — Friday, Aug 28

Leave Detroit and fly to La Paz. Our Bolivian adventure has begun!

Day 2 — Saturday, Aug 29

Downhill mountain biking in Coroico on the "World’s Most Dangerous Road." We will weave our way down hair-raising turns with steep, 1000 meter drops to one side. This 60 km. long, adrenaline-packed adventure brings us down to 1700 meters above sea level, passing through mountain grasslands, grazing llamas, alpacas and dramatic cliffs. At the end of the journey, we will pack up our equipment and head back to La Paz.

Day 3 — Sunday, Aug 30

Fly to Uyuni. Visit the great Salt Flats and on the way pass by the town of Cochani where we will visit the local artisan plant where the salt is processed and learn how salt is B2extracted from the Flats. Then we will proceed to the Incahuasi Island, also known as Fish Island, where one can observe the "giant cactus" and have lunch on the Salt Flats. Then we will visit the 800 year old mummies of Coquesa and continue on to the town of San Juan where we will stay overnight.

Day 4 — Monday, Aug 31

Today we will travel south to visit the Cache lagoons, Hedionda, Chiarkhota and Honda, and then continue on to the Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) and side trips around the lagoon to see the famous james flamingoes, a species unique to the Andean region. We will see the Borax sediments commonly known as “The Perennial Ice” and the Sol de Mañana Geysers, and will also visit the Chalviri Lagoon and the Polques thermal waters. The tour continues down to the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) before heading north to the town of Villamar.

Day 5 — Tuesday, Sep 01

Visit the Rock Art site and the town of Tomas Lakjas. Return to the city of Uyuni visiting along the way the Valley of the Rocks and the towns of Culpina K and San Cristobal.

Day 6 — Wednesday, Sep 02

Fly to Rurrenabaque, then take a motor boat to Madidi Park - the home of Bolivia's tropical rainforest. The trip up the Beni and Tuichi Rivers takes three hours and is a great opportunity to see the flora, fauna ,and impressive landscape that Madidi has to offer, such as the Bala Canyon. We will make our way to Caquiahuara where we will have the chance to observe the nesting wall used by the red and green macaws and other species of parrots. (Bird sighting can be done anytime during the year, however, it is more frequent from July to October). Today will also include a 3-4 hour guided trek along the Tareche Trail to the Aguapolo River. This is an opportunity to observe a variety of bird species, mainly macaws and parrots, and potentially primates and mammals like the white lipped peccary, the black spider monkey, and the red howler monkey. After watching the sunset from the natural Tuichi viewpoint, we'll enjoy dinner and a night trek into the jungle to observe the nocturnal wildlife.

Day 7 — Thursday, Sep 03

Take a 3-4 hour guided walk along the Biwa path, where black spider monkeys are often encountered. This is an opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife such as the white lipped peccary, black spider monkey, red howler monkey, toucans, guans and many more birds. We will also take a 3-4 hour guided walk along the Mapajo Trail. Along this trail, we can appreciate the giant trees of the Amazon jungle. Accompanied by a local guide, who will provide an in-depth explanation of the diverse species of plants used for medicinal, practical and the ancestral purposes, it is a great opportunity to understand and appreciate the ecosystems and observe the pristine environment. Traditional dinner served today followed by a talk provided on the history of the local Uchupiamonas Indigenous Community.

Day 8 — Friday, Sep 04

Trek for 4 hours along the Wabu Path, to the place called “Cullpana” Salt Lick, which is a particular area in the rainforest where various animals gather to obtain important mineral salt from the substrata. Also in this area some animals use the mud pools as bathing area. This trail offers the possibility to observe white lipped peccary, red howler monkey, brown capuchin monkey, tapirs, toucan, guans, and many different birds. After the trek, we will return to Rurrenabaque by boat and will have the chance to see exotic species such as the black caiman, capybara, tapir or the giant river otter. Fly to La Paz at the end of the day.

Day 9 — Saturday, Sep 05

Travel from La Paz to Copacabana. The tour starts in the city of La Paz at 3640 meters above the sea level, and continues along the enormous high plateau all the way to the Titicaca Lake located at 3810 meters above the sea level. We will cross the strait of Tiquina which is the narrowest part of the entire lake, dividing the lake in two: the small section known as Wiñaymarka and the large section known as Chucuito. Continue the trip by the side of agriculture terraces built during the Chiripa, Tiwanaku and Inca civilizations. Arrival at Copacabana and accommodation at Hotel Rosario Lago Titicaca. Afterwards, we will take a motor boat towards the southern part of the Sun Island and visit the Pilkocaina Temple, hike up to the Yumani community to see the village, the Fountain and the Inca Staircase. We'll take the boat back to Copacabana and transfer to Mountain cerruni where we will paraglide for an hour, then take a short visit to the renaissance style church where you will find the Patron Virgin Mary of Bolivia, the handicraft shops and the local product market.

Day 10 — Sunday, Sep 06

Fly from La Paz to Detroit. Time to get some shut-eye before classes start on Tuesday!

Vijay "Real Smooth" Ramanavarapu

Vijay is the second most interesting man in the world – a perfect blend of approachable yet mysterious. Even though we all know that if you’re not first, you’re last, Vijay made the cut because this trek needed an adult. Don’t be fooled by his deceptively youthful looks, Vijay is older, wiser, and accordingly a touch cynical. If you’re eager to learn more about the fascinating world of drugs (pharmaceuticals, people), hear about living in China, or effectively peer pressure someone by simply asking twice, Vijay is your guy. A true thrill-seeker, he’s looking forward to attempting to chat up Latin women and of course, biking down the death road.

Theme Song for Life: All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled
Secret Weapon: My charisma
Self-describing Cocktail: Vesper

Josie "Yogi" John

Josie is living testament to the marvels of modern medicine. Having visited the ER in multiple countries, she’s sure to liven up the trip at some point between the death road and an evening jaunt into the rainforest. Though she can’t eat wheat or dairy, she can consume tequila and is always willing to share/ guilt you into joining her in one more one last shot. We’ve asked Josie to pack a self-addressed envelope so we can mail her dignity back to her when she loses it on the dance floor. Josie looks forward to eating inordinate amounts of rice and meat, being saved by Danny Bay Watch-style, and celebrating making it through the first year of business school without using numbers.

Theme Song for Life: Good Life – Kanye West
Secret Weapon: Unexpected, disarming sense of humor
Self-describing Cocktail: Margarita, no salt

Perry "Compact" Williams

Perry is living proof that anyone can survive winter in Ann Arbor with a little grit and determination. A native of Mississippi and stranger to the cold, Perry agreed to lead this trek at the mere mention of tropical climate. He was later sold on the promise of epic selfies on the salt flats, salsa dancing through La Paz, and early morning squat workouts (though the latter has since been removed from the itinerary). Last fall, Perry out-sprinted several of his peers at MBA games. Perry has made it his personal mission to see if he can also outrun an alpaca, so there’s that to look forward to. Perry loves America and can’t wait to party in Bolivia like it’s a party in the U.S.A.

Theme Song for Life: Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
Secret Weapon: Lightening fast
Self-describing Cocktail: Black Russian

Susanna "Cookie Monster" Chan

Unlike Taylor Swift, Susanna is a daydream dressed like, well, a daydream. As part of the Positivity Lab at Ross, she’s the perfect antidote to Vijay’s biting sarcasm. As a Public Health dual degree, she is sure to be a calming voice of reason on this trip…which is necessary, because Josie is terrified of birds. Sweet with a hint of snark, Susanna is always down for a good time and is looking forward to exploring the rainforest and dipping her toes into the pristine lagoons. The quintessential girl next door, Susanna will help us charm our way through Bolivia with her smile and flawless Spanish. If that fails, she’ll intimidate the locals with her impressive guns. We all win either way.

Theme Song for Life: Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
Secret Weapon: Tennis backhand
Self-describing Cocktail: Bahama Mama

Danny "The Bear Jew" Sacher

Danny is the closest thing to a Jewish mother you’ll ever have. Unless you’re Jewish, in which case he’s like your mother, but hairier and likely taller. Well that got weird. Danny was initially asked to join the group to bring up our average height and because he’s a lifeguard. It turns out he’s got a lot more to offer. Danny is a crusher extraordinaire. When taking a break from crushing consulting cases, Danny crushes it at the box (don’t worry, no Crossfit talk will be tolerated on this trek), on the slopes, and in the kitchen. If Danny gets interrogated upon our arrival in Bolivia, don’t fret. He’s just smuggling in onions and mushrooms cooked in bacon fat in the name of breakfast. His frittata will knock your socks off, but don’t worry, you won’t need those in Bolivia anyway.

Theme Song for Life: Die Young – Ke$ha
Secret Weapon: My Arsenal of Kitchen Supplies
Self-describing Cocktail: Old Fashioned