Sumaj P’unchay Bolviaman Yachakujkuna!
We hope that your preparations for the Summer are going well and that the excitement is building around our upcoming experience in Bolivia. As a team we’re really looking forward to meeting you and introducing you to a very special country. We’ve created what we believe is a very fun, educational and powerful experience for you all. Following is the tentative itinerary for this Summer, please give this a read and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to be in touch.
What we present here is our rough summer itinerary overview. The specific dates may vary by a few days here and there depending on travel needs, but overall this will be the flow of our course. At Dragons, we intentionally keep our itineraries flexible so that we can take advantage of unexpected opportunities and best craft the trip to your unique interests. Moreover, as you will soon learn, travel in the Andes is not an exact science and we’ll all soon become Bolivian travel yogis able to bend, stretch, and breathe into the flexible schedules of Bolivian life.
Week 1: We’ll begin our course in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest city. You’ll arrive at Viru Viru international airport and then we’ll travel together to our orientation site in Samaipata, a beautiful town in the semi-tropical eastern lowlands. All Dragon’s programs begin with an orientation which lasts two to three days. During this time we’ll give you all the information you need to have a safe, productive and fulfilling experience here in Bolivia. We’ll also dedicate time to getting to know one another and establishing our goals as a group.
After our orientation we’ll move to Bolivia’s original capital city, Sucre. Sucre is a very picturesque colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also a cultural hub for both lowland and highland peoples. We’ll explore the city, museums and other cultural centers as we prepare for our first trek in the hills outside the city.
From Sucre we’ll head out to the Cordillera de Los Frailes for our first trek. We’ll walk through stunning landscapes, waterfalls and one of the largest collections of Dinosaur footprints in the world to reach the crater of Maragua. We’ll spend three days and two nights hiking before returning to Sucre.
Week 2: From Sucre we’ll travel by bus to Cochabamba, our homebase for the program. We will be based out of the Dragon’s program house on an organic farm in the pueblo of Tiquipaya, outside the city of Cochabamba. Here is where you’ll begin the homestay experience. You’ll be living with local families in Tiquipaya, sharing in their everyday lives.
In Tiquipaya we’ll also begin Spanish language classes. The classes will be in small groups with very experienced teachers who will help you gain the language skills you’ll need to communicate with your homestay family.
In Tiquipaya you’ll also be able to develop your Independent Study Project, or ISP in Dragons lingo. You’ll have the opportunity to choose a topic that interests you; art, cooking, music, etc, and we’ll provide you with a local mentor who will guide you through learning about that topic here in Bolivia.
When you’re not at your ISP or with your families there will be guest speakers or other events during the day which will help you understand a variety of topics related to Bolivian politics, history, spirituality and a host of other topics.
Week 3: The first part of our third week in Bolivia will be a continuation of all the activities from the second week. However we will start winding down and preparing ourselves to say goodbye to our homestay families and head out once again. Towards the end of the week we will depart Tiquipaya and begin our Expedition Phase. Now that you will have some experience in country and more skills with language and navigating a new place, it will be time for the group to have more control and responsibility. As a group you’ll be responsible for helping plan and carry out the activities of the X-Phase. Don’t stress, we’ll be there to help you plan and guide you through the whole process.
Week 4: The last week of our program here in Bolivia. We’ll wrap up expedition phase and begin to wind down and reflect on the experience as a whole. We’ll travel to the Yungas, the tropical region outside of the city of La Paz, where we will experience the unique and beautiful Afro-Bolivian culture. During this time we’ll also have our transference phase, the part of the course where we look back on what we’ve done and being to apply what we’ve learned and experienced to our lives at home. Finally at the end of the week we’ll get a chance to explore the city of La Paz before returning to Santa Cruz for the international flight back home.
This summer promises to be a really full experience. We’re so excited to get started! Again, if you have any questions about the itinerary please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Sandy, Sarah and Luis