For the first time, Andean Textile Arts is offering a Bolivian artisan tour. While the inaugural tour is already full for August 2019, we expect this to be an annual event, in addition to our popular annual Peruvian Highlands Tour.
Bolivia will provide us with natural wonders to explore, along with traditional arts, cultures, and bustling markets. We’ll visit the lowland artisans of ArteCampo in Santa Cruz who produce indigenous and campesino craft goods and weave with the jipijapa palm.
From Santa Cruz we’ll fly to Sucre, one of Bolivia’s most charming cities. There we’ll take a walking tour and visit ASUR, a nonprofit that helps weaving communities, such as Jalq’a and Tarabuco, maintain their traditions by promoting the production and sale of their high-quality textiles. We’ll have a demonstration by the highland weavers of Chochebamba and the next day visit one of the most famous markets in all of Bolivia, the Sunday Tarabuco market, where the local people still wear traditional dress and sell their local products.
From there, we’ll travel to Potosi, a town that came into existence after the discovery of silver in 1545. We’ll visit the Miners’ Market and see the silver collection at the Royal Mint House, a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’ve ever heard the expression “worth a Potosi,” here’s where it originated.
Next, we’ll drive to the Salar de Uyuni, an area that contains over 4,000 square miles of salt plains, the most extensive in the world, and settle into our salt hotel to watch the sunset over the plains and enjoy some of the brightest stargazing in the world.
As we travel higher into the Andes, we’ll visit the textile collection of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz, explore the ruins of imperial Tiahuanacu, and view La Paz and the nearby mountain Illimani from above on the teleferico.
Our explorations in Bolivia will be guided by Kevin Healy and Raul Callanaupa. After being a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, Kevin worked for several decades for the Inter-American Foundation serving Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. He is the author of Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate, a book that features success stories of grass-roots development. Raul runs Day Hikes and Self-Guided Tours Peru, and has been a popular and beloved guide for us in Peru for many years.
Our visit to Bolivia promises to be a great adventure and we will be sure to report back, share photos of the highlights, and invite you all to be part of this tour in 2020.
Pamela Art, former president and publisher of Storey Publishing, joined the ATA board in 2014. She now organizes and directs tours on behalf of ATA.