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AA/G3: JFK to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia from $1212

AA/G3: JFK to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia from $1212

Old Mar 7, 22, 12:30 pm
  #46  
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by tfizzle View Post
I got $1200 PDX DFW GRU VVI. But is there anything really to do in this city. Or good day trips?
Think of it as an entry into Bolivia... you have La Paz (1 hour flight) Lake Titicaca (4 hours north of La Paz), Solar de Uyuni and can use it as stepping stone towards the Atamaca desert in Chile or even Peru...
Intra-Bolivia flights seem affordable, intra-South America can have insane pricing....
jfkeze is offline  
Old Mar 7, 22, 12:33 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by tfizzle View Post
I got $1200 PDX DFW GRU VVI. But is there anything really to do in this city. Or good day trips?
DISCLAIMER - I've visited, La Paz, Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca on a previous trip many years ago. NEVER been to Santa Cruz but Lonely Planet has nice things to say about the city.

Depending on what time of the year and how much time you have, you can do a few things around town. Salar de Uyuni is THE experience people go to Bolivia for but it's seasonal and will probably cost you a lot from Santa Cruz.

The following tour operators are recommended by LP (I have NO personal experience with them)

https://www.nicksadventuresbolivia.c...on/santa-cruz/

https://www.amborotours.com/full-day-tours.html

I have the best memories of Bolivia even though I visited southern Peru (Machu Pichu, Cuzco, etc), northern Chile (Santiago and north by bus to Peru!) and western and northern Argentina (Mendoza and Salta).

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Mar 7, 22, 2:40 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Note that Uyuni's good season is right now, between Dec to Apr. For most dates booked above, it would fall into their dry season and I would not recommend going there. Basically, you need rain water to cover the salt flat, for the mirror effect to show up. It's definitely a one-in-a-lifetime destination, just not something to be taken advantage of via this deal.
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ezak is offline  
Old Mar 7, 22, 2:41 pm
  #49  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Originally Posted by Sandy Hopper View Post
Nice. Are you taking your family of five then?

Multi city on aa.com lured me into ANC-DFW-LAX-MIA-GRU-VVI VVI-GRU-JFK-MIA-LAX-HNL and then wouldn't let me pay for it.
IIRC, the fare rules limit 2 transfer each way within the US. Probably that's why this itinerary wouldn't work?
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Old May 5, 22, 9:50 am
  #50  
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Just a heads up, this fare is still around from for instance:

Boston



Seattle



Chicago



San Diego

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Old May 6, 22, 8:52 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by ezak View Post
Note that Uyuni's good season is right now, between Dec to Apr. For most dates booked above, it would fall into their dry season and I would not recommend going there. Basically, you need rain water to cover the salt flat, for the mirror effect to show up. It's definitely a one-in-a-lifetime destination, just not something to be taken advantage of via this deal.
Just to add: Just finished a two night Salt Flat tour yesterday (so in May). Got to see the mirror effect and yes, that was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. So not entirely sure that going after April is such a bad idea. Our guide told us that there is basically never a guarantee that you will see it (eg. If there is wind).

Also, the tour is so much more than just the mirror effect. The salt flat perspective photos, mars like landscapes, canyons, hot springs, geysers, flamingo’s, red/blue/green lakes, etc. All of which are much easier to see in the dry season. For example, if you go during the wet season, most tours - from what I understand - will stay one of the two nights in Uyuni (the city) and not two in the middle of nowhere (which I found to be amazing!).

Hope this helps anyone!
gnargel is online now  
Old May 6, 22, 9:48 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
For example, if you go during the wet season, most tours - from what I understand - will stay one of the two nights in Uyuni (the city) and not two in the middle of nowhere (which I found to be amazing!).

Hope this helps anyone!
Would you recommend any tour operator?
planes&trains is offline  
Old May 7, 22, 12:23 am
  #53  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Originally Posted by gnargel View Post
Just to add: Just finished a two night Salt Flat tour yesterday (so in May). Got to see the mirror effect and yes, that was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. So not entirely sure that going after April is such a bad idea. Our guide told us that there is basically never a guarantee that you will see it (eg. If there is wind).

Also, the tour is so much more than just the mirror effect. The salt flat perspective photos, mars like landscapes, canyons, hot springs, geysers, flamingo’s, red/blue/green lakes, etc. All of which are much easier to see in the dry season. For example, if you go during the wet season, most tours - from what I understand - will stay one of the two nights in Uyuni (the city) and not two in the middle of nowhere (which I found to be amazing!).

Hope this helps anyone!
Glad to hear you got to see the mirror effect in May! If you search for a yearly precipitation chart of Uyuni, you'll see that starting from May, chance of rain drops to around 5%, which means it's certainly still possible for the mirror effect to show (just like you experienced) but it shouldn't be expected if one only visits for a 2 or 3-day tour. I went to Uyuni two years ago in March (last trip before Covid) so I've done ample research on the weather patterns. During the wet season, they have daily sunrise and sunset tours going to the salt flats, which costs around $20/person and takes only 2-3 hours. What I did was going on these tours everyday while staying at a hotel in Uyuni town. If I recall correctly, I pretty much had a mirror every time I went, so even if there's wind on some days, you'd have to be really unlucky to miss the mirror throughout the trip. Of course, the area has many more sceneries to offer, so if the mirror effect is only a bonus, visiting in the dry season is not a bad idea at all.

By the way, how has tourism recovered in the area? Are there enough operators and tourists to allow good availability? When I went, I didn't have to make any advance reservations because when there's so much business, something is always available, even for the longer trips going into Chile.
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Old May 7, 22, 1:32 am
  #54  
 
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I did it in the driest season a few years ago, and I still got to see the effect. This is because in the north side, there is always a large puddle in front of the gateway to Coquesa, and you can almost always see a nice mirror effect there, and if you put your camera close enough to the ground, it turns into a virtual full-width mirror. The water leaks from the volcanoes from the north into this area so it will get wet regardless of the season. You will need a 2-day tour and ask the tour group if you want to go to Coquesa.
Also, when you arrive in Uyuni, you will be surrounded by tour operators back in the days and you can easily negotiate things out, 2-5 days can be easily arranged, nowadays it may be different.
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Old May 7, 22, 9:16 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Changing the topic back to the deal itself... has anyone been able to select seats on the GOL flights? I tried online, but it always errored out. Then I contacted GOL via Twitter, but they told me to contact AA. Then of course aa.com says to contact GOL. It's just a premium economy seat, so not a big deal and certainly not worth waiting on the phone for hours to figure out, but I'd just like to know if there're other "tricks" to get it done. Thanks!
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Old May 7, 22, 10:46 am
  #56  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by jfkeze View Post
Just a heads up, this fare is still around from for instance:

Boston



Seattle


Chicago


San Diego
It seems there's no way to get this to populate as a special fare on AA unless I'm missing something? This destination doesn't appear in the AA vacations search.
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Old May 7, 22, 11:16 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by planes&trains View Post
Would you recommend any tour operator?
I used red planet expeditions. Recommended in the lonely planet too. Loved every minute of it. Not luxurious by any means though, although I even had a room with a shower during one of the two nights. Food was quite good too (vegetarian). Think it mostly caters to a younger crowd (at least the rest of my group was younger, but they were fun people).

Doing just a day tour from Uyuni does not do this place justice I believe. The rest is just otherworldly too. The landscape just keeps changing hour after hour and continues to be stunning.

Guide told me that they break even at four people and make a profit when there are five. Therefore, you can book with one operator, but end up going with another.

Also responding to Ezak: Looked to me like Uyuni is recovering rather quickly. The last night, my hotel was even overbooked (had nothing to do with Red Planet Expeditions, booked separately). I understand however that there are still much fewer tourists than there used to be. Kind of shows by the fact that there is now only one flight every three days from Uyuni, to Cochabamba.
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Old May 7, 22, 2:20 pm
  #58  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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Cheaper from YVR..
A few dollars less from YYC.

A straighter line for $300CDN more on *A.
YVR-VVI.


$1229CDN from YYZ on CM.

Last edited by tracon; May 7, 22 at 6:07 pm Reason: Lower fare from YVR & YYZ
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Old May 8, 22, 6:41 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: May 2022
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Has anyone had problems getting a tourist visa to Bolivia? I was about to book this until I saw the visa requirements for US citizens, such as the yellow fever vaccine certificate and the possible 90 days lead time for visa process with which the embassy will have my passport. Anyone has experience with the visa process and if so, how long does it take? I see there are Bolivian embassies in DC, do they do same day visa processing? The hefty $160 visa fee was also a surprise too!
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Old May 8, 22, 8:11 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Originally Posted by niji248 View Post
Has anyone had problems getting a tourist visa to Bolivia? I was about to book this until I saw the visa requirements for US citizens, such as the yellow fever vaccine certificate and the possible 90 days lead time for visa process with which the embassy will have my passport. Anyone has experience with the visa process and if so, how long does it take? I see there are Bolivian embassies in DC, do they do same day visa processing? The hefty $160 visa fee was also a surprise too!
You can get visa on arrival.
https://bo.usembassy.gov/information...-requirements/
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