Focus on Brazil


Brazil is a vast country with several distinctly different biomes. Discover them all with Focus Tours: Brazil

Focus on Argentina

The 8th largest country in the world, Argentina offers a wealth of experiences. From the subtropical rain forests of Iguazú Falls to the high Andes. Discover more with Focus Tours: Argentina 

Focus on Bolivia

Bolivia, nestled between Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay, is the poorest and least developed country in South America, but also biologically and culturally the richest, safest and friendliest. Discover more with Focus Tours: Bolivia

Focus on Chile

Chile is the only truly temperate country in the Neotropics, and occupies more degrees of latitude than any other nation worldwide. Perhaps it is not surprising that Chile offers several extremes of the natural world. Discover more with Focus Tours: Chile

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Jaguar Tours

The northern Pantanal is the richest area in the world for spotting Jaguars in the wild and, our naturalist guides are some of the best. Together with our boatmen we can take you into the best areas for jaguars and many other creatures. Read more about Jaguar Tours.

Bird Watching Tours

Douglas Trent is a scientist, bird watcher and wildlife photographer and his be operating Bird Watcing Tours for around two decades now. The tour possibilities in South America are many. Read more about Bird Watching Tours.

Wildlife Photography Tours

Douglas Trent is a wildlife photographer and guides groups of professional, or enthusiastc amateur, photographers and film crews on focused wildlife tours. Read more about Wildlife Photography Tours 

Funding Conservation

 

A percentage of our profits has been funding in-country conservation projects since 1981. They directly benefit the local communities we visit and, when possible, are self-sustable, generating benefits long after our initial donation. Your visit will benefit you, the environment and your hosts.

SUCRE & POTOSÍ: History, Mines, Incan Thermal Baths and the Tarabuco Market

 

While many people know that La Paz is the capitol of Bolivia, few seem to know the country has two capitals. La Paz holds most of the power, but Sucre holds the Judicial Branch and the Supreme Court. Sucre is also considered to be the most beautiful city in Bolivia with its colonial heritage, elegant square and white government buildings. It is certainly an intellectual center as well. To get here requires a flight or a long but interesting drive through the desert from Cochabamba.

East and down from Sucre is the Indian village of Tarabuco, which produces much of and some of the best weavings, ponchos, sweaters, etc. in Bolivia. The market is on Sundays, and has recently become quite touristy. Still, good buys can be found.

One can take the train from Sucre to Potosí, and groups traveling together can actually rent a bus converted to fit the tracks! The drive is interesting, but the train gives one a chance to see part of the backcountry usually only accessible by hiking.

Potosí itself, at 13,000 feet, is the world's highest city, and has a rich, historical mining background due to the incredible amount of silver mined from the Cerro Rico mountain looming over the city. With large-scale mining starting in 1545 and not slowing down until the 1800's, Potosí was at one time the largest city in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. Indian and then African slaves working in horrid conditions pulled enough silver out 'to build a bridge to Spain, and still have enough silver to carry on it.'

So horrid were the conditions, with smelting going on in the mine, that from 1545 to 1825 over 8 million Africans and Indians died. By law, all Indian and African men over 18 were required to work 12 hour shifts, eating and sleeping underground without seeing the light of day for four months at a time. With the smoke, arsenic and other poisonous fumes, it is no wonder so many did not survive.

When the mining reforms of 1952 were passed things improved immensely in the government owned mines. Many private mines, however, have remained unchanged since the mid 1500's, and one can step back in time with a visit. In 1987, UNESCO named Potosí a World Heritage Site.

From Potosí one can drive to Oruro on a very bad road, with great scenery only in the first half-hour. We recommend returning to Sucre and flying. One wishing to visit Sucre and Potosí should plan on at least four days.