The Bolivian Altiplano—a vast tableland flanked by two Andean mountain ranges—is one of the most remarkable areas of human settlement in the world. Beginning north of Lake Titicaca, the region stretches 500 miles to the South at an average altitude of 13,000 feet. On this tour, you will learn about the agricultural systems that have, and continue to, sustain large populations in this challenging environment. Specifically, you will learn about quinoa and llamas, two products that have been at the heart of Andean food security for centuries. You will travel from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the Southern Altipano to gain a unique lens into the fascinating world of Andean food and agriculture.
The Altiplano gave rise to powerful civilizations, which domesticated numerous crops and animals for sustaining their populations. Potatoes and quinoa—hearty crops perfectly suited to highland farming—were domesticated along the shores of Lake Titicaca. The American camelid—the llama, alpaca and vicuña—was also domesticated in the Altiplano, providing an essential source of meat, wool, fertilizer and transport. Since these products were associated with indigenous people, however, they received little or no support in Bolivia’s modern development.