Bolivia is a poor South American country with a wide and varied climate yet it also has some natural treasures that any other country on the continent would be proud of. The country is perhaps best known for its barren, desolate plains backed by snow-capped mountains. However, it also lays claim to a stretch of the Amazon, rocky deserts, tropical valleys, and canyons.
Up high in the Andes is the capital, La Paz. which sits in a hollow at 3,640 meters above sea level. As a result, if you are arriving on a long-haul flight it’s best to spend time in La Paz acclimatizing. Check out my “Breathless in Bolivia” blog for more detail.
La Paz is a fascinating city and gives visitors the opportunity to discover different architectural styles, colonial streets, and churches. In addition to this, there are many galleries, boutiques, artists, fine cuisine, and trendy cafes. All of this is backed by the incredible Cordillera Real mountain range and at its heart, the majestic Mount Illimani.
It’s not all beauty though as look to the other side and you will see a steep valley peppered with shabby homes belonging to the poorer citizens of La Paz.
Check out the Mercado de las Brujas or the Witches Market, the Zebras of La Paz, the National Museum of Ethnography and folklore or go and see Wrestling cholitas. This is the traditional sport of indigenous Bolivian women.
The golden rule for traveling in Bolivia is to travel during the day as by night it can be dangerous. The route from La Paz to Copacabana is notorious for problems. In addition to this during the rainy season, there are threats of landslides and of course, in the Amazon, there are poisonous and dangerous animals. However, don’t let this put you off this incredible country. Just plan ahead. Ask locals and fellow travelers before taking a blind leap into an area you are not fully clued up on.
Top Things To See & Do
The Bolivian Amazon offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with local tribe communities while staying at sustainable eco-lodges. Opportunities for adventure exist on the rivers. Here you can canoe and look for wildlife such as Tapir, Jaguars, or Anacondas, fish for piranhas, or just revel in the fact you are in the heart of the Amazon.
La Paz & The Andean Altiplano
La Paz is an intriguing city and worth exploring both in the city and in the vast Andean plains and mountains that surround it.
Nestled between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is believed to be the birthplace of the Incas and is South America’s largest lake.
Santa Cruz & the Oriente
Santa Cruz is the largest city in the Oriente region of Bolivia. It is also the gateway to the beautiful Amboro National Park. The town of El Fuerte is worth a visit for its restored buildings and churches. The Oriente occupies over 70% of the country in its north and eastern parts.
Sucre & Potosi
These colonial towns are linked in history but different in their own ways. Sucre is one of the most beautiful places in all of Bolivia with its colonial architecture, white buildings, cosmopolitan streets, and cool cafes. Potosi however was the center of silver mining back in the 1500s and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site
Uyuni Salt Flats
Located at the intersection of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina these salt flats are one of the most remarkable places on earth. At certain times of the year, nearby lakes overflow leaving a shallow layer of water across over 4,000 miles of the Andean Altiplano.
See our blog on the 8 Unmissable Highlights of Bolivia.
Pre-Bookable Excursions in Bolivia
For more information on visiting Bolivia contact your local travel agent.