The best places to go in Bolivia

The best places to go in Bolivia

From Amazon jungles to the world’s largest salt flats by way of soaring Andean peaks, Bolivia benefits travelers with a giddying variety of landscapes. Much better even now, this silent corner of South The us doesn’t see 50 {ed4a5fd24114d7ae6500c97fa7652b3915c7d898a0860a9d70161be4f9c5b00d} as quite a few guests as neighboring Argentina, Brazil and Chile, so you can admire the sights with no a crush.

With the typical deficiency of crowds, you can have no problems lining up this kind of essential Bolivian activities as the hair-boosting bicycle trip down the so-termed Loss of life Highway amongst La Paz and Los Yungas, or taking a drink from the fabled Fountain of Youth at Lake Titicaca.

Genuine, adventurous, and largely unscarred by mass tourism, Bolivia is 1 of South America’s very best-held secrets and techniques. If you’re tempted to arrive, here are our 9 beloved spots to go to in Bolivia.

The Uyuni Salt Flats

Greatest for a at the time-in-a-life time working experience

Certainly the pick of Bolivia’s tourist sights, the limitless, dazzling-white salt flats of Uyuni have been shaped by the disappearance of an inland ocean that when lined most of the Altiplano. As the waters evaporated, they still left guiding the world’s biggest salt flats – commonly visited on a few-day 4WD excursions from the town of Uyuni, with side stops at the deserts, geysers, warm springs and colourful lakes that encompass the salt flats.

It is an otherworldly landscape at any time of year, but take a look at throughout the wet period (December to February) and a slender layer of water floats over the salt flats, building a mirror that perfectly displays the sky. Make guaranteed you acclimatize to the altitude ahead of crossing the flats to stay clear of getting ill – expend a couple times adjusting in La Paz ahead of leaving for Uyuni.

Get a lot more journey inspiration, recommendations and unique features sent straight to your inbox with our weekly publication.

La Paz

Very best place for cultural encounters

Developed into a organic hollow framed by the Cordillera Actual mountains, La Paz stands at a dizzying 3600m (11,811ft) above sea level, so do not overdo points in the initial couple of days. At to start with look, this majestic city can – really virtually – just take your breath away. La Paz is a bustling and dynamic metropolis where indigenous traditions coexist with the modernity of a big metropolis, making for an unmissable halt.

The energetic centre combines colonial architecture with vibrant present day structures from Bolivia’s write-up-independence period of time. In amongst it all are artwork museums, a expanding gastronomic scene and loads of vivid nightlife. A new cable car or truck procedure offers excellent bird’s eye views of the metropolis, and you can dip into the Mercado de las Brujas (Witches Market place) to find out about the mysticism of Aymara society.

Within just straightforward putting length of La Paz are a selection of gratifying normal points of interest, like the cactus-loaded Moon Valley, if you want to get a speedy split from the occupied streets.

A man in a wooden boat on the Beni River in Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Traveling by river into Madidi National Park is a single of Bolivia’s fantastic adventures © Check out The Globe / Shutterstock

Madidi National Park

Greatest area for wildlife sightseeing

Just one of the world’s most biologically assorted ecosystems, Madidi National Park sorts component of the Bolivian Amazon, a single of South America’s very best-preserved locations of virgin rainforest. This guarded segment of the Amazon is only obtainable via a three-working day boat trip from Rurrenabaque, so finding listed here is component of the fun.

As well as having a truly feel for the appears and sensations of the rainforest within this 19,000 sq km (7336 sq miles) reserve, visitors can fulfill pink dolphins, attempt a hand at piranha fishing and check out Indigenous communities on ground breaking and neighborhood-targeted eco-tourism jobs. Excursions to Madidi are all-inclusive and primarily at the spending budget conclusion of the spectrum, but you will get a moving introduction to the Amazon globe.


Ideal put for colonial architecture

Having its name from innovative chief, Antonio José de Sucre – who afterwards became the second president of unbiased Bolivia – the nation’s capital is a stunner. It is really a town of nicely-preserved colonial architecture and Republican-model buildings that effectively fits the translation of its Spanish identify, many thanks to an impeccable selection of sugar-white houses, basilicas and civic properties that sparkle in the South American sunshine.

As the city in which the Bolivian republic was founded, Sucre has a great deal for background buffs to get pleasure from. Highlights involve the Casa de la Libertad (Property of Independence), in which the declaration of independence was signed in 1825. Also swing by the Normal Cemetery, with its ornate mausoleums and superb gardens, and the Recoleta neighborhood, for great views across the roofs and bell towers of the cash. With its comfortable climate, tasty food stuff and abundant historical heritage, Sucre should really be an necessary end on any Bolivia itinerary.

A woman cooks street food at a stall outside the Mercado Central, Potosi
Potosí is renowned for its silver-mining history, but will not overlook the avenue food stuff © marktucan / Shutterstock


Finest location for heritage

In colonial instances, the silver mines of Potosí turned this dizzyingly-substantial outpost into a single of the premier and most influential metropolitan areas in the Americas, with its riches flowing again to the Spanish Empire. Mining nonetheless goes on inside of Cerro Rico mountain – recognized locally as ‘Rich Hill’ – and guests can be a part of excursions to examine the dark and slender tunnels and meet up with the miners who eke out a residing in this severe natural environment. Useless to say, it is not a trip for claustrophobics.

In the city by itself, the major attraction is Casa Nacional de la Moneda, the Nationwide Mint, a monumental 18th-century development exactly where domestically-mined silver was the moment transformed into cash – known as potosís – all through Potosí’s heyday. Due to slipping returns from the mines, the city has fallen on tricky situations, but its properly-preserved architecture however stands as testimony to its affluent earlier.

The Jesuit Mission Circuit

Best for astonishing spiritual architecture

The historic La Chiquitania region is composed of quite a few small, hundreds of years-old Jesuit Mission towns that sit among wonderful landscapes and plentiful normal attractions. On a multi-working day tour, you are going to get the probability to stop by historic churches that ended up built amongst 1691 and 1760 and stay mainly unchanged to this working day, in cities these as Concepción, famed for its remarkable, very low-eaved cathedral.

Expeditions start off in San Javier, four several hours from Santa Cruz, and continue on to San Ignacio which is utilized as a foundation to investigate the wider location. With a good deal of viewpoints overlooking the dry forests of La Chiquitania and numerous brief trails to hike, as perfectly as thermal rivers and remarkable rock formations to explore, La Chiquitania demonstrates a very distinctive side to Bolivia. This spot also hosts the respected Worldwide Baroque Audio Festival each individual second yr. 

A cyclist following the Death Road from La Paz to Los Yungas
The renowned Dying Street from La Paz to Los Yungas is 1 of South America’s best cycle rides © filrom / Getty Images

Biking together the Loss of life Highway

Most effective for an adrenaline-charged adventure 

Once regarded as a single of the most perilous roads in the globe, the so-identified as Loss of life Street connecting La Paz with the valley of Los Yungas is now shut to motor website traffic. However, it is still accessible by bicycle, on a single of South America’s most exciting-loaded off-highway rides.

With descents of far more than 3000m (9842ft), the gravel route is a thrilling mountainside adventure that commences on the snow-included large plains of La Cumbre (the summit of the Cordillera True) and finishes in a tropical valley in which you can finally pause and capture your breath.

Passing some wonderful subtropical landscapes, together with plunging waterfalls, sheer cliffs and slender, nerve-wracking corners, this is a cycle trip is only for the most audacious of riders. For about 350 bolivianos (US$50), tour operators will deliver mountain bikes and transfers, as perfectly as the important backup products for the a single-day ride. 

Island of the Sunshine, Lake Titicaca

Greatest area to disconnect from the outdoors world

In accordance to legend, the Isla del Sol (Island of the Solar) on Lake Titicaca was the birthplace of Inca tradition. Found on the greatest navigable lake in the entire world, this historic and sacred web site showcases Boliva’s amazing indigenous heritage like nowhere else.

On the island alone are Inca ruins, a museum that contains sacred relics and the Fountain of Youth, a normal stream that locals imagine has the electric power to grant health and fitness and eternal youth. You can also hike alongside a four-hour trail for outstanding sights about the expansive waters of Lake Titicaca. 

Note that boats operate between Isla del Sol and Copacabana pier on the lakeshore just twice a working day if you need to end in excess of, island accommodations are mostly quite basic, there are no ATMs and it’s really hard to get WiFi, so be all set for a rustic expertise.


Finest location to chill out

A charming village positioned 3 hours absent from Santa Cruz, Samaipata has a best 12 months-round local climate and a calming atmosphere where by time looks to gradual down and the noise of the crowds fades to a whisper. It can be best for taking a soul-restoring split in the hills.

Nearby are a lot of all-natural attractions which includes scenic waterfalls that are normally vacant on weekdays for a contemporary alfresco swim. If you love mountaineering trails, place your compass at the large fern forest in nearby Amboró National Park. The other massive attraction at Samaipata is El Fuerte, a sacred rock carved with seats, conduits and niches for idols, positioned on major of a hill surrounded by the ruins of an historic ceremonial center for the Chané and Inca men and women.

Samaipata has also a burgeoning wine field that’s a stunning discovery in this off-the-beaten-keep track of spot. Quite a few nearby cellars are open to readers, and you can flavor their wares with a superb look at of the vineyards that created the wines in your glass.

Genie Mathena

Learn More →