Although the first places you think of when you picture South America may be mighty Peru, fiery Argentina, or wild Brazil, Bolivia is not a country that should be overlooked. Tucked away in the center of the continent, it’s easy to skim over this land-locked country, but in reality Bolivia has got everything going for it: incredible landscapes, fascinating culture, and the highest city on earth, to name a few. This best of Bolivia guide will give you a sound intro to this little gem.
Tour the Salar de Uyuni
One of the most stunning landscapes on earth, the Salar de Uyuni (otherwise simply known as the salt flats) is one of the very top things to do in Bolivia. Many people opt to take a jeep tour across the flats, usually at sunrise when the light is perfect for witnessing their beauty. The ground here is as bright white as the sky, making them merge into one to form an other-worldly experience. This is unmissable Bolivia.
Visit La Paz
La Paz is Bolivia’s capital city and the highest administrative capital on earth. The vast metropolis sits pretty at over 3,600 meters above sea level, in a giant basin surrounded by mountains. One of the best things to do in La Paz is to visit the Witches Market, where you’ll find oddities from magic potions to llama fetuses (Yep, llama fetuses.) There’s all kinds of sorcery to discover here.
Also stop by San Pedro Prison, a facility that rules itself and is like the travellers’ holy grail in South America. Very few manage to bribe or bargain their way inside, but what lies behind the walls leads many to try…
La Paz is one of South America’s major transport hubs. There are many flights to La Paz and connections within the continent, so you’re bound to swing by it at some point on your trip.
Venture into the jungle
Although you might think of nearby Brazil for jungles, Bolivia has its fair share of wild frontiers. Head up to Rurrenabaque, a Bolivian town that most use as a base for exploring the pampas and jungle that lies just beyond its borders.
Tours range from gentle bus trips to exploring the jungle with experienced guides who are there to tell you all about the species of plants and animals you’ll find along the way. Plus, there are opportunities here to sleep below the canopy and the stars, a rugged experience you’ll not soon forget!
Stop by Sucre
Another of Bolivia’s major cities, Sucre is a little calmer than La Paz. The architecture here is absolutely beautiful, and you could spend hours simply walking through Sucre’s streets with your head craned up to its archways and colonial masterpieces. So gorgeous is Sucre that it was actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, mainly because of its 16th-century architecture which shows signs of inspiration from Europe as well as local tradition.
Witness the Valle de la Luna
Located just a short hop away from La Paz, the Valle de la Luna is, as the name suggests, like stepping onto the surface of the moon. Erosion has caused mountains in this area to crumble, leaving thousands of spires that tower into the heavens.
As it’s so close to the nation’s capital, Valle de la Luna makes an easy day trip while you’re in the area and there are a number of tours that swing by here. Don’t forget to take your camera – you’ll want to take plenty of pictures!
Have you been to Bolivia?
What would you add to this best of Bolivia list?