If you’re seeking to travel a country with absolutely gorgeous landscapes, add Bolivia to your list. You might hear us complain about the food or vibes, but no one can look at the snow-capped Andes or lush Amazon Rainforest and not vaguely wonder if they’ve been transported to another world. Plus, Bolivia is one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel, particularly if you practice slow travel! Here are some of the best places to go in Bolivia this year.
if you’re flying into Bolivia, this is where you’ll likely land. At over 3500 meters, La Paz is the highest country capital in the world. Here you will find an abundance of museums, churches and historical buildings, as well as colorful street markets and festivals. Head to the Plaza Murillo to see a local marching band perform, or take a ride on one of the cable cars to get a tranquil view of this bustling city. Lonely Planet rates this city as having one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, so if you’re into partying, La Paz is a great place to go in Bolivia. Beware that alcohol affects you differently at this high altitude!
The Amazon Rainforest
This elusive, magical place isn’t just in Brazil. A significant part of Bolivia is covered by this fascinating flora as well. Bring your bug spray, your camera
White-washed colonial buildings set the scene for this clean, friendly town. With good food, nice shops, and endless opportunities for cheap accommodations, this is the nicest town we visited in all of Bolivia. Nicest in quaintness, but also quite welcoming. We found people here to be more accepting to tourists than other places in the country. At 2800m, it’s also a nice respite from the higher altitude of Bolivia.
The Death Road
Commonly called the “death road” because of the frequency of vehicles falling off of this cliff-side road, the Yungas road was ”officially” closed to cars in 2009, but the most dangerous 69 km stretch can still be accessed through bike tours. Wild, unpaved, and mostly downhill, it is the adrenaline junkie’s dream. A little known fact is that an equally dangerous and terrifying road links Rurrenabaque to La Paz and is the one used by buses.
With breathtaking mountain views and challenging terrain, this is one trek not to miss! Culminating in a clear glacier lagoon above the clouds, hiking to Laguna Glaciar will tickle your senses (or maybe that’s just the altitude you’re feeling..) The normal base camp is at Laguna Chilata but you can ask in advance to camp near Laguna Glaciar instead, a much more challenging option. Note: make sure you are acclimated to at least the level of La Paz before you go. Altitude sickness is a real thing, so listen to your body and drink lots of water!
Salar de Uyuni
The most iconic feature of Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat. If you’re lucky enough to visit just after a rainfall, you’ll see the sky perfectly mirrored in the land. When you arrive, take a walk around to check out the oasis’ of cacti growing in an otherwise barren island. The area also happens to be a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos and the surrounding national park is equally impressive.
This is the cheapest 6000 meters climb in the world! And, if you’re suffering from food poisoning while attempting this climb, it could also be the most challenging. Regardless of the state of your stomach, reaching the summit and gazing over the Andes mountain range will make the whole experience worth it. Just remember to bring warm gear and everything you’ll need to make your experience comfortable. Check out our backpackers packing guide for more information.
Stay in the know!
In and around this curious area you’ll see the local Mennonite people riding their horses and manning their shops. It’s also one of the prime places to see exotic wildlife for dirt cheap! Visit the monkey-filled botanical garden. If you travel a few kilometers outside the city, you’ll find Lomas de Arena, a desert of dunes, within a forest, where you can pay to sand board, or simply explore the oddly placed dunes for free!
Another incredibly high city, Potosi became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, and most of its colonial churches have been restored. First established because of the silver discovered in the Cerro Rico mountain, you’ll still find active mines here, where you can buy cheap dynamite for the local miners (and possibly keep some for later!). Potosi also houses a deceptively interesting mint museum sure to shake
Torotoro National Park
Probably the highlight of our Bolivia trip, Torotoro is totally worth the bumpy ride to get there. Surreal mountains, sweeping canyons, deep caves, fossils, and even dinosaur tracks! Words cannot do justice to the magnificence of Torotoro National Park. And, this Bolivian jewel isn’t insanely popular among tourists, so you won’t feel crowded.
Known as the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is also the largest lake in South America, and it’s a great place to go in Bolivia. Set in a scenic plane of mountains and rivers, Titicaca remains a major tourist destination, as well as an important archaeological zone. In 2000 an ancient underwater temple was found, estimated to be between 1000 and 1,500 years old. Just beware of the tours to Isla Del Sol, a disappointing experience in our opinion.
And there you have it, there top ten places to go in Bolivia in 2019. Of course there are many more reasons to go to Bolivia, but we’ve identified these as the cream of the crop. Do you have any further suggestions? Know of any other Latin American jewels? Mention them in the comments below!
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