WITH MANY NATURAL, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL SITES, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR TOP 10 ESSENTIALS IN BOLIVIA?
Bolivia is known for its diversity and rich natural environment, but there is even more to it! It is a land of contrasts, paradoxes, and extremes, where culture and authenticity mingle on a daily basis. Bolivia is a multifaceted country full of surprises and gorgeous landscapes. It accounts for 46% of the world’s biological biodiversity and 17% of the country consists of protected areas and natural parks.
Here there is something for everyone. Since everyone has different preferences, choosing what sites to see during your trip to Bolivia is always a delicate task. In order to show the country’s variety, we have selected these 10 essential places in Bolivia for their uniqueness or charm.
LA PAZ: UNIQUE, AND THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE CITY OF YOUR STAY IN BOLIVIA
Whether you love it or hate it, your feelings towards La Paz will be strong.
Lively to the point of chaos and impressive to the point of overwhelming, La Paz is the highest capital in the world and one of the fastest growing cities in South America. Here there are numerous colonial buildings, museums, and markets, allowing you to immerse yourself in the history and traditions of the city with ease. On the other hand, it has many bars, restaurants, and hotels livening the streets and promising a prosperous future.
Here you can find the largest cable car network in the world. There are currently 9 lines over the city that offer exceptional views. La Paz’s nickname is perfect: Ciudad del Cielo, the city that touches the clouds.
Forget your first impression of El Alto going to or from the airport – this city is full of surprises, so give it a second chance! Tour the Cholets and Condomino Whimpala during your trip to Bolivia, and observe the emerging colorful and offbeat Andean architecture spreading throughout the city.
MADIDI, THE MOST BIO-DIVERSE PROTECTED AREA IN THE WORLD, AN ESSENTIAL OF THE BOLIVIAN AMAZON
When you think of the Amazon, you inevitably think of Brazil. It is also true that the Amazon jungle is spread over several countries in South America. So why choose to explore it in Bolivia? Simply because it covers 60% of Bolivia, and Bolivia has by far the most well preserved park in the Amazon because of tourism still on a normal scale. Additionally, Madidi National Park has been declared the most bio-diverse park in the world due to the large number of reported species. During your trip to Bolivia, and especially you stay in the Bolivian Amazon, you can admire colorful species of Macaw from a breathtaking viewpoint. As you walk through the rain forest, you can see native monkeys such as the Mono Ardilla Amarillo (the yellow squirrel monkey) or the Capuchin monkey. Your guide at Madidi National Park will explain the various tree species and fascinating vegetation, and both their benefits and downsides. Be careful not to touch the trees during your walk.
LAKE TITICACA, ITS UNMISSABLE LEGEND COMES TO LIFE IN BOLIVIA
Mythical and mystical, this massive lake of 8,372 km² looks like an inland sea. It is loaded with stories and symbols, and still hides secrets in its abyss. It is truly a unique body of water – it is located 3812 meters above sea level, making it the highest navigable lake in the world. Lake Titicaca straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. What makes the Bolivian part so unique is its authenticity. You will meet local communities and enjoy activities just for the tourists. The Isla del Sol, an important place in the Inca civilization, is also located on the Bolivian side. We also offer community stays at the edge of Lake Titicaca, where you can stay with the locals and immerse yourself in their customs and traditions.
CORDILLERA REAL, A TREK OR ASCENT IN BOLIVIA THAT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD
The Cordillera Real is utterly spectacular. It is a paradise for mountain lovers, regardless of whether you are trekking or climbing. To complete the full Cordillera Real crossing, it would take you 15 days. You can also travel partial distances in 3, 4 or 5 day periods if you are short on time. The unique Altiplano desert landscapes and wild environment will make you feel like you have traveled to another dimension. You can also admire the surrounding glacial massifs which will accompany you throughout the trek. Once our customers return, including travelers who have explored some of the most famous and beautiful mountain ranges in the world such as the Alps, the Dolomites, and Nepal, are unanimously amazed: “We were all alone! We didn’t see anyone else.”
For those who want to feel closer to the glaciers, multiple climbs are available. To give you an idea, the Cordillera Real, located in the eastern part of the Andes, has several peaks of 5000 meters, and 6 peaks of 6000 meters, such as the Huyana Potosi, the Illimani, the Chachacomani and others. Each peak is a different level of difficulty and has different technical requirements. Please research the recommended experience level before tackling one of these climbs. Do not underestimate the local conditions which can greatly change the difficulty and your experience.
Above all, do not miss a stay in the Cordillera, as it is our favorite experience in Bolivia.
SAJAMA NATIONAL PARK, FOR THE ATHLETIC WHO ALSO SEEK RELAXATION
At the Cordillera Occidental in the western part of the Andes, you can find the highest peak of the country at 6542 meters, the Nevado Sajama.
Close to the border of Chile, the volcano is located in Sajama National Park. It is also the oldest park in the country, renowned for its large quantity of camelids, especially alpacas. In addition to the ascent of Nevado Sajama and the other volcanoes of the Cordillera Occidental (Parinacota, Pomerape or Acotango), several more activities are available to you in this must-see park, such as trekking and hiking in the mountains leading to lagoons at around 5000 meters. You can also discover geysers or relax in the natural pools with 38 degree waters. Spend a few days here to fill up on adventure and relaxation.
SALAR DE UYUNI, THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE OF BOLIVIAN ESSENTIALS
This is by far the most unmissable attraction in Bolivia. Its international reputation is ever increasing, and many people visit Bolivia just to see these flats. The Uyuni Salt Flat is the largest in the world and transforms into a giant mirror during the rainy season. It shelters several islands like the Isla Incahuasi, and in its northern part, you can find several surprises such as watchtowers, mummies, museums, and more! As this is now a heavily visited area, the challenge is to restore this unique natural site to all its splendor by trying to escape the crowds of tourists. The crowds may in fact make for a different visit than what you envisioned. It is therefore very important to choose the right agency for this tour, one that will maintain all the magic of this location so that you have an unforgettable experience.
SOUTH LIPEZ, THE REGION WITH THE MOST LUNAR LANDSCAPES IN BOLIVIA
South Lipez is a province of the department of Potosi. Considered one of the most beautiful wonders of Bolivia, this province includes the Eduardo Avaroa Natural Reserve and its incredible lagoons! There are lagoons by the bucketful in Bolivia, but the most spectacular are in this region, such as Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde, Laguna Blanca, Laguna Celeste, and more. Whatever your favorite color, you will find something that you just cannot take your eyes off. Some are traditionally stunning, and others are more unusual, surrounded by atypical rock formations. During your trip in Bolivia, you will walk on miles of desert trails where you can see the local flora and fauna. A 4×4 expedition in this region is a must to help you soak up the natural wealth of the country. This is our Andean safari.
COLONIAL AND IMPERIAL HERITAGE: SUCRE AND POTOSI, THE URBAN PEARLS OF BOLIVIA
The conquests of colonial Spaniards left their mark all over South America, and it is fascinating to explore the ones that affected Bolivia the most.
Sucre is unifying, a very pleasant city with a mild climate, while Potosi divides. Potosi is affected by the presence of Cerro Rico which looms over the city as one of the most important active mines in the country. The constitutional capital of Bolivia is Sucre (La Paz is the administrative capital). A colonial city, also called the white city, Sucre where the declaration of independence of the country was signed, and became World Heritage Site at UNESCO in 1991. These two cities are only about a 3 hour drive away from each other, making a perfect combined visit.
TUPIZA, FAR WEST AND COLORED CANYONS
Here we find the Northwest Argentine atmosphere. Those who have not had the opportunity to discover the Valle de las Animas or the Palca Canyon near La Paz will find landscapes similar to Torre Huayco and El Sillar. In contrast, these reddish mountainous landscapes cannot be found anywhere else in Bolivia. Between colorful canyons and quebradas, a very friendly and original atmosphere pervades, and with its streets filled with tuk-tuks, you can almost forget you are in Bolivia!
TOROTORO NATIONAL PARK, THE BOLIVIAN JURASSIC PARK
The village of Torotoro sits in the heart of a gorgeous valley surrounded by magnificent mountains of different sedimentary strata and layers of marine fossils. 80 million years ago, Torotoro National Park was nothing but a wetland teeming with dinosaurs. Today, it is a cemetery of thousands of dinosaur tracks rising over 2600 meters above sea level. It is an open air amusement park mixing geology, anthropology, paleontology, history and a journey through time.
It shelters more than 3500 dinosaur tracks, the deepest cave in Bolivia (which offers a unique speleology circuit), an incredible canyon perfect for abseiling, geological formations, a stone city, and more. In short, there are over 16,000 hectares to delight travelers looking for adventure!
Clearly, Bolivia, with its essentials, has something for everyone to enjoy. In a 4×4 expedition or a trek, exploring this magnificent country can sometimes be difficult to organize. Do not hesitate to call us, we will meet all your needs and prepare the trip of your dreams! Contact us with your questions, our quote requests are free and without obligation!