We think of Bolivia as one of the rawest countries in South America, leading travelers to experience beautiful, natural landscapes and learn about the communities that help preserve these incredible spaces. There’s plenty of things to do in Bolivia, though some of our favorite activities are those that completely remove travelers from the everyday world into a land unlike anyplace else. See below for our top recommended things to do in Bolivia.
Explore the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest spans nine countries in South America, including Bolivia. In the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia, one can find the tropical Madidi National Park. Madidi is one of the largest protected areas in the world. There is a wide variety of plant and animal wildlife here, in fact, thousands of species call Madidi home. Spot jaguars, the Madidi Titi, ocelots, giant river otters, the Cock-of-the-Rock bird, and more. Cruise along the Beni River or stay at a remote lodge while exploring the Bolivian Amazon.
Hike in the Bolivian Andes
Bolivia is the highest country in South America, with most of its land and cities located on the Andes mountain range. With access to immense peaks and adventurous hikes, trekking through the Andes is a must. Right out of La Paz, there is a pretty extensive hiking trip (3 days, 2 nights) up Huyana Potosi (a mountain in Bolivia). For those who are interested in advanced hiking, Huyana Potosi is a perfect 3-day, 2-night adventure. Additionally, experiencing the remarkable Andean mountain lakes is a unique experience.
Sail Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca, straddled between Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable lake in the world, situated in the Andes mountains at 3,800 meters above sea level. Named the birthplace of the Inca Empire, the lake is host to some of South America’s most prominent ruins and remains an important site to indigenous tribes. Today, the deep-blue waters of the lake are coveted for cruise exploration. Visitors can observe the remarkable natural beauty of the mountainous area, as well as the daily lives of its residents.
Explore Bolivia’s Historical Cities
For those wanting a truly authentic experience, there is none more unique than Bolivia. The country has held onto its traditions and culture since the Spanish occupation in the 16th century. Walking the streets of cities like Oruro, Sucre, and Potosi, travelers will meet local women dressed in traditional garb known as “cholas”. They can also sample fresh produce in the city markets which take the place of chain grocery stores, and historic cathedrals where locals practice their faith.
Walk the Uyuni Salt Flats
Of course, we save the best for last, the Uyuni Salt Flats. Bolivia’s most famous natural sight is Salar de Uyuni (the Uyuni Salt Flats). Located in the Altiplano region, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, encompassing 4,050 square miles. Travelers can look out miles over the flat and in the evening watch the star-studded sky transform the land into shades of blue. During the dry season, tourists can enjoy Uyuni with sunny, warm, dry days. In the wet season, travelers can also enjoy Uyuni for the mirrored reflection of the sky that happens when the salt flats become glossed over with raindrops.
Things to See in Bolivia
There are plenty of cool things to see in Bolivia. Whether they be incredible natural landscapes like the Valley of the Moon, high-reaching cities like La Paz, roads that wind through mountainous rock, or wildlife that inhabits the various regions of the country, every traveler will be satisfied with what Bolivia has to offer.
The Freedom House in Sucre, Bolivia
The Freedom House is Bolivia’s most historically significant building, located in the once capital city, Sucre. Once a Jesuit university in the 1800s, it was here in this structure where Bolivia’s rulers signed the Declaration of Independence, granting them freedom from Spanish rule. Today the building serves as a beautiful display of Bolivia’s colonial architecture while encompassing an important period in the country’s political history.
Salar de Uyuni
Perhaps the most important site in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is an impressive flat land, where Bolivia extracts 25,000 tons of salt annually. Visiting the salt flats and walking along them is a singular experience. With views for miles across the horizon, the optical illusions that can take place here are out of this world.
Bolivia once served as the mining epicenter for the Spanish empire. With rich caverns of gold and silver, colonists took to developing cities like La Paz, Sucre, and Potosi to take full advantage of the natural abundance of resources. Today, grand monuments, like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Lawrence, serve as a reminder to the wealth that came from this region. Tours to the mines will shine a light on this essential economy and the technological advances involved to mine the precious materials.
Valle de la Luna, “Moon Valley”, is an incredible natural area not far from La Paz. Explorers are in awe of the impressive sandstone figures and clay erosions that have taken shape here over thousands of years. The forces of nature make the Moon Valley in Bolivia a sight to see.
The Tarabuco Market is one of the largest indigenous markets in all of South America. Bolivia’s hold on traditions both from its colonial and indigenous past survives in these local, weekly markets. See how indigenous peoples flock to this area from miles away to trade their handicrafts, food, clothing and all kinds of specialty goods and services unique to the indigenous tribes of Bolivia and the Andean highlands. A visit through the market is a splash of color, art, and culture, perfect for the eyes!
Festivals & Events
- Oruro Carnval
- Fiesta de la Cruz
- Nuestro Senor del Gran Poder
- Aymara New Year
- Festival of Virgen de la Candelaria
Food & Drink in Bolivia
The food and drink in Bolivia is a delicious combination of Spanish and Quechua influences. The dishes that travelers will indulge in vary based on the area you’re visiting. For example, the food found in the Andes and Altiplano may differ from the restaurants you will find in large cities like La Paz. We encourage tourists to travel to different areas of Bolivia during one trip so that you can experience the variation of regional flavors!
Is Bolivia Safe?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Bolivia. However, we encourage all guests to use the same caution as you would while traveling in any other foreign country. Protests and strikes are common in Bolivia, however, the benefit of traveling with SouthAmerica.travel is that you will have a local, expert guide and a 24/7 support team able to keep you updated on relevant news and adjust your travel plans if needed.
Best Time to Visit Bolivia
The best time to visit Bolivia depends on your travel interests. We recommend visiting during the dry season, from May to October, so that you can enjoy traveling outside and there will be little to no barriers to transportation.
What is Bolivia Known for?
Bolivia is famous for its beautiful cities, the dangerous “Death Road”, its incredible national park, colorful lagoons, its Uyuni Salt Flats, and more!
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