Welcome to our Bolivia travel guide and discover the cultural diversity and astonishing natural beauty of Bolivia. Once the hidden secret of backpackers and explorers this intriguing country is now opening up to all kinds of travellers. In fact, visitor numbers are increasing all the time.
There is a wealth of stunning natural terrain in Bolivia. From the high plains of the altiplano and snow-capped mountains to otherworldly salt flats and dense tropical rainforest. While also offering up bustling cosmopolitan cities, fascinating markets, colourful carnivals and unique local cuisine.
Bolivia boasts one of the highest indigenous populations in the whole of South America. Therefore, has a culture rich in ancient and rare traditions.This landlocked country high in the plains of the Andes has something for all curious travellers to enjoy.
Use our Bolivia travel guide to learn all about the variety of adventures that await and plan your next trip to exciting Bolivia.
1. Visit the mystical beauty of Lake Titicaca
Explore the islands of the world’s highest navigable lake from the quaint port town of Copacabana. Marvel at the calm blue waters stretching away from the ‘stations of the cross’ viewpoint. In addition, get under the skin of the lake by visiting Aymara communities that have inhabited the islands for millennia.
Moreover, you can take a short boat ride over to the Island of the Sun, Isla del Sol. Land at the port of Yumani and climb the Incan stairs for spectacular views. There are over 80 ruins on this island alone, all easily walkable and set amongst stunning scenery.
Just to the east of Isla del Sol lies Isla de la Luna, Island of the Moon. Here it is said in Incan mythology that the God of the Incas made the moon to rise. Then, today you can wander the ancient sites, including taking in the ruins of an Incan nunnery. All while enjoying the serenity of the surrounding lake.
2. Experience the jungle in the Bolivian Amazon
The Madidi National Park spans over 18,000 square kilometres (7000 square miles) and is one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions. Stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the jungle and fall asleep to the sound of nature. This Bolivia Travel Guide advises accessing the jungle via the River Beni at Rurrenabaque.
Visit indigenous Quechua-speaking communities and learn about their way of life while exploring the Amazon basin. Also, follow experienced guides into the pristine rainforest and enjoy watching a huge variety of wild animals. Then, you might be lucky enough to spot Jaguars, River Dolphins, Pumas, hundreds of bird species and the Titi Monkey. Consequently, this is a real nature-lover’s paradise.
3. Tour the breathtaking Salar de Uyuni
Take an expertly guided tour through some of the strangest landscape on earth. Spend 3/4 wonder-filled days exploring this otherworldly destination in style. The salt flats are a massive 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi), due to this you will be awe-struck.
Also, you can witness the pastel pink flamingos in the lagunas and bathe in steaming hot springs. Equally, ride through barren deserts and in the shadow of volcanoes. Together with a stay at the Tayka de Sal a luxury hotel constructed from salt, it will be a truly immersive experience. Click here for our full essential guide to Bolivia’s most compelling natural phenomenon.
4. Sample the world’s highest altitude wine in Tarija
A trip to the small town of Tarija, in the south of Bolivia is a must. Well and truly on the discerning traveller’s map it is dotted with many wineries. Picturesque Tarija is packed with rustic wine bodegas and vineyards where you can savour the locally produced wines. Much as being a tasty experience, this is a personal, boutique one. Especially relevant are the bespoke tasting tours of full-bodied reds and floral whites. Also, to be enjoyed alongside fresh local cuisine.
Furthermore this Bolivia Travel Guide suggests you sample another great the local speciality, the spirit Singani.
5. Enjoy the foodie delights of Cochabamba
The city is known as the ‘culinary capital’ of Bolivia and the locals are fiercely proud of their food heritage. Visit noteworthy restaurants Paprika or Marvinos to sample the yummy sub-Andean dishes of the region. Tuck into Silpancho, Sopa de Mani, Pique Macho and all the quinoa you can get your hands on! Or rather, simply bask in the moderate climate of beautiful Cochabamba, exploring the city centre.
Finally, visit Palacio Portales, the opulent home of one of Bolivia’s richest men. The serene yellow house is set amongst elegant gardens, designed in an Italian style. Wander through each room, which take inspiration from international cultures. Then don’t miss the Alhambra inspired games room!
6. Visit unique La Paz
Surrounded on all sides by imposing mountains La Paz is set in a large basin. Hemmed in on all sides by majestic mountains, it is a fascinating place where all of Bolivia mixes. So be sure to walk the narrow streets, discovering the fine museums, interesting art galleries and busy markets. Understand more about the culture of the Aymara people that inhabit this colourful and cosmopolitan city. Ride the Mi Teleferico for amazing aerial views over the city. Also, get stuck in to some serious shopping in cosmopolitan Zona Sur. Likewise stay in comfort at one of La Paz’s new breed of boutique hotels.
While La Paz is not famous for its food, in recent years a new and innovative scene has begun to emerge. Get an insight into the exciting food scene here. Most noteworthy, is the gourmet cuisine at Gustu. An eaterie opened by the co-owner of the world-renowned Noma restaurant. In conclusion, you really won’t run out of things to do in this exciting metropolis. Finally don’t forget to top up your knowledge from our Bolivia Travel Guide with our Ultimate Travel Guide to La Paz.
7. Indulge in a coffee tour and hike in the tropical Los Yungas region
Take a break from the harsh climate of La Paz and step into nature. While just a couple of hours drive from the capital, the small town of Coroico is a world away from the metropolis. Here learn all about the art and labour of an authentic South American coffee farm in this mountainous region.
The Bolivia Travel Guide advises that you take a tour of a plantation and try the delicious fresh coffee. The lush green valleys that surround Coroico are full of trails with fabulous views. So, after sampling the coffee you can also go hiking in the lush green valleys.
8. Discover the rich history of Potosí
One and the highest cities in the world at 4,090 metres (13,420 ft), Potosí was also one of the richest. Today the beautiful buildings in colonial centre of the city give a glimpse into the affluent past of Potosí. For many years this was also the location of the Spanish colonial mint, therefore a place of great importance to the colonisers.
The imposing red hill of the Cerro Rico, Rich Hill, towers above the city. So-called as it was mined for its rich resource of silver and was the primary source of wealth in the city. At one time 60% of all the silver produced in the world came from Potosí. So, learn more about this fascinating place by visiting the Casa de la Moneda, Bolivia’s first mint. Although originally the mint serving Spanish empire it now houses a great museum full of historical treasures.
9. Stroll the streets of charming Sucre
This 16th century UNESCO city is the actual capital of Bolivia, with its whitewashed buildings. Soak up the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. Find out more about the history of this vibrant country at the Casa de la Libertad, the birth of Bolivia’s constitution. In addition, stroll on the snow-white rooftops of the Convento de Santa Clara for the best views of the city.
Also,this Bolivia Travel Guide suggests the Sunday textile market of Tarabuco as a must visit. Just a short trip out of town to stroll for hours amongst the stalls laden with handmade goods. So, this is a great way to understand more about the indigenous groups that make up roughly 60% of the Bolivian population.
10. Enjoy Bolivia’s tropical lowlands in Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz is the gateway to eastern Bolivia. It has the gift of a warm climate, low altitude and gorgeous wildlife. In addition, there is a vibrant night-life, amazing markets and unique culture. This busy city is actually more populous than La Paz. Yet, the centre has a chilled Mediterranean vibe with tall palms bordering shady plazas. Also, sample the delicious food of the region, alongside international fayre, in the one the city’s many excellent restaurants
Moreover, Santa Cruz makes for a great base for trips into the nearby countryside. The Amboró National Park, the Jesuit missions and the Loma de Arenas region. Also, one of Bolivia’s best-kept secrets is the San Miguelito Jaguar Conservation Reserve. It is home to the highest density of the wild cat in the world. In a gorgeous natural setting on a traditional ranch, you can enjoy Bolivian nature at it’s best.
So, that is our Bolivia travel guide all wrapped up.
Hopefully, our Bolivia travel guide will help you uncover this intriguing and exciting destination. You can start planning your trip now!
Bolivia travel guide – about Bolivia
Population: 10.89 million
Capital city: La Paz (administrative), Sucre (constitutional)
Official language: Spanish
Currency: Bolivianos (approximately 6.9 BOB = $1 USD)