There are so many incredible things to do in South America’s Bolivia. From exploring the ice-covered Andes mountains and the Amazon Basin rainforest, to shopping at the Witche’s Market in La Paz or riding your bike down ‘Death Road’, Bolivia has something for everyone. Not to mention Lake Titicaca, the continent’s largest lake and the spectacular great white salt flats Salar de Uyuni. Then there’s the food… hello tucumanas, salteñas and sajta de pollo! Here is what we consider to be the top things to do in Bolivia, certainly worthy of a place on your South America Bucket List.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Bolivia
Want a spell to punish a cheating lover? If you’re into natural medicine or witchcraft then the La Paz Witches Market will certainly be worth paying a visit to. Also known as El Mercado de las Brujas and La Hechiceria, this market is a popular tourist attraction in the middle of a lively tourist area, on Calle Jiminez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz. Local street vendors sell dried llama fetuses (for good luck), dried frogs (for Aymara rituals), dried turtles and snakes, aphrodisiacs, owl feathers, and various folk remedies. If you don’t think any of the above would make a suitable Bolivian souvenir you could always just get your fortune told by a Witch Doctor.
Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains you will find the largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca, which sits at 12,500 feet above sea level which also makes it one of the highest commercially navigable lakes in the world. Said to be the birthplace of the Incas, it’s home to numerous underwater ruins and Inca settlements and its waters are famously still and brightly reflective. Around it is Titicaca National Reserve, sheltering rare aquatic wildlife such as the rare giant frog and 530 aquatic species. While here make sure you try the local delicacy, freshly-caught smoked trout washed down with ripe papaya juice.
Salar de Uyuni
If you’re visiting Bolivia, chances are the Salar de Uyuni (the Bolivian Salt Flats) is on your bucket list. The world’s largest salt flat is a truly amazing sight. Spreading out over 11,000 sq km, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is considered one of the most extreme and remarkable vistas in all of South America. Photographers flock here and camp out on the flats to capture the unique landscape and so should you!
World’s Most Dangerous Road
Death road in La Paz, Bolivia, is known as the World’s Most Dangerous Road and hundreds have died here since it opened (just adrenaline junkies ticking off Bucket Lists – you’ll be fine!). There’s extreme drop-offs of at least 1,800 ft on curves, the road is only slightly wider than a single-lane and you have occasional on coming buses to watch out for, all while feeling the wind in your hair!
Visit this bizarre, otherworldly, rare natural wonder near the border of Chile; a blood-red lagoon called Laguna Colorada. Also known as ‘the red lake’ due to its unique red color which is a result of red sediments and some algae that live here. This shallow salt lake is in the southwest of the altiplano of Bolivia, within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. Laguna Colorado is a masterpiece of natural beauty and is located about 14,000 feet above sea level. Three different species of flamingo gather on the shallow lake to feed on plankton and occasional flamingos can be spotted all year-round.
Sitting in a valley in the Andes Mountains, La Paz, at 3,640 meters above sea level, is the city that touches the clouds. Renowned for its unique street markets, particularly the Witche’s Market, and for its vibrant nightlife. The Coca Museum, San Pedro Prison and the Mi Teleferico cable car are all things worthy of your time on a trip to La Paz.
Isla Del Sol
Isla Del Sol is one of Bolivia’s most picturesque destinations. The birthplace of the sun and the Incan dynasty, Bolivia’s Isla del Sol meaning “Island of the Sun” in Spanish is the embodiment of peace and serenity. This large Bolivian island in Lake Titicaca has several traditional communities, hotels and restaurants, pre-Columbian ruins and great hiking trails.
Valle de la Luna
Valle de la Luna (aka Moon Valley) is located about 10 kilometers from downtown La Paz, in the Pedro Domingo Murillo Province, La Paz Department, Bolivia. It consists of an area where erosion has worn away the majority of a mountain, composed primarily of clay rather than rock, leaving tall spires. Visit this unique area to see the lunar landscapes and bizarre geological formations with your own eyes.
Pampus Jungle Tour
The Pampas wetlands of Bolivia, exhibit some truly breath-taking scenery in the middle of the Amazon jungle. These tours give you the opportunity to escape from the high Andes and see some of the spectacular Bolivian wildlife. Take a boat and visit the stilt houses on the river and venture upstream to enjoy piranha fishing, swimming with pink dolphins and anaconda hunting.
If you want to be seen on Instagram posing on a rusty old locomotive then this is the place for you. Filled with hollowed out bodies that have completely rusted over the Train Cemetery (‘Cemeterio de Trenes’ in Spanish) can be found on the outskirts of Uyuni which is a small trading region high in the Andean plains of Bolivia.
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There is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome things to do in Bolivia.
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