High altitudes, endless salt flats, Death Road, volcanoes and cocaine – Bolivia travel is some of the world’s most unique and extreme. Bolivia tours make sure you experience the best and most adrenaline pumping of the country, and to help you choose the right itinerary we’ve compiled a list of our top picks below.
Take a pose-y pic on Salar de Uyuni
This prehistoric lake expanse sprinkled with miles of salt is perhaps one of the most extraordinary sites in South America. Pose for the neatest camera tricks against the barren background, mirror-like after rainfall, and brought to life by bright pink flamingos and steamy geysers – just try not to lick it.
Lively La Paz
La Paz is one of South America’s highest – and poorest – cities, but is rich in bustle and excitement that seduces visitors. Nestled deep in a 3,600m altitude canyon, the city really comes to life during March’s Carnaval Oruro. Be sure to take a walk past unusual San Pedro Prison, where inmates lead relatively normal lives involving paying rent and even living with their wives and children. Keeping with the theme, follow the cocaine trails to a legal market where you can try the substance – but be safe and take the advice of your Bolivia travel guide!
The mysterious Mercado de Hechiceria
La Paz’s Witches’ Market showcases some rather unusual medicinal treatments and Aymara tradition, with stuffed baby llamas and mysterious potions displayed by indigenous sellers with mini-cauldron bowler hats and ponchos.
Parque Nacional Madidi
The impressive biologically diverse ecosystem occupies 7,000 square miles of pristine habitat, with the ‘tweet tweet’ of birdlife beckoning. The National Park is home to an incredible 11% of the world’s avian species.
Silver mines in Potosí
Cerro Rico brought riches and rags to the sky-high city, which was plundered by the Spanish, who left behind dreadfully tough silver mines that can still be visited to observe the hardships of colonialism. The intriguing settlement on the slopes teems with churches and remnants of days gone by.
El Camino De La Muerte – if you dare
Classed as the world’s most dangerous road, ‘Death Road’ travels through changing tropic scenery as mountain bike excursions descend brake first 11,000 feet over 38 miles from the Altiplano Andes to the lush Amazon River Basin. Just don’t research the statistics before you do it – and be sure to wear your helmet!
History and height in Sucre
Nicknamed the ‘White City’ (and not for the cocaine), Bolivia’s official capital is a hub of intellect at a dizzying height of 2,800m. The city is famous for the country’s major university and Casa de la Libertad, where the Bolivian constitution was written.
Visit Lake Titicaca
Ringed by the jagged Andes peaks, the world’s highest navigable lake is also one of the largest, feeding old empires on Isla del Sol and de la Luna, along with traditional hand-made reed islands at Uros.
Spot pink river dolphins
Take a cruise in the north-eastern wetlands, edging the Amazon basin, and keep your eyes peeled for frolicking bufeo – river dolphins boasting an undeniable pink hue.
Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC