There’s no doubt about it: there are so many unique and incredible places to visit in Bolivia. And while it may be one of the poorest places in South America, it’s certainly rich in natural resources and cultural diversity. This landlocked country is known and loved for its mixed landscapes, complex heritage and vibrant cities. Sounds like a great combination for a memorable trip, right? From impressive archaeological sites and iconic landmarks to breathtaking natural wonders and stunning shorelines, there’s no shortage of amazing sights here. Whether you’re up in the soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains or down deep within the Amazon rainforest, this country offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Read on to discover more about the best places to visit in Bolivia so you can make the most of your visit.
- Life in La Paz
- The Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni
- Explore Lake Titicaca
- Can’t Miss Cochabamba
- Mad About Madidi National Park
This must-visit destination is one of the highest cities in the world, so it had to be mentioned first on our list of the top places to visit in Bolivia. Begin by exploring the Witches Market, also known as Mercado de las Brujas, situated in the heart of the capital. This vibrant space offers a glimpse into Andean spiritual practices, with stalls selling an assortment of herbs, potions and charms used in traditional healing rituals. If you’re looking for a totally unique gift to take home, you’re guaranteed to find it here. Plaza Murillo (the main square) is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the National Congress, and the Cathedral of La Paz. One thing you have to experience before leaving the capital is the cable car system: it’s the longest and highest in the world, so if you’re good with heights then jump on board for some stunning views and amazing photo opportunities.
You can’t go all the way to Bolivia without visiting a natural wonder of the world, can you? Especially not when it’s the largest salt flat in existence that we’re talking about. Located in the southwestern part of the country, the Salar de Uyuni covers over 3,800 miles and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. It also happens to be home to lots of pink flamingos. It was formed over millions of years from a prehistoric lake that dried up and left behind a thick layer of salt. Today, Salar de Uyuni is one of the most unique and otherworldly landscapes that you’ll ever see. The area is also surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, which certainly make for a pretty special backdrop. We suggest joining a guided tour to make the most of your visit, as you’ll stop at a few nearby attractions like the Train Cemetery and the Incahuasi Island: a rocky outcrop featuring giant cacti. If you’re travelling between December to April (the rainy season), you might get to experience the ‘Mirror Effect’. This is where the salt flat is covered in a thin layer of rainwater and reflects the sky above, creating the illusion of walking on water.
Next up on our guide to the best places to visit in Bolivia is the fascinating Lake Titicaca. It’s one of the largest lakes in South America, located in the Andes Mountains on the border between Bolivia and Peru. Lying at 12,500ft above sea level, it’s considered the highest navigable lake in the world. And you can explore it by boat! Many of the guided tours here include a visit to the Uros Islands: a series of man-made floating islands made entirely out of reeds that have been inhabited for centuries by the Uros people. You’ll also get to stop at Taquile Island, a great hiking spot that’s known for its textile traditions. Watch and learn as local weavers create textiles using traditional techniques and methods. Look out for the critically endangered Titicaca water frog: the largest aquatic frog in the world that lives in this lake.
Situated in central Bolivia, Cochabamba is a thriving city renowned for its history that dates all the way back to the Pre-Columbian era. One of the most famous landmarks here has to be the Cristo de la Concordia: a towering statue of Christ set on a hill in the east, overlooking the city. You can easily reach this spot by taking a cable car all the way to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with superb views of the surrounding landscape (mountains included). Be sure to try some authentic Bolivian cuisine here too – a couple of the most popular dishes are salteñas (savory pastries filled with meat, vegetables and spices), and pique macho (a flavoursome dish made with beef, potatoes and onions). There are also a few local drinks to taste too: from fermented corn drinks like chicha to grape brandies such as singani. And if you’re struggling with altitude sickness, try a sip of coca tea – the locals believe it helps to ease the symptoms.
This stretch of vast wilderness in Bolivia's Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. It spans over 7,250 miles and is home to a staggering array of plant and animal species, such as jaguars, maned wolves and giant otters. You’re also likely to hear the calls of parrots, macaws and toucans, so listen out for those too. One of the main highlights here is Chalalan Ecolodge: an eco-lodge located on the shore of Chalalan Lake that’s open to visitors. So, if you’d like to get closer to nature for a night or two, that’s the place to be. Set off on guided tours through the rainforest (led by local guides) to explore a variety of trails, rivers and waterfalls and learn more about the indigenous cultures that call this region home.