It’s no surprise that people travel from all over the word to get a taste of Bolivia’s spellbinding natural landscapes. From the shimmering waters of Lake Titicaca and the vast salt planes of Salar de Uyuni to the hairpin bends of North Yungas Road and the ancient archeological site of Tiwanaku, the landscapes in Bolivia are proof that Mother Nature can’t help showing off from time to time. Read on to find out more…
- The Magical World of Salar de Uyuni
- Life at Lake Titicaca
- The Vibrant Tapestry of La Paz
- Travel the North Yungas Road
- Take me to Tiwanaku
First up on our list of unmissable landscapes in Bolivia is one of the country’s most unique natural wonders and a realm where fantasy meets reality. In the southwest part of Bolivia, near the town of Uyuni, lies the Salar de Uyuni: the largest salt flat in the world, covering over 3,800 miles of land. This otherworldly wonder was formed over millions of years from a prehistoric lake that dried up and left behind a thick layer of salt. If you visit during the rainy season, prepare to be truly captivated. At this time of year, a thin layer of rainwater covers the salt, transforming the flats into the world’s largest mirror. The sky and earth merge in a breathtaking display of colours and reflections, and you’ll feel as though you’re walking on water.
Nestled in the Andes, lies the highest navigable lake in the world: Lake Titicaca. Considered sacred by the ancient Inca people, it’s a natural wonder that has fascinated travellers for centuries and is home to floating islands, sacred ruins and indigenous communities. Enjoy a peaceful boat ride across the vast expanse of crystal-clear waters to Taquile Island and meet the Taquileños, a community renowned for their vibrant textiles and handwoven garments. Or cruise along to the spiritual Amantani Island, adorned with colourful flowers and quaint stone houses. For the best views of the lake, make sure to stay for sunset. On clear evenings, the sky is painted with orange, pink and purple hues that turn the shimmering waters into a huge work of art.
Image: Kevin Faingnaert
Get ready to begin a love affair with the beating heart of Bolivia: La Paz. Situated high in the Andes, this intoxicating city is one of our favourite urban landscapes in Bolivia. As you approach the city, you’ll be welcomed by a combination of towering snow-capped mountains, winding valleys and modern skyscrapers. Head straight to El Alto, a vibrant district perched high above the cityscape, where streets are a riot of colours as local markets spring to life with vibrant textiles, fresh produce and handmade crafts. Stroll through bustling streets and narrow alleyways towards Plaza Murillo, a historic square surrounded by grand colonial buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Once you’re here, find a bench to sit on and watch locals and tourists go about their day, soaking up the energy that pulses through this metropolitan mecca.
Next up is a gem of a destination and another one of the must-see landscapes in Bolivia. The infamous (and somewhat treacherous) North Yungas Road is made up of steep cliffs, hairpin turns and narrow passes which have earned it the nickname ‘Death Road’. But this doesn’t put visitors off. It’s a popular tourist attraction for thrill-seekers and cyclists, with dramatic views of cloud forests, towering mountains and deep valleys, with the odd cascading waterfall adding an enchanting touch to the scene.
Last up on our selection of unmissable landscapes in Bolivia is Tiwanaku, an archaeological site steeped in ancient history. Located on the high plains of Bolivia, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of the once-thriving Tiwanaku civilization. Expect everything from architectural marvels and intricate artwork to stone temples and monolithic structures. One particular highlight here is the iconic Gateway of the Sun, an architectural masterpiece adorned with carvings and symbols that come to life when bathed in the sun's rays. After admiring this landmark, ascend the terraced steps of the Akapana Pyramid for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside or visit the Museo de Sitio, a treasure trove of artifacts, including textiles, pottery and metalwork.
Header Image: Kevin Faingnaert