Best Places to Visit in Bolivia
There is so much to see and do in Bolivia, and sometimes I wonder if the three months I’ve traveled there will be enough. A mix of unusual roads, popular tourist stops, interesting activities, cultural events and diverse landscapes, Bolivia is truly a paradise for anyone bitten by a stray bug.
Of all the Latin American countries I have visited and lived in, Bolivia has a special place in my heart. First, it is one of the countries where indigenous cultures rank first, compared to many other countries in Latin America. At that time, it is certainly much cheaper, although not as popular as neighboring countries such as Peru or Chile. So, if you’re on a budget and don’t know where to go, go to Bolivia.
Although citizens of most countries can travel to Bolivia with a tourist stamp on arrival or a Bolivian visa, Bolivia is a great place if you want to learn Spanish, volunteer or do business. Besides traveling, I took Spanish lessons and volunteered in Bolivia. As Bolivia’s entry and immigration requirements can be a bit confusing at times, here is a guide to different visas for Bolivia.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Bolivia and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Bolivia
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Bolivia:
1. The Uyuni Salt Flats
There is no place in the world like Salar de Uyuni. I mean, there are salt flats in the United States and some other countries, but none as big as Bolivia’s. At over 11,000 square miles, it’s actually larger than some countries like Lebanon and Barbados. So take your time and let it go in.
Visiting this salt desert is nothing short of surreal, especially when it rains you can see everything reflected. When you step into this vast salt field, it’s like stepping into an alien landscape with almost no other signs of life.
You can take some weird and wonderful photos – that’s for sure!
2. Jesuit Missionary Tour
The historic site of La Chiquitania, made up of several centuries-old Jesuit missionary towns, sits amid beautiful scenery and abundant natural attractions. On a multi-day tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit ancient churches built between 1691 and 1760 and largely unchanged to this day in towns like Concepcion, famous for their extraordinary low-eaved cathedrals.
Exploration begins in San Javier, a 4-hour drive from Santa Cruz, and continues to San Ignacio, a base for exploring the wider area. With many viewpoints overlooking the dry forest of La Chiquitania and countless short hikes, Jehol, and impressive rock formations to explore, La Chiquitania shows a very different side of Bolivia. The region also hosts the prestigious International Baroque Festival every two years.
3. Madidi National Park
One of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, Madidi National Park is part of the Bolivian Amazon, one of the best preserved pristine rainforests in South America. The protected part of the Amazon is only accessible by a three-day boat ride from Rurrenabaque, so getting here is part of the fun.
In addition to experiencing the sound and feel of the rainforest at this 19,000-square-kilometer (7,336-square-mile) reserve, visitors can meet pink dolphins, try piranha fishing, and visit indigenous communities to learn about the novelty and community-centered ecosystem of A. tourism project. A trip to Madidi is all-inclusive and mostly on the budget end, but you’re making an eventful entry into the Amazon world.
Samaipata is a charming village three hours from Santa Cruz, with a pleasant climate and relaxed atmosphere year-round, where time slows down and the hustle and bustle of the crowd turns to whispers. Perfect for relaxing in the mountains.
There are many natural attractions nearby, including scenic waterfalls that are often abandoned on weekdays and can be enjoyed outdoors. If hiking is your thing, point your compass at the giant fern forests in nearby Amboro National Park. Another major attraction in Samaipata is El Fuerte, a sacred rock with seats, pipes and niches carved with idols, perched on a hill surrounded by the ruins of the ancient ceremonial center of Chané and the Incas.
Samaipata also has a thriving wine industry, a surprising find off the beaten track. Several local wine cellars are open to visitors, and you can taste their wines while admiring the view of the vineyards that produce the wine by the glass.
In colonial times, the silver mines of Potosí turned this dazzling outpost into one of the largest and most influential cities in the Americas, and wealth returned to the Spanish Empire. Mining continues on Cerro Rico Mountain (known locally as “Toyama”), and visitors can take tours to explore the dark, narrow tunnels and meet the miners who make a living in this harsh environment. Needless to say, this is not a claustrophobic trip.
In the city itself, the main attraction is the National Mint Casa Nacional de la Moneda, a monumental 18th-century building where locally mined silver during Potosí’s heyday was once converted into coins (called potosís). The city has struggled with declining revenues from its mines, but its well-preserved buildings remain a testament to its rich past.
Named after the revolutionary leader Antonio José de Sucre, who would later become the second president of independent Bolivia, the capital city of the country is breathtaking. Thanks to its impeccable collection of sugar-white houses, cathedrals and town halls shimmering in the South American sun, it is a well-preserved colonial and republican-style building that fits perfectly in the translation of its Spanish name.
Sucre, the city where the Republic of Bolivia was founded, has a lot to offer history buffs. Highlights include the Freedom House (Liberty House), where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1825. Also, wander through the General Cemetery and Recoleta neighborhoods, with their ornate mausoleums and magnificent gardens, offering views of the rooftops and the capital’s bell tower. With its relaxed vibe, delicious food and rich historical heritage, Sucre should be an essential stop on any Bolivian itinerary.
7. Death road
The road is known as the Death Road connecting La Paz and Los Yungas Valley, once considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world, is now closed to motor vehicles. But it’s still accessible by bike and is one of the most fun cross-country rides in South America.
Climbing over 3,000 meters (9,842 feet), the gravel trail is an exhilarating mountain adventure that begins in the snow-capped La Cumbre high plains (the peak of the Cordillera Real) and ends in a tropical valley where you can stop to catch your breath.
Passing through some spectacular subtropical landscapes such as rapid waterfalls, craggy cliffs and tight, nerve-wracking corners, this bike tour is a bike tour for the most daring riders only. The tour operator will provide mountain bikes and transfers as well as spare equipment for a day trip for around 350 Bolivia ($50).
Cochabamba is known in Bolivia as the city of eternal spring due to its pleasant climate. It’s not as popular as Sucre or La Paz, which makes it more appealing.
It has a thriving cultural scene, delicious cuisine, and countless stunning nature reserves. I would definitely recommend visiting the Museo Convento Santa Teresa, a recently renovated, formerly completely isolated convent.
You can also visit the Palacio Portales and have the opportunity to admire its stunning artwork and architectural design.
9. La Paz
La Paz is known as the highest (administrative) capital in the world and is definitely a stop for anyone visiting Bolivia. There is so much to do and see in La Paz.
Having said that, I would definitely add El Mercado de las Brujas or the witch market to my La Paz itinerary. Close to Melchor Jimenez Street, this market offers an impressive collection of natural remedies for just about every ailment, as well as potions, camel fetuses, potions, voodoo spells, and more.
Two hours from La Paz, you can take a tour of Death Valley and mountain bike some of the most dangerous roads in the world. Along with the adrenaline, this tour offers views of the lush subtropical forests of the Yungas region.
You shouldn’t miss the weirdest Cholita wrestling match to be held in El Alto every Sunday at 2:00 PM. Here, indigenous Aymara women, known locally as Cholitas, freestyle each other and often wrestle with men.
10. Lake Titicaca
The best place to be isolated from the outside world. Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca is the birthplace of Inca culture. Located on the world’s highest navigable lake, this historic sanctuary uniquely showcases Bolivar’s unique indigenous heritage.
The island has Inca ruins, a museum of relics, and the Fountain of Youth, a natural stream that locals believe brings health and eternal youth. You can also hike along the 4-hour trail and enjoy the breathtaking view of the vast waters of Lake Titicaca.
Note that only twice a day boats operate between the lakeside Isla del Sol and Copacabana Marina; If you need to stop, the island accommodation is mostly very basic, no ATMs, and Wi-Fi is difficult, so be prepared to enjoy the country experience.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Bolivia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Bolivia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.