When I traveled to Chile I knew I had to include Bolivia in my Chile itinerary, even if it was only a short Salar de Uyuni tour. This quick trip made me want to see more of Bolivia tourist attractions and I know I will be back in beautiful Bolivia one day.
Today a fellow travel blogger Priyanka shares with us all the best things to do in Bolivia – hopefully, this article and her story will inspire you to plan w trip to Bolivia soon!
Bolivia is a country favorite of all adventure lovers, history buffs, slow travelers, digital nomads, and adrenaline seekers alike. Vast salt flats, dense Amazon jungles, national parks with dinosaur footprints, lakes as big as oceans, big cities, and cosmopolitan villages, Bolivia has it all.
While traveling South America for nine months, I spent about a month in Bolivia. But the country has so much to do and see that I felt I had barely seen all the great places to visit in Bolivia.
If you are heading to Bolivia, make sure you have at least two weeks at hand to visit some of the most important Bolivia attractions mentioned below.
Table of contents
- 1 Things to do in Bolivia
- 1.1 Go to Samaipata village for a cosmopolitan start to your Bolivia trip
- 1.2 Visit Copacabana and Lake Titicaca for some fresh trouts and remote islands
- 1.3 Go to Sucre and get yourself some Spanish lessons
- 1.4 Visit the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia for some innovative reflection photographs and pink flamingoes
- 1.5 Ride the teleférico in La Paz and see Bolivia from above
- 2 What is the best time to visit Bolivia?
- 3 Travel Resources
Things to do in Bolivia
Here are the top five things to do in Bolivia that will make you want to visit Bolivia now.
Go to Samaipata village for a cosmopolitan start to your Bolivia trip
The small village of Samaipata in eastern Bolivia has seen immigrants from around the world who have now made Samaipata their home. But why would Dutch, German, British, and other nationalities leave home and stay in Samaipata, a small Bolivian village?
Samaipata is so bohemian, green, and laidback that it seems to encompass everything good about life. From making silver jewelry to admiring condors gliding in the sky to visiting indigenous Inca ruins (El Fuerte) to hiking in dense national parks, you can do it all in and around Samaipata. Do visit the Amboro National Park and the Refugio Zoologico, the Animal Rescue Center, in Samaipata.
And when you don’t feel like doing anything, just sit at the central square, drink coffee, and watch the Bolivian life go by. Oh, Jaguar Azul has a beautiful treehouse that you should absolutely stay in.
Visit Copacabana and Lake Titicaca for some fresh trouts and remote islands
Lake Titicaca is one of the deepest, largest, and highest lakes in South America and the world. Titicaca is so big that when you take a stroll at its beach, you will easily assume that you are on the shore of a big ocean.
To add to the beauty of the lake, there are remote islands on the lake that have amazing fables and legends to tell. It is said that Lake Titicaca is the origin of all humanity so the lake’s mythological and religious importance is high amongst the indigenous people.
One of the best things to do in Copacabana is to eat trout at the beach from a cholita’s stall (Bolivian women with bowler hats and fluffy skirts). And when you have eaten enough trout, climb Cerro El Calvario for amazing views of Copacabana and Lake Titicaca. Copacabana countryside is also beautiful so do consider hiking around it.
Then take a ferry or ask a local to take you to the Isla del Sol or the sun island. Legends say that Isla del Sol is where the god Viracocha created the sun. It is not only beautiful but one of the most important attractions in Bolivia and you will find a lot of ancient ruins there.
Spend a few days in Isla del Sol exploring the Inca ruins and watching molten sunsets. When you watch the golden sunset over the lake, I assure you that you wouldn’t want to leave Lago Titicaca.
Keep in mind that Isla del Sol has two parts: the North and the South. Earlier it was possible to visit both and to even hike from one end to another. But now due to some accessibility issues, locals from the North and the South have been in a dispute for a while. When you are in Copacabana, do check with local people and guides on the situation and travel accordingly.
Go to Sucre and get yourself some Spanish lessons
What would be a trip to Bolivia without visiting Sucre – the first choice of travelers in South America for learning Spanish?
The school teachers there are known to be patient and very experienced in teaching basic Spanish to foreigners. One on one classes as well as group classes are held as per the timings of students’ choice. Just walk around, ask your hostel or hotel for the best Spanish school in town and register for a class.
If learning Spanish seems a bit much, there is always the freshly brewed coffee and delicious chocolate in the many hip cafes of Sucre for overcoming the post-class fatigue.
You should also see the Sucre Cathedral, the Central Market of Sucre, and Templo de San Felipe Neri. Do climb up the top of the Templo de San Felipe Neri for some amazing views of Sucre.
Visit the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia for some innovative reflection photographs and pink flamingoes
Bolivia has vast salt flats — 9000 square km in area.
There are many stories behind Uyuni Salt Flats. Aymara legends say that the goddess Tunupa cried and filled the plains with her salty tears that created the present el Salar de Uyuni. But scientists contest that the salt flats was originally a giant lake about 12,000 years ago. As the lake dried, salt crystalized to form a solid salt crust over the surface.
These salt flats deposits are one of the main tourist attractions in Bolivia and they are famous for good reason. Apart from hot geysers, pink flamingoes flocking azure blue lakes, absurd rock formations, salt flats expanding into the horizon, you also get to click the most innovative photographs in the Uyuni salt flats.
Why do you get such amazing pictures in the salt flats?
Because of the endless white surface of the salar or the salt flats, you can pretend objects that are near to the camera lens to be farther and vice-versa. In monsoon, the white salt surface also acts as the perfect mirror for some reflective photography.
You can take a tour of the salt flats from the Uyuni town (that has nothing special to see in itself). The tours last one-day, two-days, and are even for longer, too. You might even take the multiday tour from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.
Do take a guided tour to the salt flats and visit these unique geographical formations on your trip to Bolivia.
Ride the teleférico in La Paz and see Bolivia from above
Teleféricos or the popular La Paz cable-cars cover the entire city of La Paz. They run all over the mountainous city and carry people back and forth from work and other errands. When you see La Paz while sitting in the teleférico, the city looks magical.
Getting onto the teleférico needs a ticket or a pass. The queues are long during the peak times and weekends so try getting a ticket during the afternoon or late at night.
If you end up taking many teleférico rides a day, don’t blame yourself for you would see many other travelers doing the same while making countless videos of the experience.
While in La Paz, you should also see the Valle de La Luna (Moon Valley), the La Paz Witches’ Market, Mercado/Feria 16 de Julio (July 16 Market), and the National Museum of Ethnographic and Folklore.
Some of the fun things to do in La Paz are biking down the Death Road and watching the cholitas wrestle (Every Sunday at 5 pm in Polifunctional de la Ceja, El Alto).
This is our list of best places to visit and things to do in Bolivia. Depending on the duration of your trip to Bolivia, feel free to create a Bolivia itinerary that fits your budget and preferences.
All these places are best explored at a slow pace and with a cup of coca tea — your solution to the high altitude of entire Bolivia.
What is the best time to visit Bolivia?
I traveled to Bolivia during March and April. At that time, the weather wasn’t that cold, the wind was chilly, and there was a good amount of rainfall, too.
The best time to visit Bolivia would be from September to April. Post-April, the weather would be too cold. But during these warmer months of September-April Bolivia is humid and rainy.
If you would like to see Bolivia in the dry season then you have to visit it in the cold months of May-September.
I hope this guide to places to see in Bolivia made you interested in visiting Bolivia.
About the author: Priyanka Gupta is an itinerant writer from India who left her investment banking career to travel the world and write. Priyanka always looks out for sustainable and local-community-driven offbeat experiences. Priyanka reads, writes, and blogs full-time. In her free time, she can be found running, helping other travelers learn basic Spanish phrases needed to survive in gorgeous South America or cooking the Burmese Mohinga. You can read Priyanka’s best ideas and travel stories on her personal growth and travel blog On My Canvas. You can also follow Priyanka on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get live updates of her journey.
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