Bolivia things to see and do

Things to see and do

Be dazzled by the Salar de Uyuni

Travel around the Salar de Uyuni, a high-altitude salt lake, and marvel at its multi-coloured wonders. There’s Laguna Colorado, whose fiery red waters harbour pink flamingos, and the stunning Laguna Verde, whose turquoise waters reflect the silhouette of ashen volcanoes. Explore the shimmering lunar landscape on a 4x4 safari and stay overnight in a gleaming salt hotel.

Climb the Cordillera Real

With its ice-capped peaks, condors and hawks, the Cordillera Real is an Andean highlight. You might even catch a glimpse of the spectacled bear; South America’s only bear species. The mountain range has six peaks above 6,000m (20,000ft) and many more over 5000m (16,000ft). Climbing excursions (complete with mules, porters and guides) can be booked in Sorata, an Alpine-style village.

Cruise over Lake Titicaca

The largest high-altitude body of water in the world, Lake Titicaca straddles the Bolivia-Peru border. The enormous freshwater lake is home to several small island communities, including the floating Uros islands made entirely from reeds, and the sacred Isla del Sol with ancient Inca ruins. You can take boat cruises from Copacabana, or stay overnight on the Isla del Sol.

Discover the garden city of Cochabamba

With its year-round spring climate, the openness of the locals and its excellent local cuisine, Cochabamba is often hailed as the most welcoming city in Bolivia. For a bird’s eye view, climb the 2,000 steps, or take the cable car, up to the imposing statue of Christ on Cerro San Pedro; explore the rambling street markets and sample some local maize beer.

Float down the Amazon

The Bolivian Amazon offers safari boat trips, eco lodges and nature trails. Setting out by boat from Rurrenabaque, linked by flights from La Paz, you can choose from a range of tours available to the Parque Nacional Madidi and the Pampas del Yacuma. Typical jungle trips include motorised canoe trips where you can see pink dolphins, guided rainforest walks and rustic accommodation.

Follow in Che Guevara’s final footsteps

Vallegrande, a quiet market town, was the resting place of Che Guevara. The town’s Museo Municipal Ruta del Che Guevara displays photographs of the iconic guerrilla and his comrades; you can also visit various other Che sites, including the hospital where his body was put on display. Die-hard fans take the three-hour trip to La Higuera, the hamlet where Che Guevara died.

Gasp at the wonders of lofty La Paz

Otherworldly, majestic La Paz is the world's highest capital city, sprawled across an Andean basin at 3,632m (11,910ft) above sea level. Overlooked by snow-capped Mount Illimani, the city’s chaotic street life reflects its blend of European and Aymaran identities. See colonial palaces, churches and museums, wander the cobbled streets around Plaza San Francisco and listen to haunting panpipes in a folk club.

Have a hell of a time at Oruro’s Carnival

Carnival is celebrated throughout Bolivia, but the annual street party at Oruro, is one of the most faithful traditional expressions of folklore in South America, with its historic ‘Devil Dance’ procession. This otherwise bleak mining town comes alive once a year with a spectacularly colourful and effervescent popular festival, attracting partygoers from around the world.

Mountain bike down 'Death Road'

Hurtle down the world's most dangerous road on a mountain bike. The adrenalin-fuelled trip starts at the Cordillera Real in the mountains and descends rapidly down twisting roads into the Yungas jungle. At some points the rough track, also know as ‘Death Road, is only 3m (10ft) wide with 600m (2,000ft) drops down one side.

Ponder the mysteries of ancient Tiahuanaco

Near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, are the impressive stone walls of Tiahuanaco, believed to have once been the capital of a major pre-Inca civilisation, established some three millennia ago. The site is dominated by a series of evocative temples, carved monoliths and a compelling museum of ancient artefacts.

Take the Jesuits Missions Trail

Dotted along the Jesuit Mission Trail east of Santa Cruz in Chiquitos, are a string of historic colonial churches. In the 18th century, Jesuit priests built these magnificent churches, before being expelled by the Spanish Crown. Six out of the 10 churches still exist today and now comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to a sacred music festival every other year.

Tour a tin mine in historic Potosí

Colonial Potosí was once the most important city on the continent and currently the highest city in the world at 4,100m (13,500ft) above sea level. Situated at the foot of Cerro Rico (‘Rich Mountain’), Potosi was exploited for its mineral wealth, especially silver, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take guided tours to the mines, the striking churches and the former Royal Mint.

Trek through ancient Inca trails

The Bolivian Andes are crisscrossed by Inca trails, which provide a welcome challenge to hikers. Most treks start from La Paz and Sorata, and the most popular is the three-day Choros Trail from La Paz to Coroico. Also a three-day trek, the Taquesi Trail offers a moderate hike from La Paz, while the Illampus Circuit from Sorata is a demanding six-day affair.

Wander through whitewashed Sucre

Bolivia’s constitutional capital Sucre, otherwise known as 'the white city' is a delightful place in which to unwind from the rigours of the Andes. Revered for its colonial architectural, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to beautiful churches, mansions and whitewash buildings. Wander the tranquil squares and market centre, which is known for its traditional weaving.