Bolivia at a glance
Bolivia may be one of the poorest countries in South America, but its cultural wealth, the vastly differing Amazonian and Andean landscapes and the remnants of mysterious ancient civilizations make it an incredibly rich and exciting destination for all adventure lovers.
The country’s greatest treasures are the Bolivians themselves. Nearly two thirds of the people are of indigenous origin, preserving the continent’s purest cultural roots, which means a dazzling array of colorful festivals, mysterious rituals, haunting folklore music and magical markets.
Tourism in Bolivia is still emerging and really for the adventurous among us; plenty of long bus journeys over precipitous mountain passes, rough-and-tumble jeep trips across empty landscapes and chilly nights at high altitude in budget hostels under llama wool blankets… Enjoy!
What not to miss in
Is the highest capital of the word, situated at just over 3,600m (2Mi). In La Paz the new customs of the Western world collide and coexist with the old customs of the Aymara and the Quechua. Hi-tech international banks and government offices rub shoulders with vibrant street markets that still play a central role in the lives of the indigenous.
The brightest spot on earth visible from space, the largest white desert in the world hosts many natural wonders: fascinating colored lagoons, exotic rock formations, a diversity of animals strolling in their own, intact natural environment, volcanic craters and fumaroles blowing steam reaching up to 100 meters in height… Prepare to be amazed.
Also known as the city of ‘white’, Sucre is Bolivia’s most beautiful and peaceful city. Set in a valley surrounded by low mountains Sucre boasts a wealth of beautiful and well-kept squares, cobblestone streets, white-chalked houses and museums.
The sacred and mystic Lake of the Inca is the highest navigable surface in the world. This magic territory harbors in its breast the archaeological complex of the oldest civilization on the continent.
During colonial times silver extraction in the Cerro Rico of Potosi transformed this then sleepy town into the biggest and wealthiest city in the Americas. Everything was about opulence and exquisite churches and elegant mansions were built. In the 1800’s the silver mines were depleted and the town dwindled. Nowadays the mines are still mainly in use for tin and make for an eerie visit into history.
What you need
Despite being among the poorest countries in the region, Bolivia has very low levels of theft and violent crime. That being said, you should always be careful: do not have your valuables out in the open and travel with some clear common sense.
As many Bolivians do not speak English, it is recommended to have a basic knowledge of Spanish at least. Traveling through the country with small children is not recommendable: climate conditions, altitude and food conditions make it a difficult country to travel through for families. Minimum age we recommend is 14 years.
Flying is the most comfortable option and for sure our recommendation for longer distances. However between some cities your only option will be local transport (Uyuni – Potosi and Sucre – Potosi for instance). Wherever you can, book a tourist class bus (the more comfortable seats), which are not only a bit less Spartan, but will also save you several hours because they make less stops. Whichever way you travel, expect delays and long journeys, but it will be worth your while…