Ahhh, Bolivia. A country of great beauty, stunning landscapes, and unique attractions. A country with the highest capital city in the world, the largest salt flats in the world, mountains, jungles, lakes, and everything else in between.
Bolivia may not be the easiest place to travel in, may not have the warmest people, and may not have the best cuisine, but what it lacks in those departments it more than makes up for in others.
Bolivia stands out as a top notch travel destination for many reasons. The main one being the diversity of the landscape. No other country I’ve been on Earth has such a myriad of dazzling natural beauty that is so unique.
While the highlights of Bolivia are many, these five stuck out as must see, can’t miss places if visiting this beautiful, landlocked South American country. These sites provide a great contrast of all there is to see in a country about three times the size of the state of Montana.
La Paz. The highest capital city in the world, sitting at about 13,400 feet (4100 meters), is a great introduction to the diversity of Bolivia.
La Paz, a picturesque city set in a valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks, offers anything a traveler could want. This bustling metropolis provides top notch cuisine, from Indian to Middle Eastern to local, accommodations of all shapes, sizes, and prices, a rousing night life, and activities for everyone (fancy a bike ride down the World’s Most Dangerous Road?).
Giant markets (even a witch market), crazy traffic, impressive architecture, ornate churches, and the Presidential Palace await you in La Paz. If big, urban cities appeal to you, look no further.
Coroico. Traveling in Bolivia can be tough business, especially for backpackers with a low budget. The buses and roads are, shall we say, challenging, and overland travel can take a lot out of even the most seasoned travelers.
Luckily Coroico is here to whisk all your worries away. A few hours outside of La Paz (or at the end of the World’s Most Dangerous Road bike ride), Coroico is perched on a hill in the subtropical Yunga Valley, set amongst orange and banana groves with condors circling overhead.
This small town is appealing for its scenery and being a place to just kick back and relax. A stop here for a few days in highly advisable for anyone, and if you plan on riding the World’s Most Dangerous Road before heading towards the jungle (a typical Bolivian itinerary), you’ll be thankful for the R & R.
The Pampas. High atop anyone’s list of must-sees while traveling in South America is a trip into the Amazon jungle to see wildlife galore. Most people automatically think Brazil when contemplating this world famous site, but parts of the jungle can be visited in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia. Two options are available in Bolivia, jungle tours and pampas tours, both based out of Rurrenabaque (about 20 hours by bus-one of the worst trips in South America-north of La Paz, or a 45 minute flight).
If seeing wildlife is your goal, then the Pampas tour is for you. Picture slowly puttering down the river in a dug-out canoe, with literally hundreds of alligators, crocodiles, turtles, monkeys, pink dolphins, capybaras, and an abundant species of birds all around. Envision piranha fishing, swimming with the dolphins, hiking around the jungle in search of the largest snake in the world, the anaconda.
Wake up to the sounds of howler monkeys and the cacophony of jungle sounds. A truly unique place in the world that permits travelers to get up close and personal with a myriad of wildlife, a Pampas tour is something that will be etched in your memory forever.