A trip to Bolivia offers some of the most unique and authenticate travel experiences you can find any where on the planet so here is our list of 12 of the best things to do in Bolivia to inspire you to come and visit.
Whilst travel here can be a bit more challenging than in neighboring countries that have better infrastructure it is worth the effort and many leave remembering Bolivia as one of their favorite countries.
Bolivia is incredibly varied in its landscapes, culture and customs, languages and people. This is reflected in this list of 12 of the best things to do in Bolivia with their being something for every style of traveler from the outdoors adventure to the urban explorer.
This list is by no means exhaustive though and there are lots more options that could fill up months of your time.
- 1 Uyuni Salt Flats Tours
- 2 Teleferico Cable Car in La Paz
- 3 Mountain Bike Down Death Road to Coroico
- 4 Copacabana, Isla del Sol & Lake Titicaca
- 5 Climb Huayna Potosi Over 6000 Meters High
- 6 Cholitas Wrestling
- 7 Pampas Tours
- 8 Madidi National Park Jungle Tours
- 9 Mines Tour in Potosi
- 10 Tandem Paragliding
- 11 La Paz City Tours
- 12 Tuni Condoriri Pico Austria Day Trek
Take a look at all our Bolivia Tour options for even more ideas.
Uyuni Salt Flats Tours
The Uyuni Salt Flats are the crown jewel of Bolivia tourist attractions and should be on every visitor to Bolivia must do list.
The vast salt plains of the Salar de Uyuni offer some of the most stunning, surreal and beautiful landscapes any where in the world.
During rainy season, when there is a layer of water on the surface, the Salt Flats turn into the world largest mirror reflecting the clouds and it can seem like your are driving through the sky.
Those that take multi day tours also get to see a red colored lake, emerald green lake, flocks of flamingos, geysers & hot springs, surreal desert scenery and a “tree of rock” and to pass by distant smoking volcanoes and mountain scenery.
Tours are an adventure and certainly not luxury travel – no boutique hotels here and don’t expect smashed avocado on sourdough bread for breakfast.
Its long hours in a 4×4, basic accommodation, bread with jam and maybe an egg for breakfast.
Checkout all our Salt Flats Tours options and get more detailed information and advice.
Most agree though that the bumpy journey was worth every minute – there is a reason it is the most popular tour in Bolivia.
Teleferico Cable Car in La Paz
La Paz is home to the worlds largest cable car system that was installed to provide an initiative solution to the error increasing public transport problems in crazy traffic filled streets of La Paz and El Alto.
The system officially called Mi Teleferico has been a massive success and more lines are being added each year to expand coverage.
Currently there are 7 cable car lines operational linking various parts of La Paz and El Alto reducing what was sometimes a journey of an hour or more down to just 5 or 10 minutes in some cases with the added bonus of an incredible birds eye view.
The system was designed and built by a swiss company and is very modern, safe and run professionally – its a stark contrast to the mini bus system that plies the streets below.
Of course this is fantastic for the residents of the city but it also makes for a unique, cheap and perfect way for tourists to pass a few hours exploring the de facto capital from the air.
The views are outstanding with Illimani mountain in the distance but the eagle eyed passenger can spot lots of interesting details such as a car stuck inside a ravine and advertising pointing directly upwards towards the cabins (sold by enterprising locals)
Mountain Bike Down Death Road to Coroico
The Death Road , the old road to Coroico that was named the “Worlds Most Dangerous Road” by the Inter American Development Bank due to the number of yearly fatalities on the road, is famous among travelers in South America.
Mountain biking down the death road is one of the most popular things to do in Bolivia and tens of thousands of travelers survive to tell the tale each year.
Fact is most of the fatalities that earned it the label “Death Road” were from vehicle accidents not biking and now there is a new road thankfully the number of accidents each year is a fraction of years before.
That said , there have been tourists that have died on the trip and even some guides – so you should choose a reputable company and take things easy.
There are lots of companies offering the trip but the best has always been Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking who invented the ride as a tour and work to (self imposed) international safety standards.
If you want a safe budget tour their sister company Barracuda Biking is a great option.
Copacabana, Isla del Sol & Lake Titicaca
Copacabana sites on the shores of Lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake in the world.
It is a quaint, small town that relies largely on fishing and tourism. A popular stop on the route between La Paz and Cusco it is certainly a more pleasant place to experience Lake Titicaca then Puno its Peruvian counterpart.
The church in Copacabana seems unsuitably large for such a small town but serves as a pilgrimage point for people wanting to have their new vehicles blessed in a ceremony that is a mixture of catholic and indigenous beliefs
From Copacabana there are boats that will take you out to Isla del Sol (Sun Island) on the lake that in Inca Legend is the birth place of the Sun God.
The island has several significant inca ruins to visit and also several hotels and lodges servicing tourists.
If you don’t want to stay the night on the island it is possible to go there and back in a day but be aware that the last transport for both Peru and La Paz leaves around 5/6pm so an early start is required.
Climb Huayna Potosi Over 6000 Meters High
This may be the easiest 6000 meter mountain to climb in the world but nothing is easy at 6000 meters!
If you are reasonably fit and allow time to be well acclimatized before attempting a 3 day Huayna Potosi climb then you stand a good chance of summiting.
Don’t underestimate it though! Whilst you don’t need any mountain climbing experience you will need plenty of determination to make it to the top of this popular climb.
One of our customers described it as “its to closest you can get to feeling 100 years old when you’re in your 20s”!
Its well worth it though and you will remember the experience for the rest of your life.
Every Thursday and Sunday in the city of El Alto , the city that lies above La Paz, you can attend a sporting event like no other.
The Cholitas Wrestling show has become famous around the world having several features written about it in publications such as the BBC, CNN, New York Times to name just a few.
The show is attended by both locals and tourists alike and makes for an extremely entertaining evening of fun.
The best way to see it is to book a Cholitas Wrestling tour that includes tickets, transport and guide as these are cheap plus take all the hassle out of trying to visit an area that can be a bit dangerous at night for foreigners.
The pampas are lowland amazon wetlands that are very rich in wildlife such as alligators, caiman, turtles, pink river dolphins, piranhas,anacondas, capybaras, various types of monkeys and lots of birds.
To get to the pampas you first need to travel to Rurrenabaque. Most people fly as that only takes 45 minutes as opposed to an 18 hour or longer bus journey.
Being open with lots of small canals and channels the best way to explore the area is by boat so the tours take place in long motor powered boats, like large canoes.
The most popular way to see the Pampas is to take a 3 Day Pampas Tour which will include accommodation in a lodge, a guide and of course the transport from Rurrenabaque and during the tour.
A lot more people visit the pampas than the the jungle tours because most want to see animals and it is much easier in the pampas.
Bolivia certainly offers some of the best and cheapest ways for travelers to visit the Amazon area and the Pampas are highly recommended if you are visiting the country.
Madidi National Park Jungle Tours
Although less visited than the pampas Madidi National Park is officially the most diverse natural habitat in the world with new species being discovered every year.
The area was made famous by National Geographic and also by the book by Yossi Ghinsberg “Jungle” which was made into a movie staring Daniel Radcliffe in 2017 once again rekindling interest in the area.
The book is about how Yossi because lost in the jungle, separated from his companions, and had to survive for weeks until he was rescued by locals from San José de Uchupiamonas.
Ghinsberg later returned some years later and assisted his rescuers to setup the award winning eco-lodge Chalalan and put Rurrenabaque on the map for tourism
A completely different experience to the pampas, exploring enclosed rain forest and learning more about the jungle, its plants and their uses, hiking short trails and experiencing the deafening loudness of the Amazon at night, many go on both pampas and jungle tours.
Mines Tour in Potosi
Potosi was once one of the richest cities in the world at the height of the spanish empire and this was due to the mountain Cerro Rico that contained huge amounts of silver that was mined and sent back to Spain.
Cerro Rico itself translates as “Rich Mountain” and even today it continues to be mined after all these years although its shape has changed since the colonial times.
An interesting half day trip to visit the mines and see how the miners work and live is something many travelers find an interesting experience.
Its not every day you can get to go down inside a real working mine!
Some of the money from the tours will go back to the miners and tourists are also encouraged to bring gifts of coca leaves, cigarettes and even sticks of dynamite!
Tandem paragliding is the closest feeling to flying like a bird that you can have and what better setting to do it than in the southern area of La Paz against the back drop of Illimani mountain.
The flights are only possible in the mornings due to the fact that the area gets windy in the afternoons.
There are a handful of qualified guides in Bolivia so you need to be careful when you book a paragliding tour in La Paz because some operate without the proper training or with decent equipment.
If you are in the Cochabamba area you can also arrange flights there but having tried both ourselves we think the La Paz ones are nicer.
La Paz City Tours
The city of La Paz is like no other and often captivates people that visit.
It can seem chaotic at times and some things can be confusing like the fact there are people dressed as zebras directing traffic on the main streets.
A great way to learn about the city is to take a city tour and with La Paz being so congested this is usually a walking tour or at least for large parts of it.
Taking a tour means you can learn from a local about interesting traditions, customs, hidden parts of the city , street foods and stories that you might never have heard about by yourself.
A great option is to take a tour that will visit both the center and southern area as these are completely different and it is an interesting contrast.
Tuni Condoriri Pico Austria Day Trek
Just a few hours drive from La Paz you can find yourself amongst wonderful Andean mountain scenery and world class trekking territory.
The 1 Day Trek to Tuni Condoriri is very popular due to it being quite an easy trek, great for acclimatizing prior to climbs like Huayna Potosi or others and also for those short on time but wanting to experience the Andes.
Whilst the standard route is a steady trail gradually increasing in altitude but without harsh inclines those looking for something a bit more strenuous can choose the option to continue further and trek up to the top of Pico Austria to a height of 5300 meters.
Which ever option you choose both get to see the majestic Cordillera Real mountain range and pass by pristine mountain lakes, grazing herds of Alpacas and Llamas and see the real Bolivian countryside.
Im sure you will agree that this list makes for an action packed extremely interesting few weeks of travel!
If you have any questions about any of the options get in touch and we will do our best to answer.
Hope to see you in Bolivia soon.
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