16 Unmissable Places to visit in Bolivia, South America

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Ahhh, Bolivia. A country of great beauty, stunning landscapes, and unique tourist 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.

There are so many places to visit in Bolivia that each offer something entirely different and unique from the other.

However, Bolivia may not be the easiest place to travel in, and it may not even have the warmest people. It may not have the best cuisine, either, 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.

So if you want to visit this magnificent country and gaze upon all it’s beauty, make sure you visit these top destinations in Bolivia…

Places to Visit in Bolivia

While there are so many highlights of Bolivia, these 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.

1. La Paz

A view of a city with snow capped mountains in the background

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.

There aren’t many major cities in the world where a room can cost $5USD and a top notch meal can be had for under $10USD, so consider beginning your Bolivian trip here.

2. Coroico

a hiking trail up a mountain

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.

Accommodations are quite cheap (private doubles with bath can be found for about $15USD), most have spectacular views, and many even have a pool. If time permits, don’t skip over this gem of a town. You’ll thank me later.

3. The Pampas

a man touching a crocodile
Crazy Guides with alligators in 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 visitors 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.

4. Copacabana

a beach surrounded by mountains

If you’re fortunate enough to travel around South America and are going to both Peru and Bolivia, Copacabana is a can’t miss destination.

Sitting on one side of the highest high-altitude lake in the world, as well as the largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia, sits the charming and quaint town of Copacabana.

The radiant blue-turquoise lake is what people come to Copacabana for, and options abound for exploring it.

Hiking trails along the shore is a great way to see the lake for different perspectives, with white capped mountains in the background. Kayaking or paddle-boating your way around the bay gets travelers up close and personal with the lake.

A boat trip to one of the islands in the middle of the lake is one of the most popular ways to experience Lake Titicaca.

And while the town itself doesn’t offer much in the way of entertainment, that’s all right because the lake is the highlight here, and it’s the only entertainment you’ll need.

5. Salar De Uyuni

cracked dry salt flats

If a Bolivian Salt Flats tour isn’t on your travel bucket list, add it now. The Uyuni Salt Flats are the world’s largest salt flats, and they themselves are the definite highlight of the tour, but they only constitute one of the four days of the trip.

This is actually a tour of southwestern Bolivia, and never in my life have I felt more like an astronaut.

Other-worldly landscapes await you on this indescribable jeep trip through scenes out of a fantasy land.

Red and green colored lagoons, pink flamingos and other unique wildlife, geysers, volcanoes, and geothermal wonders, painted mountains, bizarre rock formations, and the feeling of being on the moon are just a sampling of the highlights of the other three days.

Then there’s the Salt Flats themselves. The highest and largest in the world, the Salt Flats are a wonder like no other. Bright white stretching as far as the eye can see, contrasting with the deep blue skies, offers a scene that simply doesn’t look, seem, or feel real.

A magical place that has people of every age acting like children, a trip to the Salar de Uyuni is a memorable one.

6. Sucre

view of village in the middle of an arch way with mountains in the background

Sucre is a stunningly beautiful city with a rich history, culture and natural beauty.

Founded in the early 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors, Sucre is known as the “White City” because of its white buildings and cobblestone streets.

It’s not only the constitutional capital of Bolivia but declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In addition to its stunning architecture, you can explore the many museums in Sucre where you can learn about the country’s history and culture.

There are also plenty of activities to do nearby such as exploring the nearby archaeological sites, trekking through mountains and forests, visiting local markets, or even riding horseback through villages surrounding the city.

Sucre has all the amenities of a modern city, but remains true to its colonial roots, making it one of the best places to visit in Bolivia for those who love a bit of old mixed with new.

7. Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun)

emerald coastline of Isla del Sol bolivia

Isla del Sol is a spectacular destination with a vast history that goes back to the 15th century, making it one of the oldest inhabited places on earth.

Located on the southern end of Lake Titicaca, Isla del Sol is an ideal place for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming and camping.

It offers stunning views of the lake and is filled with archaeological sites including ancient Inca ruins, terraces and even Inca stairways.

You can visiting local markets or attending traditional festivals. Additionally, visitors can climb to the top of one of its peaks, Mirador, or Palla Khasa, to watch a breathtaking sunrise over the lake.

From relaxing on white sandy beaches to fascinating history, Isla del Sol offers something for everyone.

8. Laguna Colorada

pink flamingos sitting on lagoon Laguna Colorada bolivia

Laguna Colorada is a destination filled with stunning landscapes, history and fun things to do.

The lagoon’s striking red hues are thanks to the presence of algae and sediments, giving it a unique, eye-catching appearance.

It’s also home to many species of wildlife such as flamingos, llamas, vicuñas, and more.

For those interested in seeing more of Bolivia’s unique landscapes, Laguna Colorada is the place for you.

9. Selva Soliviana or Selva Boliviana (Amazon Basin)

water basin in the middle of the lush forest of Madidi National Park

Selva Soliviana is part of the Amazon Basin and is also known as Selva Boliviana. It’s located within the Madidi National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse areas and a hotspot for conservation efforts.

In 1995, the park was declared a nature preserve and is one of the best places to visit in Bolivia to see the most stunning scenery and wildlife in the world.

Birdwatchers can spot hundreds of species of birds including macaws, toucans and parrots. Wildlife enthusiasts can also observe monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and even endangered giant river otters in their natural environment.

With its history of conservation and unparalleled beauty, Selva Soliviana is an ideal destination to visit in Bolivia for those wanting to experience nature’s wonders while supporting its preservation.

10. Town of Rurrenabaque

Rurrenabaque village on edge of amazon

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more chill, then check out the town of Rurrenabaque, a beautiful destination with a rich history and plenty of activities to do. It’s usually visited as a gateway to Selva Soliviana, but should be visited as a destination in its own right.

Located between the lush Amazon rainforest and the town’s namesake river, Rurrenabaque boasts stunning natural beauty and an array of outdoor activities.

There are plenty of historical sites to explore within the town, such as Plaza Principal De Rurrenabaque and its picturesque narrow streets.

Visitors can also take part in some unique experiences such as fishing for piranhas or swimming with pink dolphins. You can also learn about the indigenous culture of Bolivia through visits to local villages or taking guided tours into the jungle.

This is a great place for wildlife spotting, from toucans to caiman crocodiles, it’s an ideal spot for nature lovers.

11. Toro Toro National Park

Nicknamed Bolivia’s Grand Canyons, Toro Toro National Park is a natural wonderland of breathtaking beauty and fascinating history.

The park is filled with unique geological formations, dinosaur tracks, ancient Batea Q’ocha cave paintings, and endemic wildlife that can only be found here.

The landscape of the park is characterized by red sandstone canyons where you can explore a variety of unique rock formations.

In addition to its spectacular scenery, the park has several interesting archaeological sites dating back to the jurassic period. It is said there are more than 2,500 different dinosaur footprints in the park.

Visitors here can also go trekking through the canyon, take part in guided hikes up to various lookout points for beautiful panoramic views of the area.

12. Sajama National Park

lama looking at camera with white building and snow capped peak behind it

Sajama National Park is another stunning nature spot in Bolivia and where you will find geyser fields and endless hot springs. You can even take a dip in some of the hot springs!

The high altitude park is also home to the Nevado Sajama, an extinct volcano and the highest peak in Bolivia.

At the park you will find breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains, plus see a wide variety of wildlife including llamas, flamingoes, vicuñas and condors.

For adventure seekers, there are plenty of activities on offer such as trekking, horseback riding, mountain climbing and cycling.

Additionally, you can camp under the stars or enjoy bird watching on one of the many trails throughout the park.

13. La Paz

gondolas going up mountain with view of la paz in the background

La Paz is the world’s highest capital city at 3,625 meters above sea level. Anyone visiting La Paz can expect a unique experience, enriched by high altitude and breath-taking views.

Those visiting La Paz should head to the iconic Plaza Murillo in the centre of the city, where they will find plenty of history and colonial architecture that has sat here since 1558.

With its many colonial buildings, churches and cathedrals, you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time.

La Paz is also home to some spectacular natural attractions such as Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), a stunning landscape filled with sandstone pillars that look just like something out of a fairy tale.

Don’t miss a chance to take the aerial cable cars to El Alto for incredible views of the city!

14. Potosi

men working beside a mine cart

Potosi is a silver miners town founded in 1545 by Spanish miners, and is one of the highest city in the world at 13,290 feet.

There are many attractions to experience here including the National Mint of Bolivia, where you can learn about Bolivia’s coin manufacturing and silver mining industry.

Check out the largest mine in Bolivia, El Cerro, or go snowboarding in the Charquini Mountains nearby.

15. Oruro

people dressed in elaborate blue costumes at the oruru carnival

Oruro is located in the heart of the Andes Mountains, and is one of South America’s oldest cities which was founded in 1606 by Spanish conquistadors.

With its cobblestone streets, beautiful colonial churches, lively markets, and colorful festivals, Oruro is a vibrant manifestation of the country’s multicultural heritage.

One of the major attractions is Carnival de Oruro which is held every year during Lent sine the 18th century. It’s a religious festival that features over 28,000 dancers and musicians as well as elaborately dressed devils that parade through the city’s streets.

With its picturesque landscapes, captivating history, and amazing festivities, Oruro is truly a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience Bolivian culture at its finest.

16. Death Road (Yungas Road)

death road winding on the edge of the mountains

Death Road, otherwise known as Yungas Road, is a unique and thrilling experience that you must add to your bucket list.

Its legendary history dates back to the 1930s when the road was built by Paraguayan prisoners of war as a way to link the military from the Bolivian Amazon to the capital.

Since then, it has also been used by adventurers, cyclists and motorcyclists as an adrenaline-pumping journey through the wild Bolivian landscape.

At only 3-meters wide, Death Road is not a place for everyone. It gets its infamous nickname due to the number of fatalities that occur here, but those who dare it are met with jaw-dropping views of the Andes Mountains and lush jungle valleys below.

If you’re looking for an adventure unlike any other, there’s nowhere quite like Death Road in Bolivia.

Want to cycle Death Road but don’t want. togo alone? Check out this guided tour from La Pas.

Best Time to Visit Bolivia

The best time to visit Bolivia is in the dry season, which usually runs from April until October. This is Bolivia’s winter and has mild temperatures which make it great for exploring.

It’s also when you are more likely to see snow-capped peaks on the Andes mountain range.

You can check out places to stay in Bolivia by scrolling through the list below:

Final Thoughts on Places to Visit in Bolivia

There are so many sights to see in a country as beautiful as Bolivia, and these five are just the tip of the iceberg.

While travel in this very poor and developing country is usually challenging and at times heartbreaking, your efforts will be rewarded with some of the most visually pleasing scenery in the entire world.

What can you add to the list of places to visit in Bolivia? Let us know in the comments.

Bio: After a life-changing year long RTW trip, Adam Seper is back home in St. Louis, MO, with his wife and travel companion, Megan, trying to figure out their next plan of attack. When he’s not working at his father-in-law’s flooring store, he’s writing and working on his new site, World Travel for Couples, along with any and all freelance travel writing gigs he can land. While no other big trips are on the horizon for now, it won’t be long before he and his wife hit the road again for another adventure.

Find out more about Adam by following him on twitter @aseper.

Tours in Bolivia

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