One of the most secluded and underrated travel destinations in the world, Bolivia is a country like no other. Landlocked at the remote heart of South America, the country embraces an astonishing range of landscapes and climates. Surreal lakes and salt flats, the Andes mountain range, unique cultures, fun-filled festivals, vibrant cities and bustling markets offer something for every taste. The country is one of the most under developed in its region.
Welcome to Bolivia
Bolivia Travel Guide
Consisting of temperate valleys, semi-arid highlands, humid jungles and balmy lakeside villages, Bolivia’s weather differs greatly depending on the altitude and topography of the region.
Generally, there are two seasons in Bolivia – the dry and the wet. The dry season is from May to October, the winter months. The wet season is from November to April, the summer months. It is coldest during the months of June to September and wettest from December to March. The dry season is best for travel for better road conditions and sunny skies.
Bolivia is one of the least expensive countries in South America, and considerably cheaper than neighboring Chile, Brazil and Argentina. Imported goods are expensive, but food, accommodation and transport are all relatively cheap.
Currency: Bolivian Bolíviano (BOB)
- Taxi: USD 1.15 per kilometre
- One way ticket local transport : USD 0.29
- One day Uyuni Salt Flats tour: around USD 35
- Return Boat Ticket to Isla del Sol: USD 6
- La Pay Walking Tour (adult): USD 3
- Tour to the Tiwanaku archaeological site: around USD 15
- Kayak Rental at Lake Titicaca: around USD 3.6 per day
Top 5 local food/specialities:
Bolivian cuisine is from the combination of Spanish cuisine with indigenous ingredients and Aymara traditions, among others, with later influences from Argentinians, Germans, Italians, French, and Arabs due to the arrival of immigrants from those countries. The traditional staples of Bolivian cuisine are corn, potatoes, and beans.
- Locro (Thick stew of corn, beans, and potato or pumpkin soup)
- Chairo (Soup made of vegetables and beef)
- Choripan (Sandwich filled with chorizo)
- Salteñas (Baked dough filled with meat, vegetables, egg, olives, spicy sauce)
- Pique macho (Beef, sausage, onions, spicy peppers, boiled egg and thickly cut fries)
Public transport throughout the country, while generally safe, can be tricky, uncomfortable and unreliable. Many of Bolivia’s roads are still unpaved, making traveling between cities, long, tumultuous and bumpy.
Nevertheless, taking the bus is the best and cheapest option for long distance travel and buses of different comfort are available.
Within cities, taxis are generally the safest mode of transport.. They are cheap and available anytime. In some cities, fixed-route minibuses, otherwise known as colectivos or trufis are commonly used.
Domestic flights are operated by Boliviana de Aviación and Amaszonas, from La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Because of the country’s topography and tropical regions, air travel is the fastest, but not cheapest method of transport.
Top things to do and see:
Explore La Paz Located at 4058 meters above sea level, Bolivia’s third most populous city invites with modern cafes, clubs, bars and restaurants as well as traditional markets, historic plazas and colonial architecture.
Cruise over Lake Titicaca Bordering Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America. The lake is home to several small island communities, including the floating Uros islands 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.
Chill out in Copacabana Located at the Lake Titicaca, the quaint little town is a great laid back place to relax and to explore the many shops, restaurants and bars lining the main streets.
Experience Oruro’s Carnival Every year, just before Ash Wednesday, the city of Oruro hosts the Carnaval de Oruro, one of the most important folkloric and cultural events in all of South America. The festival features over 28,000 dancers, performing a broad variety of ethnic dances.
Marvel at the Salar de Uyuni The high-altitude salt lake is probably the most popular ‘attraction’ in Bolivia. 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. The salt flats are at their most spectacular after a rain, when water sitting atop the cemented salt acts like a mirror, perfectly reflecting the sky above.
Discover Sucre Known as ‘the white city’, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its colonial architecture, beautiful churches, tranquil squares and whitewashed buildings. Best to be explored by foot.
Tour a tin mine in historic Potosí Colonial Potosí is the highest city in the world at 4,100 m above sea level. Situated at the foot of Cerro Rico (‘Rich Mountain’), the city was exploited for its mineral wealth, especially silver, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste Bolivian Wine Located in the south of the Bolivia, Tarija enjoys a Mediterranean climate making it the ideal location for wine production. The town produces some of South America’s finest wines. Tarija itself is also a great place to spend time, exploring the contemporary art galleries, bustling markets and youthful bars.
Take a trip to Tiwanaku Located near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, Tiwanaku is one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire. The site is dominated by a series of evocative temples, carved monoliths and a compelling museum of ancient artefacts.
See the Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde Close to the country’s border with Chile, Laguna Colorado surprises with a stunning landscape of fiery red waters and harbour pink flamingos, while Laguna Verde’s turquoise waters reflect the silhouette of ashen volcanoes.
Visit the garden city of Cochabamba With its year-round spring climate, the openness of the locals and its excellent local cuisine, Cochabamba is often considered as the most welcoming city in Bolivia. For a great view, climb the 2,000 steps, or take the cable car, up to the imposing statue of Christ on Cerro San Pedro.