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Bolivia is one of the most underrated destinations in South America, yet, for me, it’s one of the most unforgettable countries I’ve traveled to. Sure, it has a bit of a bad name as one of the poorest countries in South America and can be a bit of a shock to those travelers who prefer luxury and easy travel. But when you look beyond that, you’ll see a naturally beautiful and diverse nation with super-friendly locals!
I’ve written this detailed guide on the best things to do in Bolivia to encourage you to give one of my favorite countries in the world a chance! It’s filled with epic, bucket-list-worthy activities, from riding a mountain bike down the notorious Death Road to skydiving over Santa Cruz to visiting a stunning island that’s said to be the birthplace of the Incas!
A visit to Bolivia is not for the faint-hearted, and adventure-loving travelers are sure to find their idea of paradise in this land-locked country!
Consider this your ultimate guide on things to do in Bolivia – there are 26 awesome activities listed here, and there’s something for everyone!
The BEST Things to do in Bolivia
1. See Flamingos at Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada, also known as “Red Lagoon,” is, as you can probably guess from its name, a blood-red lake that’s located near the border with Chile in Eduardo Avarao Andean Fauna National Reserve.
This reserve is filled with volcanoes and other-worldly rock formations and has a magnificent backdrop of the famed Andes mountain range. But, the main attraction within the park, Laguna Colorada, is a rare natural wonder and a photographer’s dream!
This shallow salt lake is not only an impressive crimson color, but it’s home to three different species of flamingo – the Andean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, and the super-rare James’ flamingo. In fact, the James’ flamingo was believed to be extinct up until 1956! The reason why there are so many flamingos here is that they eat the plankton in the lake!
The lake covers 6,000 hectares but is under a meter deep, and it’s dotted with lots of white borax islands. Local legends tell that the lake’s water is the blood of the gods, but, in fact, the color is due to the minerals and algae in the water.
The best time of day to visit Laguna Coloradas is just before sunset when the lake appears its brightest shade of red, or after sunrise, when you’ll catch mist rising from the lake’s volcanic water.
This two-day tour includes stops at both Laguna Colorada and the Salt Flats; it includes a flight from La Paz into the Salt Flats, which means you don’t have to spend long lengths of time on the road! It’s designed for those who don’t have too much time and want to see two amazing attractions in a short timeframe!
2. Visit Amboro National Park
A must-visit for wildlife lovers in Bolivia is the unique Amboro National Park. Interestingly, it’s made up of three very different ecosystems – the Amazon Basin, the foothills of the Andes, and the northern Chaco. And this extreme mix of climates in one relatively small area isn’t seen anywhere else in the world.
And despite the park’s secluded feel, it’s just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Santa Cruz! Needless to say, Amboro National Park is a must-visit if you’re staying in or around Santa Cruz!
The highlights of the park include stunning waterfalls, nature walks, and bird-watching tours. Would you believe this park is home to approximately 812 species of birds?!
While we were in Santa Cruz, we opted for the Jardin de las Delicias Waterfalls tour with Nicks Adventure Tours, and we highly recommend it! During the tour, we traveled deep into the park, crossing 15 river streams before ending at a gorgeous waterfall for a refreshing swim and a short hike.
It’s important to note that because Amboro is a national park, tourists can only visit with a registered guide. You may choose a day tour or an overnight tour from Santa Cruz. And the only tour you can book in advance is this well-rated two days one night tour, which includes accommodation, all food, and transport.
3. Go to the Salt flats
Without a doubt, one of the best and most popular things to do in Bolivia is to visit Salar de Uyuni, otherwise known as “the salt flats!” In fact, most tourists come to Bolivia, especially to visit the gigantic Bolivian Salt Flats!
As the name suggests, the salt flats are a massive area of 10,000 square kilometers or 3,900 sq miles made up entirely of salt, They are the biggest Salt Flats in the world, and the landscape here is like something from another planet!
Salar de Uyuni was formed by prehistoric lakes that evaporated over time, leaving only salt behind. The salt here is a couple of meters thick and is spread out over a gigantic area. Interestingly, this area is believed to be the flattest place on earth! I’m sure you recognize the Salt Flats from your social media feed because the main attraction here is taking funny photos – because of the flat surface, the person closest to the camera looks like a giant in comparison to the person in the background. We had so much fun taking photos here!
Plus, at a certain time of the year – when water covers the Salt Flats you can take stunning reflection photos. Basically, visiting this unique attraction is a must-do for photography lovers!
April and May are the best months to visit Salar de Uyuni because although it’s technically dry season, water from the rainy season will still be present in some parts, meaning you can take those awesome reflection photos I was talking about. And because it’s the dry season, it means the weather is warmer, and you likely won’t encounter any closures due to bad weather (which can happen in the peak of the wet season!)
Because of its huge size, the best way to visit the Salt Flats is on a multi-day tour. Most tours leave from the city of Uyuni and spend three days (2 nights) in the Salt Flats before returning to Uyuni.
I believe this particular tour is a fantastic option because you really do need a few days to appreciate the beauty of the place! On the tour, not only did we visit Salar de Uyuni, but we also explored geysers and colorful lagoons! Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough! In saying that, though the accommodation and food options were basic, so if you’re after a more luxurious experience, this 3-day tour is a good call!
Although a day trip to the Salt Flats is convenient and ideal if you’re short in time – you’ll get the chance to snap some creative photos on the salt, but you won’t have time for a whole lot else.
4. Spend some time in Potosi
Potosí is the highest city in the world, and it sits at 4,090m (13,418ft) above sea level, which is why it’s a popular place to visit in Bolivia; if you’ve never visited a high-altitude city before, then I highly recommend a visit to Potosi!
Potosi, in the Southern Highlands of the country, is perhaps most famous for its mine tours, but the city is so much more than that! There are lots of unique things to do here, from admiring the views from the Arco de Cobija monument to seeing the stunning interior of the Catedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Paz.
In this small city of 120,000 people, there are no giant high-rise hotels or fancy restaurants; it is a true mining city. Potosi doesn’t attract too many tourists, and I think that’s great because, on a visit here, you’ll get to see authentic Bolivia!
The history of Potosi is fascinating, and back in the 1500s, it was a very important city and was ruled by the Spanish. Cerro Rico – the mountain next to the town was one of the largest silver mines in the world, and as a result, Potosi was considered one of the wealthiest cities in South America!
The only way to reach Potosi is by bus or private car transfer. And the closest airport is in Sucre. From Sucre, you can catch a 3-hour-long bus ride for approximately 30 BOB ($4.50 USD). From Uyuni, Potosí is about 3.5 hours away by bus.
As for things to do in this small city – exploring the National Mint of Bolivia is probably the best attraction in Potosi, in fact, some tourists visit Potosí just to see this highly-rated museum.
Here, you can learn about the history of Bolivia’s currency and wander this massive building that occupies an entire block. There are more than 20 different galleries in the National Mint where you can see significant historical artifacts and learn all about the building itself through information boards. Interestingly, the building was once used as a prison.
A guided tour is the only way to see this museum, and prices are 40 BOB ($6 USD) for a foreigner, and it’s important to note that English tours are only conducted when they have enough people to do so.
A great way to see the best of the city is on an in-depth city tour which costs just $25 per person!
5. Ride the Death Road
Not to be confused with the Death Train, the Death Road (aka Yungas Road) is one of the most popular activities in the whole country! The road is aptly named because it’s often described as the most dangerous road in the world. And if you’re an adrenalin junkie, you can ride a mountain bike down it!!
In the past, the Death Road was a commonly driven road between La Paz and the Yungas region. But it was so treacherous that trucks, buses, and cars were often veering off the edge, resulting in hundreds of deaths!
Over time, a new road was created, which is less dangerous and is the one you can bike down today. And it’s surprisingly safe; that’s because this route is now only used for mountain bike tours. In fact, the only vehicles you’ll see on the road are those companies’ safety trail vehicles.
Are you brave enough to conquer the world’s most dangerous road?
What we tell everyone is this unique experience can be as safe or as dangerous as you make it. So, if you’re a daredevil looking to speed down the road, then yes, it’s risky as there are sheer cliffs off some parts of the road, which drop down hundreds of meters to the valley below. But if you go to a safe space, stay away from the edge. It’s a safe activity!
Also, be sure to book with a reputable company. We went on this particular tour because it came so highly recommended. You can find cheaper tours, but honestly, lower tour prices often mean cheaper equipment, and you don’t want a rusty old bike cycling on this road!
The tours all depart La Paz and are 3-4 hours long. The first half of the trail is relatively easy and gives you a chance to get comfortable on the bike. The last hour or so is a lot steeper, and that’s where the craziness begins. Don’t worry; though, when you complete the trail, there is a place where you can buy an ice-cold beer and relax.
6. Go skydiving
And now for an activity for the adrenalin junkies – skydiving in Bolivia! It’s certainly not an activity for the faint-hearted, but as someone who’s skydived around the world, I was delighted to hear the great reviews for Skydive Bolivia in Santa Cruz, which I believe is the only place to skydive in Bolivia!
The company is family-run, and their dropzone (aka skydive club) is very popular with locals. I had so much fun jumping with these guys. Skydive Bolivia offer solo jumps, provided you have your skydiving license, but they also offer tandem jumps and courses for those who are eager to learn.
It’s important to note that because their drop zone is located outside of Santa Cruz CBD, you will need to contact them directly to arrange transportation.
Prices for a skydive are in USD and costs around the same as anywhere else in the world (as they use all the same equipment and follow the American Skydiving Safety Standard.)
7. Visit Samaipata
Samaipata is a colorful small town situated 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Santa Cruz. It’s perhaps more commonly known as “Bolivia’s little Switzerland” because it looks more like it belongs in Switzerland than it does in Bolivia.
When we spent three nights in Samaipata, we felt as if we had completely left Bolivia and somehow ended up in Europe!
That’s because it’s filled with small multicolored houses and is surrounded by mountains, as well as that lots of European ex-pats (particularly Germans) live in Samaipata. And as a result, many of the restaurants and Cafes here serve up German-style sausage!
It’s not only the town that’s stunning, surrounding Samaipata are cloud forests and plenty of waterfalls. Las Cuevas Waterfalls are the most popular things to do in the region and they are conveniently just 20 kilometers from the town. There are three waterfalls here set amongst a beautiful forest, and they are a great place to take a swim – although the water can be cold! You can walk to each of the falls via a small trail that gently goes uphill. And just before the last waterfall, be sure to stop at the scenic viewpoint, which offers incredible views of the green valley.
To get to Las Cuevas, you can either jump on a bus and then walk a couple of kilometers, take a taxi, or bike ride. To be honest, I recommend taking a taxi as the buses are known to be very unreliable and don’t operate on a regular schedule. A taxi cost us 100 BOB to take us there, wait for two hours, and then drive us back.
The entry fee to Las Cuevas for foreigners is just 15 BOB.
Back in town, there are plenty of cute cafes located in the central plaza, which serve up a variety of food types, from traditional Bolivian fare to burgers to ice cream and cakes! Some places we loved were Caffe Art, Latina Café, and La Luna Verde Resto Bar.
Although we strongly recommend getting a hotel in Samaipata and staying a few days, you can take a day or overnight tour from Santa Cruz if you don’t have much time. These can be booked through your hotel.
8. Explore the El Samaipata Ruins
Just over a 20-minute drive from Samaipata are the Pre-Incan El Fuerte de Samaipata ruins. It’s one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Bolivia and dates back over 2,000 years! A visit to “El Fuerte” is a must-do for any history buff.
The site is made up of two parts – the first is the hill which has many fascinating carvings dating between the 14th and 16th centuries, and historians believe it to be the ceremonial center of the old town. The second part is the area to the south of the hill, which is said to be the residential and administrative district of the ruined city.
On your visit, you’ll notice a giant sculpted rock that overlooks the town and is unlike anything you’ll see in other Pre-Incan ruins.
9. Learn Spanish in Sucre!
Sucre is one of the most visited cities in Bolivia and the country’s capital, plus it is also one of the best places in South America to learn Spanish.
In fact, many tourists visit this cute colonial city especially to learn the language, including myself, who spent two weeks here learning Spanish with great success. I can now hold basic conversations and made a lot of friends from the course.
Finding a well-rated and reasonably priced place to learn Spanish in Sucre is easy because most schools in Sucre also provide accommodation – which means accommodation is included in the rate. And it works out great value for money!
For a private Spanish lesson in the city, you can expect to pay $6 USD per hour, and group lessons are a little cheaper, averaging $5 USD per hour. What’s great about learning Spanish in Sucre is that you can pick your own hours – you can do as little or as many hours per day as you wish. And you can also choose the number of days in a week you wish to have classes. It’s this flexibility that makes learning Spanish here so much more appealing than in other South American Cities. And I’ll be honest; it’s the main reason we chose Sucre too.
The more lessons you book, the lower the price; for example, most schools offer discounted rates if you book over 20 hours of lessons. So, if you plan to stay here for two weeks (like we did), this should be easy to fit in.
Some of the best places to learn Spanish in Sucre include Colors Hostel Sucre, which offers private lessons for $6 USD per hour and group lessons for $5 USD per hour. Kultur Berlin is another great hostel to learn at, although this place has more of a party vibe. Prices are $6.50 USD per hour for a private lesson, and $5.20 USD per hour for groups.
10. See real Dinosaur footprints
Just 5 km from Sucre, you will find the biggest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world (over 5,000 of them) at Cal Orck-o quarry. The footprints are spread across a giant rock wall, which is 80 degrees inclined and was, in fact, discovered by a local cement company back in 1985. This wall includes footprints of 15 species of dinosaurs, from Tyrannosaurus Rex to Titanosaurus to Sauropods, and the tracks of a baby T-rex which measure 350 meters and are, in fact, the longest recorded of its kind in the world!
Because of the worldwide fascination with this discovery, the Cretacico park opened in 2006 and now offers daily tours (at 12 pm and 1 pm) into the quarry to see these historic giants’ footprints, The tours last 45 minutes and a reasonable level of fitness is needed as you must climb down into and back up from the quarry. And because it can be slippy in parts, a sturdy pair of shoes is advised. It’s worth noting that you can’t go into the quarry without a guided tour, as the quarry is still in use!
11. Meet Crazy Dave at the San Pedro Prison
I know you’re probably thinking, why would I visit a prison on my vacation? Well, San Pedro prison in La Paz is famous for a number of reasons – the first is that the famous book Marching Powder tells the life of British inmate Thomas McFadden who was imprisoned here on drug trafficking charges. The second reason San Pedro prison is well-known is that it’s unlike any other prison in the world – prisoners have to purchase their jail cell from the authority, and some prisoners even live there with their families, with their children leaving the cell (aka their home) every day to attend the school across the road! Some inmates even manufacture drugs in prison and sell them over the wall!
For sure, this is a unique prison, and even though nowadays you can no longer do tours of the prison, you can do a personalized tour with “Crazy Dave,” a former prisoner and an American citizen who was locked up with Thomas McFadden. During this interesting tour, you will learn all about his life in prison, and even though it’s not what we’d call a professional tour – Crazy Dave is very charismatic!
You can see Crazy Dave every day at 1 pm at Plaza Sucre in the city!
12. Ride the death train
Despite its scary-sounding name, the Death Train isn’t dangerous – in fact, this train journey between Puerto Quijarro and the city of Santa Cruz is one of the most popular things to do in Bolivia. And because the train’s starting point (Puerto Quijarro) sits on the border with Brazil, it is a common entry point for travelers into Bolivia! I should add that this train journey is long (16 hours) and a little uncomfortable but still a very cool experience!
Related Read: check out our complete guide to the land crossing between Brazil and Bolivia!
The “Death Train” operates two different trains, departing on different days – the first and cheapest option is the Expresso Oriental which costs about $10 USD. The second option is the Ferrobus and which costs $35 USD.
The reason why the Death Train got its terrifying name was that it was once used to transport those infected with Yellow Fever during an outbreak. Many people with the disease were transported via this train to remote camps to be treated.
However, I will add that the train is a little scary because it rocks from side to side quite frequently, and in fact, at times, I felt as though we might derail! It’s also tough to sleep during the 16-hour journey because the carriage constantly jumps around.
I recommend spending a lot of your time at the restaurant on board because it’s spacious and is often quiet (most other passengers tend to pack their lunch). The food there is good and well-priced; we paid under $3 USD for a full meal! It’s worth noting that the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but we were able to hop off and buy some beers at the station at one of the stops
13. Tour the Potosi mines
That’s because there are some serious ethical concerns surrounding these mines. Regardless, many visitors to Bolivia choose to do them, as they see it as a way to support the workers in need. While others boycott the tours seeing them as supporting an unethical industry. Each to their own, we say, and we decided to do them while we were visiting Potsosi so that we could tell you guys all about it!
The mines here in Potosi have a dark history – for hundreds of years, the Spanish used slaves (indigenous and African) to work in the mines, sometimes for months at a time, and sadly, millions died!
Thankfully, today the mines are not run by a company or the government. Instead, miners work independently and make a living by selling what they find (zinc, tin, and other earth metals) directly to the relevant company. These companies then use these metals to make other products and supply them to the rest of the world.
Even though the workers pick their own hours, their working conditions are just as harsh as in the past. And many of the workers don’t even have enough money to buy proper safety equipment. In fact, the life expectancy of a miner is just 50 years old – and sometimes earlier if a dynamite accident happens.
Yet men in Potosi continue working here because their wages in the mines are three times higher than, say, a restaurant or shop would pay!
If you do decide to do a Potosi Mine Tour, it’s important to be aware that there are risks involved; even though you’re given safety equipment such as a dust mask, full suit, rubber boots, gloves, and a headlamp, these won’t protect you if there’s a serious accident. Also, dynamite is regularly going off in the mines, so be aware of this before you go in.
At the start of our Potosi Mine tour, we were taken to a market to purchase gifts for the miners – items like juice, soda, alcohol, or coca leaves (the miners chew these throughout the day) are welcomed. These items are really cheap and cost just a few dollars.
The mine is located in the Cerro Rico mountains, which are really scenic, so before we descended into the mines, we stopped to take a few photos. Once inside the mines, it’s really dark, and the only light is from your headlight, and the only oxygen in the mines is pumped in from a compressor. During the tour, you will get to meet the miners and talk to them – they will show you the tools they use to find earth minerals, and you have the opportunity to buy them from them.
14. Shop at the Witches Market in La Paz
In La Paz, you can visit a market all about magic! Yep, El Mercado de Las Brujas, more commonly known as The Witches Market, is one of the most unique markets I’ve ever been to. Even though a market selling magic potions and healing remedies may sound very unusual to most people, these types of markets are, in fact, very common throughout Bolivia, but the one in La Paz is the largest and is a major tourist attraction!
Bolivian traditions largely include ceremonies connecting them to Mother Earth, aka “Pacha Mama.” These ceremonies are often centered around white magic or asking for good things such as good fortune and health. Ceremonies can include potions, sacrifices, or blessings from Yatiri or Bolivian spiritual healers.
However, sometimes people want to hold black magic ceremonies, which, as we know, is used to harm others in the form of a curse.
Expect to see all sorts of weird trinkets, prepackaged potions, and even animal fetuses – commonly those of frogs, snakes, and llamas! Dried llama fetuses are on almost every stand! And I bet you’re wondering why – well, llama fetuses are often buried under new construction homes to ask Pacha Mama to bless the home and the workers. You will also come across healers offering their services.
The best way to see the market is on a guided tour as the knowledgeable guide will be able to explain the history and the importance of these markets as well as explain exactly what the items for sale are.
15. Ride the La Paz Gondola
I’m sure you’ve been on a gondola somewhere on your travels, but the gondola in La Paz is different from most others in the world. Also called a funicular, it’s actually a form of public transport in the city – used to transport many people from the city up to their homes in the hills. The locals here call it “Mi Teleférico.”
Before the gondola, the only way these residents could get around was by walking, which was very tiring considering the steep valley they had to climb and the high altitude.
In 2014, the gondola system was installed, and interestingly, it is the longest urban gondola system in the world! Plus, it is also the highest cable-car system worldwide, sitting at over 4000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level! So, I guess you could say it’s one impressive structure!
For just 3 BOB (less than $0.50), you can hop on the light blue line from La Paz city center and ride a gondola to its end. Here, you should switch onto the green line and ride it to the top. Expect the entire ride to take about 15 minutes. Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city!
At the top, you can get out of the station and go for a little walk to take in the views. It’s important to note that this area isn’t very safe (so you shouldn’t visit after dark).
16. Hike the Cordillera Real Traverse
Did you know that La Paz is the highest city in the world? It sits 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) above sea level – but if you want to go up even higher, you can climb the Cordillera Real, an Andean mountain range close to La Paz.
The Cordillera Real Traverse is 134 miles (215 km) long and begins in Achacachi and ends in Alto Lima Seccion; overall, it’s an intermediate trail, but it does have a total elevation gain of 27,092 feet, so it is steep. Most tour companies recommend 14 days to complete this massive hike! A good level of fitness is required to hike the trail because even though it’s a non-technical trail, the altitude is always over 4,000 meters, which can be challenging!
There are several short hikes that form part of the Cordillera Real. One of the most popular is the trail to the top of Chacaltaya (5,500 meters/18,000 feet) from La Paz. It’s rated as intermediate, but the views from the summit over the Cordillera Real and Huayna Potosi are breathtaking.
Other popular options include three-day hiking tours to Pico Austria (intermediate) and Acotango (easy), both of which depart from La Paz.
During my stay in La Paz, I opted to hike the 5,300m elevation gain to the summit of Austria Peak. This is the most popular hike for tourists in La Paz, as it can be done in just one day. But, it’s a challenge – the high altitude was a struggle for me, and I rate myself as being pretty fit.
If you do decide to conquer Austria Peak or any of the other hikes around La Paz, it’s best to go on a guided tour. Because then you will have transport included and won’t risk getting lost. Your guide should also be equipped with safety equipment like canned oxygen, which can be used in case of emergency.
17. Visit the town of Copacabana
You better believe it there are two Copacabana beaches in South America – the first you’re probably familiar with as one of the most popular beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the second is still popular with tourists but is slightly more of a hidden gem, and I love that about it! Copacabana in Bolivia sits on the border with Peru and is built on the shores of the mesmerizingly beautiful Lake Titicaca (more on that later in this blog post). This town is a popular base with tourists who come here to spend time on the scenic pebble beach here, as well as to go on day trips to Isla de la Luna and Isla del Sol – which are considered important Incan archaeological sites.
And honestly, even though they’re both beachy areas, they couldn’t be more different from one another. Copacabana, Bolivia, is situated high up in the Andes – 3810 meters above sea level, so it’s a lot colder than its Brazilian namesake. The hottest month in Copacabana, Bolivia, is November, when temperatures reach a rather cool high of 19 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit!)
In the town itself, it’s worth checking out the main square – Plaza 2 de Febrero, which holds the Catedral de la Virgen de la Candelaria, an important pilgrimage site with Moorish domes and the Virgen de la Candelaria sculpture. Or, if you love to hike, you can climb Cerro El Calvari for epic views of the beach and the town.
Copacabana is also famous for the variety of festivals and ceremonies it holds. One of the most interesting ceremonies here is what’s known as a ‘car blessing ceremony’ because it’s customary for any Bolivian who buys a new car drives to Copacabana to get a blessing for safe driving. Lots of flowers typically decorate the cars, and the ceremony takes place every day between 10 am and 2 pm.
It is a 4-hour bus journey from La Paz to Copacabana, and it very is a popular day trip from Bolivia’s largest city. And this 15-hour tour is highly recommended and includes a tour of Copacabana as well as a boat journey to Isla del Sol, which you will also have the chance to explore!
18. Wander the Valley of the Moon
About 10 km from downtown La Paz is the super-unique Valley of the Moon, a geological formation that looks like it belongs on another planet (hence the name!) It’s a protected area made up of dramatic pinnacles and gorges, and it was world-famous astronaut Neil Armstrong who named it the “Valley of the Moon” because of how much it looked like the craters he saw on the moon.
Since then, as you can imagine, the place has turned into quite a tourist attraction!
This valley got its unique appearance thanks to erosion which eroded the upper part of a mountain! Over hundreds of years, winds and rain have sculpted this landscape into what you see today!
The best way to see the Valley of the Moon is on a guided tour from La Paz! This 3-hour tour offers the best of both worlds – a sightseeing tour of La Paz’s top sights, including the Witches Market, San Francisco Church, and Plaza Murillo. Afterward, you will be taken to Moon Valley, where your guide will give you a fascinating insight into exactly how this natural wonder was formed. Because this is a private tour, you can customize your itinerary to what best suits you!
19. Climb Huayna Potosi
Huayna Potosi is one of the most popular hikes in the country, and it allows hikers the rare opportunity to climb up over 6,000 meters in elevation without the need for technical training. The best and safest way to scale this snowy peak is with an experienced guide. That’s because climbing this 19,974-foot (6,088-meter) mountain requires the use of ice picks and climbing equipment to scale its snowy peak. But when you get to the summit, you’ll realize the hard work was worth it, as there are breathtaking views to be seen over the Cordillera Real mountain range.
The good thing about this hike, and why it’s so popular, as I said, is that beginner hikers can do it, provided they have a good level of fitness.
Plus, because this particular guided tour is a private one, you can hike at your own pace. One night’s accommodation at a mountain hut is included as well as return transfers from La Paz.
20. Visit Tiwanaku
70 km from La Paz and close to Lake Titicaca is the Pre-Colombian archaeological site of Tiwanaku. It’s UNESCO-listed and one of the most important sites in the country because it pre-dates the Incas!
At 4 square kilometers, it’s one of the largest archaeological sites in South America, and it features giant structures, megalithic blocks, and beautifully decorated ceramics. It is believed to have been found circa 110 AD, but the city is believed to have been at its peak in 800 AD when between 10,000 and 20,000 people lived here!
Some of the top attractions at Tiwanaku include the Gate of the Sun, a large gateway with carvings of animals and other beings that are said to have been used as a calendar of sorts by the people of Tiwanaku as well as; that you will see the Puma Punku complex, a large stone terrace which contains the largest stone block in the complex and the Kalasasaya Temple.
Visiting on your own (without a guide) means that you will miss out on learning the full history of the place because there are very limited information boards at Tiwanaku. Therefore booking a guided tour from La Paz is the best way to go. This particular tour is 4 hours long and is highly-rated. It includes returns transfers from La Paz.
21. Explore Lake Titicaca
The bright blue Lake Titicaca is one of the biggest lakes in South America and the highest navigable body of water in the world. The huge lake, it’s 8,372 square kilometers, sits on the border between Bolivia and Peru and is surrounded by the Andes Mountains. It forms part of the Titicaca National Reserve, a unique area known for its unusual marine creatures, such as rare giant frogs!
Interestingly, Lake Titicaca is said to be the birthplace of both the Incas and the sun!
The best thing to do at Lake Titicaca is to visit the famed man-made islands, which are made out of reeds! There are around 40 floating islands on the lake, and the Uros people call them home! On a trip to these islands, you will get to see these structures up close and get a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who live there!
Around a two-hour boat ride from Copacabana, which sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, is Isla del Sol, or the island of the sun. Here, you can explore the many archaeological sites on this island or go for a hike on one of the trails. There are several impressive Incan sites on Isla del Sol, like a ruined palace called Pilko Kaina, the Escalera del Incan, a staircase leading to a spring that is said to keep you forever young, and the impressive Chincana ruins. But the most important archaeological site is the Roca Sagrada, a giant rock that is believed to be the birthplace of the first Incas.
A guided tour like this one is a great way to explore the best of Lake Titicaca. It departs from La Paz and visits Copacabana in the morning, followed by a boat trip to Isla del Sol in the afternoon.
22. Via Ferrata
Did you know that outside La Paz city, adrenalin junkies can take on the highest Via Ferrata on the American continent and the second highest in the world! Set amongst the stunning Yungas Valley – the ‘Vertical Route’ as it’s called, is the only Via Ferrata experience in Bolivia, and it includes two rappels, a hanging bridge, and a zipline through the treetops!
It’s a very safe experience and is, in fact, European safety certified. All equipment is provided, such as a harness, helmet, carabiners, rings, dynamic ropes, etc. Allow up to 6 hours for this thrilling experience. Return transport from La Paz is included.
23. Join a traditional Bolivian Cooking Class in Sucre
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation, I love to join a cooking class so that I can recreate the delicious dishes such as papas rellenas or picante de pollo I tried during my holiday at home! Well, I was delighted to learn about this half-day cooking class during my time in Sucre. Held by a local Chef, during the class, you will create three incredible dishes (starter, main, and dessert) and mix up your own seasonal cocktail!
It’s a great way to learn about Bolivian ingredients and their cooking methods, and you’ll even get the chance to make a hot sauce!
24. Horseback riding in Tupiza
On the outskirts of the city of Tupiza in Southern Bolivia (near Potosi), you’re in for a visual treat with breathtaking landscapes comprising of multi-colored ravines, canyons, and eroded rocks. Honestly, it looks like something from a Country and Western movie!
One of the best things to do in this region is a horseriding tour; there are various options available, from 3,5, and 7-hour long tours to multi-day trips. However, because of the mountainous terrain, the operators ask that riders have previous horse riding experience.
On the 3-hour tour, you will head into Quebrada de Palmira – a gorge that is 300 meters deep, passing by eye-catching red mountains, the most famous of which is La Puerta del Diablo. Then, you’ll head north to the Valley of the Machos, where you’ll spy phallic-like rock formations before venturing into the Inca Canyon.
The 5-hour tour includes all of the above plus Cañon del Duende!
The starting time of the 3-hour tour can be from anywhere between 9 am and 3 pm. While for the 5-hour tour, the latest start time is 1 pm. The tours are operated by Alexandro Adventure Travel, a highly reputable adventure company based in Tupiza. Drop off and pick up to/from Tupiza is included in the price!
25. Explore the city of Sucre
Sucre is a beautiful city situated in Bolivia’s highlands. The city sits at an elevation of 2,810 meters (9,200 feet) above sea level. Although not as high in altitude as Bolivian cities go, you will still feel the high altitude when wandering the city.
For visitors, you’ll spend most of your time in what I call the “Historic Center” of Sucre. This part of the city is centered around the Plaza 25th de Mayo. Here you’ll find all of the colonial buildings and churches. Not only is the plaza the best and busiest part of the city, but it’s here you will find plenty of shops, markets, restaurants, and bars.
The best things to do in Sucre include visiting the stunning whitewashed Casa de la Libertad, a very important site in the city because it was where the nation’s Declaration of Independence was signed. Another cool place to visit is the Museum of Indigenous Art ASUR, where you can see local women weaving and even buy some of their amazingly colorful textiles. Visitors should also check out the Church of San Felipe Neri – a lovely old convent and school where you can climb to the roof for an epic view of the city!
For me, the best way to see a new city is on a walking tour, and I always try to do one on my first day so that I can get a feel for the place and find my bearings. I also find having a local guide to ask questions about what else to see and where to eat super-helpful. Thankfully, in Sucre, you can book a half-day guided tour with a local that will take you to some of the best sights in the city (including the ones I mentioned above) and to taste a ‘salteña,’ aka a savory turnover – a very popular snack in Sucre.
26. Parque Lomas de Arena National Park
Parque Lomas de Arena is a rarely visited national park in Bolivia. Despite being rather unknown, it’s a really great day trip option from Santa Cruz. And the reason tourists visit the park though is to explore the awesome sand dunes which cover over 3000 hectares.
Tours to the dunes tend to book out quickly and they offer a variety of activities. Our tour began at the Palmasola Prison to learn about the prison’s sad past. After which we headed by 4wd into the forests in the park to spot wildlife such as monkeys and sloths.
Then, we finally visited the sand dunes and took a walk to a lake before we headed into the dunes for some sandboarding! This was my favorite part of the tour and we tried both sit-down and stand-up boards!
In fact, the sand dunes here are best described as Bolivia’s answer to Huacachina in Peru!
Thanks for reading!
Well, there you have it 26 of the very best things to do in Bolivia. I hope you enjoyed reading my list, I thoroughly enjoyed creating it, and now I’m just itching ti return to one of my favorite countries! Bolivia truly is a bucket-list-worthy destination!
I hope you found this guide to the best things to do in Bolivia helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and we will get back to you!
Be sure to also browse all of our Boliva blogs or check out some other popular articles we have below: