Are you looking for an unforgettable experience in Bolivia? Whether you are an adventure seeker, a nature enthusiast, or just looking to explore some of the most important landmarks in South America, this tour guide to Bolivia has got you covered.
From exploring La Paz to buying local crafts and riding a train through the Yungas Valley, the 10 best things to do in Bolivia are sure to make your trip one that will be remembered forever.
Climb Illimani Mountain, visit Sajama National Park, experience Madidi National Park, go sightseeing at Lake Titicaca and try thermal bath treatments–this ultimate tour guide holds all of these amazing experiences and more!
Explore La Paz
La Paz is the capital of Bolivia and one of the most interesting places in the country to explore. From its wonderful colonial architecture to its lively markets and nightlife, La Paz offers plenty of opportunities for tourists. A great way to start your exploration is by visiting the colonial-style San Francisco Church, which was built in 1548 and houses some historic artifacts.
Another must-see tourist spot in La Paz is the Witches’ Market, where you can buy a variety of traditional Bolivian crafts such as medicinal herbs and charms, which are believed to bring good luck. The Calle Jaén Street is also a great place to check out for souvenirs, with vendors selling handmade jewelry, clothing, artwork, and more.
When it comes to dining in La Paz, there’s something for everyone. From traditional Bolivian dishes like salteñas (stuffed pastries) to more modern restaurants serving international cuisine, you’ll find something delicious wherever you go. Make sure to try some local dishes like llama steak or chairo soup while you’re there!
No visit to La Paz would be complete without taking a ride on the Teleferico cable car system, which links different parts of the city with breathtaking views of the valley below. It’s a great way to get an overview of this beautiful city before exploring it up close and personal!
Buy Local Crafts
When visiting Bolivia, don’t miss out on the chance to take home some beautiful and unique local crafts. Throughout the country, travelers can find a variety of handmade goods, each crafted with traditional materials and techniques.
In La Paz, you can stop by Calle Jaen in El Alto for a wide selection of handmade jewelry and weavings. Here you’ll also find plenty of alpaca textiles, wooden masks, colorful purses and more. Take your time exploring the stalls and bartering with the vendors for the best prices.
Cochabamba is another great place to shop for local crafts. Head to Mercado Lanza for intricately woven rugs made from llama wool or look for beaded jewelry at one of the many outdoor markets in town. You’ll also find plenty of silverwork from Uyuni that makes a great gift or souvenir.
If you’re looking for something special, head to Coroico in Yungas Valley where you can pick up a hand-carved walking stick or pick up some pottery from Tarija City. No matter what kind of craft you’re interested in buying, there’s something for everyone when shopping around Bolivia!
Ride a Train Through The Yungas Valley
The Yungas Valley is a spectacular train ride that takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Bolivia. The route starts in La Paz and passes through Coroico and Chulumani, offering breathtaking views of the valley below. As you travel down the tracks on a slow-moving train, you’ll be able to take in the lush vegetation, steep cliffs, and cascading waterfalls of this dramatic landscape.
Along the way, you can also spot some wildlife such as eagles, mountain goats, parrots and other exotic birds. As the train snakes its way through narrow gorges and over countless bridges, it will eventually reach an area filled with coffee plantations where the locals offer samples of their freshly brewed product.
The highlight of this journey is when you reach Coroico – one of Bolivia’s most picturesque towns surrounded by mountains – where you can get off the train and explore around. From here, your next stop should be Chulumani – another charming town situated at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level – where you can buy local handicrafts or just take a stroll around its cobblestoned streets.
With its stunning views and incredible atmosphere, riding a train through The Yungas Valley is an experience not to be missed on any trip to Bolivia!
Hike Huayna Potosi Mountain
Hiking Huayna Potosi is one of the most popular activities in Bolivia. Located near La Paz, this 6,088m (19,974ft) mountain offers a challenging trek and unforgettable views. It’s considered to be one of the easiest 6000m peaks in the world and can be done in two days.
The trail begins just outside of La Paz and takes you up into the Andes Mountains. You will ascend through alpine meadows and pass by glacial lakes along your journey. As you gain elevation, you’ll eventually arrive at the base camp where you’ll spend the night before continuing your climb in the morning.
Once at the summit, you’ll have incredible 360 degree views of some of Bolivia’s most iconic mountains such as Illimani and Sajama. Depending on weather conditions, you may even get a glimpse of Lake Titicaca from high above! The descent back down to base camp is a bit more challenging and requires careful navigation over scree slopes with plenty of loose rock beneath your feet.
Despite its lower altitude than some other “6000ers,” Huayna Potosi still presents a formidable challenge for climbers due to its steep ascents and variable weather conditions. However, with proper guidance from experienced guides and some basic mountaineering skills, almost anyone can conquer this amazing peak!
See Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is considered one of the most beautiful and special attractions in Bolivia. Located on the border between Peru and Bolivia, this lake is the largest navigable lake in South America, with a surface area of 8,562 square kilometers. It’s also the highest lake in the world at an elevation of 3,812 meters above sea level.
The lake’s waters are crystal clear and it’s surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks that make it a truly unique place. Visitors can explore the many islands located around Lake Titicaca, such as Moon Island and Sun Island, whose inhabitants still keep their ancient traditions alive.
In addition to its remarkable landscapes, wildlife lovers can observe numerous species of birds such as Andean geese or flamingos gathered around the lake. Other activities include sailing in traditional wooden boats or taking a tour of Isla del Sol (Island of Sun), which is believed to be where Inca civilization began according to legend.
Visitors can also enjoy traditional dishes like Pachamanca (meat cooked under ground) or Chairo (stew made from potatoes and spices) served by local restaurants near Lake Titicaca to get a taste of Bolivian culture. Whether you’re planning a day trip or spending more time exploring this stunning area, Lake Titicaca will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories.
Visit Sajama National Park
Sajama National Park is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Bolivia’s stunning nature. Located in the southwestern parts of the country, it is home to the highest mountain peak in Bolivia, Sajama Volcano (6542m). The park itself is over 6,500 km² and has one of the most diverse ecosystems in South America, featuring everything from glaciers to hot springs.
The park provides some of the best trekking opportunities in all of South America. There are many trails that lead you through grassy plains, alpine meadows and colourful lagoons. The scenery consists of snow-capped mountains, volcanoes and deserts. You can also spot a variety of wildlife, including llamas, vicuñas and Andean condors.
One of the most popular trails is to Lake Sajama which takes around three days. Along the way you’ll encounter traditional villages where locals offer up tasty dishes such as empanadas and cuñapes (a type of flatbread). At Lake Sajama itself there are plenty of activities on offer such as fishing, kayaking and swimming in its crystal clear waters.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can also attempt to summit Sajama Volcano or explore some off-the-beaten-track hikes with a knowledgeable guide. The best time to visit is during summer (December – March) when temperatures are milder and there’s more daylight for sightseeing. So don’t miss out on this incredible national park – make sure Sajama National Park is added to your itinerary!
Experience Madidi National Park
Madidi National Park is a must-see destination for those visiting Bolivia. The park encompasses an area of over 18,000 square kilometres and features stunningly diverse ecosystems, ranging from lowland Amazon rainforest to cloud forests. It is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, including jaguars, pumas and hundreds of bird species.
Visitors can take part in various activities such as trekking through the lush jungle or kayaking down the Tuichi River. While exploring, you’ll have the chance to observe some of the incredible wildlife that calls Madidi home such as monkeys, river dolphins and macaws. Additionally, you may even be lucky enough to spot a few spectacled bears – South America’s only bear species!
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Bolivia then head to Madidi National Park. With its incredible diversity of landscapes and wildlife, it’s sure to be a memorable adventure!
Climb Illimani Mountain
Climbing Illimani Mountain is an incredible experience for any outdoor enthusiast. Located in Bolivia, this majestic peak stands at 6,438 meters and is known as the highest mountain in La Paz. The trek to the summit offers magnificent views of the surrounding Andean peaks and valleys, and is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.
The climb itself can take anywhere from two days up to two weeks depending on your experience level and the route you take. Most people choose to start their climb in El Alto, a nearby city, before making their way up to base camp at around 5,000 meters elevation. From there, they will summit via one of four routes: The Normal Route (5B), The East Face (TD+), The South West Ridge (TD) or The North Face (ED2). All of these routes have varying levels of difficulty and will require some technical climbing skills.
Equipment wise, you’ll need all the usual mountaineering gear such as crampons, ice axes and ropes, as well as warm clothing since temperatures can drop below 0°C during nights on the mountain. It’s also important to factor in acclimatization time for high altitude climbs like this one.
All in all, climbing Illimani Mountain is an incredible challenge that rewards you with amazing views from its summit! If you’re up for it then make sure you plan ahead and prepare properly for a safe and successful ascent!
Visit Sucre City
Sucre is a beautiful city in the south of Bolivia, and it’s definitely worth spending time exploring! With its colonial architecture, stunning churches, and cobblestone streets, Sucre almost looks like a different world. The Plaza 25 de Mayo is one of the most important attractions of Sucre, with its impressive Cathedral of San Felipe de Neri at the center. From here you can also admire some interesting colonial buildings such as Casa de la Libertad and La Casa de la Libertad Museum.
The city’s culinary scene is also something to explore, from traditional Bolivian dishes to delicious international cuisine. You can enjoy typical food at local eateries such as Los Arcos or La Ventana Restaurant. For dessert, head over to El Nueve Bar & Café for some delicious ice cream and cakes.
Don’t miss out on exploring some of the nearby archeological sites either. Just outside Sucre is Tarabuco which features fascinating ruins that date back to pre-Colombian times. A trip to Cal Orcko will take you to an impressive dinosaur footprint site where you can observe many fossilized footprints preserved in the rock formations.
Finally, make sure you take the time to appreciate Sucre’s natural beauty too! Visit Parque Bolívar for a relaxing stroll through lush gardens and fountains or explore Valle de los Monos for incredible views of the surrounding mountainside landscape.
Try Thermal Bath Treatments
Thermal bath treatments are a great way to relax and rejuvenate your body after a long day of exploring the sights and sounds of Bolivia. Located in the highlands, thermal baths are heated by natural hot springs which can reach temperatures up to 40°C (104°F). The most popular places for these treatments are the small towns of Potosi, Quillacas and Macha.
At each spot, travelers can find thermal pools surrounded by lush vegetation with spectacular rock formations that make for a unique experience. The thermal waters contain minerals such as sulfur, calcium and magnesium which help alleviate pain from arthritis and muscle aches. Also, the warmth from the water helps improve circulation throughout the body.
What makes these treatments even more special is that they often come with massages or aromatherapy sessions. Massages are done using traditional herbs or oils which provide an extra layer of relaxation and pleasure. For a truly immersive experience, some locals offer bonfire ceremonies immersed in local folklore which can be enjoyed while relaxing in the thermal baths.
For those looking for a detoxifying treatment, some spots also offer mud therapy where you cover yourself in clay-like muds that were formulated over centuries in rural villages. Afterward, you will rinse off with warm water before getting back into the pool to complete your treatment.
Thermal baths in Bolivia provide a unique opportunity to pamper yourself while taking in some of nature’s most beautiful scenery. With its therapeutic effects on mind and body, it’s no wonder why these treatments have become so popular among travelers visiting this corner of South America!
To sum up, Bolivia is a country full of natural beauty and cultural experiences. From exploring the bustling streets of La Paz to taking a train through the Yungas Valley and admiring the magnificent Lake Titicaca to climbing Illimani Mountain, Bolivia offers something for everyone.
Visiting Sajama National Park, Madidi National Park and Sucre City are also must do activities while in Bolivia. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, trying out one of the thermal bath treatments is highly recommended. With all these incredible things to do in Bolivia, it’s no wonder why so many people come here every year from all around the world!