15 Best Things to Do in Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
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Magical, colorful, and unique—these are just some of the words to describe the South American country of Bolivia.

The landlocked destination has the Andes and the Amazon within its borders, making it a rich and varied location with hundreds of indigenous cultures, a storied past, and many natural attractions.

Because of the huge variety of things to try in Bolivia, everyone will find something to suit their taste, whether they’re adrenaline junkies, history buffs, wildlife lovers, or adventurous backpackers.

So make Bolivia your next destination on your international travel list and enjoy everything this beautiful place has in store.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Bolivia:

Charter a Fishing Trip to Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca
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Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, with parts of its shores on Bolivia and Peru.

It’s also the highest navigable lake in the world, which means that you can hop on a boat and explore the shimmering blue waters of the lake.

Fishing here is excellent, as the depths are abounding with large trout.

You can also visit the islands of Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna and spend a few hours exploring the ancient settlements and gorgeous lakeside sceneries in these islands.

Lake Titicaca
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One of the best jump-off points for water adventures to the lake is the town of Copacabana, which is already a great destination in itself.

Even though it’s the gateway to Lake Titicaca and a site for religious pilgrimage, it has maintained its small-town charm and charming culture.

Here, you’ll find whitewashed religious buildings and shrines, colorful streets, and vibrant festivals celebrating the fused Catholic and the region's indigenous cultures.

Trek the Otherworldy Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna
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The terrain of Bolivia is extremely diverse—one moment you’re in the middle of a humid forest, the next moment you’ll find yourself in a cold and dry mountain plateau.

But one of the most unique areas in the country is the Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon.

The place has earned the name because of its unusual rock formations that resemble the barren landscape of the moon.

Valle de la Luna
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Sandstone erosion and weathering created these pinnacles, jutting out into the clear sky and deep gorges, and they are the perfect subject for stunning landscape photos.

Join the tours exploring these majestic rock formations and take your time appreciating what nature can craft given enough time.

Just don’t wander away; getting lost in this maze-like attraction is not recommended.

Marvel at the Sky’s Reflection at Salar De Uyuni

Salar De Uyuni
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No trip to this country would be complete without visiting the immaculate salt flats scattered all over the region.

Salar de Uyuni is the most famous among these wonders, and it’s simply a spellbinding site that enamors every visitor that witnesses it.

Sitting high on the Andes, this endless expanse of flat, white salt results from evaporation from an ancient lake.

Salar De Uyuni
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This left a layer of salt crystals covering an area of more than 10,000 square kilometers—an area so flat and expansive the satellites orbiting the earth use it to calibrate their altimeters.

One of the most magical moments here is after a heavy downpour.

Salar De Uyuni at night
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Because of the terrain’s even topography and relative lack of strong winds, the waters gather to form a smooth surface that turns the land into one gigantic mirror, almost 129 square kilometers across.

The almost surreal panorama is the reason why Salar De Uyuni became a favorite destination and desktop wallpaper.

Brave the Dangers of North Yungas Road

North Yungas Road
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Connecting the capital city of La Paz to the Yungas region is the North Yungas Road, fondly nicknamed as “Death Road.”

But this grim name hasn’t stopped tourists from braving the route, which spans more than 60 kilometers.

What makes the road so dangerous?

On one side, there is a mountain of solid rock that can sometimes turn into landslides during rainy days.

The other side is a treacherous cliff that drops tens of meters down to the valleys below.

North Yungas Road
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There are also the increasingly varying elevations, narrow paths, hairpin turns, and unpredictable forces of nature.

The rewards here are worth it: You’ll see the majestic scenery in almost every turn, witness rainforest that makes an unending wall of green, ride under waterfalls passing over the road, and stand atop a fern-covered cliff.

This dramatic and ever-changing scenery, coupled with visitors’ eagerness to try something dangerous, makes the North Yungas Road a famous destination in the country.

Bring Home Amulets From the Witches' Market

Souvenirs in Witches' Market
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This is not your usual farmers’ market.

Locally called the Mercado de las Brujas, the Witches' Market in the capital city of La Paz is where all things magical, macabre, and mystery come together.

You’ll find lucky amulets, brews and potions, protective talismans, dead and dried animals, candles, and other curiosities that showcase the country's rich supernatural heritage.

Witches Market
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There are also services like fortune-telling, spellbinding, and healing rituals performed by local shamans and witch doctors.

It’s an ideal place to get a glimpse of Bolivia’s beliefs, especially in the supernatural.

The souvenirs are also the best, as nowhere else in the world can you get uniquely carved animals, fertility pouches, whimsical figurines, and exotic animal parts—definitely not for the squeamish.

Explore the Forests of Amboró National Park

Forests of Amboró National Park
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Home to the spectacled bear—the only native bear of South America—is the ecologically important Amboró National Park.

It has a large area of more than 4400 square kilometers, with parts of it on the Andes and some on the Amazon.

This unique geography makes it a highly biodiverse area, home to various species like pumas, jaguars, giant anteaters, and a host of endemic plants.

Forests of Amboró National Park
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Join tours to explore the forested trails of this beautiful park, and you might spot these rare and elusive animals and even get a chance to mingle with the small villages hidden within the thick jungles.

The rivers and waterfalls are also perfect for water adventures.

It’s truly a thrilling and memorable experience.

Take Awesome Photos at the Train Cemetery

Train Cemetery
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Near the Salar de Uyuni is the Train Cemetery, an attraction that serves as a unique contrast to the otherwise pristine views of the salt flats.

This destination shows the influence of humans in this underdeveloped area of the Andes, with around 100 trains cars left to rot and crumble in the desert.

These were originally brought from Britain in the 1900s of developing the mining communities in the mountain range, but this plan never came to fruition.

Train Cemetery
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Today, these trains stand as relics of a bygone era, eerie artifacts constantly weathered by the region's salty air and strong winds.

Most people visit the place to take photographs of this haunting resting place for manmade machines.

They make for great subjects that contrast the interrupted blue skies this high up in Bolivia.

See the Flamingos of Laguna Colarada

Flamingo at Laguna Colarada
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If Salar De Uyuni is known for its immaculate and pristine colors, Laguna Colorada is famous for the pinkish and bright red lakes.

Because of the pigmentation by the algae living in the salty water, the lakes turn scarlet—a unique feature that makes it a must-visit place while you’re in the highlands of the Andes.

Laguna Colarada
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The flock of flamingos that flock to the lake to feed on plankton also makes this a worthwhile attraction.

Because of the red pigments brushing on their white feathers, these birds turn pink.

Wildlife photographers and birdwatchers will have an amazing experience hanging out with these creatures, some of which are highly endangered and are only found in the Andes.

Laguna Colarada
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Explore Every Corner of Toro Toro National Park

Toro Toro National Park
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Located near Amboró National Park is the more rugged attraction of Toro Toro National Park.

It is situated deeper into the Andes, giving it a semi-arid climate reminiscent of the valleys of the Rocky Mountain Range of the US.

Because of the many unique activities to try on this 165-square-kilometer destination, it has become a favorite of locals and tourists.

Waterfall in Toro Toro National Park
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Chief of these attractions is the ancient dinosaur footprints embedded into the rocks of the park.

There are also numerous caves and beautiful canyons that are ideal for exploring with a local guide.

It’s comparable to the ones on the Grand Canyon—water-carved rock formations, orange stone surfaces, and deep gorges split by fast rivers snaking their way around the park.

Caves in Toro Toro National Park
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Along the Toro Toro river, you’ll also find ancient rock paintings made by ancient societies that once lived in this region.

So even though this is the smallest national park in Bolivia, it still has as many wonders and sceneries that will have you wanting to go back.

See Tradition Come to Life at the City of Sucre

City of Sucre
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The pristine, whitewashed buildings of Sucre stand as reminders of its colonial past under the regime of Spain.

Today, it stands as the constitutional capital of Bolivia, and it’s a famous stopover for tourists because of its unique architecture, historical buildings, and other attractions.

The House of Freedom, National Library, Metropolitan Cathedral, and Archbishop's Palace are just a few of the structures exhibiting the clean white paint and baroque features.

San Felipe Neri church in Sucre City
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Sucre is also well known for its cultural adventures and natural attractions.

Within the city, there are many museums showcasing indigenous and local artworks and artifacts, and these include Museo del Tesoro, Museum of Indigenous Art, and Ethnographic and Folklore Museum.

Parque Cretácico is another park near the city that is home to dinosaur footprints as well as rugged sceneries for landscape photography.

Wherever you turn in this charming city, something wonderful awaits, so make it a must-see destination in your itinerary.

Spot Rare Wildlife at Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park
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Located in the upper part of the Amazon basin, Madidi National Park is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

This large park has more than 18,000 square kilometers of rainforests, rivers, hills, and many other habitats that serve as home to innumerable species of plants and animals.

Squawking monkeys, capybaras, turtles, caimans, and 120,000 species of insects live here, but many remain undocumented to scientists.

Madidi National Park
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That’s why the park is a hotspot for ecotourism.

Join one of the expeditions that will bring you to the deeper parts of the jungle.

You’ll find the unique animals and plants that thrive in the area, as well as the indigenous communities that protect the land from poachers, illegal loggers, and other threats.

Explore the Intimidating Structures in Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku
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For history buffs, a trip to the village of Tiwanaku is something comparable to standing in the circles of Stonehenge.

This pre-Columbian village contains some of the most well-preserved ancient structures in South America, most of which date back to 800 AD.

Covering an area of four kilometers, Tiwanaku contains megalithic blocks of rock, ceremonial buildings, and walls decorated with intricate designs.

Tiwanaku
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These carvings showcase the history of the societies that once lived here, including arcs, faces, animals, and mysterious symbols of Andean origin.

Some of the structures, such as the Gate of the Sun and Gate of the Moon, serve important functions in the cosmology of this ancient culture, showing a sophisticated understanding of the movement of heavenly objects.

So if you want something enigmatic and mysterious during your visit to Bolivia, visit the Tiwanaku and learn all you can about its history.

Embrace Your Inner Adventurer in Tupiza

Women riding a horse in Tupiza
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With its barren terrain, hot temperatures, and brightly colored rock formations shaped by wind and water, exploring Tupiza is much like touring the Wild West of the US.

The city itself has an ambiance the resembles period movies set in the 1900s, but the community is welcoming and ready to guide you around the various spots nearby.

Puerta del Diablo is home to russet spires, towering into the clear blue sky and creating an otherworldly landscape.

Wild animals in Tupiza
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Another site is Valle de los Machos, and here, you’ll find fascinating rock formations famous for their phallic shapes.

One of the hidden wonders is Canyon del Inca, with its humungous pink and orange boulders perfect for landscape photography.

The best way to explore is by riding a jeep or hiking the trails to these various landmarks.

Along the way, you’ll find rivers, cacti, and other interesting sights that make the trip an experience of its own.

Join an Eco-Tour to the Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park

Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park
DanielGuzmanDuchen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As the world’s largest tropical wooded area, Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park is a haven for wildlife lovers and adventure seekers.

This 34,411-square-kilometer area sits on the southern edge of Bolivia, and it has regions that are incredibly humid and places that are temperate and dry.

Because of this huge variation in habitat, the species of flora and fauna are highly diverse.

During your tour of the forests, you might find pumas, parrots, Andean cats, colorful frogs, and several other endemic species.

Plantlife also abounds here, with some rare pines and flowering trees standing tall in the ridges of the mountains in the park.

Recommended tours usually last a whole day, and you’ll be brought to some of the most scenic destinations in the park, as well as stopovers to the indigenous settlements.

Set Your Sights to the Peak of Huayna Potosí

Huayna Potosí
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Lying a few kilometers from the city of La Paz is the snowcapped Huayna Potosí.

While it’s more than 6000 meters high, it has become one of the most popular climbs in the region because of its proximity to La Paz and the relatively easy route to the summit.

Huayna Potosí
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It’s one of the best mountains for beginners who want to try something more challenging, as the trek will have them scaling over glaciers, crossing crevasses, and enduring steep slopes just to reach the peak.

But the views here are majestic and well-worth the strenuous climb.

You’ll see areas of La Paz, flat clouds covering the edges of the Amazon, and the other mountains of the Andes under a clear blue sky.

Final Thoughts

From the freezing Andes attractions to the warm and welcoming communities of La Paz, Bolivia is definitely a country of infinite and dizzying contrasts.

It’s a wonderful place to visit for those who want dangerous adventures, new cultural experiences, and majestic views.

So if you’re planning to make your international getaway here, check out this list to make sure you don’t miss the top spots!