Stretching across more than 10,000 square kilometres in the Bolivian Andes, the Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat.
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This trip captures the undisputed highlights of Bolivia. Discover the colonial heritage of La Paz, make a visit to the nearby Moon Valley, tour Lake Titicaca's islands, and let the stunning Uyuni Salt Flats blow your mind.
Don't miss any of Bolivia's highlights, from the indigenous cultures of Lake Titicaca and the surreal landscapes of Uyuni, to the colonial charm and traditions of La Paz and the mining town of Potosi.
Lose your breath as you discover two of South America's most striking sceneries: the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu amidst the clouds, and Bolivia's mirrored landscapes of the endless Uyuni Salt Flats.
Embark on a 4x4 adventure to the stunning landscapes of Uyuni and beyond, visiting the continent's most impressive deserts, steaming geysers and a collection of otherworldly mineral lakes with flocks of flamingoes.
Discover two of the top sights of Bolivia in just one week. Explore the surreal landscape of Salar de Uyuni on a 4x4, then navigate the quaint waters of Lake Titicaca walking among ancient inca villages and ruins.
Experience South America's premiere adventure destinations. Walk along the Andes on the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, then embark on a 4x4 adventure to the surreal landscapes of Uyuni.
Experience Bolivia Amazon jungle Madidi with ecolodge stays. From hiking along Madidi rainforest trail, night walk in the jungle, swimming in the Tuichi river, attending Ayahuasca ceremony guided by a local shaman and much more.
Experience the essence of Bolivia visiting its most charming colonial enclaves, then go on a full expedition of South America's wildest landscapes: Salar de Uyuni and Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve.
Cross the cultural heart of the Andes with this magical journey. Start in Peru's melting pot, Lima, then journey from the Inca capitals of Cusco and Machu Picchu, to the stunning Lake Titicaca, and finish in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Venture across the Andes from Peru to Bolivia. Explore the ruins and colonial treasures of Cusco, the lost city of Machu Picchu, the proud indigenous tradition of Titicaca Lake, and the geology extravaganza of La Paz.
Take in the south of Peru and cross into Bolivia, visiting the Inca capital of Machu Picchu, the breathtaking Colca Canyon, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, and the wild geology of La Paz.
Stretching across more than 10,000 square kilometres in the Bolivian Andes, the Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat.
Stretching as far as the eye can see, the glistening white salts flats of Salar de Uyuni are a surreal sight, particularly after the rain when they mirror a perfect reflection of the sky above. Take a 4x4 tour to discover how salt is processed, explore the mysterious train cemetery, see the bubbling springs of Ojos de Sal and the cacti forest of Isla Incahuasi, and spend the night in a unique salt hotel.
Bordering both Peru and Bolivia at an elevation of 3808 metres, Lake Titicaca is South America’s largest lake and one of its most spectacular landscapes. Take a boat tour to discover the ancient Inca ruins and youth-prolonging spring of Isla del Sol. Then hike through rural Aymara villages for breathtaking views along Lake Titicaca’s shores and travel to the Peruvian side to visit the floating tortuga reed Uros Islands.
The pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku lie on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca and are believed to have once been a cosmological pilgrimage site. Explore the ruins of the great Akapana Pyramid and Kalasasaya Temple, marvel at the animal carvings of the Puerta del Sol and Puerta de la Luna, then bear witness to the mysterious, alien-like depictions along the Semi-Subterranean Temple.
Home to endangered vicuña, Andean fox and viscachas, Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is renowned for its mineral-rich, multi-coloured lakes which provide a unique sanctuary for rare James flamingo colonies. Witness the surreal landscape of Laguna Colorada and the Salvador Dali Desert, visit the Siloli Desert rock formation of Árbol de Piedra, and take in the spectacular vista across the Laguna Verde.
Stretching from the Andes to the Amazon, the ecologically-diverse Madidi National Park is home to the endemic titi monkey, jaguars and a staggering number of bird species. Embark on an ecological tour deep into the jungle, take a boat cruise along the Tuichi River to spot capybaras, macaws and pink river dolphins, and learn about the medicinal plants that have been used by indigenous communities here for centuries.
Home to spectacular rock formations, lunar-like landscapes and deep canyons, Valle de la Luna, or “Moon Valley”, was carved over thousands of years by wind and water erosion. It is situated just 10 kilometres from La Paz and circular walking trails take in its richly-hued clay and sandstone stalagmites, hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus, and stunning vistas from Devil’s Point all the way to the Cordillera Real and Andes Mountains.
La Paz boasts a spectacular setting, nestled into an Altiplano canyon at 3500 metres and backed by the snow-capped peak of Mount Illimani. Witness the colonial architecture of Plaza Murillo and San Francisco Cathedral, wander the handicraft shops of Calle Sagarnaga, immerse yourself in the witchcraft products and limpias cleansing rituals of the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches Market), and take a cable car to Parque Mirador Laikakota for sweeping views across the city.
Situated at the base of Cerro Rico lie the UNESCO World Heritage listed streets, mansions and churches of Potosi - the most important mining centre in South America during Spanish colonial rule. Explore the city’s history at the Casa Nacional de la Moneda or take an underground mine tour for a glimpse into the life of local indigenous workers who now mine tin from the “Rich Mountain”.
Picturesque Sucre is draped in Bolivian history, as it was within its UNESCO World Heritage listed streets that independence was proclaimed in 1825. Explore its spectacular whitewashed Spanish colonial architecture at the restored convent of Casa de la Libertad, witness the indigenous artwork at Museo de Charcas and Museo de Arte Indigena, and experience ancient dinosaur prints at nearby Parque Cretacico.
Nestled on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana is an important Catholic pilgrimage centre and home to the impressive Copacabana Basilica with its bringer of miracles - the Virgen de Candelaria. Embark on a hike to the sacred Stations of the Cross overlooking the town or the ancient archaeological site of Pachat’aqa, then take a boat trip to explore the Inca ruins of Chinkana on Isla del Sol.
One of the oldest settlements in Bolivia’s east, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Jesuit mission of San Jose de Chiquitos is one of the country’s most atmospheric. Explore the spectacular Spanish frontier architecture of the Complejo Jesuitico Misional, wander the old town ruins of Santa Cruz de la Vieja historical park, and witness the ancient rock art of nearby Chiquitania.
Situated in the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental, the small village of Samaipata, meaning “Rest in the Highlands”, boasts an enticingly cool climate and picturesque location. Explore the spectacular pre-Columbian religious site of El Fuerte de Samaipata, go trekking through the canyons and waterfalls of El Codo de los Andes, and tour the magnificent wine country of the Valleys of Santa Cruz.
Venture into the jungles of Yacuma from Rurrenabaque on a boat cruise to spot pink river dolphins, black caimans and capybaras. Then hike through the Pampas in search of squirrel monkeys, anaconda and an incredible diversity of bird species that include blue kingfishers, egrets, toucans and macaws.
Take in the diverse and magnificent scenery of the Choros, Takesi or Yunga Cruz trails along ancient Inca roads, passing from the high-altitude landscapes of the Cordillera Real into the subtropical valleys of the Yungas.
Take in the stunning beauty of Bolivia’s sub-tropical Los Yungas region as you hurtle down the “world’s most dangerous road” on a mountain biking tour from La Paz to Coroico, passing by 1000 metre-high cliff faces that plunge down to lush green valleys below.
Take a scenic flight into the remote and untouched Amazonian wilderness of Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado to canoe through its dense rain forests and savannah wetlands while spotting tapirs, spider monkeys, jaguars, pumas and its more than 600 bird species.
Experience the indigenous medicine of Ayahuasca, known for its spiritual healing properties and vivid revelations, during a traditional shaman ceremony in the dense jungles of Rurrenabaque.
Take an early morning birdwatching trek through the rugged terrain of Parque Nacional Amboró to spot some of its 800+ bird species, which include spectacled owls, emerald toucans and Andean condor. Then venture out on a night safari to find spectacled bears, giant anteaters, armadillos and the elusive jaguar.
Lowlands - The tropical lowlands to the east of the Bolivian Andes experience distinct wet and dry seasons, with the majority of rain falling between October and May, and the hottest, most humid conditions experienced in December and January. If you are visiting the Yungas Valley and Rurrenabaque then expect the majority of rain fall between March and April, with generally warm and humid temperatures throughout the year. Keep in mind that torrential rains during the wet season can cause roads to be closed off and flights into the Amazon can be unpredictable.
Altiplano Highland - Bolivia’s highland regions around Potosi, La Paz, Sucre, Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni experience their wet season between December and March, coinciding with the warmest weather conditions. April through to September sees temperatures drop, particularly at night, and snow often falls in the northern Altiplano. Despite this, daytimes tend to be dry and sunny, perfect for trekking, sightseeing and exploring the Salar de Uyuni. This coincides with the peak tourist season in Bolivia, although it is best to visit towards the end of the rainy period if you want to see the mirrored reflections for which the salt flats are famous.
Recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Oruro Carnival takes place in March each year in a stunning display of folkloric dancing, cultural music performances and extravagant masked costumes. It originated as an indigenous festival but has since incorporated the Christian Virgin of Candelaria rituals, and begins with the traditional La Diablada, or “Dance of the Devils”.
Coinciding with the winter solstice and the start of the Aymara new year, Inti Raymi is an ancient Incan festival to honour the Sun God and request his return. In Bolivia the most vivid displays are at the pre-Inca site of Tiwanaku, where devotees dance throughout the night before a dawn shamanic ceremony, accompanied by religious chanting.
Beginning on Palm Sunday, Semana Santa commemorates Jesus’ last days before crucifixion, with palm-laden religious processions through the city streets, candle-lit offerings at the basilicas and cathedrals and a dawn mass on Easter Sunday. In Sucre devotees also make a pilgrimage on Holy Thursday to the statue of Christ the Redeemer which overlooks the city.
Combining both Spanish influences and those of its indigenous and Aymara communities, Bolivian cuisine varies between regions depending on the availability of ingredients. The high-altitude Andean region favours the growth of potatoes, beans, cold-climate vegetables and livestock, as well as trout from Lake Titicaca, while the tropical lowlands and Amazonia see rice, corn, plantain, yucca and tropical fruits featured in the diet.
The main meal of the day is lunch, or almuerzo, which is normally a multi-course meal followed by an early afternoon siesta. Most Bolivians will also stop for a short, late-afternoon tea break. Coca tea, made from the coca leaf, is the national Bolivian drink and has long been used for medicinal purposes and to relieve the effects of altitude sickness, while chicha is a popular alcoholic drink made from fermented maize.
The hot fried fritters known as buñelos are sold at street-side food vendors across the country. They come in both sweet and savoury flavours, often stuffed with cheese, and are a popular Christmas morning treat served with the purple maize drink, Api.
Found mostly throughout Bolivia’s Andean region, salteñas are baked, empanada-like pastries, stuffed with pork, beef or chicken and a spicy sauce. Most cities have their own distinct version which are sold at street-side stalls, with vegetarian salteñas also found in some local restaurants.
Originating in Cochabamba and roughly translating as “eat if you are man enough”, pique a lo macho is a hearty combination of beef and thickly-cut french fries, topped with boiled egg, onions, mustard, mayonaise, ketchup and spicy peppers.
Almost everywhere you travel in Bolivia there are small handicraft stalls and souvenir shops selling alpaca and llama wool garments, as well as handwoven textiles, wooden carvings, salt souvenirs and the iconic bowler hats worn by the country’s indigenous women. In La Paz these are centred around Calle Sagarnaga, while in more rural areas and across Salar de Uyuni they are often clumped together in small tourist markets. A small amount of bargaining is expected, but remember to take into account the labour that goes into producing the items, particularly if you are purchasing direct from the artisans themselves.
Chuyos, ponchos, sweaters, gloves, socks and scarves made from llama wool can be found countrywide, providing much-needed warmth against the cold Altiplano nights. Keep in mind that fake garments mixing in acrylic or sheep’s wool are often hawked for unbelievably cheap prices, while highly prized vicuña garments fetch a fortune.
Indigenous Bolivian handicrafts draw on a rich artistic heritage and include intricate embroidery work, beautifully-painted ceramics, carved wooden statues and handmade silver jewellery. Traditional wooden musical instruments also make for a popular souvenir, with the quena flute among the most practical to purchase.
There are small stalls scattered across Salar de Uyuni where handmade items have been carved from the region’s abundant salt. Miniature llamas, Incan statues, brightly painted trinket boxes and traditional indigenous panel designs can all be found, making for a distinctively unique souvenir.