• ~ mins read
Great trip of key places around Bolivia
  • Deborah Hagadorn
  • From USA
5 - Excellent
What a wonderful trip with a wide variety of experiences! We traveled all over Bolivi...” Read More

1. La Paz

View of Plaza Murillo in La Paz during a sunny day in Bolivia in February.
Explore La Paz with its ancient archeological sites and cultural heritage during your trip to Bolivia.

Nestled amidst the Andes Mountains at an elevation of roughly 3,650 meters, La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. The city boasts stunning architecture, bustling markets, and a rich indigenous heritage, making it one of the top places to visit in Bolivia. Dive into the city’s ancient history at the fascinating Tiwanaku ruins, marvel at the awe-inspiring views of the city from Mirador Killi Killi, visit the famed Witches’ Market in Cerro Cumbre, or explore museums, art galleries, and unique buildings at Calle Jaén. There is so much to see and do while touring La Paz.

Highlights:

  • Soar above the cityscape aboard La Paz’s iconic cable cars for unparalleled views of the Andean peaks and urban sprawl.
  • Dive into the mystical world of Bolivian folklore and tradition as you wander through the stalls of the Witches’ Market, discovering exotic potions and cultural artifacts.
  • Immerse yourself in the heart of La Paz’s historic center, surrounded by architectural wonders and the city's vibrant energy.
  • Uncover the secrets of Bolivia’s ancient civilizations with visits to Tiwanaku, a Pre-Columbian archaeological site.

Quick tip: Acclimate yourself to the high altitude by drinking coca tea and taking it slow for the first couple of days to avoid altitude sickness.

Tours in La Paz

2. Salar de Uyuni

The salt flats of Salar de Uyuni.
A thin layer of water transforms the Uyuni salt flats into a gigantic mirror, reflecting the vast sky and creating stunning visual illusions.

When it comes to the coolest place to visit in Bolivia, few can rival the surreal beauty of Salar de Uyuni. Spanning over 10,000 square kilometers, Salar de Uyuni offers a dreamlike landscape of blinding white salt crust, stretching as far as the eye can see. Explore the ethereal island of Incahuasi, adorned with towering cacti. As day transitions into night, witness the sky transform into a mesmerizing canvas of stars, undisturbed by city lights.

Highlights:

  • Witness the awe-inspiring night sky, filled with countless stars and constellations, above Salar de Uyuni, free from light pollution. 
  • Marvel at the seemingly endless expanse of pure white salt flats, stretching as far as the eye can see, a truly surreal and otherworldly landscape to behold.
  • Witness the breathtaking mirror effect during the rainy season when a thin layer of water transforms the flats into a giant reflective surface.
  • Explore the unique Incahuasi Island, a rocky outcrop covered in giant cacti, providing panoramic views of the salt flats and serving as a fascinating natural landmark amidst stark landscape.

Quick tip: Visit during the rainy season (December-March) when the flat is flooded, creating an incredible mirror effect reflecting the sky and clouds.

3. Lake Titicaca

A panoramic view of Lake Titicaca from Bolivia in November
Experience the mesmerizing blend of ancient heritage and natural beauty at Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, where vibrant indigenous cultures thrive amidst the stunning backdrop of the Andes Mountains.

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia’s mystical jewel cradled in the Andes, beckons travelers with its timeless allure. Explore the floating Uros Islands, crafted entirely from totora reeds, and immerse yourself in the unique way of life of the indigenous Uru people. Visit Taquile Island to witness traditional Quechua culture firsthand. Watch locals showcase their intricate textile artistry and centuries-old customs. As the sun sets over the lake, painting the sky with hues of gold and crimson, you will understand why Lake Titicaca is more than just a pretty destination; the place represents Bolivia’s Andean spirit.

Highlights:

  • Explore the fascinating and unique lifestyle of the Uros people by visiting their traditional floating islands constructed entirely from totora reeds. Learn about their ancient customs, craftsmanship, and sustainable way of living.
  • Take a boat ride to Isla del Sol to discover the mythical birthplace of the Inca civilization. Explore ancient ruins, terraced landscapes, and sacred sites while enjoying panoramic views of the lake and surrounding Andean peaks.
  • Experience the charming lakeside town of Copacabana, known for its colonial architecture, bustling markets, and vibrant culture. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, a renowned pilgrimage site, and witness traditional ceremonies and rituals performed by local communities.
  • Take a trip to Isla de la Luna, another sacred island on Lake Titicaca, to explore ancient Inca ruins, including the Temple of the Virgins.

4. Potosi

Hiker descending from top of Huayna Potosi mountain in Bolivia
Huayna Potosi, an inactive volcano situated in the Andes mountain range, is a favorite destination for most hikers and mountaineers.

Known as the ‘Silver City,’ Potosi was once the world’s largest producer of silver, fueling the Spanish Empire’s economy during the colonial era. Today, visitors can explore the city's fascinating history through its well-preserved colonial architecture, including the iconic Cerro Rico, the ‘Rich Hill,’ where silver mines still operate. Experience the vibrant culture of Potosi through its colorful markets, lively festivals, and traditional cuisine, a blend of indigenous and Spanish influences.

Highlights:

  • Explore the historic significance of Cerro Rico, once the world's largest silver mine and a symbol of Potosi's wealth during the Spanish colonial era. Take a tour of the mines to learn about the harsh conditions miners face and the legacy of silver mining in the region.
  • Marvel at the stunning colonial architecture adorning the streets of Potosi's historic center. Visit architectural gems like the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace and the San Francisco Church, each showcasing intricate facades and ornate interiors.
  • Explore Potosi's history at Casa Nacional de la Moneda, once a colonial mint, now a museum. Learn about silver production, coin minting, colonial art, and indigenous culture.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant heart of Potosi at Plaza 10 de Noviembre,  which is lined with historical buildings and landmarks. Explore its bustling markets, try local cuisine, and watch locals go about their daily life.

Quick tip: Take the harrowing tour into the actual silver mines to understand the harsh conditions miners have endured for centuries. 

Tours in Potosi

5. Sucre

View the Bell Tower in Sucre on a sunny day in Bolivia in April.
Ascend to new heights of wonder at Sucre's Bell Tower in Bolivia, where history resonates in every breathtaking view.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sucre boasts an architectural legacy dating back to the Spanish colonial era, with well-preserved buildings adorned with intricate facades and ornate balconies. Stroll through the historic center’s cobbled streets, lined with vibrant markets, quaint cafes, and bustling plazas, where locals and visitors alike gather to soak in the city’s laid-back ambiance. Sucre also serves as a getaway to nearby natural wonders, including Maragua Crater and Cal Orck’o.

Highlights:

  • Explore the historic center of Sucre, characterized by its well-preserved colonial architecture, including whitewashed buildings, ornate churches, and charming cobblestone streets.
  • Discover the world’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints at the Cal Orck’o, located just outside Sucre.
  • Experience the vibrant heart of Sucre at Plaza 25 de Mayo. Surrounded by architectural landmarks, bustling cafes, and the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza 25 de Mayo provides picturesque settings for leisurely strolls and people-watching.
  • Immerse yourself in Bolivia's rich cultural heritage at the bustling Tarabuco Market. Here, indigenous Quechua communities gather to sell traditional textiles, crafts, and agricultural products, offering a colorful and authentic glimpse into local life.

Quick tip: Learn about the intricate weaving techniques of the indigenous Jalq’a people and buy authentic textiles directly from the artisans.

Tours in Sucre

6. Rurrenabaque

Capybara bathing in the waters of Yacuma Rivers in Rurrenabaque.
Embark on a wild adventure in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, where every moment is a chance encounter with the world's largest rodent, the captivating Capybara.

Rurrenabaque, a small town in Bolivia, is the gateway to thrilling jungle adventures, making it one of the fun places to visit in Bolivia. Begin your journey by exploring Madidi National Park, which has wildlife like playful monkeys and elusive jaguars. Navigate the winding rivers and dense foliage on guided boat tours and jungle treks, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the Amazon. Back in town, savor the warmth of Bolivian hospitality as you sample local cuisine and browse vibrant markets filled with handicrafts.

Highlights:

  • Delve into the heart of the Amazon rainforest with a guided tour in Bolivia departing from Rurrenabaque. Follow the guide exploring the dense jungles teeming with wildlife, pristine rivers, and hidden waterfalls, offering an unforgettable adventure
  • Embark on a thrilling wildlife tour through the nearby pampas, spotting iconic species like caimans, capybaras, pink river dolphins, and many bird species.
  • Take a guided jungle trek from Rurrenabaque, delving into the lush Amazon rainforest to explore ancient trails, encounter exotic flora and fauna, and uncover hidden waterfalls and indigenous communities.
  • Experience the thrill of river adventures on the Beni River and its tributaries in Rurrenabaque. You can raft through rapids, kayak along scenic waterways, or leisurely canoe through calm stretches.
Tours in Rurrenabaque

7. Tiwanaku

Ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku on a clear day.
Step into the ancient world at Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where monumental stone structures whisper tales of a civilization's architectural brilliance and engineering mastery

A trip to Bolivia is incomplete without a visit to Tiwanaku, one of the best destinations for history enthusiasts and curious travelers. As one of the most interesting places to visit in Bolivia, Tiwanaku offers a glimpse into the ancient civilization that once thrived in the Andean region. Its impressive ruins, including the iconic Gate of the Sun and Akapana Pyramid, showcase advanced engineering and urban planning from over 1,500 years ago. You can also explore the site’s enigmatic stone carvings and artifacts, providing valuable insights into Tiwanaku’s culture.

Highlights:

  • Explore Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to marvel at ancient monumental stone structures, revealing the architectural and engineering prowess of the Tiwanaku civilization.
  • Stand before the iconic Gate of the Sun, adorned with celestial beings and mythological symbols, a monumental artifact offering insight into the religious beliefs and cosmological worldview of the Tiwanaku civilization.
  • Explore the rich history and culture of the Tiwanaku civilization at the on-site museum, housing a vast collection of excavated artifacts, including intricately crafted ceramics, sculptures, and tools, offering insights into their social structure, daily life, and artistic achievements.
  • Explore the enigmatic ruins of Puma Punku near Tiwanaku, marveling at the precision engineering and intricate stonework that continue to puzzle researchers to this day.

Quick tip: Arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds and hire a knowledgeable guide to decipher the mystical symbolism of the ancient ruins.

8. Madidi National Park

Waterfall in Madidi National Park on a clear day in Bolivia.
Dive into the heart of biodiversity at Bolivia's Madidi National Park, where lush rainforests and hidden treasures await your adventurous spirit

Madidi National Park beckons adventurers and nature lovers to explore the wilderness of Bolivia. As one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, Madidi is a haven for wildlife, boasting lush rainforests, winding rivers, and snow-capped mountains. Trek through its dense jungle trails, where you may encounter rare species such as jaguars, giant otters, and colorful macaws. With its stunning landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity, Madidi National Park is an essential destination to visit during your trip to Bolivia.

Highlights:

  • Embark on a guided jungle trek, discovering hidden waterfalls, encountering exotic wildlife, and experiencing the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest up close.
  • Join a thrilling river expedition to gain a unique perspective of the rainforest and its inhabitants.
  • Spot elusive jaguars, playful monkeys, colorful birds, and other fascinating creatures while exploring the park’s varied landscapes and ecosystems.

Quick tip: Pack lightweight rain gear, as the rainforest experiences frequent downpours even during the dry season.

9. Samaipata

The green valley of Samaipata at Santa Cruz Department in Bolivia.
Discover the hidden gem of Samaipata's lush green valley in Bolivia, where nature's embrace invites you to unwind and explore off-the-beaten-path delights.

Often overlooked as merely a stopover en route to Bolivia’s more famous destinations, this tranquil town nestled in the Andean foothills has much to offer. Samaipata is an ideal destination for those seeking a laid-back escape. Stroll along its colorful colonial streets, filled with artisanal shops and cozy cafes. Embrace the town's relaxed vibe as you soak in the surrounding beauty. From exploring ancient ruins to hiking scenic trails, Samaipata offers a perfect blend of cultural experiences and outdoor adventures.

Highlights:

  • Explore the Unesco-listed El Fuerte, featuring ancient ruins, ceremonial platforms, and intricate rock carvings.
  • Immerse yourself in the pristine natural beauty of Amboro National Park, known for lush cloud forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
  • Hike to the summit of Cerro El Mirador for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
  • Experience Samaipata's rich cultural heritage by wandering its colonial streets, exploring local markets, and engaging with artisans. 

Quick tip: Don’t forget to sample the local wine and singani (grape brandy) from the vineyards of El Fuerte.

Need help planning a trip to Bolivia?

From the surreal salt flats of Salar de Uyuni to the lush rainforests of the Amazon, Bolivia offers an adventure like no other. While our guide highlights some of the top places to visit in Bolivia, there are countless other hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

If you are looking for a more personalized travel experience, contact our local travel experts for a customized trip to Bolivia.

For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Bolivia. Our article on how many days to spend in Bolivia will also come in handy.

Bolivia Tours
Published by Astha Joshi, updated on May 17, 2024
Plan a custom-made trip to BoliviaWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Bolivia.
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