What to see in Bolivia: cities and attractions not to be missed

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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La Bolivia is one of those destinations that offer incredible and unforgettable experiences. The landscapes change very quickly, between the peaks of the Andes, which reach even more than 6.000 meters of altitude, the expanses of salt, the lakes at high altitude, the jungle, the colonial cities and indigenous traditions. Once you have visited this country, believe us, you will never be able to get it out of your mind and heart.


  1. Sucre
  2. Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol
  3. Uyuni Salt Flats
  4. Potosì and the Cerro Rico
  5. La Paz
  6. Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna
  7. green lagoon
  8. Tiwanaku
  9. Madidi National Park
  10. Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Sucre

Sucre it is the capital of Bolivia and one of the most beautiful cities in South America.
Despite the centuries, it has kept its historic center unaltered, characterized by colonial architecture. The heart of the city is Plaza 25 and Mayo, also declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooked by numerous historic buildings and some of the most famous and sought after places in the whole city. Here you can also visit two of the most important religious monuments in the whole nation, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Near the center you must also see the beautiful Parque Bolivar, the most elegant street in the city Calle Dalence and the National Library.

A few kilometers from the center you cannot absolutely get lost Cal Orcko, a stone quarry where many dinosaur fossil footprints have been found. In this expanse of rock you can see more than 5.000 footprints of nearly 300 species of dinosaurs. A visitor center was built near the quarry to show visitors the life-sized dinosaurs that once lived on this land.

2 - Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol

Il Lake Titicaca it is located on the border between Peru and Bolivia and is the 3.812th largest lake in the world. With its meters of altitude, this is the highest navigable lake in the world. This area was the land of peoples such as the Quechua, Aymara, Urod, Pacajes and Puquinas, and later the cradle of the Inca civilization, until the arrival of the conquistadors.
In 1978 the Titicaca Reserve was created, with the aim of safeguarding and preserving the flora, fauna and all that is found in this place. Among the creatures that live in the reserve, there are about 60 species of birds, 14 of fish and 18 of amphibians, including the giant Titicaca frog, one of the most famous species, which can weigh up to 3 kg. From Bolivia, the best starting point for exploring the lake is the city of Copacabana. Several tours and excursions depart from here every day.

One of the attractions of the lake are undoubtedly its floating islands. From the Bolivian side, the most famous is without a doubt Isla del Sol. This island, 13 km² large, is generally divided into two parts: the one to the north rich in archaeological sites, while the one to the south is the village of Yumani and many paths and trails to do around the lake.

3 - Salar de Uyuni

Il Uyuni Salt Flats it is the largest salt flat in the world. It extends for 10.582 km² and contains about 10 billion tons of salt.
To visit it, there are various types of tours, from the fastest ones lasting one or 2 days, or those of 3/4 days that also include different trekking routes. Most visits depart from the city of Uyuni.
The best way to get around is definitely with the Jeep, for a perfect adventure trip. Attention: it is highly not recommended to visit the place alone! Getting lost is really very simple.

Among the most famous points of interest are: the Isla Incahuasi and the isla de Pescado, two islands located in the middle of the desert, inhabited only by huge cacti; the Sol de Manan, a set of boiling mud pools located at 5.000 meters above sea level, while at 4.200 meters there are thermal springs; the Tunupa volcano, a dormant volcano; the Laguna Colorada, an oasis full of pink flamingos

4 - Potosì and the Cerro Rico

Potosì, during the Spanish Empire, it was one of the richest and most populated cities in the world, thanks to the discovery of a silver deposit in the nearby mountain. In 1987 it was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The center is full of elegant churches, the houses are characterized by colored walls and balconies made of wood, while the historic buildings have a colonial style.

The city is located on the slopes of Cerro Rico, the mountain where a lot of silver was extracted. Nowadays, the mines are still active and tours are also organized to be able to visit them. Undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, however it is not suitable for those suffering from claustrophobia, due to the very dark spaces and in some places even narrow.

5 - La Paz

La Paz it is the administrative center of Bolivia, so much so that most of the time it is mistaken for the real capital instead of Sucre. It is located in the gorge of a natural canyon at about 3.650 meters high, making it one of the highest cities in the world and, in the background you can admire the imposing Cordillera Real, covered by glaciers, on which the Illimani and Mount Lampu dominate . What is immediately striking about this city is undoubtedly the riot of colors given by all the colored houses.

Here you will enter the Bolivian culture: between live music at every corner and excellent food to try, you will come across women wearing traditional costumes and performances of typical dances in every street. Not to mention the many craft shops where you can buy and try typical local products.

6 - Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna

La Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna it is the most important protected area in the Potosì area, in the southwestern part of Bolivia. With its 40.000 visitors a year it is also the most visited protected area. The reserve is dedicated to Eduardo Abaroa, a Bolivian national hero and offers an incredible landscape.
Among the most beautiful areas you can find: the Arbol de Piedra, a rocky conformation created by the erosion of the tree-shaped winds; the Termas de Polques, small natural thermal springs at the foot of Cerro Polques; the Sol de Manana, a basin with constant volcanic activity, at about 4.800 meters above sea level, where you can see gaysers and bubbles of mud in constant motion.
If we talk about volcanoes, we must absolutely mention the Volcan Uturuncu, the highest mountain in the South of Bolivia, with its 6.000 meters high. The jeeps arrive one kilometer from the top, which can then be reached on foot. The other volcano is Volcan Licancabur, which with its 5.868 meters of height is the most popular peak for climbers.
Inside the reserve there are also several lagoons, including the Laguna Colorada, with its red color due to the algae and plankton present in the water and home to many flamingos, and the green lagoon.

7 - Green Lagoon

A separate study is to be dedicated to green lagoon, one of the salt lakes of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, in southwestern Bolivia, near the border with Chile and at the foot of the Licancabur volcano. It is located at a very high altitude: about 4.300 meters above sea level.
Its beautiful color is due to the mineral sediments of copper, magnesium, calcium carbonate, lead and arsenic that settle on its bottom and in the waters.

Small curiosity: in this lagoon you will not find any kind of life because the lake is toxic. Obviously, walking in this area will not cause you any harm or danger! Indeed, the place is very popular especially for the trekking routes at the foot of the volcano.
Useful tips: we recommend that you dress in layers, as the temperature can change quickly, and that you bring sunscreen to avoid burning your face. And most importantly, comfortable walking shoes.

8 - Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku is the most important archaeological site in Bolivia and is easily accessible from La Paz, which is about 70 kilometers away.
Recent studies have found that Tiwanaku was the first real Andean empire, which can easily be compared to that of the Incas in strength and extent. But, unlike the Inca civilization, the Andean civilization still remains shrouded in mystery today. The information we have on this people is very little, including why and how this empire fell. In fact, even the name Tiwanaku is not correct, as it is of Quechua origin and was given to the place by the Incas when they discovered the remains of the city. The real name is, and probably will forever be, a mystery.

Among the ruins of this uninhabited city for more than a thousand years, you can still admire several monoliths, the pyramid of Akampana, the remains of a ritual platform called Kalasasaya and the Porta del Sol, the symbol of this place, a megalithic gate in which they are several bas-reliefs remained intact.

9 - Madidi National Park

Il Madidi National Park is a protected natural area located in the north of Bolivia, on the border with Peru. In 2012, the congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the park the place with the greatest biodiversity in the world.
Here, incredible landscapes alternate: you will pass from the prairie to the savannah, from the tropical forest to the arid expanses of the Andes, reaching up to 6.000 meters of altitude. Inside there are about 5.000 species of plants, 900 species of birds and 2.000 species of wild animals, including howler monkeys, parrots, turtles, jaguars, sloths, toucans, tapirs and many others.

To visit the park we strongly advise you to rely on an expert guide and not to go around alone, as it could be dangerous for you. The best option is to opt for a tour of at least two days.

10 - Noel Kempff Mercado National Park

Il Noel Kempff Mercado National Park it is located in the northeastern part of Bolivia, on the border with Brazil. It was founded in 1979 and was initially called "Huanchca National Park". Later, the name was changed in honor of Professor Noel Kempff Mercado, for the enormous contribution he made to the park thanks to his numerous research and discoveries.
This park also offers incredible biodiversity: from the forest you will pass through the Amazon rainforest, up to the tropical forest and, finally, to the savannah. In its 15.234 km² there are about 4.000 species of vascular plants, as well as several species of bromeliads, araceae and palms. Speaking of animals, there are more than 130 species of mammals, including jaguars, tapirs and river dolphins. A population of the rare black jaguar lives in this area! There are about 620 bird species, accounting for 20% of all birds in South America.

To visit the park, as in the case of the Madidi National Park, we absolutely recommend that you rely on an expert guide. These places are really dangerous to visit alone.

Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: about 11 million
  • Capital: Sucre
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Local currency: Boliviano (€ 1,00 = 7,80 BOB)
  • Weather: there are different climates based on the area and the altitude: in the far north the climate is equatorial, while in the center-south it is tropical; in the Andes and on the various mountain peaks it is cold and arid
  • Time zone: 5 hours behind Italy, 6 when there is summer time in Italy
  • vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccine highly recommended
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least 6 months at the time of entry; the exit ticket is also mandatory; a tourist visa is not required if you stay in the country for less than 90 days.
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    Bolivia is located in South America and, together with Paraguay, it is the only country that does not overlook the sea, but is completely surrounded by other states. Furthermore, it is the highest country in the entire American continent.
    To reach it there are no direct flights from Italy. Your best bet is to book a flight to Peru or Chile and then take a second flight to Bolivia.

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