Bolivia travel guide, including map of Bolivia, top Bolivian travel experiences, plus tips for travel in Bolivia
Bolivia: where flamingos feed from red and green lakes rimmed by volcanoes, where Dali-esque rock structures dot the Altiplano, and where waterfalls crash down on one of the world's most dangerous roads.
In Bolivia's breathtakingly high capital, La Paz, indigenous women in traditional bowler hats and brightly-coloured skirts sell absolutely everything you could possibly need. Much of Bolivia is tropical lowland, a lush carpet stretching all the way to Brazil. Twisting roads thread their way down from the snowy peaks of the high Andes to steaming jungles, providing excellent – if dangerous – mountain biking.
In Bolivia's north, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. The old colonial town of Potosí; hosts a silver mine, while a train graveyard lies on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the world's highest and largest salt flat. Amboró National Park encompasses three ecosystems – the Amazon basin, the foothills of the Andes and the Chaco plain, and is home to thousands of species of insects, birds and plants.
US citizens have to pay a hefty entrance fee and deal with plenty of paperwork at the borders going into Bolivia. Non-US travellers in a rush and choosing between a local or a 'gringo' bus might save time travelling with the locals. If you fancy helping to care for orphaned monkeys or big cats, consider volunteering at a wildlife refuge. Parque Machí is always grateful for volunteers.
Bolivian weather is unpredictable and varies across the country – it could be wet anywhere, at any time, but especially during the wet season (October to March). August is generally the driest month and coincides with most of Bolivia’s major festivals.
La Paz (LPB) 14km from centre. Santa Cruz (VV1), 16km from centre.
Getting around Bolivia isn’t easy. Most roads are unpaved and in very poor condition so hang onto your fillings when you’re bouncing around on local buses. Long-distance buses are popular and cheap but not particularly comfortable. Mini vans and collective taxis are another option. Trains only serve a tiny part of the country. Internal flights in Bolivia are one of the most reliable means of getting to remoter places, especially during the web season.
Bolivia has some of the cheapest accommodation in South America. Generally you get what you pay for but there are some real bargains to be had at the top end, especially in larger cities and holiday spots. Camping is easy in Bolivia but remember to wrap up warm: nights get extremely cold in the highlands.
Bolivian food is a little bland but colourful. Potatoes, of which there are over 200 varieties in Bolivia, come in almost every hue. Salteñas, tucumanas and empanadas are meat-and-vegetable pastries, sold everywhere. Around Lake Titicaca, try the local truchatrout), often served with nutritious quinoa. Look out for llama, alpaca and guinea pig (usually only dished up on special occasions) and the delicious creamy fruit chirimoya (custard apple). Try the locally brewed beer Paceña or chica cochabambina, a corn-based moonshine.
Altitude sickness can be a big problem, especially in La Paz. When travelling to high altitudes, go steady, eat light meals and avoid alcohol. Speak to a pharmacist before you ascend about over-the-counter remedies and their side-effects. Coca leaf tea and gingko are natural remedies but nothing works better than descent. Yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever are problems in some areas: ask your GP or local travel clinic for advice. Tap water is not safe to drink.
These epic salt flats in Bolivia’s otherworldly Altiplano made the list in our new bookazine, 77 Ultimate Travel Experiences. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting them... More
Get your sunglasses ready, because these natural wonders and man-made must-sees are the most blindingly white spots on the planet… More
You voted it one of your favourite emerging destinations in our Reader Travel Awards. Here, Melanie Stern shares her reasons for crossing the plains and heading off-track in beguiling Bolivia More
The destinations you love, the tour operators you trust, and the guidebooks you won’t leave home without: meet the Travel Awards winners, crowned by the best-journeyed bunch of all – Wanderlust readers... More
Get your caffeine kick in Colombia, trek full-circuit in Chile and wind down with vino in Argentina – explore Central and South America anew with these crowd-free and fun-guaranteed activities... More
From the oldest farmer’s market in the US to ancient bazaars, straight out of the Arabian Nights, these markets are full of life, colour and tasty treats. You might even pick up a bargain or two as well More
Whether you want to hike the Andes, self-drive Brazil, delve into the Guianas or take the train to Machu Picchu, these eight journeys will inspire a Latin adventure. More
With its stunning mountains and high-altitude wonders, Bolivia is breathtaking in every sense of the word. Leading photographer James Brunker reveals how to capture the country in the best light More
Tickle your taste buds and discover new cultures with these mouth-watering foodie trips. From street food in Thailand to tapas in the tavernas of Spain, there's something to suit every taste. More
From beaches in the Isle of Skye to museums in Bolivia, dinosaurs are easy to find – if you know where to look. Peter Moore tracks down dino footprints, fossils and theme parks around the world... More
Whether scaling the volcanic slopes of Cotopaxi on horseback or snorkelling the reefs of Belize, Central and South America are packed with thrills. Daniel Neilson reveals the best... More
With news that over 200 languages have become extinct over the last three generations, we find out where you can hear the most endangered ones – if you hurry... More
From Bolivia's Altiplano to South Georgia Island, Art Wolfe ventures to far-flung corners of the world to photograph animals – capturing them at their perky and playful best More
Swim with dolphins in the Amazon, cycle the world's most dangerous road, and explore ancient Inca ruins – these must-do activities reveal the highlights of Bolivia and beyond... More
From travel writing and photography to working with animals, getting paid to travel is many people’s dream job. Here, 12 experts in their fields tell you the highs, lows and what it takes to succeed... More
50 years after Che Guevara's death, Nick Boulos walks in the revolutionary's final footsteps through a region that few visitors see More
Embark on a historical journey on the path of revolutionist Che Guevara, visiting some of South America's most iconic sights along the way More
From Andean highs to coastal lowlands, South America's railroads cross some of the most dramatic scenery on Earth... More
Inca history, alien landscapes and little-trodden trails: South America offers hikers epic experiences of glaciers, rainforests and volcanoes… often all in one route More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
From: £4400.00More …
From: £10715.00More …
From: £6693.75More …
From: £6052.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!