Bolivia’s Best Kept Secrets: A Guide to the Most Amazing and Unforgettable Experiences

Are you thinking about including Bolivia in your travel plans? It’s easy to forget about this country because it’s not as famous as other places in South America. But if you do, you’ll be skipping a really amazing and magical part of the world that’s a lot of fun to explore. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest things to do in Bolivia.

Bolivia’s amazing geographical variety ranges from the Andes’ heights, the Amazon’s lushness, immense salt flats, the world’s highest navigable lake, an extensive high-altitude plateau, volcanic vents, and dormant volcanoes to snow-capped granite mountains. It offers endless possibilities to various types of travelers.

History and culture buffs will be fascinated with Bolivia’s seven UNESCO Heritage Sites, vibrant ethnic diversity, and prehistoric dinosaur prints. Sand surfing, mountain biking down the most dangerous road in the world, high-altitude trekking, and cloud forest hikes, among other adventures, will thrill adrenaline junkies. 

Where To Stay in Bolivia?

Selina is the affordable choice to stay in when you find yourself in any city. That’s not different in Bolivia.

Selina La Paz brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “a breath of fresh air!” Nestled in the mountainous Sopocachi neighborhood, in the highest de facto capital city in the world, Selina is a 15-minute walk from key attractions, including the Witch Market, where travelers will be amazed at what they can find, from potions and spells to objects and rituals designed to bring luck, love or solve for money and fertility challenges.

Image Credit: Selina La Paz

Best Things To Do in Bolivia – Activities

1. Biking at North Yungas Road 

North Yungas Road, also known as the Death Road, is quite popular in Bolivia. The road connects Yungas and La Paz, and biking on it is believed to be the most daring challenge for people visiting from all over the world. The road ascends 5,085 yards (4,650 meters) to La Cumbre Pass and descends 1,312 yards (1,200 m) towards Coroico. 

The road is around 11.5 feet (3.5 m) wide with dangerous curves, but the thing that makes it challenging is a 197-foot (60 m) abyss on one side.

Tackle Bolivia’s infamous Death Road on two wheels on this adrenaline-pumping bike tour from La Paz. From La Paz, head into the Bolivian countryside by minivan. With your guide to lead the way and all safety kit included, spin along rugged dirt roads by powerful mountain bike and enjoy spectacular views over the Cordillera Real de los Andes scenery.

You can book this experience directly on Viator, the leading global experiences marketplace. The platform makes it easy to find and book incredible tours and activities. With over 300,000 bookable experiences worldwide, there’s always something new to discover wherever you are.

2. Explore Uma Jalanta Caves 

The Uma Jalanta Caves are located in Toro Toro National Park. The park is situated only a four-hour drive outside of Cochabamba. Exploring the caves is a treat for people who love adventures. You can see stalactites and stalagmites producing different shapes and forms.

The rangers in the park will assist with the explorations. They will also provide you with safety equipment such as a headlamp and helmet. 

3. Trekking on Inca Trails 

Inca trails are spread throughout South America, and Bolivia has stunning views. The best way to experience these trails is to go for the Takesi Trek. It starts near Palca village and ends in the village located just outside of La Paz, Yanacachi. 

The trek can be pretty long for beginners, as you will have to walk around 25 miles (40 kilometers) to reach the end. 

4. Grand Canyon Hike

Exploring the caves of Toro Toro is not the only activity in the national park. The trail of Vergel Canyon, located right inside the park, is a great way to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. 

We highly recommend you pass through the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a bridge in the shape of a horseshoe, which will allow you to enjoy the mountains surrounding the area at 4,000 ft (1,219 m).

5. Mi Teleferico Cable Car 

The cable car is 4,000 ft (1,219 m) above sea level, making it the world’s highest cable car. It connects El Alto and La Paz, so you can travel between the two places without traffic and have amazing city views from the top. 

6. Watch the Cholitas Wrestling

Local Bolivians cherish their Cholitas, indigenous women who hold significant cultural value. Cholita wrestling originated in the 2000s as a means of self-defense. Over time, Cholita wrestling evolved into a source of income for women and a popular tourist attraction in La Paz and surrounding areas.

7. Valle de La Luna Hike 

Hiking the Valle de La Luna (the moon valley) is another great way to enjoy the views of La Paz from the top. The unique rock formation on the top is an amazing experience. 

The best part about this is that it is quite inexpensive. You can get the experience for around 15 Bolivian Boliviano/BOB (2 USD).

8. Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos

In the 16th century, the Jesuits built ten missions in Santa Cruz. Out of 10, six of these missions were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Nowadays, these historical sites have become popular tourist destinations. Many tour companies offer tours to these areas to experience the beautiful architecture. 

The architecture mixes modern and historical styles and hugely impacts Bolivian culture.

9. Party at Santa Cruz de La Sierra 

Santa Cruz de La Sierra people love to work hard and party harder. You can feel the whole party vibe as soon as you go out on the streets at night. The best nightclub in the area for partying is called Basilica Menor de San Lorenzo. 

However, for a more traditional drinking experience, head to Duda Bar. It has the best bartenders that make amazing beer. Our last recommendation has the best of both worlds. Located near Avenida San Martin, Simon Speakeasy is a nightclub where the DJ and drinks can instantly lift your mood.

10. Horseback Riding in Tupiza 

In Tupiza, you can go on a guided horseback tour to explore the deep canyons and riverbeds. On your way, you can experience Canon del Duende, Canon del Inca, and many other great sites. You can also get a sneak peek at the Rio San Juan Oro, a site believed to possess treasures from the past.

11. Experience the Downhill Bike Race in Sorata 

Sorata is located near the snowcapped mountains of Illampu. A downhill bike race takes place in this area every October, with cyclists from around the world coming here to showcase their talent. The race on a muddy path is a great sight to watch. 

There is more than one trail that changes the difficulty level. The Eden, Chilquani, and Loma Loma trails are the most difficult.

12. Mercado 16 de Julio Market

In El Alto, head towards Plaza 16 de Julio to experience one of the largest open-air markets in South America. On Thursdays and Sundays, vendors wake up early to set up a market full of stalls and shops. You can buy almost anything you want at a pretty reasonable price. 

Everything you can think of is there–from sports equipment to used books to handmade furniture. However, the only downside of shopping here is the presence of pickpockets. If you keep your items safe in a backpack instead of pockets, you can avoid them.

Best Things To Do in Bolivia – Sights

13. Salar De Uyuni

Salar De Uyuni is a salt flat with many amazing sights to experience. Here, you can stroll around the area, take pictures of the beautiful landscape, or climb the Incahuasi island nearby for more views. Climbing can be tricky, so we advise hiring a tour guide for safety. While standing in the middle of the 4,247 square mi salt flat (11,000 square km), you can experience the land stretching as far as the eye can see.

The best way to see Salar de Uyuni is with a 3 day / 2 nights tour. The largest salt flats in the world, with a distance of more than 200 km long and a width of 80 km, with a reserve of more than 64 one billion tons of salt and more than 21 million tons of lithium. 

With an astonishing natural beauty, from this magical Uyuni salt flats, you’ll be amazed by the island of giant cacti in the middle of the salt flat, a giant mirror in the rainy season, volcanoes of the western mountain range from 3600 meters high to 6000 meters high, hot springs, and flora and fauna of the area. All in all, Uyuni is something that should be high on your Bolivia bucket list. 

14. Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, also known as the Red Lagoon, is located around 14,000 feet (4,267 m) above sea level. It is a salt lake, which is quite shallow. The beauty of the lake is its red patches formed by algae and sediments. The whole sight is breathtaking. 

The flamingos flying around the area add even more excitement to the experience. Here, you can spot rare flamingos, such as James’s flamingo, also known as the puna flamingo. 

15. Discover the Amazon Jungle 

The Amazon Jungle in Bolivia is much more peaceful than in any other country. You can start the tour from Rurrenabaque town. 

However, it depends on the tour operator on how deep you will get into the jungle. For travelers on a budget, we recommend trying a local Pampas tour. They provide amazing services, but the only downside is that they don’t offer a deeper jungle experience. 

16. Experience the Highest Navigable Lake in the World

Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest commercial lake, sits 12,507 ft (3,812 m) above sea level. It is also one of the largest lakes in South America. Ancient civilizations believed this place to be the sun’s birthplace. 

Now, the lake is surrounded by small farming villages. Most visitors love to boat here, going multiple times per day.

17. The Dinosaur Park

The dinosaur park is located in Parque Nacional Torotoro. Here, you can see the skulls of dinosaurs that lived 145 million years ago. People of any age can access the footprint sites. 

You can also do plenty of side activities in the park, such as exploring Ciudad de Itas Cathedral, Canon De Torotoro, and Huayra K’asa. The views and the overall experience are quite amazing.

18. La Senda Verde Rescue Facility

La Senda Verde rescue facility was established to assist the wildlife of Bolivia. In the facility, the operators rehabilitate bears, capybaras, caimans, monkeys, toucans, and many other animals. You can assist them by visiting the site or eating at one of their restaurants. All the money you spend will be used for facility maintenance. 

19. Tiwanaku Archaeological Site 

Tiwanaku is an archaeological site located only two hours from La Paz. It is an ideal place to learn about Bolivian history and culture. Here, you can find many museums with artifacts and monoliths from the past. 

You can also explore the nearby temples to see how they have evolved in technology over the years. 

20. Bolivian Wildlife at Biocentro Guembe

Biocentro Guembe is a perfect place to visit for animal lovers. The wildlife includes native species of Bolivia, such as peacocks, toucans, macaws, aviaries, and many other birds. There are houses where monkeys, tortoises, and many other animals reside. 

You can also visit mariposario, a butterfly house. 

21. The White City

The White City, aka Sucre, is a pure demonstration of colonial architectural beauty. Located in the capital of Bolivia, the city is full of museums and other historical monuments.

Conclusion – Things To Do in Bolivia 

With its long list of awesome sights and adventures, Bolivia is definitely one of those underrated travel destinations that deserve a place on every traveler’s bucket list. With the myriad in-store experiences for Bolivian travelers, narrowing down your travel options may be your biggest concern. 

This article was published by Spark Nomad and syndicated by Radical FIRE.

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Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist

Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.

Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.

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