La Paz is generally recognised as the highest altitude capital in the world, and it certainly is from an administrative point of view. At over 3,500 metres (11,500 feet), it also sits below summits that tower above it. Much of the attraction of Bolivia is its altitude though visitors may find themselves short of breath initially. Bolivia’s largest city however is in the lowlands.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is both the largest city as well as having the country’s largest international airport. The city is interesting but visitors to Bolivia tend to arrive and head out to explore the wonderful natural landscapes with plenty of adrenalin rushes available to those looking for thrills. Bolivia in the west of South America has borders with several other countries including Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. Brazil is to its northeast and Peru to its northwest. It is landlocked and has been for almost 150 years after losing a coastal strip to Chile.
- Bolivia Tours
- Multi Day Tours In Bolivia
- Adventure Tours In Bolivia
- City Experience Tours in Bolivia
- Bolivia Day Tours With A Difference
Multi Day Tours In Bolivia
1- Wonder At Magical Natural Locations
This tour out of La Paz, finishing across the border in Chile, reveals to visitors the natural wonders of Bolivia.
The destination is Uyuni which is some nine hours away by bus.
During the journey, you can expect all your meals, a comfortable coach with toilet and free wi-fi.
Alternatively, you can join this tour in Uyuni and enjoy what is to follow.
You begin in Colchani close to the salt flats where traditional salt handicrafts textile art using of llama and alpaca fibre are on display.
From there it is a museum made purely from salt, and Isla Incahuasi (Fish Island).
The day ends with a wonderful sunset over the salt flats.
Day 3 begins with Galaxy Caves then on to Chiguana Desert with Chiarcota Lagoons and its flamingos among the highlights that follow.
The day finishes at “Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve”.
Hot springs and a volcano are highlights of the final day before you cross the border into Chile and San Pedro de Atacama.
2- Photograph Flamingos On The Salt Flats
Another popular alternative for exploring Uyuni Salt Flats starts in Uyuni City, starting with Colchani and the salt museum before a hike to see the huge cacti on “Isla Incahuasi” (Fish Island).
You are certain to take some lovely photos and they should certainly include some of the sun setting over the salt flats.
Your second day includes the Galaxy Caves, Chiguana Desert and Chiarcota Lagoons to see the flamingos whose pink colour comes from the lake in which they feed.
There are more flamingos the following days as well as the Sol de Mañana Geyser, the Dali Desert and the Lagoon below Licancabur Volcano close to the border with Chile.
It is now back to Uyuni City via Rock Valley, Alota and San Cristobal with its baroque church and colonial paintings.
3- See Lake Titicaca
Starting in Puno, you will board a boat to the Uros Islands which are manmade; woven reeds which are also used by the locals to make their houses.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,812 metres (12,500 feet), and the biggest lake in South America.
You will have a chance to mingle with the people who live on the lake’s islands and dinner is with the locals.
The next day it is on to Taquile Island from where you will get some stunning panoramas with the Andes and the blue sky providing great contrasts.
Entertainment comes from the locals with their traditional costumes, music and dance while the textile art produced by the people using natural vegetable dyes make great souvenirs.
4- Try An Ice Climbing Adventure
Huayna Potosi Mountain in the Cordillera Real Range north east from La Paz.
Provides a good challenge to those interested in ice-climbing and mountaineering.
You will need to acclimatise and practice basic techniques on your first day but then it is time to start.
There is a trek to the camp from which you will take your climb on Day 3 up the glacier to the summit.
From the summit you will see the impressive Illimani at 21,100 feet (6,430 metres) and Illampu at 20,900 feet (6,370 metres).
There is time to relax and take some photos before your descent on the same route.
The transport is at base camp for your return to La Paz.
Adventure Tours In Bolivia
5- Enjoy The Stunning Setting
Titicaca Lake can be done on a day trip from La Paz with visits to Copacabana, Yumani and Isla del Sol.
The scenery is stunning with blues and whites creating sharp contrasts.
Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the lake.
While your next stop, Isla del Sol, is where the Incas believed their sun god was born.
The Sol Pilkokaina Temple on the island is the highlight of the visit while there are also other examples of Inca architecture.
It’s time now to return to Copacabana by boat and onwards to La Paz.
6- Take Time On Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a great day out from Puno.
It is not just the uniqueness of a lake at altitude, it is the experience of visiting people who live on its islands.
Their skills include their use of tortora reeds to make their homes.
The islands are Uros and Taquille and the communities predate the times of the Incas.
You will meet today’s inhabitants and see the weaving skills that have been passed down through generations.
Lunch is an experience in itself, made from local produce.
You will return back to Puno after a truly memorable day.
7- Wonder At The Salt Flats
A day trip to Uyuni Salt Flats from Uyuni City involves a range of experiences.
The first is the train cemetery before going to Colchani with its handicraft workshops.
It is then on to Salar de Uyuni with stops all relating to salt including Playa Blanca, a salt hotel that today is a museum.
On Incahuasi Island, the next stop, you will take a hike where you will appreciate cacti and sea rock fossils.
There are some lovely panoramas in all directions which will keep you busy with your camera.
At the end of the tour, you will be returned back to your Uyuni hotel.
8- Trek In The Crater
There’s an early start in Sucre, collected from your hotel, to spend the next hour to get to the chapel of Chataquilla.
You then go on a 2-hour hike along the Inca trail before a car takes you to the Maragua Crater.
It is now time for lunch, vegetarian in this case and really delicious.
After lunch, you visit La Garganta del Diablo, an interesting rock formation.
There is then the chance to see dinosaur footprints before your return to Sucre.
You can visit a weaver who will explain about art within the Jalqa Culture.
9- Tour On A Mountain Bike
The air is fairly thin in La Paz but if you are acclimatised, there is nothing to stop you taking exercise.
Renting a mountain bike on an organised tour is one option.
You head to Coroico early in the morning then on to “La Cumbre” with the first section being downhill on a tarmac road into a national park where you pay an entry fee.
There are several stops throughout to take in your surroundings for photos, and have a drink of water.
“Death Road” is next, a distance of about 10 kilometres (6.25 miles) before a much longer section where the highlight is a waterfall.
Lunch is the final stop where there are facilities for swimming and having a shower.
10- Test Your Climbing Skills
Another option for exercise if you are staying in La Paz is mountaineering although you should have previous experience because this tour involves climbing to Austrian Peak which stands at 17,388 feet (5,300 metres) above sea level.
The journey from La Paz passes through Al Alto to Condoriri and the beautiful Cordillera Real.
From Palcoco, it is dirt roads up the valley towards the Condoriri range and ultimately Austria Peak.
You can expect to be walking and climbing up to 8 hours in the day so a decent level of fitness is also important.
The reward for taking this day trip include wonderful panoramas and the exhilaration of reaching such an altitude.
11- Jump In A Kayak
If you want to explore a little of Lake Titicaca “under your own steam”, there is tour that provides you with a kayak and a guide out of Isla Esteves Port.
All you need will be provided and for about an hour, you can move over the water at your own pace.
It does not need a huge amount of skill to kayak on calm waters and there will always be a guide on hand to ensure your safety.
You are certain to see plenty of bird species as you head to the Uros islands.
You will spend time with locals on these islands, learning more about their lives and their skills.
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City Experience Tours in Bolivia
12- Walk In Sucre
Sucre is the city in Bolivia where Bolivia’s independence declaration was signed.
It is in the southern highlands and a walk around the city is very interesting.
The highlights include the Casa de la Libertad, the Metropolitan Cathedral and Plaza 25 de Mayo.
The streets could all tell a story of the past while there are also old tunnels under the castle.
You will see indigenous art with the beautiful mountains an ever-present as you walk.
The old colonial tower is a popular viewpoint across the city.
An experienced guide will tell you all about the history of Sucre as you absorb yourself in its culture.
13- See The Best Of La Paz
The best way to see La Paz, the national capital, is with the help of a local guide who can tell you all about the city as you walk around its many landmarks.
A walking tour can be tailored to individual interests.
Certainly, if you are in a group, you can ask for a completely personalised tour, bearing in mind that if you are unfamiliar with the city, local input will be important.
You can spend anything from 2 hours for a short walk to a whole day.
Highlights will include historic plazas and the Basilica of St. Francis and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.
14- Experience La Paz With A Difference
If you are in La Paz and are looking to get a real feel of the city, there is the option of choosing a tour that goes off the beaten track.
The city centre is important but you also get on the cable car to El Alto from where you will get stunning panoramas.
There is a famous cemetery in El Alto and an open-air gallery.
The local shaman is an interesting experience and this is where you will learn more about spirituality and the use of herbs for medicinal purpose.
You will get your fortune read in coco leaves, as well as learning more of local history and traditions.
Bolivia Day Tours With A Difference
15- Watch Traditional Wrestling
Alto City is at 4,100 metres (almost 13,500 feet) and it’s not an altitude where visitors can easily exert themselves.
However, the Cholitas Luchadoras are local women who perform a popular show requiring energy.
They dress in traditional local costume, hat, shirt, shawl and long skirts to perform in front of audiences.
It is Bolivia’s form of wrestling which is also a skill that local men have.
There is a tour which will collect you from your hotel and take you to a performance in late afternoon.
The Ciudad del Alto Coliseum is the venue for 2 hours entertainment that is something very different from standard tours.
16- Book A Foodie Tour
Bolivia may not be famous for its cuisine yet a foodie tour is great fun.
Local food is always something that tourists should sample.
Meals are family occasions in Bolivia and this La Paz tour will introduce you to the food that families eat regularly.
It can be described in general terms as warm and hearty; remember La Paz is a city at altitude.
A local guide will introduce you to a series of local favourites in restaurants in the evening.
Each of these restaurants passes every hygiene test with produce bought from local markets.
As you go, you will also see some of the centre’s landmarks as well as visiting a popular cafe and bar.
17- Head Underground
Potosi in the southern highlands is known as a silver mining area and a trip to “Cerro Rico” (Rich Hill) is a tour with a difference.
You will start at the Mining Market where you can buy some things to take to the mine for the workers.
They include dynamite, alcohol, and coca leaves all of which the miners will appreciate.
Little has changed over the years.
Silver was first discovered when the Spanish controlled the region yet the deposits are still extensive.
Your tour takes in different galleries and levels of the mines and you will see statues that miners have created over the years.
They represent their gods.
You will meet miners who have worked here, often all their lives and return back to Potosi much wiser about the skills involved in mining.
18- Learn About Bolivian Wildlife
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is in the Bolivian lowlands and its wildlife is quite a contrast to the Andean Region.
There is a nature reserve an hour away where you are likely to see the five species of monkey found there as well as foxes, martens, and wild pigs.
If you are lucky, you may catch sight of a puma while the two birds that provide colour are the toucans and the macaws.
It is then on to swamp areas with rainforest and lagoons and frogs and reptiles common.
Sloths live in the trees as well as a range of birds with the flora also impressive.
After lunch, and before departure, look to the skies where vultures are often looking for prey to scavenge.
19- Play The Mystery Game
You can play the Sherlock Holmes City Game in Santa Cruz de la Sierra at your own pace, stopping whenever you wish, even if you have solved a clue.
The game is easy, ideal if you are with young children who can participate.
You can compete with others if you wish in which case you should aim to finish after 2 hours.
You will get more information online if you make a booking.
It is then up to you how quickly you want to finish the game and along the way you will plenty about this, the largest city in Bolivia.
20- Go Back In Time With Traditional Boats
On the southern bank of Lake Titicaca, you can meet the builders who build reed boats the same way as their ancestors have done for many generations.
These reeds are the same as were used to make artificial islands and the homes locals live in.
In addition to seeing boat builders at work, there is a textile museum with vegetable dyes used to create lovely colours.
Your local guide will answer all your questions about the day’s content as you enjoy lunch by the lake.
The Bolivian highlands and the stone Inca ruins of Tihuanacu which include the gate of the sun, monoliths, and Puma Punku, a semi-subterranean temple follow on the way back to La Paz.
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