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Bolivia - Top Tips

Super Seven

La Paz

Dubbed "The Highest Capital City in the World" and for good reason, with the altitude sitting between 3,250-4,100 metres. Majority of attractions are within walking distance, helped by the use of the cable car system. Check out Plaza Mayor San Francisco, which is a pedestrian area packed with colonial landmarks. For more unusual spots, visit The Witches' Market, and the oddly beautiful La Paz Central Cemetery. For panoramic views of this unique city, do not miss Mirador Killi Killi where you'll be treated to exceptional views.

Valle de la Luna

For an easy excursion outside the capital, you can reach Valley of the Moon "Valle de la Luna" in 30 minutes via taxi. It's a geological formation that resembles the surface of the moon. You'll pay a small entry fee and can stay as long as you like. There's two circular walking trails (one is 15 minutes and the other 45 minutes) and different viewing platforms to get a close-up look of where erosion has wiped out the top of these clay and sandstone mountains. Note - I can see the attraction, but I was a little disappointed after arriving from Valle de las Animas, so maybe visit in reverse order.

Hiking Valle de las Animas

The stunning landscape of Valle de las Animas was definitely my most surprising spot in Bolivia to visit. For some reason, this place barely draws in any tourists, as it's lesser known than other spots. Barely 45 minutes from the capital, but feels a million miles away. You will have thousands of jagged rock formations towering above you, on what's a two-tier canyon. You can hike sections of both the upper and lower, but be warned, the region is vast. There's also view points where you'll be able to see the tall buildings of La Paz in the background, which makes a great contrast.

World's Most Dangerous Bike Ride One of the most thrill seeking adventures in the country is cycling "Death Road". The 64km length of Yungas Road has many steep twists and turns on the 3,500 metre descent from the highest to lowest point. The multiple gravestones along the way indicate that it's not for the faint hearted, but it truly is a memorable experience. There's panoramic views, sweeping vistas, and even waterfalls flowing down the bendy roads. Despite the reputation, I'd still recommend this activity, albeit with an approved guide and definitely whilst taking your time to fully enjoy the adventure!

Uyuni Salt Flats The main reason drawing tourists to Bolivia is the spectacular region of Uyuni. A small town, but situated on the doorstep of the vast landscape of the Uyuni Salt Flats. It's the world's largest at over 10,000 square kilometres that was formerly a prehistoric lake, but now a thick crust of salt in every direction. Depending on the time of year, the nearby lake often overflows creating a beautiful mirror reflection. Uyuni is also home to the world's first Salt Hotel, although many others have popped up in recent years. I'd recommend a multi-day tour to fully enjoy the region. In my opinion, even the most decorated travellers will be blown away by the landscape!

Salar de Uyuni does have a small airport, but flights from La Paz are infrequent, hence why many choose to take the overnight sleeper bus. In addition, you can also start your excursion from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.

Uyuni Train Cemetery Upon arriving into Uyuni, I'd recommend spending a couple of hours in the town itself. Set aside an hour for the salt museum where you'll learn about the history of the industry, then head to Uyuni Train Cemetery. Literally a 10 minute drive from the centre of town is this unusual sight. You'll see hollowed out trains and rusting carriages remaining from the booming train hub across South America in the 19th Century. There's no entrance fee or tourist booth, so some wouldn't call it a tourist attraction at all, but clearly the local street sellers thing differently. You're able to climb on top of the rusting trains and take your time taking photos.

South Lipez Region Whilst you're in Uyuni, if you're looking to further extend your excursion, I'd definitely recommend heading deeper into the South Lipez Region towards the Chilean border. The landscape is both spectacular and ever changing. The lagoons are very picturesque with Canapa and Hedionda being the highlight due to their vast population of pink flamingoes. You've also got geysers at Sol de Manana that are definitely best viewed early morning, followed by Salvador Dali Desert. Despite the steep entrance fee, also be sure to visit Eduardo Avaroa National Park due to its unique colours. There's plenty to keep you occupied for two full days in the south, and it's also an easy spot to reach the Chilean border for onward travel.

Accommodation Advice

The main hotel I want to recommend is La Casona Boutique Hotel in the historic centre of La Paz. This colonial building is a central base to explore many sights across the capital, as well as multiple day trip options. Facilities are a good standard, the staff are helpful, WiFi is strong enough to work remote, and the restaurant is above average. The traffic in La Paz is very time consuming, so it's great to have many attractions within walking distance, as well as easy access to the cable car system.

Food Factor

Being honest, Bolivia was far from being my food favourite on the continent, but there were still some decent restaurants, especially in La Paz. I'd recommend Yati Restaurant in the historic centre of La Paz. It's well priced, has an extensive menu, a laid back vibe, and also suitable all times of day. I'd recommend the mixed grill, as well as sampling the local Bolivian beer on offer.

Good Guide

Bolivia is easy enough to explore without the need of a guide, albeit speaking basic Spanish is a big advantage. Whilst in La Paz, I'd recommend Juan for your tour guide needs, especially for a visit to Valle de las Animas. You can reach Juan via Whatsapp on +591 7151 6788 (he speaks perfect English). As for Uyuni and the Southern Region, I used Andes Salt Expeditions as they came highly recommended by a fellow traveller. Was impressed from start to finish as they offered a great 3 day 2 night route, which included overnight in a Salt Hotel. Their Whatsapp is +591 7241 4748 and their website is in the below photo.


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