11 Reasons Why A Trip to Bolivia is the Ultimate Travel Adventure

Entrada Tobas - Chutillos | © Juan_Alvaro / Flickr
Entrada Tobas - Chutillos | © Juan_Alvaro / Flickr
Photo of Harry Stewart
23 October 2017

Many travelers miss Bolivia on their South American journey, instead opting for more developed and “safer” countries throughout the region. Even though it may lack in some creature comforts, this charmingly authentic country offers a true travelling adventure to those yearning to get well off the beaten tourist trail. Here’s how.

Trekking through stunning wilderness

From the high Andes of the west to the sweltering lowlands of the east, the trekker’s paradise of Bolivia encapsulates a variety of climatic zones. Best of all, many of the most spectacular routes remain largely undiscovered, meaning intrepid travelers can enjoy these pristine surroundings in solitude.

Trekking in the cordillera real, Bolivia | © chesterphotography/pixabay

Climbing massive mountains

Unbeknownst to many, Bolivia offers among the best climbing in South America. Professional peak baggers descend on the country every winter to take on any number of the dozen 6,000 m (19,685 foot) summits the country has to offer. Smaller mountains abound for the less experienced, creating the perfect opportunity to acclimatize before tackling Huayna Potosi which is said to be the easiest 6,000 m peak in the world.

Mt. Huayna Potosi, Bolivia | © Justin Vidamo/Flickr

Observing indigenous culture

Many traveler’s come back from Bolivia raving about it authenticity, mostly due to the continued predominance of indigenous culture and customs. In the cities, it’s normal to see cholitas (indigenous women) wearing their traditional skirts and bowler hats, while in the countryside, poncho wearing llama herders are regularly seen roaming the land.

Indigenous woman | © Gatol fotografia / Flickr

Going on a crazy bus ride

Bolivian bus rides are notoriously uncomfortable and famously unreliable. But this just means that although the traveler likely won’t enjoy it at the time, a bus journey in Bolivia is bound to be an adventure.

Bolivian bus in Las Yungas | © Michael Fernando Jauregui Schiffelmann / Flickr

Exploring ancient sites

It may not have Machu Picchu, but there are a number of fascinating archaeological sites scattered throughout Bolivia from back when the Inca ruled these vasts lands. Tiwanaku is a must, as are the numerous relics around Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol.

Inca sacrifice place @ Isla del Sol | © bjaglin / Flickr

Cycling down the Death Road

It doesn’t get much more adventurous than hurtling down the world’s deadliest road on a mountain bike. This white-knuckle ride begins among snow-capped mountain peaks before descending into the humid jungle below on a terrifyingly narrow road just inches from death-inducing drop offs.

Upper portion of the Death Road | © Matthew Straubmuller / Flickr

Searching for wildlife in the Amazon

Travelers looking to cross an Amazon wildlife safari off their bucket list without spending a fortune need look no further than the northern town of Rurrenabaque. The nearby three-day pampas tours see adventurous tourists cruising the marshlands on dug out canoes on the hunt for caiman, snakes, monkeys, spiders and playful pink river dolphins.

Amazon rain forest in Bolivia in Madidi National | © Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

Traversing across the Salar de Uyuni

Although not exactly undiscovered, a three-day jeep tour through the expansive Bolivian salt flats and its otherworldly nearby attractions is the ultimate high altitude adventure. Expect to come across flamingo filled lagoons, icy volcanoes, surreal deserts, bubbling hot springs, and steamy geysers in these barren yet hauntingly beautiful lands.

Salar de Uyuni | © quiquefepe/Flickr

Experiencing folkloric music and dance

Given the strong adherence to traditions, it’s no surprise Bolivia has some of the most colorful and exuberant folkloric music and dance in the continent. The best place to enjoy such festivities is during an entrada (parade), where thousands of energetic musicians and dancers bring the city streets to a standstill.

Entrada Tobas - Chutillos | © Juan_Alvaro / Flickr

Climbing inside a mine

The non-claustrophobic among us might jump at the chance to descend deep into the depths of the Cerro Rico mine. Once the primary source of income for the Spanish new world empire, an estimated 6 million men have perished beneath the surface. Enter at your own risk.

Cerro Rico mine, Potosi | © M M / Flickr

Going off the beaten track in eastern Bolivia

Not many tourists visit the eastern lowlands, preferring to stick to the well established routes of the west. But that’s all the more reason to explore these undiscovered lands which are chock full of exotic national parks, breathtaking Jesuit churches, and even a bizarre desert in the middle of the tropics.

Jesuit church Bolivia | © Jean-François Gornet / Flickr

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