How to Keep the Kids Entertained on a Trip to Bolivia
Not very entertained Bolivian kid | © vincentraal/Flickr
Bolivia can be a challenge to travel at times. But all those things we find annoying as adults such as long bus rides, cold weather and dodgy food are infinitely worse for the little ones. So why not give the Museum of Contemporary Art a miss and do something they want to do for a change?
It stands to reason that all kids love dinosaurs. For this reason, families visiting Sucre are pretty much obliged to check out Parque Cretácico, a fun dinosaur museum just outside the city. Okay, so it’s not exactly Jurassic Park, but it does have some cool life size fiberglass models of all your favorite dinosaurs and there is a bunch of interesting printed information about prehistoric life in the region. The highlight of the park is a nearby quarry with several massive dino footprints.
Parque Cretácico, Sucre, Chuquisaca Department, Bolivia 4 6435240
Santa Cruz is probably the best place for kids due to its three relatively large well-equipped amusement parks. We won’t try and compare these to Disneyland, but they do make for a fun family day out.
Parque Güembé is the most famous and aesthetically pleasing of the three, thanks to its lush tropical setting, swimming pools and artificial waterfalls. More than just a water-park, Güembé features several walking trails, animal enclosures and a massive atrium full of exotic birds and butterflies.
Guembe, Camino a las Cruces, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Aqualand is a dedicated water park with much more of a focus on slides than nature and relaxation. It’s far less pleasant for adults than Güembé, though the kids are bound to tire themselves out on the slides.
Carretera norte km 13, pasando viru viru, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Finally there is PlayLand, a kind of hybrid petting zoo, playground and water park. It’s got a nice selection of exotic animals and is a good alternative to the city zoo for all the extra kids activities on offer.
A kid-friendly fairground can sometimes be found in Parque Urbano. It’s got a ferris wheel, fairground games and a creaky old roller coaster, all a bit dilapidated, but it’s the closest thing La Paz has to an amusement park.
Playground just above Parque Urbano, La Paz | © Dvortygirl/Flickr
A better option is MegaCenter, a giant shopping mall in the ritzy Zona Sur. Aside from having a decent food court, there are a number of entertainment options such as laser tag, ten pin bowling, paintball and cinema. Bars and spas are available for mum and dad while the kids do their thing.
Megacenter, La Paz | © PROEmbajada de Estados Unidos en Bolivia/Flickr
On Sunday mornings there is a pleasant family-friendly fair held on the Prado which is closed off to traffic during the event. For several hours the avenue becomes jam packed with mini rides, face painters and food vendors. Nearby family orientated restaurants Brosso, Dumbo and Joe Banana all have excellent playground facilities.
Fair in the Prado | © A.Davey/Flickr
Most little boys would enjoy Cholitas Wrestling, a WWE style event where local indigenous women pull off death defying stunts while wearing their traditional pollera skirts. The ridiculousness of it all makes it pretty entertaining for grown-ups too.
Cholitas Luchadores - Bolivian wrestling | © Jonathan Hood/Flickr
Hiking Isla del Sol tends to be a hit with the kids, just make sure everyone is properly acclimatized and wearing lots of sunscreen. Paddle-boats and banana boats can also be organized for next to nothing on the Copacabana beachfront.
A tour of the pampas near Rurrenabaque will surely be a highlight for the little ones. The region is absolutely teeming with exotic Amazonian wildlife which will be unlike anything they’ve seen before. Just make sure they don’t get to close to the large caiman that hangs out by the lodge every afternoon.
Bolivian Caiman | © Maciej/Flickr
The salt flats and the south western circuit are another attraction both grown-ups and little ones can enjoy together. Travel days are very long so make sure they have something to keep them entertained in the car between stops. Be very careful when visiting the geysers because they are steaming hot and there is nothing to stop people falling in.
Salar de Uyuni | © quiquefepe/Flickr