The Best Books to Read About Bolivia

Harry Stewart

Looking to do some research for your upcoming trip to Bolivia? Although our colossal selection of informative articles is undoubtedly essential reading, it’s nice to have a few paperbacks to peruse as well. Culture Trip has prepared a list of excellent books about Bolivia, best enjoyed while traversing the country on one of those numerous day-long bus rides.

Marching Powder – By Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden

A coveted backpacker classic, Marching Powder tells the tale of Australian traveler Rusty Young who becomes fascinated by the illegal prison tours of La Paz’ notorious San Pedro jail. After befriending tour guide and convicted drug smuggler Thomas McFadden, Young decides to live inside the prison for several months to pen this captivating story of drugs, corruption, and the farcical Bolivian judicial system.

Marching Powder

Written by fellow Australian Tim Elliot, the book details the journalist’s experience working for the now-defunct English language newspaper The Bolivian Times. Part travel diary, part memoir, it does a standup job of detailing the chaos and ridiculousness of Bolivian society from a rigid Western perspective. Through subtle humor and charming romance, Elliot delivers an enthralling story that offers ample insight into the country.

The Bolivian Times

Lost in the Jungle – By Yossi Ghinsberg

Inspired by a shady geologist’s promises of uncontacted Indian tribes and a long-lost city of gold, a group of newfound friends agrees to embark on a daring adventure deep into the Bolivian jungle. Before long, issues emerge, and the mismatched group decides to split up deep in the Amazon. Protagonist and author Yossi Ghinsberg details his harrowing real-life struggle for survival, which has since been turned into a Hollywood film.

Lost in the Jungle

The Lost City of Z – By David Grann

Another tale of adventure deep in the jungle, this non-fiction account attempts to unravel the mystery of the legendary Lost City of Z, rumored to reside somewhere deep within the Bolivian Amazon. A fatal 1925 expedition by famed explorer Percy Fawcett is analyzed in detail, skillfully intertwined with author David Grann’s own daring attempts to locate the fabled legend.

The Lost City of Z

The Fat Man from La Paz – Edited by Rosario Santos

This collection of 20 Bolivian short stories provides a unique opportunity for foreigners to delve into the heart and soul of the country by learning about its sociological and cultural norms. Each tale has been painstakingly translated, making it the most comprehensive collection of contemporary Bolivian literature in English to date.

The Fat Man from La Paz

Open Veins of Latin America – By Eduardo Galeano

Arguably among the most important books to ever come out of Latin America, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano expertly examines the sordid history of the entire continent, from Spanish colonization to modern times. The account is highly critical of economic exploitation and political meddling from outside forces, first Spain and later the United States. A section on Cerro Rico is particularly relevant to Bolivia and undeniably harrowing.

The Open Viens of Latin America

The Motorcycle Diaries – By Ernesto Che Guevara

Fans of Che Guevara should take the time to read this standout novel, a captivating memoir that covers his 1952 motorcycle journey through South America. It was here he became radicalized by the poverty he saw, eventually becoming the infamous Marxist revolutionary guerilla for which he was best known. Despite Bolivia not actually appearing in the book, the story is important to the country due to Guevara’s historical significance in the region.

The Motorcycle Diaries
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article