Bolivia is a country full of beautiful places and people. There is seemingly no end to the gorgeous scenery, unique landmarks, and intriguing culture that Bolivia has to offer. When planning a trip here, it can feel hard to narrow down all the options among the different Bolivian tourist attractions on offer.
Bolivia tourist attractions you’d be silly to not experience
But this country has something to offer to every type of traveler, from city-lovers to backpackers, historians to adrenaline junkies. Join us as we dive in to Bolivia’s most intriguing, blood-pressure increasing and historic things to do in Bolivia.
Bike down the world’s most dangerous road
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Bolivia is the famous “Camino de la Muerte” – also known as the Death Road or World’s Most Dangerous Road.
The best way to experience this crazy ride is to hurtle down it on a mountain bike! There are many tour operators that offer mountain biking down the Death Road, including Gravity. If you’re an adrenaline-junky, this activity absolutely must be on your list.
Summit a 6,000-metre mountain
If you fly into El Alto International Airport, the breathtaking Huayna Potosí is probably the first thing you’ll notice when you walk out the doors. At a towering 6,088-meters (19,974 ft.) above sea-level, Huayna Potosí is one of Bolivia’s top points of interest for budding mountaineers from around the world who want to cross a 6k peak off their bucket list.
From La Paz, many tour operators (such as Andean Ascents) offer three-day excursions, complete with gear and training with how to use crampons and ice axes. This trek isn’t easy (you should definitely give yourself a few days to acclimatize), but the view from the top and sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end are worth it!
Stand in awe of the world’s largest salt flat
Arguably the most famous place in Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni is truly a spectacular and beautiful sight. Hop on a tour and experience the salt flat for yourself, as well as the surrounding lagunas and deserts.
Be sure to take your camera along to snap some amazing reflection and perspective shots; you’ll also get the chance to admire the stunning landscapes and flamingoes of Laguna Colorada.
Find out everything you need to know before visiting with this comprehensive guide to the Salar de Uyuni.
Go caving in Uma Jalanta
About four hours outside of Cochabamba there is a small, but awesome national park called Toro Toro. Inside the park, there’s plenty to see and do, but one of the coolest things is the Uma Jalanta cavern – a huge cave that you can explore!
Park rangers serve as guides, and you will be provided a helmet and headlamp upon arrival. Along the route inside you’ll be able to see plenty of stalactites and stalagmites, and even some blind fish deep within the cavern!
Shop for souvenirs on Calle Sagarnaga
Calle Sagarnaga is in the heart of La Paz, beginning right by the San Francisco Basilica. The best souvenir shopping in the country can be down there and around the nearby streets. If you want anything made out of alpaca or aguayo (the colorful woven fabric) the options are endless, and the prices are easy on the wallet.
Want to step it up a notch? Check out the Mistura shop which offers a variety of specialty, high quality Bolivian products. It was named one of the top 50 concept stores in the world last year by Insider Trends (one of only three Latin American shops to make the list).
Visit the UNESCO Jesuit Missions
In the area surrounding Santa Cruz, the Jesuits built ten missions in the 16th century, and six of these missions were named UNESCO World Heritage sites in the 1990s, making them some of Bolivia’s most interesting historical sites.
While the Jesuits at one time had a large presence and many missions throughout South America, the ones in Bolivia managed to avoid the disrepair and destruction that was visited on many others following the colonial period.
Many companies offer tours to these historic Bolivian monuments, which showcase a beautiful architectural mix of New and Old-World styles coming together. The art and architecture evident at these missions is an interesting illustration of the cultural mix that makes up Bolivia today.
Trek historic Inca Trails
While most people usually think of Peru when they think of the “Inca trail,” the facts are that there are Inca trails all over South America, including Bolivia! One of the top things to do in Bolivia is to strap on your hiking boots and get ready to walk in Inca footsteps.
Two great options are the Takesi trek, which begins near the village of Palca and ends at the village of Yanacachi outside of La Paz. This 40 km trek will take you up and over a mountain and down into the jungle. It usually takes hikers two-three days depending on your speed and acclimatization, and the best part is, it’s completely free to hike and camp.
Another self-guided Inca trail option takes you outside of Tarija and to hiking along the Inca Trail in the Reserva Biológica Cordillera de Sama.
Explore the Cerro Rico Mine
Potosi was once the largest and wealthiest cities in the western hemisphere thanks to the Cerro Rico silver mine. Today, the city’s colonial wealth and splendor has faded a bit, but visiting Potosi’s still-active mine is an exciting way to experience this major part of Bolivia’s history and economy first-hand.
It’s a Bolivian destination that many miss – but those that go, come away with a gritty understanding of the hardships of daily life in this country.
Float downriver in the Amazon Jungle
While many think of Brazil when they are considering visiting the Amazon rainforest, eastern Bolivia is also part of the Amazon Basin. The jumping off point for most people wanting to explore this area is Rurrenabaque.
Hop on a tour that will take you on a boat trip down the river to Madidi National Park where you can come face-to-face with wildlife such as pink dolphins, parrots, and even anacondas! Find out how to visit Madidi National Park.
Hike through Bolivia’s “Grand Canyon”
Located in Toro Toro National Park, the Vergel Canyon is a fun day hike. Be sure to check out the horseshoe bridge that allows visitors to actually step out over the canyon to admire the scenery; take a walk if you want to test your fear of heights!
If you visit around dusk you’ll be able to spot flocks of the unique, and endangered, red-fronted macaws that are native to this area of Bolivia.
Assist animals in need at La Senda Verde
La Senda Verde is a wildlife rescue facility that fights the trafficking of exotic animals in Bolivia. They rehabilitate monkeys, rare Andean Spectacled bears, macaws, capybaras, caimans, toucans and more!
If you decide to stay on site or eat at their restaurants, the money goes toward maintaining their facilities. You can even volunteer there for a time and really get hands-on with the rehabilitation process!
Swim in waterfalls at Amboro National Park
Amboro National Park is located outside of Santa Cruz, and it’s another great way to experience the Bolivian jungle. Many companies offer multi-day tours of the park, but if you are short on time, you can visit the Jardín de las Delicias area to hike to and swim in three picturesque waterfalls – just some of Bolvia’s beautiful natural places.
Take a boat ride on Lake Titicaca
Copacabana is the place to go if you want to visit Lago Titicaca. This lakeside town is a great place to plop down in a hammock and enjoy a sunset or two over the water.
From Copacabana there are plenty of options for actually getting out on the world’s highest navigable lake – from renting a paddle boat to buying a ticket on a ferry to Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, both of which house Inca ruins. Another option is to jump on a boat to nearby floating islands where you can enjoy a delicious meal of trucha (trout).
See the world’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints
In the 1990s, a concrete company accidentally stumbled along the site now known as Cal Ork’o – a giant wall housing thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints! Thus, Sucre’s Parque Cretacico museum was born. This unique natural monument should definitely be on your list of top things to see while in Bolivia.
If you are interested in donning a hard hat and walking down for an up-close look at the wall, be sure to visit in time for their tours at 12:00 and 1:00 pm.
Explore the Tiwanaku Archaeological Site
The Tiwanaku archaeological site is located about two hours outside of La Paz. This pre-Inca historical site is a great way to learn about Andean culture and history. You can explore the museums to see recovered artifacts, including some of the famous monoliths, and read up on the history of the site.
However, the best part of visiting Tiwanaku is actually being able to wander around the excavations and observe the Tiwanakan temples and technology that have been uncovered. If you’re interested in learning more about the indigenous culture of Bolivia, schedule your trip during the Aymara New Year celebration on June 21 where you can watch the ancient religious festivities that take place at dawn.
Sample traditional Bolivian food in Cochabamba
The city of Cochabamba is referred to as the “Gastronomical Capital of Bolivia,” and it is one of the best places to visit in Bolivia if you want to taste traditional Bolivian food! Be sure to try dishes such as sopa de mani (peanut soup), silpancho (schnitzel-style meat with a fried egg over rice), pique macho (fried potatoes and meat), and chicharron (fried pork).
Also, while you’re in Cochabamba, be sure to check out the Cristo de la Concordia statue and park, which have a great view over the entire city.
Rappel down waterfalls in Coroico
Coroico is known by most as the end of the Death Road, but this little town has so much more to offer!
Plenty of adventure activities exist here, but one of the most exciting is to rappel down waterfalls in El Vagante Canyon. The day trip ends at the Rio Negro swimming hole when you can also cross cliff jumping off your bucket list.
While you’re there, don’t miss out in staying in the beautiful, hammock-slung Sol y Luna hotel.
Sup some singani
Singani is the national liquor of Bolivia, and it is a sort-of distilled grape brandy. While you can try it in almost all bars and restaurants in Bolivia, to get the real experience you should visit Tarija, the country’s wine region.
There you can relax in the warmer weather and visit several vineyards in the lovely Valle de la Concepción. If cocktails are more of your thing, try a popular chuflay, made with singani, ginger, and lime.
Soar over La Paz in the telefericos
La Paz is such a unique city, but it can be difficult to navigate. A great way to fully experience and see as much of the city as possible without getting hopelessly lost is to ride the network of telefericos (cable cars) all the way from the Zona Sur to El Alto!
Green, celeste, white, orange, red, blue… and back down again. This calming ride will give you a bird’s eye view of this marvelous city and on a clear day, spectacular views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains as well.
Get up-close-and-personal with Bolivian wildlife at Biocentro Güembé
Biocentro Güembé is located in Santa Cruz, and it’s an awesome place to visit in Bolivia if you want to see native species and relax by a pool (or ten!).
Güembé is a refuge for rescued animals that are unable to be returned to the wild. In the aviary, macaws, toucans, peacocks, and other exotic birds will literally fly right up beside you. The mariposario, or butterfly house, is another major highlight. You can also visit monkeys, tapirs, tortoises, and more.
If you’re not much of a nature lover, the recreational side of the park offers beach chairs, volleyball, putt-putt golf, and tons of swimming pools to enjoy.
Soak in hot springs near steaming geysers
Visit Sajama National Park to wander through eerie geyser fields and take a dip in some soothing hot springs. Not only will you enjoy the mineral waters, you’ll also see the highest of Bolivia’s peaks and spot some Andean wildlife along the way such as vicuñas, vizcachas, Darwin’s rheas, and tons of llamas and alpacas (of course).
Experience traditional Bolivian dances
Dance is a hugely important part of Bolivian culture. The best way to experience Bolivian dances is during a holiday, where tons of colorfully and ornately costumed dancers will take to the streets for parades and events.
The most famous of these holidays is Carnaval, which takes place in February, and the most famous Carnaval celebration takes place in Oruro.
If the crazy Carnaval scene isn’t your thing, or your travel dates don’t match up with a Bolivian holiday, head to Sucre and catch a show at Espacio Cultural Origines where you’ll be able to see traditional dances such as the Pujllay, Caporales, Tinku, and more.
Dine at one of the top 15 restaurants in Latin America
Gustu, a restaurant in La Paz, should definitely be on your list of what to do in Bolivia if you’re a foodie. By putting a modern flair on traditional Bolivian dishes, this restaurant provides a unique and delicious dining experience (but definitely not a cheap one!).
Try one of their set tasting menus of five or seven courses and prepare to be amazed.
Hike through Valle de la Luna
Just outside of La Paz, the suburb of Mallasa is home strange, other-worldly rock formations. Inside the protected area known as Valle de la Luna or “Moon Valley”, you can hike around and not only experience this unique geological landmark, but also see some stellar views looking back on the city.
It’s a great (and cheap) way to spend an afternoon. To get there, take a minibus from Plaza Humboldt in the Zona Sur to Mallasa for only 2 BOB ($.3 USD)and ask to get down (“Voy a bajar!”) at the Valle.
Visit the White City
One of the most beautiful cities and famous places in Bolivia is the historical capital of Sucre. This city’s colonial architecture has been well-preserved, and the city’s museums, such as the Casa de la Libertad, where the Bolivian Declaration of Independence was signed, are a must for history lovers.
There are so many exciting things to do, interesting things to see, and wonderful things to experience in Bolivia! These 25 tourist attractions just scratch the surface, but my hope is that this list encourages you to move Bolivia closer to the top of your bucket list and delve deeper into what each of these Bolivian attractions has to offer.