Bolivia’s tumultuous history, stunning scenery, and bustling cities make it stand out from the crowd. There are so many things to see and learn. Take this, for instance — Bolivia’s population has the highest percentage of indigenous people in the world, giving you the chance to witness how native Bolivians have lived for centuries. It also has the world’s largest salt flats and part of the Amazon rainforest. There’s definitely no lack of exciting Bolivian adventures! Go mountain biking in the Andes, observe some red howlers in the canopy, and test yourself on the world’s most dangerous road. What are you waiting for? Sign up for Bolivia tours today!
Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough — especially because most Bolivian cities lie between 8,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level. It is entirely landlocked, yet boasts beautiful lakes, plains, and mountains. So, whether you want to glide over the world’s highest navigable lake in a reed boat or take a bus ride on the “Road of Death,” Pachamama (Mother Earth) will treat you to a healthy dose of Bolivian adventures!
In terms of cities, Sucre is beautiful and offers a wide range of things to do. It is packed with history, both recent and prehistoric; it is the city where Bolivia gained its independence from Spain, and also home to a huge number of well-preserved fossilized dinosaur footprints. After ogling some dino prints, shimmy over to La Paz, which is full of parks and markets and gives you the chance to visit the world’s highest capital city.
However, the real gem of trips to Bolivia is its incredible and diverse flora and fauna. Take in the beauty of the Uyuni salt flats, which are large enough be seen from space! For most of the year, they are completely dry; however, if you can manage to visit between March and April, you have a chance of seeing the salt flats flooded with water. This turns them into what is often referred to as the world’s biggest mirror— imagine seeing the clouds or stars beneath your feet as you stroll in shallow waters.
If forest is more your thing, how about visiting the world’s largest rainforest? The Amazon covers a third of Bolivia’s surface, and is filled with all kinds of flora and fauna. Alternatively, visit the Pampas: wet, savannah areas bustling with animals. Sail through rivers while watching monkeys, crocodiles, and flamingos in their natural habitat.
As the world’s highest navigable lake, Lago Titicaca is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and is so large that it’s hard to believe that Bolivia is landlocked. Check out the incredible workmanship of the Uru people, who sail on reed boats and have built themselves islands to live on that are still floating today.
Adventure Travel in Bolivia
You can experience the astounding natural geography during Bolivia tours in a whole range of ways. Biking through Bolivia’s impressive mountains is a very popular activity, or, if high speeds and sore calves aren’t your thing, you can slow things down by floating down the Amazon river or sailing in the Pampas.
There are plenty of opportunities in South America for hiking, and Bolivia is no exception. Select trips offer the chance to see more countries, such as Ecuador and Peru, in addition to Bolivia. You can see everything from Incan towns to raging waterfalls, and walk through mountains, rainforests, and salt flats.
If you have a passion for seeing the world from a bicycle, there are many mountain biking opportunities for trips to Bolivia. Take the chance to spend six days mountain biking through forests and gold mines, as well as to mountains, lakes and waterfalls- just be careful of the alpacas!
Another option is to calm everything down and connect with the culture through healing and spirituality. Spend a month traveling Bolivia and Peru while finding out how to prepare medicines from plants, taking part in traditional ceremonies, visiting sacred sites, and learning how to express yourself through acro-yoga.
Costs & Affordability
Bolivia is a very affordable country, although rich in culture! With delicious food, easily accessible long-distance travel, and historical site entrances amounting to a few small coins, there is no reason to hold back or skip out on anything during your adventure travel programs in Bolivia.
Food and public transport tend to be particularly affordable, so your pesos will stretch a long way. An average meal in a restaurant costs around $4, while local transport tickets can be bought with a quarter. There is also always the option of buying street food, which is generally good quality and sure to be cheaper than food in a restaurant. Salteñas (meat-filled pastries) and llauchas (dough filled with cheese) are particularly popular… just be vigilant about sanitation!
Most adventure programs in Bolivia include accommodation in the price, so once you have paid the program fee, costs on the ground should be minimal. Make sure you budget for snacks and any extra activities you may spontaneously sign up for, but don’t expect to be spending huge amounts of money once in Bolivia. Remember that you will have to pay $25 departure fee when you leave, so make sure you don’t spend all your cash too early.
Accommodation & Visas
Adventure travel programs in Bolivia generally have accommodation included in the price, so you will not have to worry about finding or paying for a place to stay. These tend to be basic, but comfortable hostels, although there’s always the option to live with a Bolivian host family or in a tent under stars (talk about REAL Bolivian adventures!). Be sure to check program details carefully to know if you need to bring a sleeping bag or other gear, and always remember your sunscreen and bug spray!
If you choose a program that doesn’t provide accommodation and you don’t mind dorms, it’s not difficult to find a warm bed to sleep in for less than $8 a night. In cities, you should be able to find accommodation with basic amenities like WiFi and a fan. Hot water can be a different story – if you find somewhere with a hot shower, enjoy it while you can! In more rural areas, especially near to the rainforest or the Pampas, you are likely to find accommodation to be more basic.
If you are a citizen of an EU country (including the UK), Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you are permitted to stay for up to 30 days without a visa. This can be extended up to 90 days if you apply during your first month in Bolivia. U.S. citizens need to get a visa, but these can be obtained upon arrival. Check out the GoAbroad embassy directory for specific information from your consulate and each country’s requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
Visiting Bolivia is guaranteed to be a special experience due to its incredible geographical features. The salt flats offer some of the best photo opps in the world (your Insta game will never be stronger), the Andes provide a (literally) breath-taking backdrop to bike tours, the Amazon rainforest is filled with howler monkeys, and there are even pink river dolphins! Yes, you read that right!
However, most of these wonders of the world come with a dose of altitude sickness. Don’t let this spoil your trip by taking it easy and listening to your body. If you feel that the altitude is affecting you, do not ascend any higher. Rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Because of this, it is a good idea to fly into Santa Cruz or Sucre before heading to lofty La Paz and its surrounding areas. And always keep the coca leaves within reach!
Keep in mind that around half of Bolivia’s population is made up of indigenous people. A new wave of tourism is giving these folks a chance to make some money, ensure their voices are heard, and their existence is valued. Haggling might be tempting, but respect the cost of artisan crafts and be respectful of local traditions during your trips to Bolivia.
The diversity of adventure travel opportunities on Bolivia tours guarantee that there is an unforgettable life experience waiting just for you. Scale mountains, take silly photos, listen to mysterious animals in the forests, and learn from the local people in one of the world’s most striking, high, and biodiverse countries.