No one ever tells you how naturally beautiful and diverse Bolivia is. How you will walk away with your mind blown, your heart stolen by the mountains and your soul mesmerized by what this tiny South American country has to offer. No one wants to talk to you about the raw beauty that is Bolivia.
What’s the fuss about Bolivia?
Bolivia is a tiny landlocked country in the mid-west of South America. Officially know as the Plurinational State of Bolivia the capital is Sucre. Not La Paz like many people believe. However, La Paz is the administrative city of Bolivia and yes it is the highest administrative city in the world. La Paz is the adventure capital of Bolivia and is where most people will fly into. It’s also the easiest city to buy a sim card if you need one and any fake out door gear. Just sayin’. I digress, sorry.
Read here about where to buy your outdoor gear in La Paz.
Bolivia isn’t famed for its amazing cuisine, fantastic shopping or even legitimate brands. No, in fact, Bolivia is more famous for being a country once full of wealth, plundered by colonial countries and other neighboring countries too, the cocaine trade and extremely large avocados. But it’s this roughness that I found most endearing about Bolivia. It’s raw in a way that other South American countries we visited weren’t.
I found Bolivia to be a country that was happy to have adventure folk in. It also had some darn fine coffee too!
Flocks of Flamingos
Hidden high away in the mountains are some of the most marvellous flamingos that you will ever see in the wild. Hundreds of pink and black bottomed flamingos just waiting for a mate. These are Andean Flamingo and the James’s flamingos. The raw nature of this area, the arid water, volcanoes and arid landscapes has kept these birds hidden away from the modern world.
Where can you find these? Hidden away in the Altiplano ie the Bolivian mountains.
Uyuni and the famous Salt Flats
Is a trip to Bolivia complete without a visit to the Salt Flats? No, no it is not. It’s such a tacky tourist thing to do but it’s well worth the money. You can do a tour which will take you out to the Salt Flats, to Isla Incahuasi and if you’re very lucky a visit to a salt processing factory- Bolivian style!
A day trip will cost you around $100 AU – check out one option here.There’s a lot of tours on offer in and around Uyuni. You will want to be prepared with your own props for silly photos, if not then the tour will take you to a town where you can find many, many hilarious prop options to purchase.
Looking past the fun tourist activities the Salt Flats are visually stunning. Stretching out for miles.
Trains are a big thing
Dead trains. Working trains. Trave graveyards. Trains were a really big part of the Bolivia workforce once upon a colonial time. As we travelled across Bolivia we came across the famous train graveyard in Uyuni and a random train museum (read graveyard) where the Butch Cassidy museum was not. You can’t help but follow the train tracks with your eyes and watch how the mountains have crumbled down over what was once a vital part of this nations lifeblood.
There’s so much more to see and do in Bolivia.
So many people we spoke to before our time in Bolivia told us how bland Bolivia was. How barren the country is. Lacking culture, colour and just a community of people wanting to take your tourist dollar. Bolivia, for us, certainly wasn’t the cheap of countries when it came to extra activities like mountain bike riding.
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Sadly our trip through Bolivia went far too quickly and as we were on an organised tour with Dragoman, and the administrative fuckups, we didn’t get to see and do a lot.If you do want to go with a tour company I’d suggest you look at Bolivia Hop. We travelled across Peru with their big sister PeruHop. Between the amazing people, the really cheap avocados, great coffee and marvellous mountains Bolivia has a special place in my heart and is certainly a country that I can’t wait to get back to.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
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Bolivia might be having a fuss on its genuine beauty, that’s something to celebrate and kudos for travelers who visited it. Just enjoying reading about it but have no plans to explore South America.
Very beautiful indeed! We love to trek and camp in wild, scenic places like these.
Love the hidden lake with flamingos! Added it to my bucket list 🙂
Jean, I wonder how safe is Bolivia for European tourists?
Safe? It’s a super safe country for all travellers.
Bolivia certainly sounds like an interesting place to visit. I hadn’t heard much about it but your article really helps me understand the variety of experiences that it has to offer. Since I love coffee and adore flamingos, it’s definitely on my radar now!
Bolivia is an absolute beauty. I love flamingos and I would definitely visit Altiplano to set my eyes on those beautiful creatures.
Wow what an awesome place to visit!! Seeing the flamingos would probably be my favorite 🙂
I am not familiar with Bolivia, but it looks like a gorgeous city for vacation too. Would be nice to experience bird-watching too.
Blair do you realise that Bolivia is a country in South America? Perhaps before commenting you should read the post in full