Wanderlist Discover: Bolivia
Be warned! Bolivia is a beautiful, multi-cultural and democratic country, in the interiors of South America, but make no mistake. It is not for the faint of heart and those expecting an easy and effortless travel experience. Sucre, one of the capitals of Bolivia, is a comfortable little town, with several cafes, museums and at a height of 2810 mtrs above sea level, holds the record for one of the world’s highest capitals. But, the country is so much more beyond the comforts of the capital. For the truly adventurous, there is the bike ride along one of the most dangerous roads in the world, Death Road, aptly named on account of the number of deaths that occur on this route on a regular basis. Others can scale the 6000 mtrs Andean peaks, or perhaps even jump off from the top in to an abyss on a glider. If fishing is more your thing, you can fish for massive catfish in an Amazon river. And you can do all this in a country, which barely speaks English, so you have to resort to high-school Spanish to get your point across. Plus, Bolivia is poor (Don’t be surprised if you have to pay extra for toilet paper in a restaurant or even the hotel you are booked in. Tip : Make sure you carry your own roll of TP wherever you go). But, despite all the communication and other minor challenges, Bolivia offers some of the best panoramic landscapes in South America, and that’s what makes it unmissable for a backpacking adventure.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
The Death Road : Okay, this one is purely for adventure junkies and those who really love living on the edge. You can take a mountain bike tour to cover the 60-odd kms from La Cumbre to Coroico. Do note you will need to be an extremely good biker to be able to handle the four hour ordeal, that includes sharp unpredictable turns, cycling beside dizzying heights and navigating traffic in patches with nothing but gravel for road. But, if you survive this route, you can safely brag about accomplishing what most others won’t even want to imagine.
Salar De Uyuni : The world’s largest salt plains, Salar de Uyuni is a place to visit once in a lifetime. The perfectly flat and empty horizon makes it a popular spot for photography, especially trick photography. Another popular tourist attraction is the antique train cemetery, which has abandoned trains lying in various states of disrepair.
Maragua Crater : A trip to Bolivia without a visit to Maragua Crater is cheating yourself of something spectacular. The crater itself is filled with patches of wheat and corn fields, and also has 2000 year old cave paintings. However, if you ever wanted to trace the footsteps of dinosaurs, this is the spot for you. A section of rock, exposed by an earthquake, carries several dinosaur footprints, and you can go up close and person, with the beasts that ruled the Earth so many years ago. Between the paintings and the dino footsteps, the crater transports you to a land that time seems to have forgotten.
Best Time To Go: May to october
May to October is the perfect time to visit Bolivia, when the weather is dry. However, the highlands will be freezing at night, so make sure you pack accordingly. You can also visit from April to May, in order to beat the colder temperatures, but be ready for some rains.
Where in the world:
Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America, surrounded by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay.
Fun Fact: Bolivia holds just under half of the world’s resources of lithium, which is the most critical component of most electric batteries. Remember, this the next time you charge up your iPad or Galaxy phone, the lithium for your lithium-ion battery operated device may have very well come from Bolivia.
Language : Spanish
Currency : Bolivian Boliviano (BOB); 1 USD roughly equals 6.7 BOB.
How to Get Around : Travelling around the country is generally by buses, which mainly travel between cities during the night. You can opt for normal buses, semi-reclining buses or fully reclining sleeper buses. Bus travel is usually very cheap, but not necessarily comfortable or reliable. Transportation strikes are quite common, and if you are caught in one, just try your best to hold it out, until it is resolved.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.