Bolivia’s scenic diversity is hard to underestimate and impossible to forget
Created politically only a century and a half ago, Bolivia is twice the size of France and has a population of only 7.5 million. Of these, 70% are indigenous Indians, most of them living between 3000m and 4000m in the Andean highlands of the country. The so-called social elite, European by descent and education, has little influence on the lives or the thinking of the indigenous population, for whom the pre-colonial past is woven into the present in a way very difficult for the casual visitor to understand.
Our Bolivia tours will readily be appreciated by anyone interested in incomparable mountain scenery, the wild beauty of the landscapes – whether they are of the Andes, Amazon or Altiplano – and the dignity and charm of the country’s people. Bolivia has few comforts and fewer pretensions, but hardly any disappointments for the committed traveller. Exodus offers a superb range of Bolivia tours, packed with adventure and activities.
Highlights of our Bolivia tours
Stay overnight on Lake Titicaca
Exodus stays in an eco-lodge on Lake Titicaca‘s beautiful Isla del Sol, disembarking at Pillkokaina port where we ascend the steps to the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’. It’s about an hour’s walk to our eco-lodge, which allows us to take in the stunning surroundings; the deep-blue water of Lake Titicaca is a striking contrast to the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real.
On the north of the island we visit the Temple of the Sun, where you can explore the huge labyrinth complex of ruins. We also visit the Sacred Rock, carved in the shape of a puma, before enjoying a traditional apthapi lunch with a local family, with a selection of dishes that typically includes boiled potatoes, vegetables, eggs, local tortilla, chicken, trout and sauces.
Explore the breath-taking City of La Paz
As soon as you land at La Paz’s El Alto airport, you’ll realize that Bolivia’s largest city is no ordinary travel destination. The city will take your breath away–literally–as it sits at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet! La Paz is wonderfully scenic, sitting in a valley surrounded by mountains and the mighty frame of triple-peaked Mount Illimani, which is capped with snow all year round.
La Paz will more than likely be your first port of call in Bolivia. It merits more attention, so spend some time wandering around for a couple of days, getting acclimatized to the high altitude, and exploring the unique mix of colonial architecture and indigenous life.
Marvel at the Salar de Uyuni
The Salar de Uyuni—the world’s largest salt flat at 4,086 square miles—is an incredibly picturesque natural wonder in the Atacama Desert worth visiting all year round.
In the dry season, it looks like an endless white desert shimmering in the sun. During the rains, it turns into a giant reflective mirror, and nature lovers flock to it for photographs.
The Salar de Uyuni is an absolute must-see if you travel to Bolivia. It’s a dreamy landscape in which giant cacti appear out of the salty expanse, and you can take perspective-defying pictures that will leave your friends wondering how on earth you got that shot.
Explore the Altiplano
Located near the Salar de Uyuni, the Altiplano (Spanish for “high plain”) stretches all the way to Bolivia’s border with Chile. The planet’s second most extensive area of high plateau (#1 is Tibet) offers surreal scenery complete with geothermal pools and high-altitude deserts. You’ll also find lagoons in a diverse array of colours, from the milky Laguna Blanca to the blood-red Laguna Colorada and the green Laguna Verde.
The Laguna Colorada definitely needs to be on your list of places to visit in Bolivia. The red colour of its waters is due to algae, while salt and borax deposits on the surface create large white pools. Yet the Laguna Colorada is probably best known for its Flamingos. Seeing them in such large numbers may lead you to believe they’re very numerous. But in fact they are Puna (or James’) Flamingos, a native Andean species that was believed to be extinct before being rediscovered in this area.
Visit Potosi and the Cerro Rico
Potosi is a place that will ultimately leave you with a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, it’s a beautiful city, not to mention one of the highest in the world at 13,420 feet. It also boasts lovely colonial architecture and an outstanding collection of silver artifacts at Casa de la Moneda, the Spanish Colonial Mint.
The reason for Potosì’s wealth lies just behind the city in the Cerro Rico, a mountain so rich in mineral wealth that it was once believed to be made completely out of solid silver. Sadly, millions of indigenous laborers have died in the tunnels beneath the mountains in the process of mining silver for the Spanish.
Tours of Cerro Rico run by miners’ collectives are a popular thing to do in Potosi. They offer a heartbreaking insight into the lives of the miners and their cult of Tio, a mysterious, demon-like figure that is said to dwell within the depths of Cerro Rico.
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