Bolivia Driving Guide
Explore Bolivia by driving with International Driving Permit.
Bolivia boasts a wide array of experiences - from culture to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to some of the best natural phenomena, to forest reserves, and so much more. Adventure awaits! As you visit this South American country. On top of that, colorful and native clothing is still being worn by the indigenous. Indigenous people in Bolivia make up around two-thirds of its population.
Bolivia is known for its massive salt flats or what they call Salar de Uyuni. But do you know that Bolivia is more than this incredible phenomenon? This country offers adventure to the mountains, and you can even have your Amazonian tour here.
How Can This Guide Help You
Exploring Bolivia takes a lot of planning. One thing you should not miss out on is your transportation. You might as well have your car if you wish to own your time while driving around Bolivia. Read through the next chapters to learn the dos and don'ts when driving in Bolivia, the requirements you need to have when driving in Bolivia, and its top destinations.
Like any other tourist, apart from stunning photo opportunities, you would want to experience Bolivia's culture. With its colorful history, diverse wildlife, picturesque landscapes, fascinating customs, and adventurous activities, you would not want to miss this South American country. Also, don't miss the Bolivian food that's a mixture of Spanish cuisine and indigenous ingredients.
Bolivia is in western-central South America. Brazil borders Bolivia (north and east), Paraguay (southeast), Argentina (south), Chile (southwest and west), and the northwest by Peru (northwest). This makes Bolivia one of the so-called landlocked countries as it is bordered by different countries, making it hard to access direct coastline providing access to oceans.
Bolivia is unique in the way that it has 37 official languages. According to the Bolivian 2009 constitution, Spanish and 36 other languages are spoken here. The Bolivian constitution says that all indigenous languages are official, to which some of those are already extinct.
Spanish is the most used language in Bolivia, representing more than half of its population. English, as a language, is often spoken by few officials and business people in commercial centers. It can also come in handy that you learn some simple Spanish phrases.
Bolivia is considered the fifth largest country in South America, with a land area of 1,098,581 km2. The mountainous western region of Bolivia constitutes an important economic and political center. Bolivia is dominated by two great parallel ranges - to the east is the Cordillera Occidental, where numerous volcanoes and the Uyuni Salt Flat can be seen. While to the east is the Cordillera Oriental, you can see the Andes' Royal Range. With Bolivia's size, you'll surely find several destinations that would ignite your passion for traveling.
The name Bolivia came from a Venezuelan leader in the Spanish American wars of independence, Simon Bolivar. The Bolivians were under Spanish rule for almost 300 years until they declared independence in 1809. They became the Republic of Bolivia on August 6, 1825, after again fighting against the Spanish for another 16 years.
Bolivia has provided Spain with immense silver and tins despite its economic status in a certain period in history. However, it has a rich history with being the center of the ancient Tiwanaku Empire and the Inca Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 20th century, Bolivia was filled with revolution and turmoil - from leadership changes to governments, attempts at democracy, and military coups.
Bolivia follows the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. The president serves as the head of state, government, and of a diverse multi-party system. The government exercises the executive power, while legislative power is vested in both the two chambers of the parliament and the government. Meanwhile, the judiciary and electoral branches are independent of executive and legislative powers.
2019 was a bit of a bumpy year as protests against electoral fraud were conducted sometime from October to November. Nevertheless, the country has recorded 1.48 million inbound tourists. A little higher than that of 2018, which only had 1 million tourists visiting Bolivia. Based on the United Nations (UN) data, Bolivia has an estimated population of 11 673 021 as of 2020. It is equivalent to 0.15% of the world's population.
Renting A Car in Bolivia
Imagine visiting and exploring the wonders of Bolivia in your comfort and driving in Bolivia, seeing the island and jaw-dropping destinations, and witnessing their culture, history, and landscapes. The first thing that comes to mind is your mode of transportation. The best thing is to rent a car while in Bolivia. Here are some pointers you might need in renting a car here.
Car Rental Companies
Some tourists prefer to rent a car and have the freedom to manage their time while on a trip. Driving through Bolivian roads can be a little more challenging than you expected. This is the reason why it's best to tap on car rental companies that can assist you in the best car to use based on your itinerary. One of the most accessible car rental companies in Bolivia is Europcar. They are also situated in key cities in Bolivia, and they even offer airport pickups.
Hertz is another car rental company for driving in Bolivia with locations in Santa Cruz, Copacabana, Samaipata, La Paz, Uyuni, Villa Tunari, and Coroico, Sucre, Cochabamba, and Tarija. Most car rental companies offer different deals, depending on your preferences. Before driving in Bolivia, ask for quotes for a car package so you can have options and you can set your budget for it.
The driver must present a valid native driver's license, which has been used for a minimum of 2 years. If your license is not in a language used in your destination country or your license is not in the Roman Alphabet, you must present your International Driver's Permit together with your native driver's license. Some car rental companies will also ask for your passport, a personal credit card, and a booking confirmation passport.
Some roads in Bolivia are paved, and many are not. Tourists who plan to drive around key cities in Bolivia can use compact and medium cars. Bolivia is considered to have one of the highest elevations in South America. For those driving outside the metro, it is best to get an SUV or other four-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive cars are best when you're traversing dirt roads outside major cities.
Apart from self-driving in Bolivia, car rental packages offer drivers who can take you to places, especially those unfamiliar with Bolivian roads. There are cheap car rental deals in Bolivia but make sure to examine its inclusions and check for possible hidden charges. It's best to experience comfort and affordability in one package. With this, you can fully enjoy your trip to Bolivia.
Car Rental Cost
Introductory rates mostly include unlimited mileage, local taxes, and third party liability insurance. Add-ons include pick up and drop off services, additional coverage on your car insurance, GPS, car seats, and other equipment you might need to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. An additional cost will be charged on your package when you want to hire a driver instead of self driving in Bolivia.
Car rental costs vary from company to company. It also depends on the package inclusion of each deal. Here are some estimated rental prices for different types of vehicles you can rent in Bolivia.
- Economy: $41/day
- Compacy: $58/day
- SUV: $49/day
- Premium SUV: $115/day
- Compact SUV: $92/day
- Standard SUV: $69/day
- Passenger Van: $81/day
- Mini: $33/day
Most car rental companies allow those 25 years old and above to rent a car. Drivers aged 21 to 24 are allowed to rent a car, but they have to pay additional local fees. Some car rental companies also limit those aged 21-24 regarding the type of vehicle they could rent. For additional drivers, they must be at least 25 years old.
Car Insurance Cost
One of the main things you must check when you rent a car in Bolivia is the inclusion of car insurance. Most car rental companies include third party liability insurance on the package. This means that the rental agency will pay claims from other parties in case of an accident.
Some car rental companies offer other insurance like theft protection if your car is stolen in the duration of your trip. Another one is the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) when you accidentally damage your vehicle at your fault. These may be added once you ask the company to give you quotes on car rental packages before driving in Bolivia.
Car Insurance Policy
Every rental package has mandatory third-party liability insurance. Besides this, there are additional coverages you might want to add before using the car. Here are car insurance policies that rental companies offer as an add-on.
- Collision Damage Protection: The policy covers the cost of damage to the vehicle that exceeds the excess amount. However, this does not cover for any loss of valuables inside the vehicle.
- Theft Protection: This insurance policy covers you for loss of vehicle, damage because of attempted theft, or the vehicle is subject to an act of vandalism while the vehicle is left parked unattended.
- Roadside assistance: The rental company will provide you with 24/7 road assistance in case of car breakdowns as a result of using the wrong fuel, breakage of loss of vehicle’s keys, as well as damage to tires.
- Personal Accident Protection: The renter can claim the financial cost of any potential consequences resulting from injury or death that occurs when driving the rented vehicle. Aside from the driver, in case of injuries, the rental company will also compensate for passenger medical needs.
The Road Rules In Bolivia
Road signs might be kind of the same from country to country, but it is best to be familiar with the road rules of a country you are about to visit. This way, it will ease up the pressure of driving through foreign roads. Here are some essential things you have to know while driving in Bolivia.
Road Rules when driving in Bolivia apply to locals and tourists alike. You must be at least 21 years old to legally drive on Bolivian roads. You must have your valid driver's license and your IDP when driving. Below are some essential rules and reminders to guide you:
Drunk drivers often happen during the holidays in Bolivia, so if you travel on holidays, be very careful. Your body’s blood alcohol content should not be more than 0.05%. If you are caught by authorities drunk driving, you will have to pay a corresponding fine and a night in jail for the first offense. And confiscation of your license for your second offense. Don't ruin your trip. If you want to drink, do it responsibly.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
Turning signals on your car is an essential safety precaution that allows you to communicate your intentions to other drivers. You must turn your signals when making a left or right-hand turn at an intersection, entering a driveway or parking lot, changing lanes, overtaking, and leaving the roundabout. Ensure that you turn on your signal as early as possible. This is to inform other drivers that you are making a change on the road.
The Bolivian law mandates that all vehicles must use their horns at curves, intersections, slopes, and mountain roads. However, honking car horns is prohibited in Bolivia during the night hours within the urban cities. During the day, horns are only used for emergency cases and when the driver has no other way out to prevent accidents.
Avoid parking your car on the streets overnight. If your hotel does not provide a parking garage, make sure to find a well-lit area. Though there are some areas in Bolivia where you can park on the street, just see to it that it is not within 16ft of a corner or intersection. It is also prohibited to park less than 10 meters from the entrance doors of churches, hospitals, clinics, theaters, and educational institutions during business hours. Look for parking signs in the area for your guidance.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving
Before hitting the road, check if the vehicle you are using is registered and must be in good condition. Roads in Bolivia can be challenging, especially in the rural areas, so make sure your brakes and horns are functional. Don't forget to check if the mirrors, number plates, car lights are working and if your car’s windows are clean.
It may also come in handy to bring with you early warning devices in case of accidents. Spare tires, car tools, and extra petrol just if you will run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Bolivia's gas price is fairly priced. Sure, you can have a GPS as an add-on to your car rental, but if you're the traditional one while driving in Bolivia, you can opt to bring with you a map.
Speed limits in Bolivia are relatively low because of the poor conditions of the road infrastructure in the country. When you are driving urban roads, your car speed must not be more than 50KPH. On rural roads, the speed limit is 70 Kph. Bolivia does not have speed cameras to track the vehicles, but authorities will apprehend drivers who violate speed limit rules. It is advisable to follow speed limits when driving in Bolivia to prevent road accidents. Apart from this, you might get fined for not following speed limits.
The use of seat belts is not enforced in Bolivia. Only very few drivers and passengers fasten seat belts while on the road, but it is advised that the driver and passenger should wear seat belts for their safety. Also, there are not many toddlers riding on cars in Bolivia. The current child seats law mandates that children should be restricted in a child seat. So if you are driving with a baby in Bolivia might as well add a car seat as your add-on when you rent a car.
Bolivian roads can be considered a road less traveled mainly because of the many unpaved roads going to their destinations. Despite this, the country has maintained a highway system linking major urban areas. While driving in Bolivia, you can expect to pass several highways in La Paz-San Bora-Trinidad, Oruro-Sucre-Potosi-Chile Border, and many more.
Traffic Road Signs
When driving in Bolivia, there's not much difference in road traffic signs with its neighboring countries. However, it pays to be familiar with Bolivian road signs before taking into your adventure. The following road signs are somewhat the same as what you see in other countries. Just be mindful since some roads in Bolivia lack road signs, so you need to be careful in driving.
- For the Warning Road Signs: roadworks ahead warning, poor road surface warning, traffic light ahead
- For Priority Road Signs: stop, priority road ahead, roundabout ahead
- For the Mandatory Road Signs: speed limit, pass on right only, the mandatory lane for buses
Right of Way
Bolivian pedestrians always have the right of way. When driving at an intersection in Bolivia, a vehicle approaching from the right side has the right of way. Using glare while driving in Bolivia is prohibited. Be mindful of traffic signs on roads and intersections and traffic signals as well, as it also commands the right of way in some areas of the country.
Legal Driving Age
For Bolivina nationals, one can legally drive by the time a person turns 18 years old. For tourists, you must be at least 21 years old. You must also have your valid driver's license whenever you drive around Bolivia.
Laws on Overtaking
Overtaking can be one of the causes of road accidents. In Bolivia, there are no specific overtaking policies, but you have to be mindful of your surroundings while driving, check your window and rear mirrors if you want to overtake and when there's someone who wants to overtake. Some use their car horns in overtaking, but note that blowing of horns, especially in urban areas, is prohibited.
There are some areas in Bolivia where an overtaking lane is being placed. One of which is on the North Yungas Road or known as Bolivia's famous 'death road.' This is a busy road since it's one of the driving roads linking La Paz to the Yungas region in Bolivia. An overtaking lane was placed to address the number of vehicles passing, from trucks to buses to cars, and to lessen the accidents.
Your car must be on the right-hand side of the road when driving in Bolivia. It can come in handy for tourists from a right-driving country, so adjustments would not be that hard. You don't have to worry; you are used to driving on the left side of the road. As you go along your drive, you will be familiar with Bolivia's road conditions and regulations. You must note that failure to follow this road rule might lead to major accidents.
Driving Etiquette in Bolivia
Unfortunate events might come your way while driving in Bolivia. From major to minor road accidents. The other parties might be at fault at some point, so aside from your presence of mind, you also have to be polite and courteous enough to converse with other tourists and locals while you are on Bolivian roads.
Broken-down vehicles are frequent in Bolivia, especially when you are heading to a mountainous area in the country, where unpaved roads and potholes make it challenging when driving. When unexpectedly your car breaks down in the middle of your drive, make sure to position your car at the side of the road, possibly as far as out of the travel lane. You call for the police or emergency responder to help you fix the car.
While waiting for help, make sure to display the early warning devices you brought with you before starting your trip. Broken-down vehicles not correctly parked on the streetside, with no warning signals, are frequent hazards on the road, especially during the night. Be mindful of your surroundings as well. If you are out of nowhere, do not immediately get off from your car and wait for the responder to arrive.
Police checks are frequent in Bolivia. If you are asked by authorities to pull over, do so. Do not speed away; they might think you are hiding something from authorities. Be sure to have your documents with you - your native driver's license, your IDP, passport, and other travel documents they might need for inspection.
Police might also ask you to stop if you have violated some road rules. Cooperate with them and talk politely. Ask for the severity of your violation. You can be fined on the spot for overspeeding and not bringing the essential travel documents. If so, you have to settle your fines at the local police station within the given time frame. Never attempt to pay cash while on the roadside.
Asking for directions from locals can help you reach your destination faster, especially on unfamiliar roads. Sometimes, Bolivian road maps can be confusing so it's best to ask the locals. Be ready with your Spanish phrases since not all Bolivians can understand English. Only a few business people and officials speak the English language. Nevertheless, it won't hurt you if you learn a thing or two about Spanish phrases such as asking questions or Spanish greetings. Apart from this, you also have to be polite while asking for directions from the locals. Bolivians will reciprocate your actions towards them. So be courteous and show respect to the locals.
Most Bolivians speak the Spanish language. You can take note of some Spanish phrases when talking to locals when you ask for questions or directions. Here are the following basic phrases:
- Hola - Hello
- Good Morning - Buenos Dias
- Good afternoon - Buenas tardes
- Goodnight - Buenas Noches
- Thank you - Gracias
- Thank you very much - Muchas Gracias
- You’re Welcome - De nada
- Goodbye - Adios
There have been protests conducted in Bolivia, so it is expected that police presence is very evident. When you come across checkpoints, you have to slow down. Keep your travel documents readily available if they will ask for them, and don't feel threatened. It's a standard operating procedure in checkpoints that they do inspections. Be polite and don't give them the impression that you are a threat to the country. After all, you are here to enjoy the country's beauty.
What If I Get Involved in an Accident While on the Road?
Stay at the scene and stay calm. Assess the situation and if there are injuries, immediately call for help - it could be the police (110) or an ambulance (118) to notify them of the situation. If you can, make sure to position your car on the side of the road and bring your hazard lights on. Also, use your warning triangle for motorists to slow down while nearing the area of the accident.
Leaving the accident scene is a violation of Bolivian law. Stay calm, especially when authorities would ask some questions about the accident. Fleeing from the area where the accident happened might place the driver and the passenger at greater risk, especially if it's a severe traffic accident.
Can I use my phone while driving?
A hands-free system of using mobile phones is used when you badly want to use it. While driving in Bolivia, watching video clips, calling or texting someone, or checking social networking sites is illegal. The divided focus from driving and other things can lead to accidents, so you need to be mindful.
Driving Conditions in Bolivia
There are road rules implemented in Bolivia, authorities man the streets to make sure regulations are implemented. However, some drivers might forget to follow the rules, hence tagging some Bolivian drivers to be irresponsible. The main reason why you have to drive defensively in Bolivia.
According to the 2018 Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in Bolivia, it has reached 2, 533 or 4.06% of its total deaths. The country is ranked 55th in the most number of deaths caused by road accidents having a percentage of 24.97 per 100,000 Bolivians. Roads in Bolivia can be tricky, especially during the rainy season, the main reason you have to follow speed limits and obey road rules to avoid accidents.
Apart from the trucks and buses plying on Bolivia’s busy city streets, SUVs have been the country’s top vehicle type. The main reason that these types of vehicles can withstand rough and high altitude areas. 92% of the passenger vehicles are usually for private use, while 8% are for public and official use. There are a few owned luxury cars in Bolivia; however, they typically belong to the elites.
Most roads in Bolivia are toll roads. Be mindful of signs posted ahead of a toll station or toll roads. Be aware of “fake toll roads” where temporary toll booths are set up and stop traffic. Only stop at official toll booths, mostly installed and run from La Paz to Oruro and Cochabamba. And in the cities of Achica Arriba, Sica Sica Sica, San Pedro, and Caracalla.
Knowing the quality of roads in Bolivia can help you prepare. They say that driving in Bolivia is not for the faint-hearted. Bolivian roads can be dangerous for tourists; however, one can avoid trouble with proper knowledge and familiarization while exploring the country. Road conditions in Bolivia, especially those outside big cities, can be challenging. It is better that you are familiar with the driving conditions in Bolivia and never forget to check the warning signs while driving.
You might experience busy streets in the key cities of Bolivia. You can see "traffic zebras" on the roads whose role is to guide both the pedestrians and drivers to follow road rules and traffic signs. It started in the busy streets of La Paz. And extending it to other cities like Santa Cruz, Tajiri, and Sucre. These "traffic zebras" can come in handy when driving in Bolivia, especially in its largest city, Santa Cruz. It was designated as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014.
Bolivian drivers are described as skilled ones because they are familiar with the country’s roads. They take pride in being confident in driving, especially on challenging routes. On key cities and busy streets, it will be very evident that some road rules are being left unfollowed, so if you happen to drive on these roads, make sure to be familiar with the traffic signs and lights and drive defensively. You do not want your trip to be sacrificed for not following rules.
What Is The Unit to Measure Speed in Bolivia?
When driving in Bolivia, speed limits are being imposed for road safety reasons. There are two units of measure used in measuring speed, namely the MPH (miles per hour), used by only 9% of the world. Meanwhile, KPH (kilometer per hour) is used by about 196 countries, including Bolivia. You might see these speed limit signages while driving around Bolivia, and you are expected to follow them for you not to have any problems with authorities.
Is it to Drive in Bolivia at Night?
If you are not in a hurry, it is not advisable to drive during night hours. Bolivia is a country where traveling at night is dangerous, so utmost care should be exercised to avoid possible road accidents. Some vehicles have enough lights to have no lights when driving, making it difficult for other drivers to spot them, especially on blind curves.
Things To Do in Bolivia
Bolivian destinations are for the adventurous souls. You can drive through mountains and dangerous roads, explore the forests and wildlife and immerse yourself through Bolivian culture. As you arrive at the destinations after driving in Bolivia, ready your video cameras and document every Bolivian attraction corner.
Drive as a Tourist
You can drive as a tourist in Bolivia. Aside from your local driver's license, some rental companies might ask for your international driver's permit, so make sure to have it with you. It pays to have your travel documents available at all times when you are on the road to avoid problems while you explore Bolivia.
Work as a Driver
Foreigners can look and apply for driving jobs in Bolivia. Bolivia’s manufacturing industry constitutes a large share of its gross domestic product - with leading manufactured goods to include textiles, clothing, food, drinks, and tobacco, making job opportunities to the transportation industry, specifically truck drivers. Under this kind of job, one usually earns around $194 a month. It will also depend on the level of your experience.
But to do this, you must secure a work visa. The most common permit that will be issued to you is a Temporary Residence Permit. Don't even work without a proper visa; you get in trouble if you do. Remember that you have to secure a Bolivian driving license and undergo practical and medical tests.
Work as a Travel Guide
There are few flexible jobs available for travelers in Bolivia, such as hotels, hostels, and tourism. The travel and tourism industry is one of the areas where employment is common. Some large international travel companies offer tours in Bolivia, and you can apply for a job as a tour guide or tour coordinator. You have to know the country’s history and its tourist destinations to efficiently work as a tour or travel guide in Bolivia.
Learning Spanish is a plus when looking for jobs in Bolivia. You can book Spanish language courses in the country to study the language. Your salary highly depends on the company and your position. Unless employed by a foreign international company, wages in Bolivia can below.
Apply for Residency
Once you have your Bolivian driver's license and wish to work and stay for good in Bolivia, you need to apply for residency. Applying for a residency in Bolivia entails a lot of time and effort; the same goes for other countries. There are prerequisites that you have to submit. This includes your photos, international and national criminal background check, Bolivian residency confirmation, medical certificate, residency application at the immigration, to name a few.
First must have resided in Bolivia for two years for you to be qualified to apply for residency. Once you have been approved for residency, you will have what they called "carnet" or the Bolivian Identification Card.
What are other Possible Job Opportunities in Bolivia?
As Bolivia’s tourism industry grows, there is also a high demand for qualified ESL teachers. Most citizens see the importance of learning the English language to keep up with economic and social progress. Teaching English in Bolivia requires a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. Normally an ESL teacher earns between $400 and $600 a month.
Is Driving With a US License in Bolivia Allowed?
If you are a US citizen, you can use your US driver's license to drive around Bolivia. However, tourists are only allowed to stay in Bolivia for a maximum of 90 days. After 90 days, if you wish to continue driving in Bolivia, update your license to the one issued in the country. Don't drive with expired and invalid licenses if you do not want to get troubled on foreign land.
Can A Foreigner Obtain a Bolivian License?
If you want to stay longer in Bolivia and want to get a Bolivian driver's license, you can do so. You need to submit the requirements and pay the corresponding fee to process your application. In applying for a Bolivian license, you have to be at least 18 years old; you must have a legal residency in Bolivia and give the exact address because they have to confirm your residence before proceeding to the next process.
It can also come in handy if you present your International Driver's Permit. They might as well need a certification from a driving school and a medical certificate approved and accredited by the Servicio General de Identificación Personal (SEGIP) and your bank deposit slip from Banco Union. Processing all of these may take you 2-4 days before they can generate your Bolivian license.
The Top Destinations in Bolivia
As some would say, if you want off-the-grid travels, then you have to try exploring Bolivia. This country is rich in multi-ethnic cultures, gorgeous landscapes, and adventure-filled destinations. With your own transportation and the freedom to manage your time, explore, and be amazed by the wonders of this South American country. Start your adventure by driving in Bolivia, ready your map and other essentials as you explore the wonders of this landlocked country.
Uyuni is your gateway to the famous Bolivian salt flats. But this city in the southwestern part of the country offers more than the world’s largest salt flats; it has a volcano, train graveyard, and archeological site that spending some days here will never be a waste of time. Uyuni also acts as a gateway for commerce and traffic crossing in and out of Bolivia to Chile.
- From Sucre Alcantari International Airport, Continue to Ruta 6.
- Head north.
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit.
- Slight left toward Ruta 6.
- Continue straight onto Ruta 6.
- Turn left onto Route 5.
- Toll road.
- Turn left onto Avenue Prado San Clemente/Route 5.
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit.
- Continue onto Gabriel René Moreno.
- Turn left.
- Turn right.
- Slight left.
- Turn left toward Route 5.
- Make a right toward Route 5.
- Turn left onto Route 5.
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Route 5.
- Toll road.
- Drive to Perú.
- Turn right.
- Then turn right onto Sucre.
- Turn left onto Perú.
Spend some time in Salar de Uyuni, take side trips to other historical destinations, and explore the city of Uyuni. Take note of activities you can do in the city below.
1. Ride a bicycle inside Salar de Uyuni
This is "where the sea meets the sky." History says that after a prehistoric inland ocean dried out, the salt deposited here leaving behind about 4000 square miles of the vast white salt desert. The place is considered to be the flattest place in the world. The landscape of bright-white salt takes the form of a huge mirror and reflecting the sky above during the rainy season. The ground meanwhile hardens during the dry season, so you can drive through the salt flats to places that are not accessible during rainy seasons.
2. Watch the sunset, sunrise and go stargazing inside Salar de Uyuni.
Either you want to see the moon with the stars or the stars with the Milky Way, there is no reason to skip staying overnight in Salar de Uyuni. Uyuni becomes a three-dimensional planetarium which makes you feel as if you’re floating in outer space. The area at the salt flats creates a variety of breathtaking colors during sunrise and sunset. Sometimes it’s pink, blue, orange, yellow or a mix of everything.
3. Climb the Tunupa Volcano
It takes about three to four hours to reach the volcano’s 15 000-foot mark for those in decent shape. It is best to join tours as the volcano often contains snow-covered peaks and requires mountaineering experience. You will see a different view of the salt flats from the volcano. Along your hike, visit the cave of mummies. A guide will help you discover the culture and customs of the now called “Coquesa Mummies.”
4. Discover the history of the Train Cemetery
In 1899, the town once served as a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports. It was abandoned after difficulties and tension with the indigenous people in the area. The trains and other equipment were left behind to rust and now serves as a tourist destination. You can climb and stand atop these trains to view the Bolivian desert countryside or make them as a backdrop for your photos.
5. Check out Laguna Colorada
This lagoon sits within the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. Known as the “Nest of the Andes,” the Laguna Colorada shelters thousands of different species’ flamingos. Some birds like the “parina chica” stop here before continuing their journey towards the north. The bold red water caused by algae not only nourishes pink flamingos but also accentuates the lagoon’s beauty.
This is considered the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Apart from its islands, where you explore the inhabitants’ daily lives, the lake is home to more than 530 aquatic species, including a large population of water birds.
- From El Alto International Airport, take Av. de los Heroes, Av Pucarani, Calle 4, Franz Tamayo and Av 12 to Ruta Nacional 2.
- Turn right onto Ruta Nacional 2.
- Toll road.
- Take the Ruta Nacional 2 ferry.
- Continue straight to stay on Ruta Nacional 2.
- Take Manuel Mejía to Calle Pando.
- Turn right onto Calle Murillo.
- Then turn left onto Manuel Mejía.
- Make a right toward Calle Pando.
- Turn right onto Calle Pando.
You can go island hopping to all the inhabited islands in Lake Titicaca. You can visit some destinations in mainland Copacabana which serves as your jump-off point to the lake. Read through to know more about things to do and places to visit in Lake Titicaca.
1. Get to know the indigenous people of Isla del Sol.
This island is known as the “Island of the Sun.” Legend says the island is the birthplace of the Sun God and the world’s first two Incas. Isla del Sol was continually inhabited from at least 2200 BC until the present. Eight hundred indigenous families live in small villages throughout the island. While amenities on the island lack modern comforts when staying overnight, the breathtaking sunrise and sunset will compensate for all of those.
2. Visit Museo del Oro in Isla del Sol
Museo del Oro is a small museum on the north side of Isla del Sol. Before heading out to the island, make sure your tour includes the northside of Isla del Sol. This museum in Challapampa houses Inca treasures, ancient pottery, and some metal objects from underwater off the island in the last decade. You can also see here medallions, vases, puma-faced incense burners, and other artifacts of pre-Inca.
3. Stay overnight in an Eco-Lodge in Isla del Sol.
Bask in the overlooking view of Lake Titicaca from La Estancia Eco Lodge. The area offers 15 ecological cottages built with mud bricks, stone, and straw. They promote sustainable tourism on the island with its passive solar heating system used in each lodge. While you are in the area, embark on various activities in and around the lodge. You can visit the greenhouse or get to know members of the local communities.
4. Explore Isla de la Luna
Another interesting island you need to visit in Lake Titicaca is Isla de la Luna. This tiny island sits east of Isla del Sol. Legends reveal that the island is home to the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. While exploring the ruins, you can roam around the rocky trails and mingle with the fishermen. About 80 people are living on the island. Get to know them. They are happy to engage with tourists.
5. Take a side trip to the town of Copacabana
You can enjoy the town vibe of Copacabana either before or after your island tour in Lake Titicaca; it’s your choice. While you are in town, visit the Horca del Inca archaeological site. Studies claimed that people predating the Inca Empire carved the rocks on the site to create an astronomical observatory. Experience what the town is like by going to its central plaza and visit the uniquely-built basilica nearby.
Sucre is one of the capitals of Bolivia. If you are into colonial architecture, then this city is for you. The Spanish founded this during the 1500s and 16th century. Its relaxed, small-town vibe and pleasantly warm climate attract visitors to stay longer than expected. This is also famous for obtaining multiple names and its nickname "the city of four names."
- From Sucre Alcantari International Airport, Continue to Ruta 6.
- Continue straight onto Ruta 6.
- Toll road.
- Continue to Manco Kapac/Ruta 6.
- Drive to Ruta 6.
- Turn right at the 2nd cross street onto Manco Kapac/Ruta 6.
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ruta 6.
Who would not want to visit a city declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Experience authentic Bolivian food, architecture, museums, cultural and outdoor adventure in this beautiful and relaxed city. You can list down the things you can do in Sucre by reading below.
1. Observe the city life in Plaza 25 de Mayo
It sits in the heart of Sucre’s historic center and activity hub; visitors should not miss this main square in Sucre. It is one of the prettiest plazas in Bolivia, surrounded by pristine whitewashed colonial buildings, huge leafy trees, fountains, and monuments. You can rest by the beautiful benches inside the park or stay at cafés and restaurants and watch the city unfold before your eyes.
2. Taste some salteñas
Looking for something to eat over brunch? Bolivia’s salteña is the answer to your cravings. This is Bolivia’s version of an empanada, which is famous across South America. Salteña’s meat-based filling usually comes with a spicy sauce with olives and potatoes. El Patio Salteñeria in Sucre is one of the more popular stores serving this mid-morning snack. Make sure to visit before 11 AM as it is a best-seller to locals and foreigners.
3. Check out dinosaur footprints at Parque Cretácico
More than 5,000 footprints of dinosaurs from 15 different species cover a giant wall inside this park. If you wish to take a closer look at this cool sighting, you can don a hard hat and walk along near the prints. If you want to see the footprints, you can join the 11 AM tour with the “dino bus.” While you are in the park, don’t miss the extensive selection of life-size fiberglass dinosaur models.
4. Get a panoramic view of Sucre from La Recoleta
One of the best places to picture out why Sucre is famous for being Bolivia’s “White City.” You can spend your afternoon at one of the cafés here for the best view across the city’s white-walled, red-roofed streetscape and the mountainous horizon beyond. You can stay until sunset to get a different perspective and color of the city. Other than that, you can also visit a cobblestoned, arch-lined courtyard of Plaza de Anzures and the nearby craft markets.
5. Score some great finds at local markets
Mercado Central is just a couple blocks away from Plaza 25 de Mayo that offers fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, bread, spices, and other products from warm and friendly local vendors. Another lively market is the Tarabuco Market that opens on Sundays. A two-hour drive from Sucre, indigenous people from all over the region gather in their traditional garb to sell an impressive variety of artisan textiles, clothing, and trinkets.
Did you know that you can visit the Amazon in Bolivia as well? Known as the largest tropical rainforest globally, covering up to 5.5 million square kilometers, it offers some rare flora and fauna. The Amazon jungle stretches to nine countries in South America. When driving in Bolivia, be amazed by the animal kingdom and the impressive variety of plants inside the Amazon jungle.
- From Rurrenabaque Airport, continue to Route 16.
- Head north.
- Turn right.
- Sharp left.
- Keep right.
- Turn left.
- Make a left.
- Turn right.
- Then turn left.
- Turn right toward Route 16.
- Drive to Route 16.
- Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Route 16.
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Route 16.
- Destination will be on the right.
Instead of driving in Bolivia, witness various species from the animal kingdom and plant species, you can choose from trekking or riding a boat. Read below to know more about what to expect in your wildlife tour.
1. Experience the Pampas Tour
The pampas tour takes you to the wetlands. You will spend most of your tour riding a boat while exploring the area. You can camp on the riverside and spot more animals in the wild like monkeys. Here you will see most of the wildlife like alligators and giant rodent capybara. Swimming with dolphins, spotting alligators at night, feeding spider monkeys, and chasing sunrise over the rainforest are some of the tour’s highlights.
2. Go for the Jungle Trek
You can go for a more traditional Amazon experience by hiking inside the jungle. The jungle trek is a lot harder than a pampas tour, and due to the giant trees inside the forest, you may see fewer animals. However, you will see a different side of the Amazon - its beautiful interior and learn about the different plants and trees that grow here. There are accommodations inside the jungle, and enjoy the peace of being in the Amazon territory.
3. Have some pastry fix at Paris Panaderia
If you have some time off after your Bolivian Amazon trip, drop by this small bakery in the town of Rurrenabaque. They serve French pastries like chocolate croissants and other goodies such as brownies. This is a go-to place for tourists and locals craving some bread and other pastries.
4. Watch the sunset over River Beni
You can make this to conclude your day in town after exploring the Bolivian Amazon. Wherever you are in town, this spot is always accessible. This local river is one of the best places to view the sunset over the hills of Rurrenabaque. Or you can hike to Mirador de la Cruz that also offers stunning views of the town.
5. Join the town’s Feria Artesanal
If you visit Rurrenabaque on the first weekend of September, then experience this unique festival in town. This craft fair exhibits stalls of traditional arts and crafts locally produced in surrounding communities and other local products like honey and traditional food such as sweet bread and cakes. The town’s plaza hosts dance, music, and conservation awareness events.
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