People often ask the question “What was your favourite country you visited when you were travelling?” My answer is always “Definitely Bolivia!” We spent a month exploring Bolivia, and the diversity of the country was incredible! From the Amazon jungle to the Salt Flats, to the altitude of La Paz, the highest City in the world! Bolivia, in my opinion is one of the most amazing countries in the world, with some of the most open, generous people I’ve ever encountered!
Isla del Sol
Our first night in Bolivia was spent in a tiny town called Copacabana (not to be confused with the Brazilian version!) perched right on the edge of Lake Titicaca, the highest altitude lake in the world. Copacabana is a cute little town for exploring and catching the ferry to Isla del Sol from. Be warned though, the lake may look calm, but the water can be rough, and the journey takes 2 hours across.
If you survive the ferry journey across, you’ll arrive at Isla del Sol (island of sun), a beautiful island right in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Arriving here feels like arriving back in time and is a perfect trip for relaxing and cutting off from the outside world. You can spend the day exploring the island and walking from north to south in just a few hours.
La Paz is the capital city of Bolivia, and is the highest altitude city in the world. La Paz is a 3 hour bus journey from Copacabana, so if you wake up early, you can make the 2 hour ferry crossing from Isla del Sol, and 3 hour bus journey in one trip, as the buses wait for the ferry to arrive in Copacabana. The bus journey from Copacabana to La Paz is beautiful, passing by amazing snow-capped mountains, and arriving into the hustle and bustle of La Paz, make sure to have your camera ready!
We stayed at Adventure Brew Hostel in La Paz, a nice, big hostel located a short walk from the bus station. We arrived in La Paz on New Year’s Eve, and spent the night ringing in the New Year on the rooftop of the hostel joining the Bolivians in setting off fireworks!
The Amazon- Rurrenabaque
We decided to give the Amazon a miss in Peru, as we had heard that it was much cheaper and there was more to see in the Amazon in Bolivia. The best way to make the journey from La Paz to Rurrenabaque is by flying the short 20 minute flight, instead of making the 9 hour bus journey on roads which are often closed due to landslides. Be prepared, the planes are tiny, with only 12 single row seats, and you’ll land on a mud track runway to be met by the tiniest airport I’ve ever seen! An incredible experience!
Rurrenabaque is a tiny town set up for Amazon jungle trips, with lots of tour operators to choose from. Middidi National Park, and Las Pampas are the two main areas to visit, and lots of tour companies offer 4 day trips which cover both. You’ll start your trip by making the 3 hour boat journey into Middidi National Park where you’ll arrive at your Ecolodge. From here you can go on hikes around the area with your guide pointing out monkeys, spiders, birds of paradise, and different species of tree frogs. Make sure you go on a jungle night trek, as this is when most of the animals are active!
Las Pampas is an area best explored by boat. Again, you’ll stay in an Ecolodge, and explore the surrounding area with a guide pointing out sloth, caiman, monkeys, and pink river dolphin if you’re lucky! You can even try fishing for piranha and sample this later at dinner!
Uyuni- The Salt Flats
From Rurrenabaque you can head back to La Paz by flight, and then take the 12 hour night bus to the South of Bolivia to visit Uyuni- the largest Salt flats in the world. The best way to explore the Salt flats is as part of a 3 day tour. Lots of companies in Uyuni will try to sell this tour for extortionate prices, but all the tour cars end up following each other anyway, so as long as you check out the car and deem it to be safe, there is no point in paying more money for added extras!
The first stop on the tour will be at an old railway station, with lots of photo opportunities and cool trains for exploring. From here it’s out on to the Salt flats, where you can get creative and start thinking of what poses you’ll strike for imaginative photos! You’ll stay in hostels made entirely of salt for both nights, right out in the middle of the Slat flats! Make sure to take a blanket and set up camp outside for some star gazing. I saw 7 shooting stars in one night whilst here!
The Salt flat tour will also take you to explore the lakes around the Salt flats where flamingo are often seen feeding. You can swim in the nearby natural hot springs and explore the amazing rock formations of the desert before ending the tour and heading back to Uyuni.
Sucre is a 6 hour bus journey from Uyuni (you may want to split this journey up by stopping at Potosi enroute). Sucre is a beautiful City, and is filled with Spanish schools, as most people learn or top up their spanish skills here. Sucre is also a great location for a night out to blow off some steam after a long day of learning spanish!
Most people who visit Bolivia will head South and into Chile from Uyuni, but we were making our way East to Brazil to make it to Rio in time for Carnival! We decided to make the 15 hour bus journey from Sucre to Santa Cruz to explore the beautiful Amboro National Park. Amboro National Park is incredible! You can stay in an Ecolodge right in the middle of the jungle, before going off to explore the surrounding area with your guide.
And with that, our incredible month in Bolivia had come to an end! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful! Feel free to leave any comments or feedback you have, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.