Planning Your Trip to Bolivia
Ten days is an ideal amount of time to spend in Bolivia. It will allow you to link tours of the capital of La Paz with other regions, like the highlands around Lake Titicaca, the national parks of the Bolivian Amazon, and the southern Uyuni Salt Flats. You can also combine a highlights trip of Bolivia with a crossover into neighboring Peru and the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
If you can spare two weeks, commit to exploring Bolivia's culture. After all, this country has the largest indigenous population in South America, which you can see in its rural communities, villages, and cities. You can also experience this rich heritage on hiking tours of protected areas and reserves like Apolobamba National Park, located in the highlands of La Paz Department, and Madidi National Park, in the Amazon River Basin.
It's still possible to craft an unforgettable Bolivia trip in five days or a week; you'll just have to focus on one or two locales. Make La Paz your base for explorations of the Yungas Cloud Forest and Lake Titicaca. Or head straight for the Bolivian Amazon for canoe rides down rivers and visits with indigenous tribes. Alternatively, you could always stay in La Paz and spend five or so days on an urban-jungle safari of its historic buildings plus ride the soaring cable car over the city.
Bolivia in 5 Days
Even with just five days to spare, there's a lot to see and do in Bolivia. You can visit different ecosystems sitting right next to one another.
One great example is an urban adventure in the nation's capital of La Paz. It includes a scenic cable car ride above this high-altitude metropolis (La Paz sits at 11,893 feet/3,625 m), but you'll also venture beyond it. Tour the ruins of temples and giant monoliths at Tiwanaku, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hop on a bicycle and brace yourself for a windy downhill ride along Death Road in the Yungas Cloud Forest, where the Andes drop down into the Amazon. Cap the trip with a cultural exchange with Afro-Bolivian coca-leaf farmers.
To experience the lower-altitude side of the country, plan an adventure in the Bolivian Amazon. Transfer from the capital to Rurrenabaque, a town on the Beni River, the gateway to Bolivia's northern Amazon rainforests. Embark on canoe rides down the Beni as you pass through indigenous biosphere reserves deeper into the jungle. Hike along jungle trails, spot exotic wildlife like spider monkeys, and overnight at ecolodges in the villages of indigenous tribes. You'll spend time with these locals and learn about their traditions, from farming to hunting to basket-weaving.
Major highlights of Bolivia are the southern Atacama Desert and Uyuni Salt Flats. This itinerary starts in Chile's far north, at the border with Bolivia, and in the desert village of San Pedro de Atacama. On 4x4 tours of the surrounding desert, you'll visit otherworldly landscapes like the Valley of the Moon, plus travel to snow-capped volcanoes, natural geysers, and flamingo-filled alkaline lagoons. The excursion even includes a dip in natural hot springs and a ride across the sprawling salar (salt flats). At night be sure to admire the stars, which are never more vivid or appear closer than they do on this high plateau.
Check out this article for more 5-day itineraries.
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Bolivia in 7 Days
Rounding up your Bolivia adventure to a week allows you to combine city tours with natural parks, immerse yourself in the Amazon, experience the cultural heritage of Lake Titicaca, and much more.
Make it a comprehensive adventure with a highlights tour that traverses the country. It begins with tours of two historic cities: Santa Cruz de la Sierra was founded in the 16th century and is now the commercial center of the country; Sucre, in the southern highlands, has a colonial center home to La Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia signed its proclamation of independence from Spain in 1825. After a walking tour of Potosí, another colonial gem (and UNESCO World Heritage Site), transfer to the southern city of Uyuni and drive on the world's largest salt flat. The trip ends with a day hike up Tunupa Volcano.
For a well-rounded itinerary in Bolivia's Andean region, there's this exploration of La Paz & Lake Titicaca. In the capital, visit historic landmarks like the 18th-century San Francisco Cathedral and the mystical Witches' Market, a purveyor of medicinal herbs. You'll also prepare authentic Andean cuisine in a cooking class and watch a Bolivian wrestling match. Then head to nearby Lake Titicaca, the highest altitude lake in the world at 12,507 feet (3,812 m). During the last couple of days, you'll take boat rides to the Island of the Moon, learn the art of llama herding, and cast some nets with local fishermen.
There's more to see in tropical lowland Bolivia on an immersive Amazon adventure. Like the 5-day tour, you'll branch off from the town of Rurrenabaque along the Quiquibey River, riding through the Bala Gorge as you pass through biosphere reserves. After overnighting in tribal villages and embarking on jungle hikes, you'll arrive at an ecolodge in Madidi National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world and which is wholly run by indigenous tribes. Marvel at the 1,000 bird species here (including red and green macaws), spot yellow squirrel monkeys, and go fishing for piranhas in jungle lagoons.
Check out more 7-day itineraries.
Bolivia in 10 Days
In 10 days, you have enough time to take combined trips of both the Andes and Amazon, hit the country's highlights, and even hop the border into Peru to visit awe-inspiring Inca ruins.
Bolivia is full of natural wonders, and you'll see many on this tour of its landscapes. After acclimating to La Paz's altitude (12,000 feet/3,658 m), head to the lower altitude city of Cochabamba. From there, visit Torotoro National Park, in the eastern mountains, for canyon hiking and spelunking around Umajalanta Cavern. The last leg of the trip takes you to the far south, where you'll visit a salt museum and a little island rising out of the Uyuni Salt Flats that offers panoramic views of the salar (salt flat). Cap the trip with a stop at alkaline lagoons and a national reserve to see llamas and pink flamingos.
To get the most out of Bolivia, combine the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. Discover La Paz on a city tour, then head northwest to Lake Titicaca to see ancient Inca ruins on the mythical Isla del Sol. After visiting a local agro-tourism project, you'll hike around nearby mountain ranges and overnight in an indigenous community where you'll participate in a basket-weaving workshop. Then fly to the heart of Bolivia's Amazon rainforest for birding in Madidi National Park and enjoy a wildlife safari down the Yacuma River to spot exotic animals like caimans, capybaras, and pink river dolphins.
This natural wonders of Peru and Bolivia itinerary is perfect for outdoor excursionists who want to see even more of South America. It begins in the incomparable city of Cusco, a Spanish colonial marvel that's the gateway to Peru's Inca wonders. Archeological sites you'll visit include Sacsayhuamán and Quenqo, the ruins of the city of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and of course, Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Inca citadel. Then hop the border for sightseeing in La Paz, 4x4 trips on the salar, cruising Lake Titicaca by catamaran, and hiking with llamas to an ancient Incan necropolis.
Check out this article for more 10-day itineraries.
Bolivia in 2 Weeks
With two weeks, you can choose to dive as deep into the culture of Bolivia as you like, whether that's immersing yourself in indigenous heritage or trekking through the Andes to pre-Columbian ruins.
For deep culture and history, there's this landscapes and communities tour. After seeing the highlights of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, you'll travel to the nearby town of Samaipata, home to the pre-Incan ceremonial site of El Fuerte. Enjoy a hike through three distinct ecosystems in Amboro National Forest, plus a trek around Torotoro National Park. Tour the famous White City of Sucre and visit the Cal Orcko Footprints, the world's largest concentration of dinosaur tracks. The last portion of the trip includes traveling to Uyuni, city tours of La Paz, and visiting indigenous communities in the Yunga region.
There's this multi-day trek through the Andes and Amazon for an itinerary that will test your physical endurance. First, ride the gondola from La Paz up to adjacent El Alto, one of the highest cities in the world at 13,615 feet (4,000 m). After exploring Lake Titicaca, you'll begin your mountain trek in Apolobamba National Park. Hike from village to village, enjoy mountain views, take a dip in natural hot springs, and meet members of Quechua indigenous communities. Embark on more hiking through the jungles of Madidi National Park as you make your way up to viewpoints overlooking the Amazon Basin.
Or focus your energy on Bolivia's mountains with this adventure in the highlands. Explore Sucre, a colonial throwback that was once a favorite holiday spot for Spanish aristocrats—a must-visit highlight is the Museum of Indigenous Art. Then see the unusual rock formations at the nearby Maragua Crater and its fossils embedded in petrified Jurassic mud. Head to Potosí to see highlights like its 19th-century Cathedral, then travel south to visit red-rock canyons, otherworldly geysers, and hot springs. After exploring high-altitude lagoons and volcanoes, you'll fly north for an excursion to Lake Titicaca.
Check out this article for more 14-day itineraries.
More Great Bolivia Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bolivia? Check out these other Bolivia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.