World Journeys Countries

With not much chance of outside influences over time, this land-locked country has the most preserved culture in South America. It is remarkable how you can still visit a place where people live on reed floating islands, even if well-kept for tourist visits, and the language and music has stood the tests of time without change. Lake Titicaca, shared with Peru, is the highest navigable lake in the world and the revered “Birthplace of the Incas” and it is worth spending at least two days in the area. The ancient Incas forged their path onwards along the great Royal Andes Mountains to Tiwanaku, where you can find ruins to explore, and onto La Paz, now the capital city. Bolivia is such a unique country that will reward you with life-long memories.

Lake Titicaca
Bordering Bolivia & Peru this is one of the highest lakes in the world. Visit the floating Uros Islands and learn about the life of the people living there. 

La Paz
Let this incredible place literally take your breath away as you explore one of the highest cities in the world! Visit the Witches Market to see traditional medicines being sold by bowler-hatted Indian ladies. Take a ride on a gondola to enjoy a panoramic view of the city from above and see the amazing lunar landscape in the Valley of the Moon.

Potosi
A famous colonial mining city, nestled at the foot of the Cerro Rico Mountain and during Spanish rule, the richest city in the Americas. Explore a working silver mine in Potosi and view the workers and the mining process much as it was under colonial times

Salar de Uyuni 
Enjoy the serenity of the largest salt flats in the world, The Uyuni Salt Flats. During the summer months the salt flats flood, creating a mirror effect and a photographers dream!

Sucre
Famous for pretty white washing buildings and famous museums, Sucre is a fabulous city to explore on foot.

Bolivia is a land of sharp contrast, and due to the levels of altitude the climatic conditions range from arctic to tropical.

There is no wrong time to visit, however layers are necessary as the difference between day and night temperatures can be like summer and winter.

My journey through Bolivia took me from the dizzying heights of La Paz through to Sucre, the Silver Mining Town of Potosi and onto my favourite place in the world – the incredible Uyuni Salt Flats. Having flown into La Paz directly from Santiago the altitude hit me pretty quickly – not surprising given the airport sits at 4100 above sea level! Taking the recommended advice of having a slow few days served me well and the hangover feeling soon disappeared.

La Paz is a fascinating city and definitely worth a few days exploring places such as Valley of the Moon, the craft markets and also the bazaar witches’ market where you will find potions for just about anything and everything!

Travelling onto Sucre a town which has a beautiful colonial feel with pretty buildings, town square which made for a lovely place for exploring on foot. From there it was onto Potosi a silver mining town where I took the opportunity to visit a silver mine. Donning the full miners gear it was down into the mine which was a maze of narrow and low pathways – OSH would not have been impressed with the state of it and not an experience for the faint hearted! (I loved it).

From Potosi it was onto the long awaited highlight of the trip, the Uyuni Salt Flats which can only be described as the closest place to heaven on earth. The environment is so remote, serene and pristine with the reflections from the water creating what looked like the worlds largest mirror. Needless to say it is a photographers dream and many hours were spent taking photos. The accommodation that night was a surprise as the little hotel in the middle of nowhere was made completely of salt – even the tables, chairs and bed!

Thinking that Bolivia could not get any better it was then 3 days of travelling across the Altiplano otherwise known as a ‘high pass’. What I was not expecting was three days of some of the most incredible scenery I have seen in my life – bright red volcanoes, turquoise lakes with flamingos scattered on their shores and skies so blue.

Many travellers only get as far as Lake Titicaca or Laz – Bolivia is so much more than that and worth the time to explore. If you travel for landscapes, Bolivia will not disappoint and for this reason is one of my favourite counties I have been lucky enough to explore.

Davina Bennetto, Sales Executive

Currency Boliviano

Language More than 30 languages are spoken throughout Bolivia though the official languages are Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Tupi Guarani.

Why we love it Bolivia’s spectacular landscapes combined with the highest concentration of indigenous peoples in Latin America is a big draw-card for us. In addition, we love the very popular Incan route from Lima to La Paz or vice versa although we would recommend ending this journey in La Paz as it is at the higher altitude. La Paz is in fact the highest capital city in the world at 3,600m. The topography of the city is quite other-worldly as you enter the city from “above” and descend down what appears to be a giant crater to the downtown area at the lowest level – thus the lower part of the city you live in, the better as it is not quite so “breathtaking”! The historical contrasts of the country are fascinating: silver mines generated great wealth in Spanish colonial times but today, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. And you can’t forget Lake Titicaca – the legendary ‘birthplace of the Incas’. Take a boat out to the floating reed islands of Uros – the locals live on these and it works! Being around the women in their traditional dress of derby hats (Charlie Chaplin style) and full skirts, making all kinds of unique handicrafts for the tourists coming through is just so incongruous that you cannot help but want to purchase something from all of them. Bolivia is truly unique!

Weather Bolivia is a land of sharp contrast, with climatic conditions ranging from arctic to tropical. It is divided into three distinct eco-zones: the bleak, windswept, high plain called the altiplano; the intermediary valley region; and the eastern tropical flat lowlands that make up about 70 percent of the country.

Social customs & quirks The essence of all life for Bolivians is Pachamama, or Mother Earth. This, combined with Christian beliefs that have been intertwined with the local Andean folklore are held in high esteem for all Bolivianos. One of the best places to see some of the local folklore is the La Paz witches market – quite an experience! It is customary to tip in Bolivia – 10% on top of the bill is standard and U$0.50c per piece of luggage for porterage. Useless trivia: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are still well remembered in the little mining town of Tupiza in Southern Bolivia where they died in a shoot-out in 1908.

Festivals & events Bolivia holds the annual Oruro Carnival which is highlighted by a ceremonial parade that lasts 20 hours, involves 20,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians and attracts more than 400,000 people.

Health* There are currently no health requirements entering Bolivia, although if you are travelling to the Amazon or rural areas you should contact your health practitioner for advice.

Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.

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