Updated: Mar 9
This week, we are going to an off-the-beaten-path destination, Bolivia. Bolivia is located just south of Peru and in the heart of the Andes Mountains. It is a lesser-known destination that is unique in many ways. Bolivia has the highest administrative capital of the world, La Paz, and the highest navigable lake. There are 36 official languages in Bolivia, with the majority of them being indigenous languages. Another uniquely Bolivian tradition is the Traffic Zebras, which are city employees dressed as Zebras at major and dangerous intersections to bring attention to traffic laws and increase safety while driving. Another prominent symbol of Bolivia is the Cholitas. They are indigenous women that often dress in a mixture of indigenous and colonial clothing, who were once forced to work low-paying jobs and now are a symbol of hope and hold roles in the government.
The more we discover about Bolivia, the more ready we are to explore the regions of this multinational country.
It is said that there are two Bolivias, an East and a West. In the west, you can find the rainforest and the Andes region of the country. You'll discover the beauty of the traditionally indigenous populations, the heritage of the country, and the soul of the highlands. The largest city in the West is La Paz, and just up the hill from La Paz is El Alto. El Alto is a must-do when visiting La Paz. It was once one of the largest trading ports in the region. El Alto has one of the largest markets in the area and is a favorite of both tourists and locals alike. Back down in the city of La Paz, taking their public transit, a system of Cable Cars high above the city, is a must. These cars provide a unique view of the city and a great way to get around.
The country's economic heart, the majority of the nation's wealth, comes from the country's eastern region. The second-largest natural gas field in Bolivia calls this region home, and it thrives on capitalism and continues to push the country forward. In the East, you will find the booming city of Santa Cruz. Known as Bolivia's most contemporary city, you will be able to take a walk down Monseñor Rivero, the location of the cities fanciest cafes and restaurants and a popular nightlife spot. In addition to the contemporary street, you can visit one of the cities oldest parks, Parque El Arenal. Here you can relax under the toborochi trees or take a small paddle boat around the scenic lagoon.
As the widest part of the Andes, the Altiplano is a subregion of the mountains primarily in Bolivia. The beauty of the highlands lives here from Lake Titicaca to the Salt Flats of Uyuni. These incredible natural wonders are unlike anything you've you've ever seen in your life. The Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa is one of the most famous reserves to visit on the Altiplano. Here you'll find the most wildlife of the Altiplano. Andean condors, Andean foxes, vicunas, viscachas, and three species of Flamingos all call this area home. If you are venturing out for the flamingos, Laguna Blanca, Laguna Collpa, and Laguna Verde are the best opportunities to find them.
The origins of the Amazon River start high in the Andes and cascade down into the eastern wetlands below. This area is full of unique wildlife, incredible views, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Exploring the river basin typically starts in Rurrenabaque, the closest city to the region. From there, you'll dive deep into the forest, either by boat or on a strenuous hiking trek. If you choose the boat option, you'll encounter more wildlife (including swimming with dolphins), learn more about the ecology, and take in a beautiful sunrise over the forest.
Now that you know the differences between the regions and how much the country of Bolivia can differ, schedule a consultation to start planning your trip today!