I have rarely been as impressed with a country’s landscape as I was when I travelled through Bolivia. From the Andes to the Amazon, everywhere you look you can find amazing examples of just why so many people are continuing to travel to Bolivia. Here are 5 hidden gems (or not so hidden) that you can seek out in Bolivia, although I am excluding Lake Titicaca from this list, as I have covered it already from the Peruvian side in another blog.
Cerro Rico is a mountain in the Andes near the Bolivian city of Potosí. Cerro Rico was famous for providing vast quantities of silver for Spain during the period of the New World Spanish Empire. The mountain, which is popularly conceived of as being “made of” silver ore, caused the city of Potosí to become one of the largest cities in the New World up to the beginning of the 18th century.
Valle de la Luna is situated about 10km from downtown La Paz. It consists of an area where erosion has worn away the majority of a mountain, composed primarily of clay rather than rock, leaving tall spires. It is an important site of the famous holiday, Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The appearance of Valle de la Luna very much reminds me of the national parks of Malaysia and Madagascar.
Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and is located near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 12,000ft above sea level. It was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. The large area, clear skies, and exceptional flatness of the surface makes Salar de Uyuni an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of Earth observation satellites. Salar de Uyuni also serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos.
Tiwanaku is a very popular ruin site and may have been inhabited as early as 1500 BC as a small agricultural village. During the time period between 300 BC and AD 300, Tiwanaku is thought to have been a moral and cosmological centre for the Tiwanaku empire, and one to which many people made pilgrimages.
Madidi National Park ranges from the glacier-covered peaks of the high Andes Mountains to the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi River, and is recognised as one of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions. If you can find your way here, there are plenty of cheap eco-lodges to rent, and it gives you the chance to say “I slept in the Amazon!”.