Don’t miss these 5 places to visit in Bolivia including: riding the cable-cars in La Paz, watching the sunrise over Lake Titicaca, hiking the Valley of the Moons, eating the street food in Copacabana, and taking the “Death Road” into the Bolivian Amazon. Bolivia is a hidden gem for adventure, amazing food, and beautiful photo locations - keep reading to hear more about my favorite places and favorite activities from my trip to Bolivia.
We are on the airplane – and are finally off on our next adventure! I spent the past several months busy with a growing business, so honestly it is so refreshing to be able to just take a moment to step away (since it has been several months since my last travels).
Our journey will take us 3 weeks across 3 different countries Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador (and the Galapagos). I have been to South America before, but it has been over a year – so I am very excited to be back! Our schedule is busy (as always) but we are excited to experience so many new & beautiful places! Our first stop will be La Paz, Bolivia – one of the highest elevation cities in the world (at over 10,000 feet). This will be my first time to Bolivia, and I am very excited! At the end of my stay my goal is to compile a country guide of my top cultural experiences, activities, eats, and accommodations so that you will be inspired to visit one day. After La Paz we will head to Lake Titicaca & Puno before continuing onwards to Peru.
As a young female traveler, it is my hope that I will inspire other young, solo, or female travelers to go forth in the world and change perspective. There is so much good out there, and I want all of you to see that. Make sure to subscribe to my blog, Instagram, & YouTube channel so you can follow me in real time as I adventure around the world for the next 3 weeks!
First Stop: La Paz | Did you know that there is a city in the world that it’s main form of transport as cable cars? Not to mention that the population of this city is over 2 million?
Bolivia is a beautiful country, and La Paz is by far one of the most stunning cities I have ever visited. At 4,000 meters elevation the city is set amongst mountains, with colorful houses dotting the landscape.
We stayed at La Casona, a beautiful 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city & in perfect walking distance to all the highlights. We arrived early (5:30am to be exact) in the morning at the international airport, and were met by our guide and chauffeured to the hotel. We had several hours to relax at the hotel’s beautiful common area before starting our city tour at 9am with our guide Ricky. First we visited the valley of the Moons – which is a beautiful natural park located right outside of the city. After a scenic hike (roughly 40 minutes) we returned to the city for a “2nd breakfast” of Saltinas. The best way to explain this dish is Chicken Pot Pie meets spicy Potato soup, and it is actually quite delicious!
We continue onwards to take the orange cable car (1 of 7 in the city) to get a scenic view of the mountains, valleys, houses, and city life. I am still in awe of how expensive the cable car system in La Paz is. It was not built for tourists, but for locals and people take it everywhere.
After an sweep over the city by cable car, we continued onwards to visit the famous colonial streets, where you can find some of the best local foods in the city. Just across the bridge from the main part of the city is the San Francisco Church & the Witches market. The church is the oldest in Bolivia and the market, well sells herbs and “magic potions” for people who need help with a certain area in their lives (and are a bit superstitious). We finished our guided tour at the markets, and were within easy walking distance to our hotel.
Honestly, if you go to Bolivia stay at the La Casona – as it is a beautiful boutique & in the HEART of the city. We were able to easily return for an afternoon nap before setting out for another venture around the city.
For dinner we returned to a favorite local restaurant that our guide Ricky recommended – chicken, pork, potatoes, and white Bolivian corn were all on the menu. We ordered a large portion to share and were quite surprised at how delicious the food was. The trick in Bolivia, add the extra spicy sauce they give you at every meal – as it makes the food 100x more delicious.
Before heading back to our hotel we set out on a final cable car ride for the evening, watching the sun set behind the nearby mountains. Absolutely stunning, and the perfect way to end the evening!
Second Stop: Copacabana | Did you know that lake Titicaca is the highest elevation lake in the world? The lake is surrounded by Bolivia on it’s southern side and Peru on it’s northern side and is the birth place of the Ancient Incan civilization.
We traveled overland from Copacabana, Bolivia to Puno, Peru and it was one of the most scenic rides of our trip. High mountains to our left and the beautiful Titicaca lake to our right. Floating villages dot the lake, and I definitely recommend taking the time to visit on of them!
The border crossing was smooth, and as always – the official commented on how many pages I have in my passport. It went someone like – “wow, I need to be with you – you’ve been places!” We arrived in Puno and checked into our beautiful hotel in the main city center, Tierra Viva, and had a beautiful morning exploring the city.
In the morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet. My favorite food in all of South America (especially Peru) is their delicious breakfast granola, made from puffed quinoa and other delicious grains! We were met by our guide in the morning, and taken to our speedboat to begin our island hopping journey. We stopped by 3 islands (one of which was a traditional floating village) and learned all about the culture, people, and way of living on the world’s highest and one of the world’s largest lakes.
The locals are very beautiful, dressing in bright colored skirts, boleros, hats, belts, and scarves. They are a culture that works hard & plays hard. If you live on a floating village, it will only last for 20-25 years so chances are that sometime during your lifetime you will have to completely rebuild your village.
We participated in a dance, and a hands-on cooking experience. Traditional people in this part of Peru cook all their food underground, so we were able to watch as the trout, chicken, potatoes, and beans were prepared and served.
Third Stop: Puno | Are you familiar with the ancient floating villages in South America? Welcome to Lake Titicaca, a lake that spans from Bolivia to Peru and has more scenic views than any one person can take in on a single day. We deleted via bus from La Paz in the morning, crossed the lake via ferry, and arrived in Copacabana by the afternoon.
If you visit Bolivia, there are 3 places you should not miss out on: 1) La Paz City, 2) Yuni Salt Flats, and 2) Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. We did not have the chance to visit the salt flats during this visit, but I do want to stress that Yuni is a place that you should DEFINITELY put on your bucket list.
As we were visiting both Bolivia & Peru, we chose to visit Lake Titicaca – and were not disappointed. Copacabana is situated on the shores of the lake, with a beautiful lookout to the water from multiple places throughout the city. We chose to hike to a famous viewpoint, to see an aerial view of the picturesque town.
Following our brief hike (well needed after several hours in the bus) we continued onwards and to visit the city square & main cathedral. Copacabana’s cathedral is the most well known throughout Bolivia, and people come from all across the country to get married here. It was a special experience for us to be able to visit.
We visited the markets in the early evening, trying Bolivian popcorn, traditional soups, and other delicious eats which was a wonderful way to experience the cuisine of a different region of Bolivia.
We only have a few days in Bolivia (I wish we had more) but are glad that we were able to experience so much!
Southern Peru is a beautiful place, and one that I would like to explore much more in depth. Lake Titicaca to Cusco, the capital city of the Incan Empire, is a scenic & significant route. Lake Titicaca is known as the birthplace of the Inca civilization, after which the people began to migrate to Cusco.
The last time I was in Cusco was almost exactly 2 years ago, and to this day it is still one of my favorite travel destination. Today I return for the second time, and am very excited for my visit. This time Andrew is with me, so it is sure to be special. Let me share some of my favorite highlights / memories of Cusco.
The main square at night. Make sure that you stay at a hotel within walking distance of the main square, because you definitely need to visit multiple times (early morning and night being the best).
Lomo Saltado. Please try the local foods, as Peru is known for its delicious (and fine cuisine). Limo Saltado is a vey famous dish in the Andean region of Peru (marinated meat and vegetables) and it is delicious.
The mountains. Everywhere you go around Cusco will take you into the valleys or the mountains. Be sure to visit both. Many people visit Machu Picchu but fail to visit all the other majestic mountains (such as Panchanta and Ausangate). Growing up in the mountains, I really appreciate the beautiful scenery in Peru.
Let’s get to Cusco already! I am excited for more adventures!