Sandwiched between Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina, the South America country of Bolivia can sometimes struggle to get a look in with all those big neighbours around. But get a look in it certainly should, as this smaller South American country doesn’t hold back when it comes to epic things to do here. From the steamy amazon to the soaring Andes, colonial cities to salt flats so huge they’re visible from space, it’s definitely safe to say that Bolivia – despite its smaller size – is a veritable feast for travellers.
It’s also one of the cheapest South American countries too, making it ideal for backpackers. Bolivia’s rich cultural heritage, bustling markets and good traveller safety all add to its appeal and make this country a must. So if you’re planning a trip here soon, kick off your planning with a list of my things to do in Bolivia.
I was thinking about saving this one, because I didn’t want to give you everything on a plate too early, but let me tell you that riding La Paz’s cable cars is absolutely on the best things to do in Bolivia! Known as Mi Teleférico, this is essentially the capital’s metro system and is perfect for a city that’s not only very high, but also has a great many hills! The super visionary system began with just 3 lines, but when I visited, there were 6 in operation and depending on when you make it there, there might be even more! A super easy system to use, with each line coloured like in a Metro network, you can hop on and off these cable cars, switch between the lines at various interchange stations and generally get a great aerial view of the city for next to nothing!
Running for 17 hours a day, from 7 am to 11 pm, you pay for rides using a simple card system, which you can buy and top up at just about any station. And now we move onto the best day trips Bolivia has to offer – this one from the city of La Paz. Yup, top of the adrenaline day trip list is the famous Death Road – a mad cycling day adventure that sees you peddling one of the world’s most dangerous roads as part of a wild bicycle tour. It’s certainly worth choosing a reputable operator for this dangerous undertaking, as well as reading reviews carefully, because accidents can happen.
However, being sensible and following the instructions of your guide can make it a really fun day. Well it is and as an example of why Bolivia seems mad to an outsider are some of the local customs. One of my personal favs and absolutely one of the best things to see in Bolivia is the blessing of the cars aka the Bendiciones de Movilidades in Copacabana! Yup, linked to the fact this lakeside town is a place of pilgrimage due a miracle having happened here (soz I’m hazy on the deets) this is a spectacle that, twice a day, involves people bringing their cars to the church to be blessed by the priest here. Happening at 11am and 2pm (with more vehicles on Sundays) this is quite the custom to take in as vehicles of all shapes and sizes get sprayed with the holy Coca Cola. It’s quite the sight to get your head around! Learn more about what else you can enjoy in Copacabana in this travel guide I wrote about the town.