Bolivia lies at the heart of South America and a holiday in Bolivia involves exploring something of a well-kept secret. Known as 'Upper Peru', until after Simon Bolivar led the country to independence in 1825, it is a land of contrasts. This is where you will find; colonial towns, salt flats as far as the eye can see, jagged mountains draped in Amazonian jungle, 6,000 metre peaks covered in glaciers and the most dangerous road in the world.
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It is also the most indigenous of the South American countries with over 80% of the population being of direct indigenous descent. Native religions, dialects, clothes, music and medicines all form part of the daily life on the street. While the Spanish influence is strong in the colonial architecture, most notably in Sucre, Bolivia has remained close its roots.
Upscale hotels and international standard restaurants are hard to come by and the infrastructure may need some work, but the country's charm lies in its people and the experiences you will have travelling through this beautiful country.
Time to travel:
There are primarily two seasons in Bolivia. The dry season is from May to October, whilst the wet season is from November to April. It is coldest during the months of June to September and wettest from December to March. The dry season is best for travel due to the better road conditions and generally sunny skies and warm temperatures during the day. Travel to most regions of Bolivia is certainly possible year round but you must be prepared to deal with the seasonal changes, all of which can happen in one day.
Located at 11,811 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, La Paz is the highest capital in the world and a city of stunning architectural beauty and colourful contrasts. In short, La Paz is a melting pot
The Bolivian Amazon is actually better known as the Yungas. This is where the Andean mountains meet the Amazon and steep low lying hills are covered in the jungle canopy. The main area of interest is the Madidi National Park
Located in Northern Bolivia on the high plateau or ‘Altiplano’ is Lake Titicaca. The Altiplano has an average altitude of 4,000 metres, which makes the lake, at a size of 8,300 sq km, the highest navigable lake in the world.
The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest and highest salt desert sitting at an altitude of 3,650 meters above sea level. This amazing salt desert covers 4,200 square miles and is surrounded by high Andean peaks.
During the colonial days in Bolivia Sucre was known as "Paris of the Americas." It was a city of extreme wealth and fine arts. Many of these wealthy individuals owned mines throughout the region and lived in Sucre
Potosi has had various accolades attached to it over the centuries; situated 4,070 meters above the sea level makes it the highest city in the world, in 1650 it was the most populated city in the world with more residents than London or Paris.
Bolivia featured lodges:
The Chalalan Lodge is an eco-lodge independently run by the indigenous Quechua-Tacana community of San Jose de Uchupiamonas and is located deep inside the Madidi National Park.
The Parador Santa Maria is a lovely little hotel in the heart of the city. It has been recently renovated but it has retained its original structure and the little that made it so popular before.