1. La Paz – At an altitude of 3660m, La Paz is located in very dramatic and beautiful surroundings. It took a few days to get used to the altitude, so I took it easy for the first day or two before embarking on my Bolivia tour. The famous witches market kept me busy for some time, it's full of lots of unusual stuff, including treated llama fetuses, which are meant to be buried beneath a newly build home for good luck! The Iglesia de San Francisco is very beautiful and the area around it is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. I got a bus up to El Alto, a large town on the outskirts of La Paz, that offers amazing views across La Paz.
2. The Yungas – This is the area between the dry highlands and wet lowlands, and is the setting for the world's most dangerous road. We drive up and out of La Paz for about an hour to an altitude of around 4700m; from here we got our mountain bikes and set off along the 70km journey along one of the most stunning and equally as dangerous roads down to an altitude of 1200m. This is a must do for anyone looking for a Bolivia adventure holiday. You start surrounded by cliff faces and snow-capped mountains and finish in the warmth of the topical lowlands.
3. Madidi National Park – Any Bolivia tour would not be complete without a visit to the Amazon jungle. From La Paz there are two ways to get to Rurrenabaque, the gateway to the Bolivian Amazon. The first involves a bus journey of anywhere between 18 to 24 hours, the second, a 1 hour flight. I stupidly took the first. The journey was very memorable, but I would definitely recommend the flight to make the most of your time on your Bolivia holiday, which is what I took to return to La Paz. The jungle lodge I stayed at was a 4 hour boat ride deep into virgin rain forest. We went on many different boat and walking safaris, learnt all about jungle survival and even went Piranha fishing.
4. Isla del Sol – The island of the sun is found on Lake Titicaca near to the beautiful town of Copacabana. I caught the bus from La Paz and 4 hours later I arrived in the lovely little town of Copacabana. I'd been to Puno on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca before, but this was so much nicer and a place I could have stayed at for quite some time. I got a boat early one morning to the far end of the island and spend the next 6 hours walking to the main village on the Island where I was staying for the night. The views were stunning and there were lots of interesting Inca sites along the way. I spend the night in a lovely little family run hotel, where I was made to feel very much like one of the family, a memorable experience on my Bolivia trip.
5. Salar De Uyuni – These Bolivian salt flats are the largest on earth and are one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I caught the night bus from La Paz to Uyuni and arrived early the next morning. The following day I set out with 5 other travelers in a Toyota Land Cruiser to explore the salt lake. Nothing could prepare me for that first glimpse, it really is like another world. We drve into the middle of the salt lake and as far as the eye could see in all directions, was white salt and the blue sky. We visited the odd little 'Fish Island', which is covered in 1000's of cactus's and then took the customary funny photos on the salt. Due to there being no perception of distance, you can create some really interesting photos- a must for your Bolivia holiday album!
6. The southwestern circuit – This area to the south of the Bolivian salt flats is dotted with extinct volcanoes and colored lakes. After the Salar de Uyuni I did not think I was going to be very impressed with the rest of the journey, but I was very much mistaken. The scenery on the Altiplano is just outstanding, llamas and Alpacas roam the area, flamingos feed in the many lakes and with visits to some hot springs and exploding geysers, I had a very memorable 3 day adventure.
7. Potosi – This is the world's highest city at an altitude of 4070m. The city is very pretty with its colonial architecture, but it's the surrounding silver mines that are the main attraction here. Potosi was once the richest city in the world due to the abundance of silver in the surrounding mountains and many of the mines still exist today. I went on a guided trip to one of the mines to see the conditions in which the miners work and to meet a few of the miners. We visited the local market on the way to the mine so we could buy a few small gifts for the miners, such as coca leaves, cigarettes and even a stick of dynamite!
8. Sucre – The countries official capital is also the most beautiful. It's known as 'The White City' (as the majority of buildings are painted in white), has even more examples of colonial archetypes than Potosi and was even declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1991. It's a great place is spend a few days of your Bolivia trip, with a wealth of churches and museums, excellent accommodation options and plenty to see and do in the surrounding area. Many stay (as I did) for a lot longer than planned.
9. Tupiza – Situated in the far south of the country about 5 hours from Uyuni. The main reason I wanted to visit this area was because of the dramatic landscapes I had heard about and to explore the area where Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid spent their last months. Tupiza is a laid back little town and is the place to base yourself for trips out into the surrounding area. I did a 4×4 trip to the visually stunning wilderness of the Quebradas and visited the remote village of San Vicente where the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid story ended. Well worth it if you have the time.
10. Samaipata – This picturesque and laid back town is the gateway to the archaeological site of El Fuerte that was designated a Unesco World Heritage site in 1998. Apart from this, the town has in recent years developed into one of Bolivia's top gringo hangouts. Some will hate it, but it is a great place to spend a few days if you want to meet some fellow travelers, as there are some great, foreign-run hostels here. I spent a few days here relaxing before ending my Bolivia tour and heading south into Argentina.