Bolivia Travel Guide – Backpacking South America

Planning a visit to La Paz? Read my Bolivia Travel Guide for the best places to visit and things do to on your journey.

Home for me is a lot of places. It’s California where I grew up, Hawaii where I plan to move back to after my travels, and it’s Bolivia. My family’s roots are here. Every visit is filled with new experiences, but most importantly, it’s an opportunity to connect with the people I love the most, my family.

Bolivia Travel Guide – La Paz

I recently spent a month in Bolivia, visiting La Paz, Coroico, and Cochabamba. I arrived just before winter and got to see snowfall in La Cumbre on the way back from Coroico.

It’s been several years since I’ve been back and riding the teleferico was new for me.  Several lines take you to different areas of La Paz, and the view of Illimani, the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real Mountain range is spectacular.  I typically spend most of my time in the Zona Sur, but a visit to El Centro is always a must. My aunt and I walked to the Iglesia de San Francisco, a beautiful church located in the Plaza de San Francisco on our tour of the city. Nearby, you’ll find Calle Sagarnaga, which is your go-to place for all things made in Bolivia.

Getting around the city is easy and cheap. There is no shortage of transportation, and each vehicle is clearly marked with the destination, making it very easy for locals and visitors.

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Travel Guide for Bolivia – Valle de la Luna

Also in La Paz, Valle de la Luna, located in Mallasa is worth a visit. The lunar-like landscape has two paths that can quickly be done in less than an hour. My cousin Adriana and I walked here from Mallasilla, where my grandparents live, and every time I visit it takes me back to the time I used to live in Bolivia.

With an elevation of 3,640 meters, La Paz is the highest capital in the world. Take your time when you arrive so you can get acclimated.

Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni – Salt Flats

Visiting the Salt Flats in Bolivia was a bucket list experience for me. We arrived in Uyuni, and the train cemetery was the first stop on the tour of the salt flats tour.
It’s a train junkyard, and it’s fun to climb all the trains and swing on the swings.

The salt flats are beautiful! Stargazing at the Salar is incredible. We saw over 20+ shooting stars that night and slept in a hotel made of salt.

On the second day of the tour, we saw llamas, flamingos, twisters, and geysers. Try to get as comfortable as you can, because you’ll be in the car for several hours.
You’ll get to see “Arbol de piedra,” five lagoons including Laguna Colorada, and a volcano.


Coroico is a town in the Yungas region of Bolivia. My aunt Isabel and I took a bus to Villa Fatima and from there paid 35 Bolivianos ($5) to get to Coroico. We waited until the small van filled up before heading on the 2.5-hour drive through various different landscapes. We stayed in Hotel Esmeralda, which overlooks beautiful mountains. The hotel is only a 15-minute walk from the central plaza, and this small town is a nice escape from the city and a great place to relax surrounded by nature.

La Cumbre is located only 1 hour from La Paz. The mountain pass is 4460 meters high, and it’s the highest point on the highway connecting La Paz and Coroico. Seeing snow here was one of my favorite moments during my visit to Bolivia.

travel guide to bolivia

What to eat in Bolivia

When it comes to food, there is nothing quite like a Salteña.  It’s like an empanada, but it’s baked instead of fried. Typically filled with meat or chicken, olives, potatoes, and eggs, I had my fair share of them during my visit.


I always feel like there is never enough time to see and do all the things I want to do in Bolivia. During previous trips, I visited Salar de Uyuni, Santa Cruz, Lago Titicaca and Cochabamba which are all incredible places to visit. A big bucket list item for me was visiting Rurrenabaque, located in the North of Bolivia and the gateway for Madidi National Park. Unfortunately, sometimes life has other plans and due to some heavy rain, I wasn’t able to arrive there. But thankfully there is always the next time.