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Bolivia is a huge country with an incredible natural and historical heritage. This is a country worthwhile to explore, and it is really good to do it slowly so one can really be immersed in the local culture and experience the wild beauty of a country where tourism is still in its early stages. Here are ten suggestions of places not to miss when visiting this Andean destination.
1- Titicaca Lake: It is shared by both Peru and Bolivia. It is located at a high altitude. A beautiful place with incredible panoramas, it takes around four hours from La Paz, and if one is really in the mood of adventure it is a good idea to take a boat to one of the islands in the center of the lake.
2- Copacabana: A typical town located in the shores of Titicaca lake: there are many colonial churches, one of the most appealing is the basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, a national shrine dating to the 16th century.
3- Tiwuanaku: This is a pre-Hispanic site with impressive ruins. It was the capital of what is considered the most important civilization before the Incas. It is located 46 miles from La Paz, half way to Titicaca Lake; it is included in the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO.
4- La Paz: It is considered the highest capital of the world. The truth is that the official capital is Sucre, but this is the administrative center of the country. A huge city surrounded by snowy peaked Mountains. The airport is as well the highest one of the world. There are many things to see in La Paz.
5- Salar de Uyuni: It is the largest salt flat in the world. It is far from everything but a trip and an experience that is really worthwhile.
6- Oruro: One of the most colorful carnivals of the world happens here every year. So visit Oruro during the carnival that is even included in the list of cultural heritage manifestations of the world by the UNESCO.
7- Cochabamba: this University City is particularly beautiful. The downtown has many colonial buildings, the cathedral is impressive. La Cancha is one of the biggest open markets of the world. The nightlife is particularly alive in Cochabamba, on the weekends this is a city that does not sleep thanks to the many students that come here from around the world.
8- Chapare: it takes around 3 hours from Cochabamba and one is transported from the high Andean Mountains to a Tropical paradise with lush vegetation and many opportunities for adventure sports such as Canopy.
9- Sucre: It is the constitutional Capital of Bolivia and probably the most beautiful city. There are many buildings with rich architecture dating from the colonial age. Churches here are really impressive and even when it is a small city there is certainly a lot to explore.
10- The Amazonian forest: There are different places to use as base to explore the Amazonian riches from the Bolivian side. It has to be a well planned trip, one needs to take a domestic flight to almost any of these places, it can be Puerto Suarez, Cobija or Riberalta and from any of these points it is easy to take an excursion to the jungle. This is a very different face of the rest of the country.
An update for Americans is that they may now get their visa on arrival in Bolivia. One must have $135 in exact change, it is better to have proof of yellow fever vaccine, proof of means to travel and return ticket.