What is Bolivia known for?
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- Bolivia, country of west-central South America.
- Extending some 950 miles (1,500 km) north-south and 800 miles (1,300 km) east-west, Bolivia is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest and west by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru.
- Bolivia shares Lake Titicaca, the second largest lake in South America (after Lake Maracaibo), with Peru.
- The country has been landlocked since it lost its Pacific coast territory to Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879–84), but agreements with neighbouring countries have granted it indirect access to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
- The constitutional capital is the historic city of Sucre, where the Supreme Court is established, but the administrative capital is La Paz, where the executive and legislative branches of government function.
Bolivia has so much to offer, here are some of the things Bolivia is known for.
Salar de Uyuni
Who knew feeling this cold could feel so good? While a three- to four-day jeep tour through the world’s largest salt flat: will leave your bones chattering, it could quite possibly be the defining experience of your Bolivian adventure. The vastness, austerity and crystalline perfection of the salt flat will inspire you. An early-morning exploration of rock gardens, geyser fields and piping-hot springs along with the camaraderie of three days on the road with your fellow ‘Salterians’ will create a lasting memory.
Parque Nacional Madidi
Perhaps the most biodiverse area on the planet, Parque Nacional Madidi: encompasses a spellbinding range of habitats, from Andean mountains to steamy lowland rainforests, home to an astonishing array of wildlife. Take it all in on guided rainforest walks and boat trips on the river before bedding down for the night at one of several community-run ecolodges. Here the cinematic beauty of the surroundings is enhanced by a soundtrack of birdsong at dawn, the buzzing of insects, the call of the howler monkey and the croaking of frogs.
Trekking in the Cordillera Real
Walk in the path of the Incas along the many trekking routes that weave their way from the Andes into the Amazon Basin, through the remarkable skyward-bound wilderness of the Cordillera Real:. These four- to 14-day treks are no small undertaking, but it will be worth every step, every drop of sweat and every blister. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to dine with locals, cool off beside cascading waterfalls and connect with Pachamama (Mother Earth) deep within her potent green realm.
Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca
Plopped onto sprawling Lake Titicaca like the cherry on an ice-cream sundae, Isla del Sol: is considered the birthplace of Andean civilization. You can easily spend four days here, tracking down forgotten Inca roads to small archaeological sites, remote coves and intact indigenous communities. At the end of the day, take in the sunset with a cerveza (beer) from your ridgetop lodge. The lake itself has a magnetism, power and energy unique to this world – no wonder many claim the ancient civilization of Atlantis was found here.
Cosmopolitan Samaipata: manages to retain the air of a relaxing mountain village, despite becoming an increasingly unmissable stop on the Bolivian tourist trail. But it’s not just the rolling valley views, pleasant climate, great-value accommodations and top-class restaurants that bring in the visitors. Samaipata's proximity to the mystical El Fuerte ruins and a series of worthy day trips to nearby areas of outstanding natural beauty mean that many visitors find themselves staying for a lot longer than they planned.
Glistening in the Andean sun, the white city of Sucre: is the birthplace of the nation and a must-see for any visitor to Bolivia. Occupying a lush valley, surrounded by mountains, it’s an eclectic mix of the old and the new. Here you can while away your days perusing historic buildings and museums, and spend your nights enjoying the city's famous nightlife. Visitors to Sucre invariably fall in love with the place; count on staying longer than planned.
Said to be the highest city in the world, Potosí: once sat upon a land laden with silver that funded the Spanish empire for centuries. Though the silver mines lie barren, the remnants of the wealthy past can still be seen through the cracked brickwork of the ornate colonial-era buildings and wonderfully preserved churches. Potosí's most famous museum, the Casa de la Moneda, was once Bolivia's national mint and offers a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of a city that once described itself as 'the envy of kings.'
Wine Tasting near Tarija
Take a deep breath of the thin mountain air and prepare to get dizzy sampling wine from the world's highest vineyards. Tarija: wines, produced in a Mediterranean climate at altitudes of up to 2400m, are sold throughout Bolivia and have received international plaudits for their fresh, aromatic taste. Whether you prefer tinto, rosado or blanco (red, rosé or white), you are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the quality on offer and may find yourself taking a bottle or two home for your friends.
Cut from the pages of a Wild West novel, the canyon country around Tupiza: is an awesome place for heading off into the sunset (in a saddle, atop a mountain bike, on foot or in a 4WD). From town you can ramble out into the polychromatic desert wonderlands and canyons, visiting hard-cut mining villages and the town where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their end. The pleasant weather and lyrical feel of the town make it a welcome retreat after a bit of hardship in the highlands.
Jesuit Mission Circuit
Though traveling around the mission circuit: is a challenge in itself, the fantastically ornate reconstructions of Jesuit churches that are the centerpieces of the villages along the route make it well worth the effort. Lovingly restored by professional artisans and historians to offer a glimpse of their former glory, the churches of the mission circuit are testimony to the efforts of the missionaries who, against all odds, managed to establish communities in remote Chiquitania before being expelled from the Spanish colonies in 1767.
La Paz Markets
The whirling engine that feeds and fuels a nation, the markets: of La Paz are so crazy, so disjointed, so colorful and mad and stinky and remarkable that you’ll end up spending at least a few afternoons wandering from stall to stall. There are sections for food, sections for sorcery, sections where you can buy back your stolen camera, sections for pipes and Styrofoam – in every shape and form imaginable – and sections packed with fruits, flowers and rotting fish that will push you to olfactory overload.
Bolivia’s hallmark archaeological site sets your imagination on fire. Despite lacking the power and prestige of other ruins in Latin America – those who have visited Machu Picchu or Tikal will be hard pressed not to strike comparisons – for history buffs this pre-Inca site has a lot to offer. A massive celebration is held on the solstices, and the on-site museum provides a thought-provoking glimpse into life in this religious and astronomical center. An easy day trip from La Paz, Tiwanaku: is a good place to start your Andean odyssey.
Parque Nacional and Área de Uso Múltiple Amboró
Sandwiched between the old and new roads to Cochabamba is one of Bolivia's most biodiverse, and fortunately most accessible, protected areas – the breathtaking Parque Nacional Amboró:. Here the lush, leafy Amazon kisses the thorny, dusty Chaco, and the sweaty lowlands greet the refreshing highlands. Stunning scenery, wonderful wildlife and the assistance of professional tour agencies makes this a wilderness just begging to be explored. And with more than 800 different species to be spotted, the park is a bird-watcher's paradise.
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