Lapping the shores of Copacabana, Lake Titicaca is not only one of Bolivia’s most beautiful and treasured landmarks, but is also the highest navigable lake in the world. Travelers flock to the resort town to soak in stunning views of Lake Titicaca, savor freshly caught trucha and explore what the Inca’s believed to be the birthplace of their empire. One of the best ways to grasp the sheer magnitude of Lake Titicaca is to take a boat trip from Copacabana to Isla del Sol. Here you will discover ancient Inca ruins scattered throughout the island as well as Aymara villagers busy farming the land and tending to the sacred sites. Walking from one side of the island to the other is a cathartic experience and one which will enable travelers to witness some of Bolivia’s most breathtaking scenery. Copacabana itself is a quaint little town to explore, with many shops, restaurants and bars lining the main streets. And if it’s amazing views your after, there is no better place than the summit of the “Stations of the Cross” walk to observe Lake Titicaca in all its glimmering glory.
Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2000 by UNESCO, Tiwanaku is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, named after what is believed to have been one of the most important civilizations prior to the Inca Empire. It is also one of the oldest and highest urban cities ever built. Today, Tiwanaku remains an enigma, shrouded in mysteries of how, when, and by whom it was constructed. Ruins are made up of impressive architectural structures with many of Tiwanaku’s stone creations defying explanation, posing more questions to archaeologists than answers. Located about 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz, visiting Tiwanakau is a must for anyone fascinated by ancient civilizations and mind boggling architecture.
Set against a striking backdrop of snow-capped mountains is Bolivia’s third most populous city and the world’s highest seat of government. Juxtaposed with the colorful lifestyle and traditions of the Aymara people, La Paz is full of modern cafes, clubs, bars and restaurants as well as traditional markets, historic plazas and colonial architecture. There are numerous sights to discover, free events to join, and adrenaline pumping activities to experience. At a height of 4058 meters above sea level, La Paz is best explored at a slow pace, taking the time to soak up the city’s rich culture and fascinating history.
One of the most popular activities in Bolivia is the exhilarating and death-defying bike ride along one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Surrounded by mountainous terrain and terrifying precipices, the winding road grimly known as ‘Death Road’ due to its notoriously high death rate, stretches 69kms from La Paz to Coroico, connecting the Amazonian rain-forest to the busy city. In 2009, construction of an alternative road replacing the dangerous stretch was completed with all traffic being diverted to the new road. Thankfully motorists can now travel from La Paz to Coroico without fearing the journey may be their last. Even with these improved conditions, Yungas Road shows no mercy. Nowadays, the death toll is limited to local workers and daredevil backpackers still using the infamous road. It is believed that more than 30 cyclists have lost their lives on Bolivia’s “Death Road” since 1998.
MADIDI NATIONAL PARK
Spanning 7000 square miles from the Andes deep into the Amazon, Madidi National Park is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet. Traveling by boat from Rurrenbaque across the Beni river, tourists stepping foot onto the jungle’s muddy floors will delight in the multitude of flora and fauna on offer. Traversing the rugged terrain, you will come across winding rivers, rolling grasslands, mosquito laden lakes, steep slopes and possibly the seldom seen indigenous people of the tropical rain forest. The best way to experience Madidi National Park is through one of the many ecological and cultural tours providing an authentic and safe jungle experience. Whether it’s spotting a jaguar, smelling the scent of a rare type of flower, learning about the different medicinal plants, or listening out for the chirps of more than 1000 species of bird, this national park has something to offer every nature lover.