South America has growingly become the favoured destination for travellers across the world in the recent years. However, whilst the tourists mill about through the continent, one region that remains relatively unexplored is Bolivia, the landlocked country said to offer one of the most enchanting experiences to feed your wanderlust. High mountains to deep ravines, striking salt flats to thriving lakes, interspersed with a vibrant culture yet to be overtaken by modernity — while Bolivia doesn’t define ‘luxury travel’, it presents a different kind of luxury that would satiate any traveller’s heart and soul. Helping you navigate this gem on the other side of the equator, #DSSCRecommends five reasons why Bolivia needs to be the next stop on your travel checklist.
Indulge in the rich culture
With the largest proportion of indigenous peoples in Latin America, Bolivia boasts of thirty-six diverse cultures coexisting within the country. Each group carries its own language and traditions, with descendants of the Incas making up the majority. Soak in the local culture — made incredibly accessible with the natives’ penchant for carnivals. Dressed in traditional clothes in dazzling colours and patterns, performing folk music and dance on the streets, the Bolivians love themselves a good carnival, and their frequency will make it hard for you to miss one. So go on and live like a local!
The 8400 sq. km lake is the biggest in South America, and a sight to behold. Once you’ve gained that breath back, look around to the splendid sight of the glaciers of Cordillera Real mountain range (Andes). Sitting between Bolivia and Peru, the lake proffers a host of experiences in the vicinity; you can kickback at the party heaven of Copacabana, dive into the locals’ style of living in the neighbouring Aymarà villages, visit floating islands, and go hiking. Once at the lake, do tick off Isla del Sol, the island with no vehicles, igniting the explorer in you with an extensive network of walking trails and treks (and boat rides for when the feet refuse to carry you!).
Dinosaurs elicit a universal intrigue. The larger than life (as we know it now) creatures have sparked man’s imagination more times than one can count. Then how can a trip to Bolivia be complete without going on a trail to track dinosaur imprints? The village of Torotoro is home to two-legged and four-legged dinosaurs from the Cretaceous era. Cal Orko, outside the capital of Sucre, also houses one of the largest and most diverse collection of dinosaur footprints in the world. Go tracking these for an exhilarating adventure, with over 5,000 footsteps and 462 trails — don’t forget to bring a guide along, who can provide insights into the indentations on the vast limestone slabs.
You’ve seen the photos. You’ve wanderlust-ed after ‘em. It’s time to live that visual and make walking amongst the clouds come true (well, the illusion of it, at least). The pure white expanse of Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) extends over 12,000 sq. km, making for a surreal view sans a horizon. With clear blue skies above, and water turning the ground into a mirror and reflecting the pristine clouds, this one-of-its-kind experience alone warrants a trip to the other end of the world. Though an obvious talking point when it comes to Bolivia, this is one of the rare attractions that deserve the build-up garnered by it.
Witches’ Market, La Paz
No trip is complete without a souvenir. But what if the options available include preserved llama foetuses, dried frogs, coca leaves, and the like? Well, apart from checking the regulations on bringing any such souvenir back, it makes for a unique marketplace experience! From potions, palm readers, herbs to dried turtles and snakes, owl feathers, and folk remedies — the Witches’ Market lives up to its name. Fret not, while the view makes for a one of its kind excursion, the market in La Paz also offers more traditional items such as jewellery, idols, traditional shawls and skirts, and so on. So let your eyes feast on discovering the diversity of a new culture, while your law-abiding-international-border-crossing bags bring back a conventional souvenir.
Go on, reserve that trip and explore the world of unknown elements in Bolivia.