From the untouched jungles of the Amazon to the world’s largest and most picturesque salt flats, soaring Andean peaks and colorful lakes that look like they belong on another planet – there are so many out-of-this-world natural wonders in Bolivia for travelers to experience – but the most mysterious part of this breathtaking destinations? How untouched it seems compared to its South American neighbors. This quiet corner of South America may not get as many tourists as Peru or Colombia, but make no mistake – it isn’t for lack of natural beauty.
With minimal crowds, you’ll have ample opportunity to experience a world-class travel destination with unforgettable activities like the adrenaline-inducing bike ride down the so-called Death Road between La Paz and Los Yungas, or taking a drink from the fabled Fountain of Youth at Lake Titicaca.
Authentic, adventurous, and largely untouched, Bolivia is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. Kuoda can help you plan your next adventure through Bolivia – whether you’re a nature-lover, adventure-seeker or an all-around curious person looking for the experience of a lifetime. While we plan your dream Bolivia trip, we want you to get excited and discover some of the natural gems that await you on your next Bolivia trip:
1. Uyuni Salt Flats
Sometimes referred to as “The World’s Largest Mirror”, Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats are quite unlike anywhere else on the planet. The world’s largest salt flats are also the country’s most well-known attraction. They formed when several prehistoric lakes dried up 25,000 to 10,000 years ago, leaving behind intricate geometric patterns of salt on the seemingly featureless surface.
Stark, serene and occasionally eerie, these glaringly white plains can appear endless as they stretch toward the distant horizon. At first glance, they look empty – indeed their emptiness is part of their intrinsic appeal – but a custom Uyuni Salt Flats tour will reveal that there is more than meets the eye. Pink flamingos, rare hummingbirds, millennia-old cacti and bizarre rock formations as well as hotels constructed entirely from salt can be found here.
2. Lake Titicaca
Straddling the border between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake at nearly 12,500 feet high. With its ever-present backdrop of the snow-capped Cordillera Real mountain and the tranquil sapphire and golden islands, the lake is considered to be one of South America’s most extraordinary natural sights. Lake Titicaca is sacred to Bolivia as the ancient civilization of the Incas believed it to be the birthplace of the sun, and consequently, a plethora of fascinating archeological sites can be found scattered throughout the lake region.
3. Laguna Verde
One of Bolivia’s most jaw-dropping natural wonders, Laguna Verde is a striking emerald green lake set on the backdrop of the dormant Licancabur Volcano. Located in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, in the heart of the Andes in southwestern Bolivia near the border with Chile. The lake and surrounding areas as a wildlife reserve are home to three species of flamingos, a scorching yet relaxing volcanic hot springs, and some of South America’s most incredible hiking.
Visitors can spend the day lounging on the lake or hike to the Incan ruins at the top of the volcano, overlooking the emerald waters. Its natural beauty, history and perfectly placed location make Laguna Verde a must visit on your next Bolivia trip
4. Laguna Colorada
Just a few hours drive from the stunning Laguna Verde is the equally impressive Laguna Colorada, or the Red Lagoon. A rare natural wonder you’ll come to near the border of Chile is a blood-red lagoon, filled with hundreds of pink flamingos. The colors of Laguna Colorada stand out immediately to visitors, with a dramatic and unforgettable orange-red hue.
This shallow salt lake is home to thousands of flamingos, as well as llamas, alpacas, Andean foxes, cats, and pumas. Legends say that the water is the blood of the Gods, though scientists believe the colors come from the rich mineral deposits and algae found in the lake. The backdrop is quite dramatic, with a deep crimson lake which offers a stark contrast to the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
5. Salvador Dali Desert
Named after the surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, the Salvador Dalí Desert, also known as Dalí Valley, is an extremely barren valley of southwestern Bolivia, contained within the borders of Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. Art lovers and nature lovers will find this destination fascinating, as it is characterized by landscapes that resemble surrealist paintings by Salvador Dalí.
6. Polques Hot Springs
Set amid the gorgeous scenery of the Bolivian Salt Flats, the Polques Hot Springs offer visitors a relaxing way to start the day or cap off a long day of sightseeing. These hot springs were formed from geologic activity related to the nearby Polques Volcano and offer travelers a great place to unwind, relax and marvel at the unreal views of the Bolivian Salt Flats and Andes Mountains.
7. Licancabur Volcano
Cradled in the majestic mountains of Sur Lipez is the dormant, majestic Licancabur Volcano. The volcano is found in the Ocidental Mountain Chain at an elevation of nearly 20,000 feet above sea level.
This picturesque volcano is generally snowcapped, and surrounded by natural beauty – but beyond being one of Bolivia’s natural wonders, the volcano is a paradise for hiking lovers, who will love watching the sun rise over the mountains, overlooking the emerald lake of Laguna Verde. This hike is not for beginners though! With windy conditions and a steep climb to the summit, basic trekking experience is highly recommended. Once you do get to the top though, you will be greeted with Incan ruins at the base of the summit, and a view of what feels like another planet.
8. Valle De La Luna
Located just a few miles outside of La Paz, Valle De La Luna, or Bolivia’s “Moon Valley” is an easy day trip from La Paz that often gets overlooked. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about this otherworldly landscape, though – it’s a natural wonder not to be missed on your next Bolivia trip. Valle de la Luna is a complex labyrinth of spires and canyons which was created from eroded sandstone and clay formations over thousands of years. The result of this erosion is the vast landscape of tall spires that can be found today.
When you arrive at Valle de La Luna, you can take two separate circular walking tracks which each offer spectacular views – we suggest taking the Devil’s Point trail, which offers incredible desert vegetation, including several species of cactus wedged between the spires. This natural wonder erodes more year after year with each rainy season – so we definitely recommend seeing this natural beauty while it is still pristine.
9. Madidi National Park
No natural wonders of South America list can be complete without including the majestic and mysterious Amazon rainforest. This jungle paradise sits in the upper Amazon river basin on Bolivia and is home to a record breaking number of species and plants – making it one of the most diverse ecological sanctuaries in the world, as well as the largest protected area in Bolivia. The national park has extremely diverse geography – from snow capped mountains to cloud forests and tropical jungles. Traveling across the terrain, one can find winding rivers, rolling grasslands Incan archeological sites and often the indigenous communities of the Amazon. The park is home to thousands of species of animals ranging from exotic birds to the rare yet unforgettable jaguar spotting.
Though landlocked – Bolivia’s lack of sandy beaches doesn’t mean that the destination has limited offerings when it comes to natural beauty, far from it. The country is rich in its traditions and natural beauty, offering the traveler a great variety of unexpected places and breathtaking panoramas. If you’re interested in exploring one of these incredible natural wonders first hand, contact us at Kuoda to get a tailor-made Bolivia itinerary which hits any and all of these spectacular sights.