Named in honour of Simón Bolívar, the military hero who liberated Latin America from Spanish control, Bolivia is a country of dazzling contrasts. Stretching from the ice-capped peaks of the Andes to the wildlife-filled rainforests and vast savannahs of the Amazon basin, this landlocked nation has it all: huge white salt flats and colourful lagoons, ancient Inca trails, silver mines, beautiful valleys, sky-high colonial cities, indigenous villages, and the world’s highest navigable lake - Lake Titicaca.
Landlocked in the remote heart of South America, a holiday to Bolivia offers the best of all worlds: culture-rich cities, moon-like deserts, and 40 per cent of all animal and plant life in the world.
For a cultural high, head to La Paz. Set 12,000-feet above sea level, this de facto capital is the highest on earth and offers a medley of colonial palaces, churches, and museums. Most alluring is the Witches’ Market, selling all sorts of wonderful charms, potions and herbal cures. Equally unique is the UNESCO-listed city of Potosí, the once-fabled silver-mining centre where you can admire ornate Spanish colonial architecture, tour the mines, and visit the former Royal Mint.
Bolivia’s official capital and cultural heart is the UNESCO-listed Sucre, a sparkling jewel of white-washed colonial architecture. Relax in tranquil squares, watch master weavers at work, and visit well-preserved 16th-century religious buildings.
For watery wonders, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,810 metres with waters that are deemed sacred by the indigenous people. Explore the lakeside town of Copacabana for its 16th-century shrine, Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, and take a boat trip to Isla del Sol to see the ruins of the Pilkokaina Inca Palace.
Salar de Uyuni is without a doubt one of the most stunning areas of South America- surreal rock formations, the vast salt flats, jewel coloured lakes, and you can have it almost to yourself! This is the largest salt desert in the world, covering around 6,500 miles.
Equally mesmerising is the Amazon Basin, where you can take rainforest walking tours, canoe trips to see iconic pink dolphins, and river cruises down the tributaries. Experience the spellbinding rainforest ecosystem at Parque Nacional Madidi, home to some of South America’s most diverse plant and animal life including over 860 species of bird. Here you can stake out capybaras, monkeys, toucans - and even jaguars and tapirs if you are lucky.