Thursday, 12 January 2017

Why You Need to Cross Bolivia Off Your Bucket List

South America is a popular destination for travelling, with Brazil and Argentina continually topping tourism rankings. If South America hasn't been on your radar, it should be. Something can be found for everyone as the continent boasts a diverse climate; from rain forest to glacier; an ancient history; unique gastronomy, and a culture influenced by its indigenous peoples, for a start.

I've written a few posts about my trip to Peru (with a few more to come), but in my opinion there are so many reasons why you should also cross Bolivia off your bucket list (or add it to your bucket list to cross off). It's kinda gotten a bad rap in the past, but really it's a great place, be it a bit rough around the edges.

{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia

They have the salt flats
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Salt Flats
If you don't know what salt flats are, I'll give you a moment to Google it, the short answer is it's a desert created by an evaporated pool of water over thousands of years. It's something incredible to behold.

We did the classic 3 day salt flats tour and I couldn't believe my eyes. After seeing pictures of it online, I knew I wanted to make my own trip to Salar de Uyuni, but it was so much more than what I was anticipating.

Landscapes Like these
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Landscapes
The geography of Bolivia is unique to its other South American neighbours. It's a landlocked country (since 1883) and is more urban than rural in development. There are a chain of dormant volcanoes, part of the Andes, that make up the natural boarder with Chile. Ecoclimates vary so dramatically from the tropical east to polar climates of the west, effecting the make up and natural vegetation of the land.

Meaning; no matter where you go in this country, the wild, ruggedness will take your breath away.

Along with Llamas, there are flamingos
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Flamingos
Pre Bolivia, the closest I'd come to seeing a flamingo was of the plastic variety on a manicured lawn. I was not expecting to see these easily identifiable birds in such a harsh climate.

The once believed to be extinct James' Flamingo is most commonly seen feasting on algae in the 'coloured' largos of Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.

But really. Just look at that backdrop!

my lord! mouthwatering Jawitas
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: mmm Jawitas
Pastry clouds of cheesy heaven. What more could be said about the Jawitas? Unless you've tried it, you don't even know.

Originating from a small town called Chulumani, people visiting would buy several of these pastries to bring home with them to share and eat later. But eating them freshly baked is so much better. Jawitas slowly made their way to La Paz, more specifically to El Alto, a suburb of La Paz, created by the mass movement of people coming from rural regions into the city and bringing bits of home with them.

Thursdays and Sundays at El Alto Market
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: El Alto Market
Highly recommend experiencing El Alto Market for yourself. Also highly recommend you don't do it BY yourself. It is notoriously known as a pickpocketer's heaven (sometimes worse), and not a common tourist attraction. We went with Sky Walk Tour conveniently located in the lobby of our hostel and the tour guides definitely had our backs. Navigating our way there, telling us where was safe to take pictures, and even introducing us to the Jawitas (see above).

{Part} Home of Lake Titicaca
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Lake Titicaca
South America's largest lake, the world's highest navigable lake, and properly pronounced Lake Tee-tee-kaw-kaw (stiffle those giggles, they don't like that very much). This beautiful, deep lake straddles the Peru and Bolivia boarder. It's worth a gander.

They have The fish
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: The Fish
Despite being landlocked, they have some excellent fish coming from Lake Titicaca. Don't be afraid to ask for the trout at one of the many lake side eateries. You won't be disappointed.

They have their own ancient ruins
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Tiwanaku
Peru has Machu Picchu, Bolivia has Tiwanaku. This Pre-Columbian empire reached from Peru to Chile with western Bolivia as its centre.  There are many theories as to the particular make up of the empire, but whatever the political, religious, or economic authority they left behind some incredible ruins and sculptures in the city of Tiwanaku. No epic hiking required.

They love a celebration
{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia: Oh the Parades
We had heard about the Bolivian love for a celebration and saw remnants of party bunting and general parade merriment all over La Paz. On one of our last days in the city we were heading out to dinner and came across a fantastic parade. Much dancing, drinking, and music was going down.

I couldn't tell you what it was all about, but it was fun to watch.  Who doesn't love a parade?

{ErinOutandAbout} Visit Bolivia
And that, my friends, are just some of the reasons why you need to visit the ruggedly handsome, wildly beautiful, Bolivia.

Have you been to Bolivia? What do you think of my list? Anything you would add?

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  1. Between you my friend Jacintha's recent adventures, I'm SOLD!

  2. YES! My job here is done. *mic drop*


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