For those looking for an adventurous vacation, Bolivia is full of thrilling things to do. In fact, the destination features a mix of the usual adrenaline-pumping activities like hiking, rafting and climbing, as well as more one-of-a-kind – and often slightly insane – options. To help you plan your itinerary, here is Tripify’s guide to Bolivia for the adventurous traveler.
For those looking for an adventurous vacation, Bolivia is full of thrilling things to do. In fact, the destination features a mix of the usual adrenaline-pumping activities like hiking, rafting and climbing, as well as more one-of-a-kind — and often slightly insane — options. To help you plan your itinerary, here is Tripify’s guide to Bolivia for the adventurous traveler.
Bike The Death Road
Touted as one of the scariest roads in the world, North Yungas Road, more commonly known as Death Road, is located just outside of the capital of La Paz and can give you a once in a lifetime thrill. Before 2006 this road was once the only connection between La Paz and the jungle. During this time about 25 cars and two bikes per year would go over the edge due to the narrow passage’s rough terrain and limited space. While today it is somewhat safer due to a few guardrails that have been put up and less traffic, it is still a daring adventure — especially when you peek over the clifftop edge and see the extremely steep drop off that you could go over (and not return) if you’re not careful. Along the way you’ll also see numerous memorials to those who have lost their lives on Death Road, a reminder of the road’s dangerous nature. You can book a tour to cycle this road in La Paz, as there are many operators (we recommend Vertigo Biking Co Bolivia) offering it.
Climbing In The Cordillera Real
Located southeast of Lake Titicaca and east of La Paz, the Cordillera Real is a mountain range in Bolivia with jagged granite mountains, glaciers and numerous peaks reaching over 6,000 meters (19,685 feet). The highest peak in the mountain is Illimani at 6,438 meters (21,122 feet) which takes about three full days. You can access this climb from La Paz, which is about four hours from Pinaya, the village from which you’ll begin trekking about three hours to the base camp. From there, you’ll hike to Nido de Cóndores at 5,500 meters (18,044 feet) for your second night’s rest, and then continue on climbing about seven hours to the summit, where you can enjoy aerial views of surrounding ice-covered mountains and jagged peaks and a feeling of being on top of the world. Expect ice, snow and high elevations.
White Water Rafting The Tuichi River
While most visitors to Bolivia choose to raft down the Coroico River — with its class II to V rapids, boils, bends, turns and technical challenges — the Tuichi River provides a lesser-known adventure. Located in Madidi National Park, one of the largest protected areas in the world, the river flows through the rainforest, canyons and cloud forest, along the shores of Lake Titicaca, past waterfalls, through the Apolobamba Mountain range, and into the Amazon basin for a unique and scenic rafting experience. Additionally, the journey can be intense at times with rapids going up to Class IV.
Crossing The Soleli Desert
This journey takes you from Bolivia to Chile or vice versa for an unworldly journey through Bolivia’s Soleli Desert. What makes this journey an adventure isn’t just the bitter cold, questionable accommodations and the 4×4 guides who drive beat-up vehicles like maniacs, but also the bizarre landscape that features everything from vibrant rainbow-colored lagoons and mountains, hot pink lakes littered with flamingos, a spooky train graveyard, weird rock formations, deadly geysers and the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles).
Exploring The Pampas
Many people who go to Bolivia debate between visiting the Amazon Jungle or the Pampas. While both can provide a worthwhile adventure, the Pampas are more off the beaten path and provide thrills we’re not even sure are legal. This wet, lush area is teeming with wildlife, and you’ll experience it not from afar but in an interactive (and sometimes downright dangerous) manner. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find yourself catching piranhas and feeding them to wild crocodiles; canoeing with swarms of bats, caimans and piranhas; being woken up by screeching howler monkeys; watching locals forcefully pulling angry anacondas out of trees; riverside camping; going capybara spotting; and possibly even swimming with pink dolphins. Note that most Pampas tours leave from Rurrenabaque, accessible from La Paz.