Wedged between the Andes, the Amazon and the Pampas, Bolivia is unique in several ways. It boasts a larger percentage of indigenous (Amerindian) people than any other South American nation. It’s totally landlocked — no access to the sea. And it’s one of the planet’s highest places, right up there with Tibet, Bhutan and Rwanda when it comes to altitude.
Perched at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, La Paz is the world’s highest capital city and a great place to adjust to the altitude before heading out into the hinterland. Several of Bolivia’s star attractions — like boat trips on Lake Titicaca and mountain biking along the vertiginous “Death Road” to Yungas — can be done as daytrips from La Paz.
On the other hand, Bolivia’s most celebrated natural attractions are far from the capital, at opposite ends of the country. In the deep south, the Salar de Uyuni is an enormous salt flat renowned for its startling colors and resident flamingoes. In the far north, Madidi National Park is one of the largest and most important protected areas in the entire Amazon, home to jaguars, macaws, giant river otters and more than 20,000 plant species.