Bolivia is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. It is bordered by Paraguay to the Southeast, Chile to the Southwest, Argentina to the South, Peru to the West, and Brazil to the North and East.
This country is famous for its national parks, colourful lagoons, golf courses, indigenous cultures, Spanish colonial architecture, natural resources, and more. In short, Bolivia is an underrated melting pot of a country brimming with so much history and culture that’s just waiting to be discovered.
In this article 2 weeks in Bolivia, you will find two travel itineraries to help you plan your trip. Whether you’re visiting for the first-time or looking for a trail that is less-travelled and more adventurious – you’ll find it here.
ALSO READ: 2-week travel itineraries for South America
BASIC TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR BOLIVIA
Bolivia is definitely one of my favourite places in South America. It’s affordable, unique, and offers a diverse experience. I wrote some tips below to help you decide when to go to Bolivia, how many days to spend there, idea for some budgeting, and more:
When is the best time to travel to Bolivia
Due to various elevations, the rainy season in Bolivia depends on the region. This means that when planning your trip, you should look at what activities you plan to do and which region you want to go to.
- Lowland and Amazon Regions: These areas, such as the Amazon Rainforest, experience a tropical climate with a pronounced rainy season from November to March. During this period, it can rain heavily and frequently.
- Highland and Altiplano Regions: Cities like La Paz and Uyuni have a drier climate. While there can be some rainfall, it’s generally less frequent and intense compared to the lowlands.
- Andean Valleys: Regions like Sucre and Cochabamba have a milder climate with occasional rain, but it’s not as intense as in the lowlands.
- Peak Season: Bolivia’s peak tourist season is during the dry season from May to October, when the weather is mild, and the landscapes are vibrant. This is ideal for exploring cities like La Paz and trekking in the Andes.
- The summer season is from December to February, with December to January being the hottest and the busiest.
- Shoulder/Best Time: The shoulder season, around April and November, offers pleasant weather with fewer crowds. It’s an excellent time for a balanced experience.
- Winter: Bolivia’s winter occurs from June to August, which is also the dry season. While days are warm, nights can be chilly, especially at higher altitudes. This is the high tourist season.
Are 2 weeks enough for Bolivia
Two weeks can provide a fulfilling experience in Bolivia, allowing you to explore major attractions like the Uyuni Salt Flats, La Paz, Sucre, and the Amazon Rainforest.
While it won’t cover every corner of this diverse country, it’s enough time to appreciate its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and unique adventures.
Spending 14 days in Bolivia was a great “get to you know” experience. I found out that I liked it and I plan to come back in the future to see more places.
How to get around
The most common mode of transportation in Bolivia is by bus, which is also known as “flotas”, but since the models are old, there are frequent breakdowns.
So, if you can afford to do so, riding the plane is advisable, especially if the travel time by bus is more than 6 hours as it’s also not that expensive and there are tons of domestic flights available.
There are still other land options though, including train, taxi, moto-taxi, micro, and lorry, which is the only option in some remote and less-visited regions. You can also rent a car, which is beneficial for those who like schedule flexibility.
Language and currency
The main language in Bolivia is Spanish (Castilian), and a couple of indigenous languages, including Quechua, Chiquitano, Aymara, Guarani, and languages of immigrants, including Plautdietsch.
Only a small percentage in Bolivia can speak English, so it would be best to learn a couple of common Spanish words or download a translator app.
The official currency of Bolivia is the Bolivian boliviano (BOB/Bs). As for the mode of payment, only a few expensive shops and restaurants accept credit or debit cards, with Visa and Mastercard being the most widely accepted, so you must bring cash when travelling around Bolivia.
Bolivia has a few conditions in place when it comes to travel visas for foreign visitors, but it’s not too complicated.
For passport holders where the issuance country is in South America, you can enter Bolivia with a passport or ID card and enjoy a visa-free stay.
Travellers from Mexico, Canada, the EU, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, and Turkey can enter and travel around Bolivia between 90 days to 180 days.
Visitors from the US, countries in East, West, and South Africa, and most countries in Central, South, and East Asia must apply for a visa in advance online or get a visa upon arrival for a fee. It’s better to secure a visa before you arrive in Bolivia to skip long lines at the immigration.
Cost of 2 weeks in Bolivia
Bolivia is loved by many international travellers for its affordability. Surely, this is one of the reasons I decided to go here. I personally spent around $1,000 or $70 a day, but you can go even cheaper.
To give you some ideas on what it could cost to holiday in Bolivia, here is some information:
- Affordable: With careful planning, you can enjoy Bolivia on a budget of around $30-50 per day ($600 to $850). This covers basic accommodations, local meals, and transportation.
- Mid-range: For a more comfortable trip, expect to spend around $70-100 per day ($900 to $1,200). This allows for nicer accommodations, dining at mid-range restaurants, and guided tours to popular attractions like the Uyuni Salt Flats.
- Luxury: If you’re looking for a lavish experience, Bolivia offers luxury options costing $150 or more per day ($2,000). Stay in upscale hotels, dine at fine restaurants, and enjoy exclusive tours to places like the Amazon Rainforest or luxury salt hotels in Uyuni.
Accommodation, food, and transportation in Bolivia are budget-friendly. Tours can range from affordable to luxury depending on whether you want to join a group tour or a private one.
Travel arrangement tips
You should book your hotels in advance once you know the dates, especially if you plan to visit between December and January. Tours can be arranged at the last minute, but buses and domestic flights should be prioritised during peak season.
MAP OF TOP SITES AND ACTIVITIES IN BOLIVIA
Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google
2 WEEKS IN BOLIVIA ITINERARY
I created 2 itinerary options for your two weeks in Bolivia. The first one is for the first-timers, and the second one is for those who prefer lesser crowds and off-the-beaten paths.
However, you can modify these itineraries to your heart’s content, and these just serve as guides as to what you can find and experience in each location.
Itinerary #1: First-timer (La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Uyuni)
The first itinerary for 2 weeks in Bolivia is perfect for first-timers as it lets you experience a little bit of everything.
The first stop is at La Paz, where you can have a walking tour of the adjacent city of El Alto after you adjust to its high altitude. You can also interact with indigenous locals in Santiago de Okola.
The next stop is Bolivia’s gastronomic capital, Cochabamba. You’ll get to see the typical life of Bolivians in the city of eternal spring. Have a stroll at the park and city squares, and try out their local delicacies.
For adventurers at heart, there’s San Pedro Hill, which is a haven for hikers and climbers. After that, you can head over to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a city bordering the Amazon Rainforest.
This is perfect for those who want to witness Bolivia’s biodiversity. There are tons of nature parks, botanical gardens, and parks here.
The last stop is at Uyuni, where you’ll get to see rocky deserts, geysers, dormant and active volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, flamingoes, and the list goes on.
Tons of otherworldly scenery can only be witnessed here, such as the crystal clear reflection of the sky on land, courtesy of the salt flats, which are perfect for stargazing.
Now that I’ve given you some tidbits about these locations read on to know more about what each city has to offer.
La Paz for 4 days
One of the many interesting facts about La Paz is that it is the highest capital in the world, geographically speaking, as it is at an average altitude of 3,600 meters (11,811 ft) and is located in the mountains of the Andes.
Some of the must-visit sights here include the San Francisco Basilica, Calle Jaen, Plaza Murillo, Valle de la Luna, and Coca Museum.
You can also try the world’s highest and longest cable car system here, the Mi Teleferico, and if you want day trips, you could go to Lake Titicaca.
I must give you a heads up though, that the tour duration is 12-14 hours, but even when travelling, you could see some sights as you’ll be using various modes of transportation, including a boat, where you could enjoy trips to Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna.
Cochabamba for 3 days
Cochabamba is a city and municipality in Central Bolivia. It is commonly referred to as the granary of Bolivia because of its milder climate that permits extensive agriculture.
It is also called the Garden City because of its spring-like temperature all year round. Cochabamba is famous for housing one of the largest statues of Jesus Christ in the world.
Other tourist attractions here are Convento Museo Santa Teresa, Tunari National Park, and Westeros Cafe, which is a Game of Thrones-themed cafe.
There are 3 options to reach Cochabamba if you’re coming from La Paz. The fastest one would be flying, which lasts from less than an hour to more than 2 hours, depending on the route.
You can also ride the bus, which is the cheapest option but the travel time lasts from more than 6 to 8 hours. The last option is by car, with more than 5 hours of travel time.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra for 3 days
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is also referred to as the Tropical City because of its generally tropical climate and overall vibe. Aside from that, it is abundant in Nature Parks, including Lomas de Arena Regional Park and Parque Nacional Amboro, where you can find more than 177 mammal species and 912 bird species.
A couple of other must-visit locations here are Plaza 24 de Septiembre, Botanical Garden, Los Pozos, and Biocenter Guembe Mariposario.
When going to Santa Cruz de la Sierra from Cochabamba, I highly recommend that you fly as the travel time by car is almost 7 hours while flying takes only more than an hour.
The cheapest option, on the other hand, would be to ride the bus, with a travel time of 6 hours. Parque Nacional Amboro and Lomas de Arena Regional Park.
Uyuni for 4 days
Uyuni is a city in Southwest Bolivia that serves as a gateway for tourists who are planning to visit the world’s largest salt flats. You can also visit Uyuni to Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, which is located in Chile.
There’s no direct flight, but you can drive to reach your next destination. The driving distance is 269 km (167 mi). Other places to visit here are Train Cemetery, Isla Incahuasi, Tunupa Volcano, and more.
It is advisable to fly if you’re coming from Santa Cruz de la Sierra when going to Uyuni. The travel time is almost 5 hours. The cheapest option is by bus via the Potosi route, but it has a travel time of 21 hours.
Other options include a bus by another route, with a travel time of 11 hours, and driving, with a travel duration of more than 12 hours.
This is the perfect place to end your 2 weeks in Bolivia trip because there’s an international airport here, so you wouldn’t need to go back to your initial location in order to be able to go back home or to your next country of destination.
Itinerary #2: Off-the-beaten-path (La Paz, Sucre, Tarija, Uyuni)
The second itinerary includes some off-the-beaten paths with a starting point of De La Paz, where you’ll get to experience one adventure after another. You can trek at Apolobamba National Park, then hike to Charazani the next day and go rafting and birdwatching in Madidi National Park.
The next stop is Sucre, where you’ll get to see whitewashed mansions and churches arranged in classic colonial patterns and feel as if you’re in another era.
Tarija is a quaint colonial city that has an ethnic feel and is situated in the country’s main wine region. Aside from that, it is also 3 hours away from the Argentinian border, where you’ll get to see desert-like landscapes, and is perfect for witnessing sunsets.
La Paz for 3 days
The first location for this itinerary of two weeks in Bolivia is also La Paz. It is well-known for its unique markets and vibrant nightlife. It also offers unique city views because of its geographical location. It houses the highest golf course in the world.
For people who love apparel, there are actually designer goods here that can be bought at very low prices, and the best place to get bargain deals is El Alto Market every Thursday and Sunday.
Other must-visit tourist spots here include the Ethnography Museum, Mirador Killi Killi, Chacaltaya, and more.
It is the perfect place to start your trip because aside from one of the international airports being located here, you’ll also get to see and experience mountain views, tons of outdoor activities, authentic food, and culture.
Sucre for 3 days
Sucre is the sixth most populous city and the de jure capital city of Bolivia. It is widely known as the loveliest city in the country and is famous for its well-preserved historic centre. It is declared a world heritage site and is the birthplace of Bolivian independence.
You can take a look at the numerous markets and museums here, have a day trip at Maragua Crater, or descend deep into Cerro Rico mine.
If you’re travelling to Sucre from La Paz, I highly recommend that you fly because travelling by car lasts for more than 9 hours while flying has a travel time of less than an hour.
Tarija for 3 days
Tarija is the largest city and capital within the Tarija Department. It is located in Southern Bolivia and is also known as the capital of the smile because of the people’s hospitality.
Aside from that, it is also well-known for its great climate and wine production. A couple of tourist spots here include Casa Dorada, Mirador de los Suenos, Cathedral of Saint Bernard of Tarija, and more.
There are 3 options to reach Tarija if you’re travelling from Sucre, the most recommended of which is by flying as it only has a travel duration of less than an hour.
The cheapest option is by bus with a travel time of almost 7 hours. You can also opt to drive, which also has a travel time of almost 7 hours.
Uyuni for 5 days
Last but definitely not least is Uyuni, which is a place that looks straight out of a fantasy film, with giant cactuses, colourful lakes, abundant wildlife, and all that jazz. You honestly cannot spend 2 weeks in Bolivia and not see Uyuni.
There’s definitely always something to see here, and every second of your time spent here would be worth it.
Uyuni is famous for its salt flats, but there’s more that this city can offer. Did you know that a scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was shot here? It was a location for Planet Crait, the last resistance.
Other must-visit landmarks here are Siloli Desert, Aguas Termales de Polques, which is a large salty lagoon, Sol de la Manana Geyser, and more.
The distance between Tarija and Uyuni is 400.7 km (248.5 mi), and the most recommended travel option is by bus, with a travel time of more than 7 hours. You can also drive to reach your destination. It has a travel duration of almost 8 hours.
This is the perfect place to end your trip because aside from having an international airport and tons of places to see, you can also allocate more days of stay here before returning so that you can go to Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN BOLIVIA (per city)
I already gave you some ideas on activities in each place, but to give you a complete list of top attractions, I compiled them here. Plus, you’ll find a series of tours to book to help with your planning:
- Visit Cristo de la Concordia, a massive Christ Statue
- Explore the beautiful Parque Mariscal Santa Cruz
- Hike to Parque Nacional Torotoro for 2 days – read the reviews
- Discover the Palacio Portales
- Hike to the Tunari National Park
- Join a Pottery Class – check the price
- Experience the vibrant Cancha Market
- Walk around the Plaza 14 de Septiembre
- Tour the Casa de la Cultura
- Enjoy a meal at a local picantería for traditional cuisine
- Explore La Paz via a walking tour with a cable car ride or a half-day walking tour
- Explore the Witches’ Market (Mercado de las Brujas)
- Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) – book a tour here with a cable car
- Discover the Basilica of San Francisco
- Cable Car – you can get a cable car with a city tour or with a tour to the cemetery, Shaman, and El Alto
- Walk around Plaza Murillo
- Day trip to Copacanab – combo with Isla del Sol
- Visit the Museo de Coca
- Watch a Cholitas Wrestling Show
- Hike or Bike the Death Road (Camino de la Muerte) – there’s a bike tour you can book, check this tour or this one or this one
- Walk around Plaza Espana
- Day trip to Tiwanaku Ruins – see this tour
- Go to the Panoramic View at Mirador Killi Killi or at Murillo Lighthouse
- 3-day trip to Uyuni Salt Flats and the Atacama Desert from La Paz – see the tour cost first
- Picnic at Pura Pura Ecological Park
- Join a food tour in La Paz – read the reviews
- Isabel The Catholic Square
- Hike the Huayna Potosi for 3 days – there’s a tour leaving La Paz
- Premium bus from La Paz to Uyuni – see the price
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
- Explore the Plaza 24 de Septiembre
- Visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral (Catedral Basílica Menor de San Lorenzo).
- Enjoy the wildlife at the Biocenter Guembe
- Stroll through the Jardin Botanico.
- Discover the Municipal Zoo (Zoologico El Refugio)
- Explore the historic San Javier Jesuit Missions
- Experience local cuisine at the Mercado Municipal
- Explore Sucre via walking tour – book the tour
- Explore the Plaza 25 de Mayo
- Visit the Casa de la Libertad
- Discover the Recoleta Monastery
- Day trek to Crate of MAragua (Cordillera de los Frailes) – join the tour
- Explore the Parque Cretacico
- Take a tour of Tarabuco Market
- Visit the Sucre Cathedral
- Traditional cooking class and cocktail making – see the tour reviews
- Explore the Textile Museum (Museo de Arte Indígena)
- Stroll through the Parque Bolívar
- Trip to Uyuni from Sucre by bus – check the price first
- Explore the Plaza Luis de Fuentes
- Visit the Casa Dorada
- Tour the Museo Paleontologico y Arqueologico
- Taste local wines in the Tarija wine region.
- Enjoy a meal at a traditional Tarija Parrillada
- Stroll through the Parque de la Juventud
- Visit the Virgen de Chaguaya Sanctuary
- Explore the Cuevas de Anzota
There are lots of tours featuring Uyuni’s Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), check which one you prefer depending on the amount of time you have, preference, and budget:
- 3-day tour with a visit to Colored Lagoons – see the cost or this other tour or this one with funny photo ops
- 2-day tour with a sunset – read the reviews
- 1-day tour – check the price
- 5-hour stargazing tour with sunset or sunrise – check the itinerary
- Day trip to Isla Incahusi + Salt Fats and Jeep tour – price of the combo tour
- You can also plan a trip to the Atacama Desert (Chile) from Uyuni
- Visit the Train Cemetery (Cementerio de Trenes)
- Tour the Eduardo Avaroa National Park
- Experience the surreal Salvador Dali Desert
- Explore the Siloli Desert and its famous stone tree
- Relax in the Polques Hot Springs
- Visit the Red Lagoon (Laguna Colorada)
- Discover the Green Lagoon (Laguna Verde)
LOCAL BOLIVIAN DISHES AND DRINKS TO TRY
What’s great about the Latin America is that there are lots of dishes that are similar to one another such as tres leches. However, each country I went to have their own versions, making each tres leches I had very different from one another.
If you’re a food enthusiast and enjoys trying out local dishes, here are some items you could order when you dine out:
- Salteñas: Savory pastries filled with meat, vegetables, and a slightly spicy sauce – similar to empanada.
- Silpancho: Breaded and fried beef or chicken cutlets served with rice, fried eggs, and condiments.
- Anticuchos: Grilled skewers of marinated meat, often beef heart, served with potatoes and a spicy peanut sauce.
- Llajwa: A spicy salsa made from tomatoes, locoto peppers, and herbs, served with many Bolivian dishes.
- Sajta de Pollo: A spicy chicken stew with a creamy sauce made from peanuts and cheese.
- Quinoa Soup: A nutritious soup made from quinoa, vegetables, and often served with cheese.
- Salchipapas: French fries topped with sliced sausages and various condiments.
- Pique a lo Macho: A hearty dish featuring sliced beef, sausages, onions, and chilli peppers, served over fries.
- Tres Leches Cake: A sponge cake soaked in three types of milk (evaporated, condensed, and regular milk).
- Api: A warm, sweet corn-based beverage flavoured with cinnamon and cloves, often served with pastries.
- Helado de Cancha: A unique ice cream made from toasted corn, offering a sweet and crunchy texture.
- Singani: A grape-based brandy often used in cocktails or enjoyed neat.
- Chicha de Jora: A fermented corn beer, a traditional Andean beverage.
- Yerba Mate: A popular herbal tea, often shared among friends and family in a communal gourd.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BOLIVIA
There are lots of accommodations in major cities. However, during peak season, the good ones gets snatched quickly! So, book your hotels to score a good location, clean, and affordable accommodations.
- Affordable: Hostel Running Chaski or Casa San Martin Suites or Hotel Regina
- Mid-range: Margarita Apartamentos or Hotel Boutique Casamagna
- Luxury: Hotel Catena or Hotel Boutique La Casa de Margarita
- Affordable: Las Brisas or Hostal Iskanwaya or Qantu Hotel
- Mid-range: Mitru Express Hotel or Madero Hotel & Suites or Anami Hotel Boutique
- Luxury: Ritz Apart Hotel or Atix Hotel or Camino Real Aparthotel or Stannum Boutique Hotel & Spa
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
- Affordable: Fiori Apartments or Hostal Backpackers Travelero or Equipetrol Suites
- Mid-range: Chairu Eco Hotel or Cosmopolitano Hotel Boutique or Hampton by Hilton Santa Cruz
- Luxury: Hotel Camino Real or Los Tajibos or Marriott Santa Cruz de la Sierra Hotel or Alfonsina Hotel Boutique
- Affordable: Casa de Huespedes Isabella or CasArte Takubamba B&B or Villa Oropeza Hostel
- Mid-range: Mi Pueblo Samary Hotel Boutique or El Hotel de Su Merced or El Jardin De Su Merced B&B
- Luxury: Parador Santa Maria La Real or On Hotel Boutique
- Affordable: HOTEL INNOVA or Hotel Apartamentos “Dominó” or Hostal Palamas
- Mid-range: Hotel Boutique Vendimia or Hotel Los Ceibos
- Luxury: Hotel Los Parrales
- Affordable: Hotel REY DAVID or The Little House ApartHotel
- Mid-range: Tonito Hotel or Hotel Cristales De Sal or Hotel Jumari
- Luxury: Casa de Sal – Salt Hotel or Hotel Jardines de Uyuni
SUMMARY OF 2 WEEKS IN BOLIVIA
Bolivia is the perfect place for those who have an insatiable hunger for adventure, exploring enchanting places that aren’t well-known, seeing otherworldly sights, and tasting local culinary delights without breaking the bank.
Yes, Bolivia is well-known for having a low cost of living, so you’ll get to see and experience more even when spending less compared to going to other countries.
The perfect duration of stay would be 2 weeks in Bolivia because aside from what I mentioned above, the people are very friendly and welcoming and you’ll also get to know a lot of cultures here, including ones from indigenous people.