bolivia

Bolivia, landlocked at the heart of Andean Latin America, is the hemisphere's highest, most isolated and rugged nation. Unparalleled beauty is also reflected in its vibrant indigenous cultures, colonial cities such as Sucre and Potosí and whispers of ancient civilizations.

RuinsMarketsSalt FlatsBolivian LocalLaguna Verdenational-wildlife-reserveUros Floating Island

A good place to start is the enchanting town of Copacabana, which is nestled between two hills and perched on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca. For centuries it was the site of religious pilgrimages and today local and visiting Peruvian pilgrims flock to its fiestas.

Make a visit by boat to nearby Isla Del Sol and Isla De La Luna (Sun and Moon Islands) and enjoy the serene beauty and Inca history. Sun Island is home to the sacred rock of Titicaca and in the labyrinth-like ruins of Chincana, a restored Inca Temple and nunnery (housing the virgins of the sun).

The startling waters of Lake Titicaca reveal an incongruous splash of sapphire amid the stark plains of the Altiplano and are one of the most beautiful sights in the region. The tiny island of Pariti houses a new museum featuring exquisite finds from a recent excavation. La Paz is dizzying in every respect, not only for its well-publicized altitude (3660m) but for its quirky beauty. The city's buildings cling to the sides of the canyon and spill spectacularly downwards, whilst the snowy peak of Mt Illimani (6402m) looms in the background. Of special interest is the cathedral, the Palacio Presidencial and the Congresso Nacional.

Coroico has long been a favourite with visitors enjoying its laid back atmosphere and serene natural beauty. Surrounded by citrus orchards, banana groves and coffee plantations this is a perfect place to put on your walking boots and explore the unique before ensconcing yourself into a hammock.

Oruro, whose name means 'where the sun is born,' sits against a range of mineral-rich low hills, has good museums, wonderful restaurants and is rich in dance and musical heritage that culminates in the riotous Carnival celebrations, famous for the lavish costumes and elaborate traditions.

Laguna Colorada is a shallow salt lake in the South-West of the Altiplano of Bolivia and is famous for its James flamingos that live and breed here. North of Laguna is the Valle de Dali which is a surrealistic collection of rocks against a backdrop of eroded cliffs where thermal pools nestle amongst the rocks.

Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado is one of the world's most stunningly diverse natural habitats with a wide range of plant and animal species almost unmatched anywhere else on the planet. With its Amazonian forests, spectacular waterfalls and eerie-looking flat-topped mountains it is no surprise that this park houses seven distinct eco-systems. With over 600 species of birds including the Amazonian umbrella bird and animals like black howler monkey, this is a nature lover's paradise.

Proud, genteel Sucre is Bolivia's most beautiful city, and the symbolic heart of the nation. A glorious ensemble of whitewashed buildings sheltering pretty patios and with a wealth of colonial architecture. You can take a flotilla to Potosi and marvel at its history of bankrolling the Spanish empire with the silver it extracted from its mines.

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