Category Archives: Bolivia

Travel guides to help you plan your trip to Bolivia.

1-4 day itineraries and things to do in popular locations including La Paz, Death Road and the Salt Flats.

Top 10 Things to do in La Paz, Bolivia Today

La Paz Cable Cars

It might not be Bolivia largest city but it is its highest at 11,942ft. The Peace of Ayacucho – La Paz, is a ‘love it or hate it’ type of city. Sitting in a valley, it has an unpolished, don’t give two hoots about you, kind of feel to it. Bolivia’s capital city is bustling with locals, visitors, backpackers and ex-pats and here are the top 10 things to do in La Paz right now.

Expect to spend around 2-5 days in La Paz, including potential day trips, and to return on your way back from seeing the rest of the country. Be prepared to acclimatise, there are too many things to do to suffer from sickness! A couple of recommendations among these La Paz activities actually take place in El Alto, which is the neighbouring city connected by cable car.

What to do in La Paz, Bolivia

1. Free Walking Tour in La Paz

La Paz is easy to navigate by foot.

Initially, it feels big but once you’ve visited a few of the plazas such as Plaza Murillo below, you’ll find your bearing and get a feel for the city.

Why not add some knowledge to your wandering with a close to free walking tour?

The Red Caps Walking Tour is a La Paz institution and a highly regarded 2-3 hour tour.

While the term ‘free walking tour’ is used all over South America, these tours are never free.

You must pay the guide in tips or pre-pay and reserve your spot. It’s under £3, well worth it.

Plazas in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

2. The Witches Market of La Paz

El Mercado de las Brujas, more commonly known as The Witches Market swallows up the streets near Av. Illampu.

It suspiciously looks like a blown-up version of the market on the British soap, Eastenders.

Plenty of Addidas knock offs to snap up as well as fruit, vegetables and popcorn.

Bolivians love their corn. I love their corn!

Witches Market in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

3. Get High: Ride the La Paz Cable Cars

For the best views of La Paz, pay 22 BS for 2 people at any of My Teleférico (terminals and go ‘arriba’ into the sky).

The red cars are close to The Witches Market, entrance point 16 de Julio/Jach’a Qhathu – Estación Central/Taypi Uta.

The green turns into the yellow and can be accessed at Mirador/Qhana Pata – Chuqui Apu/Libertador and Chuqui Apu/Libertador – Irpawi/Irpavi (notice that they are the colour of the Bolivian flag?)

Look out for the massive graveyard with coffins stacked up into what can only be described as council houses.

Due to the size of La Paz, there are several coloured lines for the city’s gondolas.

Take a picnic – make cable car hopping one of the romantic things to do in La Paz.

Cable Cars in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

4. Colourful Houses at Chualluma

In 2019, this bright city ramped up its colour scheme with a state-financed street art project ‘Mi Qhatu‘ which sees the homes of the Chualluma area being transformed into traditional murals and geometric patterns.

To see these murals depicting “cholitas” (local woman) and other native symbols to the city, you must climb “The 1000 Steps” or you can ride the cable car to El Alto.

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This is a community project so go say hola to the Aymara people who painted their homes with the support of local street artists.

Coined “New Andean” style, uniquely designed houses called “cholets” have been created by Aymara architect Freddy Mamani Silvestre.

Some of these Andean palaces can only be described as Gatsby meets the circus. You can see for yourself in the video below.

5. Fun Things to do in La Paz, Bolivia at Night

La Paz is the party city – your hostel may even offer you a locally brewed beer every day!

Like beer?

Then The Adventure Brew Hostel is for you.

You can expect comfy beds, hot showers, ping-pong, a relaxed bar, and decent food.

Each guest gets a free beer for every night they stay.

Not staying? You can still drink at the bar.

Nightlife in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

Adventure Brew Hostel isn’t the only hostel that puts on social events.

Wild Rover La Paz is still going strong as the highest Irish pub in the world.

Expect shots (below) and snogging on the dancefloor.

Although, in La Paz, the party is often at your hostel, when the hostel boozing ends, the management hook you up with transport to the after-party.

Try the local pisco, Singani Sour.

Dine at Gustu, La Paz’s top restaurant with a conscious.

Hostels in La Paz

6. Craft Beer Brewery in La Paz

We were mighty impressed with this gem of a visit to the Adventure Brew Microbrewery Tour.

Saya beer has been produced in (and close to) La Paz for twenty years.

During winter, the Brew Master, Remo, opens the breweries doors to travellers during a Sunday beer tour to Achocalla, one hour from La Paz.

50 bs tour price includes a tour of the brewery, beer samples and BBQ food plus transport to and from the hostel.

One of the more unique things to do in La Paz.

Saya Beer Brewery Tour in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La PazThanks to The Brew Adventure Hostel for the experience! Opinions are our own, as always

7. Colourful Calle Jaen

Calle Jean stands out from the red clay housing and grey tones of La Paz because of the colourful buildings.

An old tale states that Calle Jaen used to be full of drunk men.

In addition to this, there was a lady who roamed the street too.

One night all of the intoxicated men disappeared and the mysterious woman faced the blame.

There are a couple of cafes for you to dine in and an art gallery with an obsession of what us Brits know as ‘bitty’ after the comedy show Little Britain. Look it up…

Calle Jaen in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

8. La Paz’s Heroines – Cholita Wrestling

On a Sunday night, high up in the mountains of El Alto you can watch Bolivian women, suited and booted in their traditional wear, wrestle.

I bet you didn’t expect that.

For 80 bs, paid at pretty much any tourist operator, you will be collected from the safe streets of La Paz and driven up the winding road to El Alto, where some people tell you not to walk alone.

Here you can see the WWE (WWF for us oldies) style wrestling from the front seats!

Popcorn provided.

You do, however, need to sit through men in latex fighting also.

We did not go on a tour and it was the same total price at 50 bs at the door plus taxi ride there and a cable car back.

The red cable car is behind the stadium, turn right and go through the market.

The only advantage of the non-tour option is you can leave earlier. The show goes on for 2.5 hours.

Cholita Wrestling in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

9. Death Road, Bolivia

One of the crazy things to do in La Paz, Bolivia is to cycle the 69 kilometres/ 43 miles of Death Road.

The World’s Most Dangerous Road also know as La Carretera de los Yungas sees tourists pedal every day.

Since you are cycling at 3,500m, it is not for the fainthearted!

This full-day tour from La Paz is one of the most popular things to do in South America. Are you brave enough?


» For our experience and a full guide to cycling Yungas in Bolivia, read Death Road, Bolivia.


Death Road in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

10. We Still Want More!

Have more time?

Want more things to see and do in La Paz?

What about a short trek through The Valle de la Luna, scale down a 17-floor building with Urban Rush, or moving to the ‘burbs (Achumani) where the sun always seems to shine!

Airbnb in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

Bolivia Travel Tips For La Paz

Accommodation in La Paz

Hotels in La Paz

There are a handful of budget La Paz hotels as well as affordable luxury options if treating yourself.

  • Hotel Sagarnaga: Value for money, clean, good location
  • Loki Boutique: Modernly decorated rooms in an old colonial building. Restaurant onsite. Book private bathroom
  • Atix Hotel: Modern, boutique hotel with rooms decorated by Gaston Ugalde. Rooftop bar. Swimming pool.
  • Casa Grande: 5 stars, modern hotel with a fitness suite and bars

Hostels in La Paz

La Paz hostels are a great option for those looking to save money and make friends.

The most popular include:

Dorm beds can be found as cheap as £7. Here’s our full La Paz hostels guide.

Bolivia Packing List

  • La Paz gets cold, layers are essential!
  • A waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK or Mountain Equipment Rupal US / UK
  • Rab Alpine down coat USA / UK
  • Merino Icebreaker tops USA / UK if hiking in Bolivia or doing the Salt Flats
  • Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – like lightweight Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I like Anker’s range US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover for downpours, protect the tech US / UK
  • Eco water bottle like the practical Tree Tribe US / UK, purifies and filters
  • Bamboo cutlery set US / UK for zero waste
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK for hostels 
  • Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in some La Paz partying!
  • Travel Insurance

» Don’t forget your travel insurance – See True Traveller or World Nomads

Gemma Salt Flats

Restaurants in La Paz

  • The Steakhouse: Man v Food challenge, steak platters, rustic setting.
  • Cafe Vida La Paz: Healthy and vegan options near Witches Market.
  • Higher Ground Cafe: Cozy, breakfast through to dinner. Coffee, beers and cocktails.
  • Sol y Luna: Relaxed bar/restaurant serving Bolivia food for tourists. International beers and a variety of cocktails.
  • Ichuri: Rooftop views.
  • Gustu: Featured on Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Up

The Steakhouse in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz
Man v Food at The Steakhouse

Getting to La Paz, Bolivia

The main airport for La Paz is El Alto Airport which is around 25 minutes from the city.

Taxi cost around 70-100 BS.

Getting Around La Paz

La Paz can be discovered easily by foot.

The cable cars connect La Paz with El Alto for the likes of Cholita wrestling and Chualluma street art.

Bolivia’s Currency

Bolivia uses the Bolíviano, BOB. For the most up to date exchange rate click here.

Weather in La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia, weather is warmest in October – December, average temperature is above 15 degrees.

The hottest day of the year is November 4th.

The cold season is June – July where the average temperature is 13 degrees.

The coldest day (July 17th) can reach lots of -3 degrees.

Storms are common, as is rain, there is a greater chance of rain during the cold season.

Altitude in La Paz I 10 Things to do in La Paz

La Paz Altitude

Altitude sickness is not to be taken lightly.

You may feel dizzy when you first arrive in La Paz, especially if you have not had a ‘breaking in’ period in Peru.

La Paz is 3500m above sea level, El Alto (where the cholita wrestling is held and the airport is) is even higher – 4000m above sea level.

Expect to be a tad out of breath on arrival and you may find walking up hills and stairs more difficult than usual.

Be sensible, if symptoms develop or continue for a long period of time, seek medical help.


Further Reading


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10 Things to Know Before Biking Death Road in Bolivia

Biking Death Road in Bolivia La Paz

Are you brave enough to bike Death Road in Bolivia? Coined the ‘most dangerous road in the world’, visitors cycle the 69 kilometres/43 miles day trip from La Paz every day, with a group of fellow daredevils for support. 

Along with the Uyuni’s Salt Flats, Death Road biking is one of the most popular attractions in Bolivia. So let’s pedal into what you should know before you go. 


» You may also like | 10 Unmissable things to do in La Paz


1. How Many Hours is the Death Road Cycle?

The first advice in our biking Death Road guide is the timeframe you will need to set aside during your Bolivia itinerary. 

You will easily spend two days in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital.

Especially if you are planning on partying in one of the highest cities in the world. 

The day trip to La Carretera de los Yungas, which is the road’s traditional name, requires a very early rise and takes up most of the day. 
Death Road Bolivia with Gravity

The day kicks off with a short meeting, paperwork and approx. an hour bus ride to La Cumbre ‘The Summit’ which is 4700 above sea level (asl).

On arrival, you are kitted out and set on the first leg which is a smooth road.

Don’t be fooled by the terrain, the lorry drivers which you share the road with are mental. 

This is leg is just over one hour on a developed road to ease you into the official ride. 

The Death Road cycle itself is four hours with stops and then lunch. 

Death Road Bolivia Gravity

2. How To Choose Which Of The Death Road Bolivia Tours To Go With 

There’s plenty of choice between Death Road tours and you will see adverts for many companies in La Paz hostels, on associated websites and through booking agents. 

Things to consider: 

  • Quality of kit and bike 
  • Safety of bus and driver, you will hear countless stories about South American bus crashes during your travels 
  • Company reviews

Your tour of choice must provide:

  • Protective coat and trousers in case you fall on gravel
  • Gloves
  • A helmet 
  • A bike with great suspension and brakes 
  • They usually provide a drinks bottle too

We went with the most popular company, Gravity.

You can see the tour and reserve your spot in full here.

Photo of the fortnight

3. You Have To Pay An Entrance Fee 

After the first leg, you arrive at the official entry point and this is where you pay the additional 25 bs per person to cycle the Death Road. 

Remember to pack the extra cash. You may want a little more of the end of cycle activities and lunch options. 

Once everyone has paid up, the group are asked if they want to cycle uphill, with altitude against them, or take the bus to the start of the route. A unanimous vote for the bus! 

Death Road Bolivia South America

4. You Don’t Need To Be An Expert 

Used to Amsterdam cycling and not sure if this attraction is for you? 

You don’t need to be a mountain bike expert to cycle Death Road but it does help if you can cycle confidently and are not afraid of heights. 

Be prepared to take on hairpin bends and heights f 11,800 feet (3,600 meters) between La Cumbre Pass and the lowland town of Coroico.

Have you seen Death Road on Top Gear? 

5. Death Road Isn’t For Everyone 

Contrary to believe, the road doesn’t get its title as ‘most dangerous’ because of the number of cycle victims. 

The name originated from the number of deaths the road caused during the construction of it and it was not Bolivians that built it.

War prisoners from Paraguay were responsible for La Carretera de los Yungas to give it its real name.

However, if you find that once you start the route that the ride isn’t for you, don’t worry. 

Just tell your guide and they will organise of you to sit on the bus which meets the rest of the crew at the bottom. 

Still persevering? Don’t be afraid to be the one at the back. That was me, and my new friend Kristian. 

I honestly felt like I was going 60 mph, on reflection and watching the video back, it was more like 6 mph. 

Death Road Bolivia

6. Listen to Your Guide 

So now you know the real reason for its title, it doesn’t mean its time to get cocky. 

It is still claimed hundreds of people lose their lives on this road every year.

Recently a 21-year-old cycled off one of the cliffs and miraculously survived, being saved by a ledge. 

It’s not just yourself you have to be cautious of, locals still use this road to drive between villages, when you see it you will think how?!

Listen to the advice from your guide who will talk you through the best options for balancing and maintaining control. 

Plus, your guide will show you where to get the Instagram cliff shot souvenir! 

It’s likely your main guide with have a wingman, one will take the lead and the other with kick back. 

7. Death Road Cycle Packing List and Gear 

  • Wear flexible pants like leggings and tracksuit bottoms
  • Layers, merino wool is ideal
  • Bring additional liner gloves if you can, it gets really cold 
  • Wear closed-toe shoes such as trainers/sneakers
  • Sunscreen
  • Shades
  • Swimming gear if taking a dip
  • Towel if taking a post-cycle shower 

8. Celebrate With A Beer 

Once you make it through Cotapata National Park, with the Andes as the backdrop, and to the endpoint (Yolosa at 1200 asl), collect your celebratory beer, take a group selfie and chill for a while. 

Death Road, Bolivia North Yungas Road Views

9. Lunch Is Included 

Once everyone is reunited, the team embark on a buffet lunch. 

Here you can have a shower and/or take a dip in the swimming pool before the bus ride all the way back on the mountain and back to La Paz.

10. Wear The T-Shirt

Been there, done that and now you can wear the t-shirt!

Most tour companies provide a brand T and buff for around your neck to prove you cycled the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia! 

Death Road, Bolivia


Final Words

Whether you are an active cyclist with a need for speed or a backpacker looking to tick off a bucket list item, La Paz’s Death Road is a fun day out. 

Calling all thrill-seekers! Are you brave enough to volcano board down an active volcano? We did in Nicaragua!


Pin to your Bolivia planning board!

Any questions? Just leave them below and we will get back to you.

Cycling Death Road - things to do in Bolivia | Adventure travel

 


We worked with our affiliate partner Tinggly who comped two Death Road cycle tours. Our honest opinion as always.

9 Hostels in La Paz, Bolivia Starting at £6

Hostels in La Paz

Looking for the best hostels in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital city? Look no further. Whether you are visiting on a budget or looking to make new friends, this guide to affordable yet fun La Paz hostels details what’s on offer, the best locations and where you should stay in one of the highest cities in the world.

Best Hostels in La Paz

Wild Rover La Paz

Fancy a fiesta? This is where it’s at.

Wild Rover is a chain of popular hostels found in Peru and Bolivia.

If you stay in all four, you can claim a free t-shirt!

Wild Rover La Paz is situated in an ex-presidential palace in a touristy area of La Paz.

The staff are friendly, the bar is jumping, there’s live sport on the TV and sun loungers in the ‘garden’.

Coined, the highest Irish bar in the world, Wild Rover is aimed at backpackers looking for a party.

Rooms include traditional dorms for those saving every Boliviano to modern bunks with privacy curtains.

Dorms include lockers, electrical sockets with shared or private bathrooms featuring power showers.

Request one of the smaller dorms if you want to be propping up the bar but not sleeping directly next to it.

Prefer your own space? There are double (matrimony) and twin rooms available too.

Prices include a basic backpacker breakfast of bread and spreads.

There is no kitchen but the hostel restaurant serves local and comfort food.

There’s a TV room so you literally don’t have to leave Wild Rover but you should.

The only gripe, the WiFi is poor. Welcome to backpacking in South America!

Arriving with Bolivia Hop? Enjoy a free welcome shot.

  • Pros: Friendly, party-ready, vodka (praise be!)
  • Cons: Not for the faint-hearted! This is a party hostel, breakfast is typical, WiFi is weak, no kitchen

Wild Rover La Paz

Hostels in La Paz

Loki Hostel La Paz

Two minutes walk from Wild Rover you will find another South American hostel chain, Loki.

Popular in Peru, Loki La Paz is a big party hostel aimed at social people.

Like Wild Rover, there is an on-site bar with a signature drink called a Bloodbomb, happy hour, themed nights and entertainment is organised by the friendly staff.

Don’t want to party too hard or partied too hard? There’s a TV room with Netflix.

Rooms start with 4-bed dorms and go up to 10 bed. Private rooms are also available.

Showers get rave reviews.

Request a top floor dorm if you need to try and get some sleep.

A restaurant is located in the hostel.

There’s no laundrette on site but there is one over the road.

Prefer something a little more upmarket?

Check out the La Paz Loki Boutique.

  • Pros: Friendly, party hostel with events
  • Cons: Loud, no kitchen, weak WiFi

Loki Hostel La Paz

Selena Hostel La Paz

Selina is a chain of hostels not aimed at party backpackers.

The target audience for this hostel in La Paz are visitors with are slightly older mindset who are looking for some social activity in a nice setting.

There is a co-working space available for those who need to get some hours in.

Selina is more like a clean boutique hotel than a backpacker hostel.

A variety of rooms are on offer from 4-bed dorms to 10-beds. All dorms have private curtains.

There are also private rooms.

There is a bar on site which sells beers, cocktail and food.

Unlike Loki, there is a small kitchen which guests can use if they can get access. Try to avoid peak times.

Selina is located in a quiet neighbourhood, 5 minutes walk away from a local shop.

It’s a little out of the way, about 15 minutes from the city centre.

  • Pros: Friendly, clean, privacy
  • Cons: A little out of the way, not party orientated if that’s your vibe

Selina La Paz Bolivia

The Adventure Brew Hostel

The Adventure Brew Hostel is one of the traditional backpacking hostels in La Paz which pulls in a tamer crowd who like a drink.

This is a craft beer hostel which offers tours of the Saya brewery every Sunday.

Even better news, every guest gets a free beer on entry!

Other events such as a weekly BBQ are also popular.

Rooms available include traditional dorms from 4-bed up to 20-bed as well as private rooms. Showers are hot.

We stayed in a private room for one night and did the brewery tour.

Its proximity to the bus terminal is also an appeal.

Prefer to be downtown? There’s a second Adventure Brew Hostel in town.

  • Pros: Chill hostel, free beer and awesome brewery tour
  • Cons: May be a little tame for some

Adventure Brew Hostel La Paz

The Greenhouse Hostel

You’ve probably never heard of the Sopocachi neighbourhood but if prefer an up and coming side of a city then The Greenhouse Hostel in Sopocachi may be for you.

Coined the wealthy and bohemian area, quality restaurants can be found here and if you’re a fan of food you might consider The Greenhouse Hostel for its kitchen.

One of the smaller hostels in the city, Greenhouse has nine rooms over two floors, four of which are shared and five are private. All use the shared bathroom facilities.

The open patio and greenhouse is a hit with visitors.

  • Pros: Cool area, big kitchen
  • Cons: Not central but that’s the point

Prefer to be closer to the centre? The Cathedral is the sister hostel which is built around the same ethos of the ‘chef hostel’ aimed at visitors who want to cook.


Cruz de Los Andes

If breakfast is your priority then you might want to consider Cruz de Los Andes.

This quirky bed and breakfast is more like a hotel than a hostel but it’s bright, clean and the staff are helpful.

Each room is private and has a unique mural painted on the walls by local artists.

Great location, tucked up Calle Aroma near lots of restaurants and the bustling Witches Market.

The staff at the reception are very friendly and there is a holding room for luggage if you are trekking or checking out.

The breakfast of fruit, yoghurt, bread and EGGS is a welcomed change.

You won’t get breakfast like this included in any hostel stay in La Paz.

Cruz de Los Andes is ideal for those looking for a quiet hostel to chill out and get a good sleep.

Another traveller says ‘this is the nicest place we’ve stayed in South America’.

  • Pros: Friendly, clean, breakfast, location
  • Cons: Not one of those looking to socialise

Hostels in La Paz


Estrella Andina

Estrella Andina is just around the corner from Cruz de Los Andes, again near The Witches Market and restaurants.

The views from this hostel are incredible. We enjoyed watching the sun set over the red clay buildings of the city and a firework display during our stay.

The hostel also has a rooftop patio on floor five.

The room itself, like the rest of the hostel, is very clean.

The shower was scorching, we checked in after a fourteen-hour bus journey from Sucre so this was a dream.

Rooms also have a small TV.

The breakfast is a delight.

You’ll become obsessed with the quality of accommodation breakfast during your South American travels because most are terrible. Stale bread and jam.

Here there’s a platter of fresh fruit, yoghurt, bread, eggs AND pancakes.

To add to the pancakes, Dulce de Leche! South America’s is Nutella.

Best working WiFi during our stay in the city, which is unusual for La Paz where the WiFi is notoriously crap.

The staff are friendly and helpful and again there is a storage room for those looking to dump their stuff.

There is also a nice common area with cool llama chairs.

  • Pros: WiFi, views, friendly, clean, breakfast, location
  • Cons: None, bar if you are looking for girls on a bar then look elsewhere

Best hostels in La Paz Bolivia
Hostels in La Paz

Hostels in La Paz


Airbnb in La Paz

There is more than just hostels for affordable accommodation in La Paz.

Airbnb apartment rentals are also available which is ideal if you’ve been on the road for a while and want some private space.

We stayed in the Achumani area of La Paz which is a sun trap with a local market.

Final Words

Wondering where to stay in La Paz? The questioning is now over. Whether you are looking for a party atmosphere or co-working space, hostels in La Paz have it all.

Garden seats La Paz

Biking Death Road in Bolivia La Paz

Thanks to the generosity of the hostels we worked with in La Paz (Wild Rover, Adventure Brew, Cruz de Los Andes Estrella Andina). Our own opinions, mouthy Scots!

La Paz to Uyuni: 4 Ways to Get to Bolivia’s Salt Flats

La Paz to Uyuni Satl Flats Bolivia Worlds Largest Mirror

La Paz to Uyuni is a popular route that thousands of visitors take each year to visit the magical Uyuni Salt Flats. Coined the world’s largest mirror, there are four ways to get to the Salt Flats in Bolivia which we (Gemma and Craig) will look at in this guide.

From the town of Uyuni, you will embark on your Uyuni tour (1-3 days depending on your availability) to see vast landscapes, take fun photos and, hopefully, be in awe of the incredible Salar de Uyuni sunsets. 

As with all the attractions in Bolivia, ensure that you are acclimatised before taking this South American highlight. I am confident it will be one of the most memorable, yet somewhat surreal, activities during your trip. 


»You may also like | What not to miss in La Paz


How to Get From La Paz to Uyuni 

1. La Paz to Uyuni by Plane 

Air travel is the most efficient way to get to Uyuni from La Paz with the flight duration lasting less than one hour. 

Two airlines offer this internal route, Amaszonas and Boliviana de Aviación. 

However, many backpackers avoid this option because, although the upfront flight cost is somewhat affordable at under $100 USD, the additional costs can add up. 

Things to do consider:

  • Taxi from La Paz to El Alto Aiport: 60-70 bs
  • Loss of sleep if taking the early morning flight
  • Additional night in La Paz, the bus is overnight so saving on one night’s accommodation
  • Pre-booked private transfer from Joya Andina Airport to Uyuni, not always enough taxis
  • Fear of flight being late and missing tour the same morning 

Flights don’t take off every day and appear to be seasonal for some days. Prices fluctuate between $50 and $150. 

  • Pros: Quick
  • Cons: Taxis not always available at the airport if connecting to a tour, expensive option when add up fees 

Uyuni Salt Flats Salt Mountains Bolivia_

2. La Paz to Uyuni by Bus

The overnight bus from La Paz to Uyuni is the most popular way to to the salt desert in Bolivia.

The bus leaves La Paz at 21:00 from the Todo Turismo offices at 102 Uruguay Avenue which is opposite the bus station.

There will be a long line of people waiting. 

The bus drives overnight, arriving at Uyuni with a bumpy entrance at 07:30. 

You can reserve your seat and your ticket online then show your e-ticket to the driver.

Alternatively, you can buy in person at the above address, which is what we did as we had plenty of time in La Paz. 

250 BS per person, paid by credit card, gets you a long bus ride between the two locations and two meals – one as you set off (chicken and rice or vegetarian option) and one in the morning (crackers, yoghurt and marmalade). 

If you have any food allergies or requests, email [email protected] 

There’s an additional charge for bikes. 

During the night there is a toilet stop, bring tissues and hand sanitiser. 

Note: the bus has curtains, semi-reclining seats and a blanket is provided. While this is deemed expensive for Bolivia, it is a bumpy road I wouldn’t want to attempt using a less comfortable bus. 

La Paz to Uyuni by Bus

Bus From Uyuni to La Paz

The return bus leaves from the Todo Turismo office at 158 Cabrera Street at  20:00 getting into La Paz at 6:30. 

Like us, most visitors move on to another location such as Potosi, one of the highest towns in the world!

  • Pros: Most affordable and popular option, meals included, semi-reclining seats, saves a night’s stay at accommodation
  • Cons: Bumpy ride 

Pringles and Gemma Salt Flats in Bolivia

3. La Paz to Uyuni by Train

A lesser-known way to get to Uyuni is by train from La Paz.

You can’t actually get the train direct.

The journey stops for transfer by bus at Oruro (Uru) which, according to Google Maps, is 314 km away from Uyuni. 

I’m going to be honest here, I can’t find any up to date information about this train route so I can’t provide details of the journey. 

I never met anyone that took the train to Uyuni. 

Have you done it recently? 

Tell me about your experience in the comments below. 

  • Cons: Limited information online, an unknown option

1 day or 3 day Uyuni tour_


4. Luxury Door to Door Tour 

Short on time? Don’t speak Spanish? This luxury door to door tour may be for you. 

A private taxi collects you from your accommodation in La Paz and takes you to El Alto airport. 

From here you fly into Uyuni where a car with an English-speaking driver is waiting for you. 

Enjoy breakfast and then start your day tour of Uyuni and the Salt Flats which includes:

  • Uyuni train cemetery
  • An educational lesson about the area in Colchani
  • A drive, with stops, through Uyuni Salt Flats
  • See the cactus at Incahuasi Island
  • Lunch, Tunupa Volcano and a sunset drink on the Flats

Then you fly back to La Paz, no Uyuni accommodation required, with a private taxi pick up at El Alto to your accommodation in La Paz. 

What a fairytale of a day trip with positive reviews which you can read here.

  • Pros: Great for those short on time, English-speaking driver, door to door
  • Cons: Most expensive option

Great Train Graveyard Uyuni

Incahuasi Island Uyuni Bolivia Cactus_


Bolivian Salt Flat Tours

Now on to the good stuff. Taking a Salt Flats tour!

Apologies, the decision process is not over. You now have to decide between a Uyuni 3-day tour or a 1-day trip.

Couple Jump Shadows Sunset Bolivia Salt Flat Uyuni

Choosing a Salt Flat Tour Company 

Like with the popular Death Road cycle tour, your safety is paramount. 

Consider the following:

  • The safety record of the company – reports of reckless driving have decreased but still happen 
  • Do you need your guide/driver to speak English (more expensive)?
  • Are you happy to arrive on the day and chance it or do you feel better pre-booking before you go?
  • Pre-booking online can be more expensive so consider that when booking 
  • Communication can be slow or non-existent unless you book through a third party/agency 
  • Where do you want to end your trip? Bolivia or Chile… 

Man in wellies Salt Flats Bolivia packing lists_

Uyuni 1 Day Tour 

This is what we opted for as we didn’t want to give up three days of our itinerary and, this is going to sound pathetic but, I hate being cold.

Everyone mentions how cold and often uncomfortable the 3-day tour can be so that put me off. 

Salt Flats in Bolivia Gemma and Craig_

Regardless of your reasons, sad like me or not, here’s what you can expect from a 1-day tour of the Salt Flats. 

  • Central point pick up in a 4×4 car with a small group
  • A visit to the open-air Uyuni train station to see the rusting and abandoned trains and tracks
  • A comfort stop at the market where you can buy souvenirs 
  • Various stops on the cracked flats for photos, bring props, plan the pics you want as some stops are short 
  • Lunch. Our guide tried to force us to buy a shade which we didn’t need 
  • Incahuasi Island (additional 15 bs fee to enter) which is a nice walk among the tall cactuses 
  • Further stops and then, depending on which tour you choose, the romantic sunset shots, wellies provided 

Note: Don’t always believe the itineraries that are sold to you. There may be some tweaks due to weather, effort from driver and possibly a wee fib shared by an agency! Go with the flow, ‘tranquilo’ as they say in South America. 

  • Pros: Great for those on a tight schedule as you only need one night in Uyuni 
  • Cons: No flamingos, gets very cold at sundown

Couple Shadow Sunset Romantic Salt Flats Bolivia_

3 Day Salt Flat Tour

The benefit of a three-day tour is that you have more time to explore the area, its natural attractions and you might get to see the Salar de Uyuni flamingos! 

What to expect from a three-day Salt Flat tour, which takes in the landscape from the Uyuni Salt Flats to the desert in San Pedro. 

Day 1

  • Meet the group and hop aboard your 4×4 for the trip
  • Stop at train open-air museum aka Great Train Graveyard
  • An educational lesson about the area in Colchani
  • Salt Flats tour 
  • Llamas 
  • Accommodation in a salt hotel for the night. Shared rooms may be offered, discuss before booking 

Day 2

  • Breakfast at the accommodation
  • A tour of the Salt Flats. Additional park payment 150 bs
  • Volcano and lagoon sightings 
  • Bolivia’s flamingos 
  • Colorado Lagoon, yes the pink one!
  • Basic accommodation 

Day 3

  • Sunrise tour
  • Geysers
  • Hot springs
  • Salvador Dali Desert
  • Important: From here you can cross the border to Chile or…
  • Back to Uyuni starting point 

What do you decide to do? Tell us in the comments below. 

  • Pros: Covers a lot more of Bolivia’s natural attractions than the day tour 
  • Cons: Cold

Note: Ask if you can take your big luggage or if you should only bring a small bag

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Silly Pictures Tub of Pringles Bolivia_

Popular Companies

Brisa, Red Planet Expedition, Andes Salt Express, Salty Desert Aventours and Quechua Connection are all popular options used by visitors for one day and three-day tours. 

Prices vary depending on whether:  

  • You book on the day at Uyuni which is the cheapest option, run risk of not getting chosen tour operator 
  • You request an English speaking tour guide 
  • You prefer more than ‘basic’ accommodation 

On the whole, I’ve seen anything from $100-250 for a 3 day/2 night tour. 

  • This 3 day/2 day tour offers an English-speaking guide via Viator.
  • This one day tour offers an English-speaking guide via Viator

Salt Flat Pictures

Whether you are a pro or phone camera user, you will have an absolute hoot taking photos with your pals in your group. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your guide to take shots for you. 

They are pros at getting the right angles. 

Be quick! Most people complain that they don’t get enough time to take shots. 

Salay de Uyuni Salt Flats Silly Pictures Dinosaur Bolivia_

Couple Kissing Shadow Sunset Romantic Salt Flats Bolivia_

Everything You Need to Know About Uyuni Salt Flats

Why Visit?

During my travels to Australia in 2009, I met a Brit who was doing an around the world backpacking trip. 

She showed me some of her photographs from South America and there it was. The coolest thing I’d ever seen in my 28 years of existence, Bolivia’s Salt Flats. 

I put it on my bucket list and eventually got there during my sabbatical to travel the Americas and Europe. 

What is Uyuni Salt Flats and Where are They?

Uyuni Salt Flats, also known as Salar de Uyuni, is 10,582 square kilometres of the Altiplano in South America which is shared between Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. 

However, only Bolivia has the world’s largest mirror which appears when rainfall creates a mirror effect on the horizonless stretch of land around Uyuni. 

Uyuni is in the southwest of Bolivia. 

Some visitors take a tour from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile instead of Uyuni town in Bolivia. 

Salay de Uyuni Salt Flats Silly Pictures Giant Bolivia_

So What is Uyuni?

Uyuni is the small town that hosts visitors before or after their Salt Flat tours. 

Salt Flats Packing List 

  • Passport or ID card
  • Cash (bs), toilets (5-10 bs), snacks, tips for three-day tour
  • Camera and SD cards
  • Phone – this is the camera your guide will use 
  • Anker battery charger US / UK for electronics 
  • Comfortable shoes, I like the lightweight Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Warm outer gear like Rab Alpine down USA / UK
  • Warm layers, can’t beat Icebreaker Merino wool base layer USA / UK
  • Waterproof outer gear like Marmot Precip waterproof jacket US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover US / UK
  • Shades
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Scarf, gloves, hat
  • Props like dinosaurs, Pringle tubs, anything you want to climb on or fall into
  • Eco water bottle like Tree Tribe US / UK filled with water for the day 
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • JBL clip music speaker US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK

Uyuni Salt Flat What to Wear_

3 Day Tour Additions

  • Toilet paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Dry shampoo
  • 4 litres of water per person
  • Flip-flops for shared bathrooms
  • Sleeping bag or rent one from the company and bring a liner instead 
  • Towel
  • A torch 
  • Swimming gear for the hot springs 

Salt Flats in Bolivia_

Accommodation in Uyuni 

Basic accommodation is available in Uyuni. 

Hotels in Uyuni 

  • Hostel Jerian: Clean rooms, simple buffet breakfast, central
  • Casa de Sal: Best hotel in Uyuni, modern, airport pick up available, pricey for Bolivia 
  • Cilos: This is where we stayed, slightly out of town but cheap. Wouldn’t stay again 

Hostels in Uyuni 

Pringles Salt Flats in Bolivia

What is the Uyuni Altitude?

Uyuni sits 3,700 m (12,139 ft) above sea level which is similar to La Paz 3,650 m (11,975 ft). 

If you’ve come from Cusco in Peru you will most likely have built a tolerance to altitude, avoiding sickness. 

Spend a few days in La Paz beforehand if you can. Here’s our list of things to do there

Best Time to Visit Bolivia Salt Flats

You can plan a trip to the Salt Flats any time of year but both seasons will show a different side to the landscape. 

We visited in April which is part of the rainy seasons (November to April).

This allowed us to get the really cool sunset reflection shots such as the one below which spells ‘Uyuni’ in the puddles. 

The dry season is May to November, less rain but more access to the area. Some tours have to divert to other parts during the rainy season. 

Are there ATMs at Uyuni?

There is an ATM, which we used, but like with everything in small touristy towns, you can’t bank on it having cash. 

Bring USD as back up which you can exchange in the town. 

Sunset 1 day tour Uyuni Salt Flat


Things to do in Uyuni

Uyuni might seem a little dusty compared to the likes of La Paz or Sucre but there are some activities to consider during your stay:

  • Eat homemade pizza and cookies or breakfast at Minutemen (inside Tonito Hotel)
  • Drink with the locals – if there’s a town in South America you better believe there’s a bar, one of Craig’s best night’s out
  • Plaza Arce downtown meeting point surrounded by pastel buildings and a day market for snacks 
  • Avenida Ferroviaria is the main street with train monuments 
  • Go on a Uyuni Salt Flats tour – honestly, it’s what everyone is there for 

Pin to your Bolivia planning board!
Any questions? Just ask below

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Bolivia Hop: Review of the Border Cross Hop On/Off Bus

Bolivia Hop Review

Looking for a safe way to cross the border between Peru and Bolivia? Bolivia Hop is a hop on/off bus service aimed at travellers looking to travel between Puno and La Paz without missing the highlights. Visit Puno, Lake Titicaca, Uros Floating Islands and Copacabana’s Isla del Sol before arriving at one of the highest cities in the world, La Paz, Bolivia’s capital! Short on time? Choose the direct route. This is an honest Bolivia Hop review, sharing our experience using this popular Puno to La Paz bus.  


» Travelling around Peru too? Read our Peru Hop guide too


What is Bolivia Hop?

Similar to the wildly notorious backpacker buses in Australia and New Zealand, Bolivia Hop collects visitors in Peru and Bolivia at specified locations in each country and drops them off at an end destination. 

Unlike the Australian and Kiwi hop on/off buses, Bolivia Hop is not a party bus. 

Customers can choose between a direct route bus pass between the neighbouring countries or a pass which gives them the freedom to hop off at destinations which interest them. 

It’s not just a mode of transport though. 

Bolivia Hop buses have a local guide on board to help make your adventure run as smoothly as possible. 

They take the hassle out of immigration at the border, give you local tips and discount on associated accommodation if you want it. 

Prefer to do things independently? No pressure! 

Another aspect we enjoyed about the experience is the people you meet on the bus. 

The Bolivia bus also acts as a bed. There will be time spent overnight sleeping on the semi-reclining seats. 

You’ll get used to this if you are spending time in South America on a budget!

Bolivia Hop also saves on taxis fares with its drop off service at its recommended accommodation. 

Bolivia Hop Bu

Who is Bolivia Hop For?

While the majority of customers booking Bolivia Hop are backpackers aged 25-35 years old, the ride is not solely aimed at them. 

It’s perfect for solo travellers looking to meet some company leaving Peru and moving onto Bolivia or vice versa. 

We used the service as a couple and did not feel awkward at all. We booked a private room instead of a dorm in Puno and La Paz. 

Can children use Bolivia Hop? Families are welcome to book a ticket with Bolivia. 

We did an overnight leg with a couple and a six-month-old baby. Not a peep from baby Hendrix thankfully! 

What about mature visitors. If you enjoy group travel then yes, Bolivia Hop is for you too. 

Craig and Gemma Isla del Sol Bolivia_

Bolivia Hop Tickets and Passes 

There are a variety of options when it comes to the Bolivia hop tickets which are great for working arount your itinerary and budget. 

The cheapest options are the most direct route from Cusco to La Paz or La Paz to Cusco. 

This journey includes: 

Cusco to La Paz

  • Evening pickup at Peru Hop office in Cusco, Peru
  • Puno and boat across Lake Titicaca/Uros Floating Islands in Peru
  • Puno to Copacabana on the border
  • Copacabana and beautiful Isla del Sol  
  • Copacabana to La Paz in Bolivia 

» You may also like | 21 unmissable things to do in Cusco


Hot Chocolate in Cusco
La Paz to Cusco 

  • Early morning pickup at a central point in La Paz in Bolivia
  • La Paz to Copacabana on the border
  • Copacabana and beautiful Isla del Sol in Bolivia 
  • Copacabana to Cusco in Peru

The passes then increase in price as the number of days increases so if you want to spend the night in Puno or Copacabana you can.

Very flexible yet still offers support and safety.

For example, we hopped on at Cusco, drove through the night arriving at Puno very early in the morning. 

We did the boat tour on Lake Titicaca and visited Uros Floating Islands with the group and then checked into our hostel around 9am in the morning. 

We stayed in Puno for a night then did an independently booked homestay on Taquile Island which you can read about here.  

After the homestay, we spent a final night in Puno before hopping back on the Bolivia Hop bus to Copacabana with the bonus boat ride to Isla del Sol. 

Some Hopsters spent the night in Copacabana or even on Isla del Sol but we had already planned to kick off our Bolivia travel in La Paz, saving time for other activities such as cycling Death Road and visiting the magical Salt Flats. 

La Paz Cable Cars

Bolivia Hop Highlights

Uros Floating Islands

A popular thing to do in Peru is to visit Uros Floating Islands which are made from totora reeds. 

Here, families have built their own communities on the islands and make money from group visits. 

The head of the community welcomes you to their community and talks you through how and why they use the reed. 

You then have the opportunity to look into a home, which is actually a little uncomfortable but offered on all tours to the floating islands (we did it twice, with the bus tour and as part of the homestay). 

Uros Floating Island, Peru I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary

Peru/Bolivia Immigration

Before you reach Copacabana you have to cross the border between Peru and Bolivia.

The Bolivia Hop staff will provide the documents you require for border control before you get on the bus in Cusco or La Paz. 

If like me, you lose it, your guide can hook you up with another.

At the border, you get off the bus and here there is an opportunity to change currency if required but expect to get a lesser rate than elsewhere. 

Peru Bolivia Border Money Exchange

Next, head to the immigration office ahead where Peru officials will remove your immigration sheet from your passport to say you are exiting. 

No immigration document? Expect to pay a fine. 

Once that transaction is complete you say goodbye to Peru or Bolivia and cross the border by foot. 

The Bolivia immigration office is close by, show your passport to officials and hand over the sheet you filled out in Cusco. 

Take a new form from the Bolivian side and fill it in. 

Return the Bolivian immigration form and you’ll get another piece of paper with a stamp for 30 days.

30 days is the maximum amount of time you can spend in Bolivia without an extension. 

Extensions are at the discretion of immigration officials. 

USA citizens no longer need to pay additional money to enter Bolivia. 

You are normally granted anything between 30 (USA) and 90 days (UK) without a visa in Peru.

Bolivia Immigration Sign at Border Peru_

You must have your yellow fever card handy for checks too. 

Check travel advice from your own country. 

An Israeli in our group did not have a bank statement and had to go to another town to sort that out so make sure you read up on your country’s rules with Bolivia/Peru.

You don’t need to know the process off by heart as the Bolivia Hop staff will be there repeating instructions over and over. 

You are now 15 minutes drive away from lunch in Copacabana and the boat ride to Isla del Sol!

Bolivia Immigration Forms at Border Peru_

Copacabana and Isla del Sol 

Copacabana is a small town with of rooftop bars and the gateway to the chill Isla del Sol, which is only an hour boat ride away.

With Bolivia Hop, you have the option to do a light hike around the island after a free beer on the boat to get you in the mood.

Copacabana Marina Bolivia_

Isla del Sol in Bolivia_

Copacabana to La Paz

The day in Copacabana ends late afternoon when the group meets back at the bus which then drives a short journey to a port. 

Now things get interesting… 

Grab a duvet from the bus, hop on the small motorboat and watch in disbelief as the bus drives onto a float and is pulled over Lake Titicaca.

Hop back on the bus, vote for a movie and enjoy the four-hour ride to La Paz.

Obviously, if you are doing the reverse, the bus from La Paz to Copacabana is just the same information with different timings. 

The Downside to Bolivia Hop

The only gripe some may say is that there is no bus from La Paz to Uyuni where the incredible Salt Flats are located in Bolivia. 

Once you’ve done the bus ride you will understand why the company don’t offer it as part of the classic route, it’s a very bumpy ride done well by local companies which can read more about here

Pringles Salt Flats in Bolivia


Pin to your Bolivia planning board

Any question? Pop them below and I’ll get back to you

Bolivia Hop, Bolivia Peru bus, La Paz, Bolivia, Things to do in La Paz, things to do in Cusco,Death Road La Paz, La Paz photography, La Paz Telerico, La Paz food, what to do in La Paz, El Alto, Calle Jean, La Paz itinerary, La Paz tips, South America



Thanks to Connor and Will from Peru Hop for working with us. Can you set up Colombia Hop by May 15th? Many thanks…