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Bolivia sits practically in the middle of South America, sharing its borders with Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Landlocked since losing access to a seacoast during the Pacific War (1879-84), Bolivia still maintains a navy to protect the sacred Lake Titicaca, which it shares with Peru. Much of Bolivia is defined by the Andes Mountains. The range is at its widest in Bolivia and consists of two parallel chains here, separated by the Altiplano (high plain), the most densely populated area of the country. As you move farther east, the Andes give way to the jungle and tropical landscapes.

Because Bolivia is so vast, it's difficult to get a good feeling for the country if you have only 1 week to spend here. But you will have enough time to see all the highlights of La Paz, take a day trip to Tiwanaku, visit Lake Titicaca, and view Inca ruins on Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) and in Copacabana. If you have 2 weeks, you can also explore Sucre, tour the mines at Potosí, and relax in Santa Cruz. The more physically adventurous traveler might consider sea kayaking on Lake Titicaca, climbing Huayna Potosí, trekking around the Illampu circuit, or taking a 4-day journey through the salt flats and desert near Salar de Uyuni.

La Paz -- La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia. From here, you can easily travel to Lake Titicaca, which is considered to be the birthplace of the Incas. The impressive pre-Inca archaeological site, Tiwanaku, is also only 2 hours away. Drive 3 hours to the east, and you will descend into the tropical area known as Los Yungas.

Southern Altiplano -- This area made its mark on the world in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, when Potosí was one of the great silver mining centers and consequently one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Today, highlights of the region include Potosí and Sucre, both of which are historical gems.

Central Bolivia -- The area of central Bolivia extends from the pleasant town of Cochabamba, at the foothills of the Andes, all the way east to Santa Cruz. Cochabamba is one of the commercial centers of Bolivia, with several major industry headquarters here, including chicken farms, airlines, and shoe companies. Some of the most colorful markets in Bolivia take place in the rural areas outside the city. The dusty city of Santa Cruz is a good base to explore Amboró National Park, the Inca ruins of Samaipata, Jesuit missions, and the town where Che Guevara made his last stand.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.