Vertigo and claustrophobia are unwelcome conditions in a country where altitude is measured in gasps of air and your bus seat might be a stranger's lap. Fear of flying will disappear once you experience the kamikaze road network of potholes and deep ravines. Indeed, it's best to fly to get the most from your time here, but make sure you always reconfirm your flight, as schedules sometimes change.
Days 1-2: Arrive in La Paz
Soak up the atmosphere (and frequent rain showers) of a bustling market city lost in time. Mingle with the throngs of Indians in bowler hats and petticoats as you browse for something exotic at the Witches' Market. Next, stop off at the Museo de la Coca and chew the infamous cud. Stay at the well-located Hotel Europa, but dine at the Hotel Presidente; its restaurant, La Bella Vista, has a bird's-eye view of this chaotic city. The next day explore the historical Plaza Murillo and the fascinating textile exhibit at the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore. Catch some live music and dance at a peña such as Casa de Corregidor (the House of Corrections).
Day 3: A Daredevil Mountain Ride
Bike down the most dangerous road in the world from La Paz to Coroico, or if that's too dramatic, just watch the beautiful scenery from the security of a tour bus (not much safer!)
Day 4: Tiwanaku
This pre-Inca city of monoliths and underground temples is a day trip from La Paz and well worth the journey.
Day 5: Copacabana & Lake Titicaca
Take a taxi to the highest navigable lake in the world. Relax on Bolivia's only beach before visiting Copacabana Cathedral. Here you can see a colorful procession of new cars, trucks, and buses getting blessed with beer and holy water (Sat-Sun only). Lunch on fresh trout at La Orilla before taking a gentle hike to the Inca ruins of Asiento del Inca. Relax in a hammock at the artfully laid-back Hostal La Cúpula.
Days 6-7: Empire of the Sun
Catch a ferry to Isla del Sol, the dazzling birthplace of the Inca gods, and stay 2 nights at Posada del Inca. Dip into the gentle rhythm of island life, exploring the many ruins and enjoying the spectacular sunsets.
Days 8-10: Salar de Uyuni
Fly or catch an overnight bus from La Paz to Uyuni, adjacent to the largest salt lake in the world. Visit a cactus island, green and red flamingo-filled lagoons, odd rock formations, geysers, and hot springs via the bumpy comfort of a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Days 11-13: Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Leave the Andes behind and descend into Bolivia's brand of brash tropicalismo. Stay at the very comfortable Hotel Los Tajibos, but get out and explore the city's hinterland of Inca ruins, Jesuit missions, and subtropical woodlands. Bird-watching in Amboro National Park is highly recommended.
Day 14: Return to La Paz
Enjoy your final day shopping for genuine handicrafts at bargain prices on Calle Sagárnaga. Have lunch at the colonial-style Surucachi restaurant before catching a flight from La Paz airport.
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.