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08th Apr 2015

Home is Where Your Passport Is: Bolivia Will Leave You Breathless

Where will your passport end up next?

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Some of us are programmed to explore, others are programmed to dream. Regardless of which category you fall into, there is a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered.

Her.ie’s new weekly travel guide brings you to some of the most inspiring places in the world and dares you to turn those dreams into an adventure of a lifetime.

As the saying goes, ‘home is where your passport is’ – so where will your passport end up next?

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Bolivia

Often the country tourists only skim through on a trip to South America, Bolivia has a lot of hidden gems that will take you off the beaten track and into a world less ordinary.

Surrounded by Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Paraguay, Bolivia will certainly leave you breathless – and not just because of the altitude.

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La Paz

The country’s capital, La Paz is an eclectic mish mash of the old and the western world that often come together to meet in an unusual and sometimes disturbing mix. With loads to see and do, take your time to discover the hidden wonders of La Paz and find the beating heart of Bolivian culture. Make sure to stop off at the Witches’ Market.

Handy hint: La Paz has a number of famous hostels, but if you’re looking for a taste of home or want to meet like-minded travellers, stay in The Wild Rover. On your way to La Paz read Marching Powder by Rusty Young.

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Uyuni

If you are crossing the border from Argentina into Bolivia then Uyuni should be your first port of call. Home to the world famous Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), head out on a three-day tour to discover beauty and be left awestruck. Make sure to visit the train graveyard on your way.

Handy hint: Layers upon layers upon layers are needed for a trip into the Salt Flats. Temperatures often go below minus 20 degrees Celsius depending on the time of year (yes, you read that right). Stock up at the markets in the town centre before heading off.

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Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde or ‘green lake’ is a must-visit for stunning views of the lake nestled in front of the inactive volcano Licancabur. Make sure to try out the hot springs too – heaven.

Handy hint: See if you can spot flamingos ‘dancing’ on the shore.

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Potosi

Continuing up through Bolivia, Potosi has become another popular stop off for travellers namely due to the Potosi mines. Take a tour into the mines and try to arrive in the town during one of its many festivities to see some amazing celebrations.

Handy hint: If you visit the mines, you are expected to take some gifts for the workers there. Your tour guide should advise you on what is appropriate to bring.

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Sucre

Sucre is a popular spot to chill out following some hectic days of travelling. Explore the beautiful streets and make sure to visit the Cathedral.

Handy hint: Take some time to wind down in Sucre – get a massage, enjoy some fabulous local food and explore a beautiful town with a great atmosphere.

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Cochabamba

Visit Bolivia’s version of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Cristo de la Concordia (Christ of Peace) located at the top of San Pedro Hill.

Handy hint: If you don’t fancy climbing 2,000 steps up then take the cable car – well worth it for the stunning views over the area.

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Árbol de Piedra

Árbol de Piedra or ‘stone tree’ is an isolated rock formation deep in the heart of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. About seven metres high, the ‘tree’ is one of the most photographed spots in Bolivia.

Handy hint: Bring plenty of water and have plenty of room on your camera!

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Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca will be one of the highlights of your trip as you make your way to Peru. The lake falls between the borders of Bolivia and Peru and boast stunning views and dazzling vistas.

Handy hint: Take a trip to the lake’s island, Isla del Sol, and use an afternoon to trek over it – it is worth every minute. Stay overnight in nearby Copacabana.

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Insider’s tip: If you are not a good traveller then be warned, the roads in Bolivia will leave you feeling a little nauseous. Where possible, get the train.

Keep your wits about you in Bolivia, before you go, buy a cheap wallet or purse that you can have handy to hand over if you run into any trouble.

A lot of people suffer from altitude sickness in Bolivia so try get some tablets to combat that before you leave.

You will undoubtedly hear about Yungas Road or as backpackers the world over call it, the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’ which winds its way from La Paz to Coroico. It is a popular tourist destination despite a number of tragic accidents.

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