One of South America's most impoverished countries, the land-locked nation of Bolivia is nonetheless a region full of natural beauty and a proud indigenous culture. Of the countries I visited, Bolivia was by the far the most different from the States in every way possible. Aside from dealing with military police, traveling along unpaved roads in underdeveloped landscapes, and the constant fear of falling ill from the drinking water, Bolivia was regardless a fascinating place, boasting some of the most bizarre and beautiful natural landscapes I have ever seen.
Bolivia's capital city is known for being the highest elevation capital in the world. However, few people are familiar with the upbeat energy and quirky details of the city. Most notable is the stark contrast between the historic Spanish side of the town versus the indigenous one. This division imposed by Spanish colonizers upon first establishing the metropolis still shows to this day through the architecture and cultures of the two sides of town.
Bolivia also holds claim to being the home of the highest elevation lake in the world--nearly 2.5 miles above sea level. Lake Titicaca is also the largest body of water in the South American continent. The lake was home the several indigenous civilizations, some dating back even before the Incas. As such, while visiting the many islands scattered throughout the lake one can see ancient temples and other remnants of these civilizations.
Salt Flats of Uyuni & the Atacama Desert
Once again, Bolivia is home to another of the world's superlatives--the largest salt flat on the planet. Stretching over 10,500 square kilometers between the crest of the Andes mountains and the Atacama desert--the world's driest--the salt flats contain a wide array of unique landscapes. Most notable are the several lagoons that shine dazzling colors due to mineral deposits and a home to herds of wild pink flamingos. Outside of the salt flats and further into the desert terrain one finds unusual rock formations, volcanoes, and geysers that look more akin to Mars than Earth.