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Overview

The Altiplano, or high plain, runs down the west side of Bolivia. Bordered by La Paz and the snow-capped Cordillera Real in the north, Chile to the west and salt deserts to the south, this stark yet beautiful landscape, with its high peaks, windswept flats, and surreal rock formations is home to Aymara communities. Here you can dance with the devil in Oruro's boisterous and costume-filled Carnaval, hike in cactus-strewn canyons around Tupiza, and do a jeep trip across eerie Sala de Uyuni. Farther east, the warm, fertile valleys around charming Tarija produce the country's wine. Be sure to wander through the mind-boggling colonial ...

The Altiplano, or high plain, runs down the west side of Bolivia. Bordered by La Paz and the snow-capped Cordillera Real in the north, Chile to the west and salt deserts to the south, this stark yet beautiful landscape, with its high peaks, windswept flats, and surreal rock formations is home to Aymara communities. Here you can dance with the devil in Oruro's boisterous and costume-filled Carnaval, hike in cactus-strewn canyons around Tupiza, and do a jeep trip across eerie Sala de Uyuni. Farther east, the warm, fertile valleys around charming Tarija produce the country's wine. Be sure to wander through the mind-boggling colonial silver-mining city of Potosí. Be warned: miners in Cerro Rico still work in unbelievably harsh conditions. Despite the region's remoteness, buses and a train serve the region while rudimentary jeep expeditions are the only way to see the the salt deserts, and the volcanic peaks, flamingo-filled lakes, and hot springs in Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa.

Kate Armstrong
About the Expert

Kate Armstrong is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Bolivia, South America on a Shoestring, Mexico, Greece, and South Africa.

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Kate Armstrong for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Altiplano (Spanish for "high plain"), Andean Plateau or Bolivian Plateau, in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet.
  • Language: Aymara, Quechua, Spanish
  • Currency: Bolivian Boliviano
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to October