The Essential 1-Month Bolivia Backpacking Itinerary & Route

With low costs compared to its South American neighbours and beautiful sights from the Amazon to the Uyuni Salt Flats, travelling through Bolivia is a great choice for budget backpackers. One month is also a great amount of time to get off the beaten track and see some of Bolivia’s hidden gems. Continue reading to see this ideal one-month Bolivia backpacking itinerary and route.

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How To Spend A Month Backpacking In Bolivia

If you have a month to backpack Bolivia, this means you can enjoy ‘slow travel’ and spend a bit of extra time in each place.

 

You will also be able to visit the eastern lowlands, a relatively untravelled area of the country that includes hidden gems such as Torotoro National Park and Sucre.

 

Here is the complete one-month Bolivia backpacking itinerary:

  • Day 1-3 – La Paz
  • Day 4-6 – Copacabana
  • Day 7 – Return to La Paz
  • Day 8-10 – Death Road/Coroico
  • Day 11 – Travel to Rurrenabaque
  • Day 12-13 – Amazon Pampas tour
  • Day 14 – Rurrenabaque
  • Day 15 – Travel to Cochabamba
  • Day 16-18 – Torotoro National Park
  • Day 19 – Return to Cochabamba/Travel to Sucre
  • Day 20-25 – Sucre
  • Day 26 – Travel to Uyuni
  • Day 27-28 – Salt flats tour
  • Day 29 – Return to Uyuni or travel to Chile

Day 1-3 - La Paz

La Paz is the thriving capital of Bolivia and your first stop on this one-month Bolivia itinerary. We recommend 3 days here to see the highlights.

Day 1 - Arrival

Whether you’re flying in from abroad, or taking a bus across the border from Peru, it’s always best to take your first day in Bolivia easy by checking in and adjusting to the altitude.

 

La Paz is 3640m above sea level and can be a shock to the system, especially if it’s your first time at high altitude.

How To Get From El Alto International Airport to Downtown La Paz

El Alto International Airport in La Paz is set in the El Alto district way above the city.

 

It’s a small airport, and upon leaving baggage, you will see a few coffee houses and restaurants. Alexander Coffee has Wifi if you need it, but you will need to buy something.

 

Outside the airport, you will see the official taxis waiting in line. We paid 70BOB ($10) for a 45-minute journey to our hostel which was in the Sopocachi District. 

Day 2 - La Paz Walking Tour, Cable Cars & Cholita Wrestling

For day 2 of this Bolivia itinerary, book yourself onto a Red Cap Walking Tour to explore the sprawl that is La Paz. La Paz can be a nightmare to navigate, so a walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and see the highlights.

 

Red Cap offers numerous tours from the standard city centre exploration to foodie tours and even an organised cable car tour if you really can’t be bothered to plan that yourself.

 

 

When wandering around the city, you will see the impressive cable cars and their lines stretching out to every corner of La Paz. Some routes will g as high as 4,000m (13,000 ft) above sea level, and it’s a great way to explore and get incredible views of the city. The initial fare is 3 bolivianos ($0.50).

 

The red line will take you to most of the popular places tourists want to visit such as El Alto (for panoramic views of the city), the Witches Market and the Cholita Stadium, but you can ride it all over the city.

Then in the evening, it’s time to go and watch the famous Cholita wrestling. Picture WWE wrestling mixed with the no holds barred style of Mexican Lucha Libre, then replace the male wrestlers with female stars, and you have Cholita wrestling.

 

Every Sunday evening, the stadium will be packed full of locals and tourists coming to see these women duke it out in the ring. And like any staged wrestling, you will see some impressive acrobatics, good vs bad routines and absurd humour.

To see these 3 days in more detail along with other options for extending to 5 days in La Paz, head to the post below:

 

 

Day 3 - Day Trip Outside Of La Paz

For your third day, it’s time to escape outside the city to experience the beautiful nature surrounding La Paz. You have several great day tours to choose from:

Canyon De Palca – You can take a trip to Bolivia’s very own slice of the wild west and trek through Canyon de Palca.

 

A walk through this gorge makes an ideal day hike from the city, and the beautiful rock formations that poke out like jagged teeth make for a unique experience. This is still a relatively undiscovered tour, so it’s perfect if you are looking for something less touristy. South Treks do a day tour for $45 if full (5 or more people).

 

Valley De Las Animas – The Valley of Souls is a strange and beautiful valley filled with impressive geological formations that looks like something out of a Lord of the Ring’s movie. These formations were named by locals who thought the jagged rocks resembled petrified souls. Spooky.

 

Kanoo Tours combine a trip here with Canyon de Palca for $37.

 

Valley De La Luna – Another spectacular natural landscape just outside of the city, Valley de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), is less of a valley and more a maze of canyons, strange rock formations and giant spires jutting from the ground.

 

Several trails run through the area with the longest taking up to an hour, so this is a great half-day activity. You can reach the valley easily via taxi or uber (25-minute journey) and entry costs is $2.

For more great ideas for what to do whilst in La Paz, check out the post below:

 

 

Day 4-6 - Copacabana

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,810 metres above sea level. 

 

The town of Copacabana on the Bolivian side is a small but pretty place filled with local markets and artisan restaurants, but it’s the lake itself that is the must-see.

 

Fun activities include walking up to the summit of Cerro Calvario to get beautiful views of the lake and taking a boat tour to Isla del Sol, the largest island on the lake. You can easily arrange tours through your accommodation or head down to the pier to book.

How to get to Copacabana from La Paz

The easiest way to travel to Copacabana from La Paz is by bus.

 

Direct buses from La Paz to Copacabana leave from the main bus terminal and the journey lasts around 4 hours.

 

During our time in Bolivia, we used Tickets Bolivia to book all our buses online. However, you can turn up on the day at the bus terminal and book. There will be many local smaller bus companies and you should be able to find cheaper tickets than online.

Google Maps

Day 7 - Return To La Paz

Upon returning to La Paz, you can decide to take the day easy and rest up, or you can try and fit in an afternoon or evening activity.

 

If you want to get some great views of the city and the surrounding mountains, then you can head to one of the popular viewpoints. While the views are incredible from almost anywhere in the city, there are a couple of popular places that give you unbridled views of the entire city and the immense backdrop of the Andes.

 

Catching the red line cable car up to El Alto takes you to the highest point on the edge of the valley for stunning panoramic views. Kilikili viewpoint and Parque Mirador Laikakota both have almost 360 views of La Paz with Illimani Mountain providing an excellent background for some Instagram photos.

 

Another option is a night out on the town. You can start at one of the backpacker hostels such as Loki or Wild Rover to find some new friends before partying the night away at one of the many bars and clubs in town. Just be warned, you will be riding Death Road in the morning so don’t go too crazy!

For more on our favourite backpacker hostels in La Paz:

 

 

Day 9-11 - Death Road Tour & Corioco

Corioco is the town where you finish the Death Road Tour. So, when you book your Death Road tour, make sure to inform them you wish to stay in Corioco. Or you can return to La Paz on the same day if you wish but it’s well worth checking out this laid-back jungle town.

Day 9 - Death Road

Death Road is the main highway that connected La Paz to the north of Bolivia. The narrow winding road carved into the cliff face has been the scene of hundreds of fatal accidents over the years.

 

Fortunately, the government built a new road for trucks and buses in 2006, and Death Road is now mainly used for tourism. While there’s still the odd accident (deaths average around 5 per year now), the road is nowhere near as dangerous as it used to be.

 

Riding down the newly built highway is exhilarating as you reach high speeds. Then riding down the old Death Road is more challenging but still great fun. You stop several times on the way to take in the incredible views of the valley and take pictures underneath the waterfalls that are falling down onto the road from the cliffs above.

 

The day has so much scenic variety as you descend from the snow-covered high altitude mountain ranges near La Paz at 4,600m down into the warm, lush jungle.

For more information on Death Road and the best companies to book with:

 

 

Day 10-11 - Corioco

The jungle own of Coroico is the perfect place to relax for a couple of days and escape from the high-altitude chill of La Paz.

 

Although the area has some fun activities such as hiking and ziplining, we recommend taking the time to chill, sit by the pool with a beer and enjoy the subtropical climate.

 

One place we would recommend checking out is the La Senda Verde Animal Refuge which has helped to rescue and care for hundreds of wild animals that have been affected by illegal animal trafficking and deforestation. The refuge is home to over 60 species including monkeys, bears, jaguars and many birds of paradise.

 

How To Get From Corioco To La Paz

The Coroico bus terminal is just downhill from the main plaza.

 

Minivans and buses cost around 30BOB ($4-5) and will take you to the northern La Paz bus terminal in Villa Fatima. The journey takes about two hours.

Day 12 - Travel To Rurrenabaque

Your next step on this one-month Bolivia itinerary is to visit the Amazon Rainforest. To do that you need to get to the town of Rurrenabaque, which is where most Amazon tours start.

 

You can either return to La Paz and fly (a short 20-minute flight) or take the overnight bus from Corioco to get to Rurrenabaque.

Flying From La Paz To Rurrenabaque

Return flights from La Paz cost anywhere between $100-200 if booking yourself. Although make sure you read our Amazon Tour guide for tips on how to find great package deals.

 

The flight takes around 30 minutes, and you will be treated to some fantastic views as you fly over the snow-covered mountains of La Paz followed by the rivers of the Amazon.

 

All flights to the Amazon are via a small plane (60 seaters) so just a word of warning if you are a nervous flyer, you can feel the turbulence more on these things and bad weather can cause them to be delayed or cancelled – although both of our flights were fine.

 

The main company to book with is Amaszonas.

Taking the Bus From Corioco To Rurrenabaque

 This bus takes 15 hours and travels along the old Death Road – great for budget travellers as it’s cheap but we know which one we would choose. The journey is a bumpy one.  

 

Book at the Coroico bus terminal just downhill from the main plaza. Daily buses depart towards Rurrenabaque and cost 120 BOB ($17).

Day 13-14 - Amazon Tour

Visiting the Amazon in Bolivia is much cheaper and easier compared to other countries in South America.

 

The standard Amazon tour is 3 days and two nights, and you will be picked up in Rurrenabaque. On the tour, your days will be spent on a longboat winding through the tributaries of the Amazon searching for caimans, anacondas, and exotic birds.

Our complete guide to booking an amazon tour and flying to Rurrenabaque can be found here:

 

 

There are two types of tours to choose from. The Pampas tour sticks to the rivers and you see a lot more animals. The jungle tour takes you into the actual Amazon rainforest where you will learn more about the plants and tribes.

 

We recommend the Pampas tour as you see a lot more wildlife but if you aren’t sure whether you want to do the Pampas Tour or Jungle Tour then head here for our breakdown and comparison of the two:

 

 

Day 15 - Rurrenabaque

We took a day on either side in Rurrenabaque to enjoy the town and rest and recuperate. That’s the beauty of having a month travelling in Bolivia: you can slow down and not worry about rushing everywhere all the time.

 

For things to do in town, you can walk along the River Yacuma or head up to Mirador El Calvario for incredible views of the town and jungle. If your hotel doesn’t have a pool then check out Oscars Pool – a great place to hang out, cool off and enjoy some cocktails.

 

We enjoyed some nice meals at Paititi and Luz De Mar, and if you are looking for bars then check out Moskito Jungle Bar and Bar Los Amigos. 

To see how this 1-month Bolivia itinerary can fit into an extended multi-country South America trip, check out the posts below:

 

 

Day 15 - Travel To Cochabamba

Cochabamba isn’t a city geared towards backpackers, so it’s best used as a base to escape into the wild Bolivian landscapes surrounding the town. There isn’t much to do here accept organise your bag and plan the next day’s journey to Bolivia’s Jurassic Park – Torotoro National Park.

 

Hostal Running Chaski is the best hostel in town, with bunkbeds dorms, private rooms and free breakfast. The staff spoke great English and were incredibly helpful. They gave us a guide to Torotoro National Park, helped us book taxis and also let us leave our big bags in their locker for when we visited the park.

Read our city guide for more activity and restaurant recommendations:

 

 

How to Get From La Paz To Cochabamba

The easiest option is to land in La Paz and take a flight straight to Cochabamba.

 

The flight takes 1 hour and will save you a lot of travel time. The last time we checked Skyscanner, flights were around $60.

 

The alternative is to return to the city centre and take a night bus. The bus will take 8-9 hours. Or there are three-night buses that depart at 22:00, 22:30, and 23:00. These all cost $15.47 and are run by Trans Copacabana.

 

Considering the bus costs $15 and takes 9 times longer, it’s worth the extra cost for the flight in our opinion.

Day 16-18 - Torotoro National Park

Famous for its incredibly well-preserved fossils and dinosaur footprints, surreal rock formations and sprawling network of underground caves, this national park has something for nature lovers and natural history nerds alike.

 

You can only reach the park from Cochabamba and it’s a 4-5-hour via mini-bus. The town is small and is mainly used as a base for trekking into the park. On the day you arrive, you can take it easy and get your bearings.

 

Then for days 17 and 18 you can book on to tours into the national park. There are three main tours you can book which range from taking you bouldering in the underground caves, to trekking through deep canyons in search of waterfalls and dinosaur footprints.

For more on the best tours and how to get to the park, check out our full guide to visiting Torotoro National Park:

 

Day 19 - Travel To Sucre

On the morning of day 19, take the minibus back to Cochabamba. Once you’ve collected your big bag from wherever you were staying, you may need to find a place to chill for a few hours before taking the night bus to Sucre.

 

The bus to Sucre takes 8 hours and only runs as a night bus.

 

The Trans Copacabana bus leaves at 9:30 PM and arrives at 6:30 AM costing $20.

Day 20-25 - Sucre

Known as Bolivia’s ‘White City’, the beautiful colonial-era architecture of Sucre and its warm climate make it a wonderful place to visit.

 

Take two of your days here to enjoy the artisan cafes, amazing chocolate shops and beautiful views of the colonial-era buildings and terracotta rooftops. It’s also the perfect place for a night out with lots of lively bars catering for the university student population.

 

We’ve turned this part of this one month Bolivia itinerary into an extended stay because Sucre is one of the best and cheapest places in South America for language schools.

 

With group classes costing on average $5 and private lessons c.$8, many people end up extending their stay in Sucre for longer to continue learning.

 

Me Gusta Spanish School have a variety of classes on offer and a group class (20 hours) for one-week costs 700BOB

For more great things to do in Sucre including the best bars and restaurants, check out our complete Sucre city guide:

 

 

Day 26 - Travel To Uyuni

Unfortunately, another long bus is needed to get to your next destination. Best to try and take an early morning bus so you get to Uyuni for the early afternoon or a night bus if you prefer.

 

Then you can spend your first day in Uyuni booking onto a tour for the next day and organising your stuff for the epic adventure out on the salt flats starting the next morning. It’s best to book a salt flat tour in person rather than online so that you can haggle and find the best price.

How To Get From Sucre To Uyuni

The bus takes 8 hours to reach Uyuni from Sucre

 

The ‘6 de Octubre’ bus leaves at 9:30 AM arriving at 5:30 PM for $11.68 or there are night buses leaving at 9:00 PM and arriving at 05:00 AM.

 

When we were in Bolivia these tickets didn’t exist online, so we went to the bus station on the morning we wanted to leave and hopped on a bus. The earlier you arrive, the better as there are only a couple of buses leaving each day. Alternatively, book at the station the day before you want to go to be safe.

Day 27-28 - Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

We are nearing the end of this epic one-month Bolivia itinerary, and topping it off with one of the best tours in all of South America.

 

The Uyuni Salt Flats tour is two incredible days of exploring one of the most surreal landscapes in the world. Day one of the tour is spent on the actual salt flats taking the all-important perspective and reflection photos before spending a night in the famous salt hotel.

 

Day 2 takes you out onto the high-altitude desert to see even wilder landscapes such as volcanoes, geysers, and beautiful high-altitude lakes full of flamingos.

Everything you need to know about the town of Uyuni and booking a Salt Flats tour can be found in our guide:

 

 

Day 29 - Travel to Chile, La Paz or North Argentina

The salt flats tour will drop you off in the Atacama Desert on the morning of the third day or take you back to Uyuni for the late afternoon.

 

So, after the Salt Flat tour finishes, you have several options to choose from for where to travel next:

 

  • Return To Uyuni then travel to La Paz
  • Return to Uyuni, then travel to Tupiza before crossing the border to Argentina
  • Travel into Chile and to the Atacama Desert

Option 1 – Return To Uyuni Then Travel To La Paz

On the final day of the salt flats tour, you have the option to return to Uyuni or get dropped off at the Chilean border. The return journey to Uyuni takes around 8-9 hours and there are a couple of stops along the way, but most of the day is spent driving. 

 

If you have return flights booked from La Paz to your home destination, then this is the best option for you. Once you return to Uyuni you can take an overnight bus or a short 1-hour flight to get back to La Paz.

Option 2 – Return To Uyuni Then Travel To Tupiza

If you are on a longer South America backpacking itinerary, then you may wish to travel to North Argentina instead of Chile.

 

If you want to do this, then you need to return to Uyuni on the last day of the tour. From Uyuni, you then need to take a bus (4 hours) to the town of 

 

Tupiza is close to the north Argentina border and you can spend a day or two here. Tupiza is known as the wild west of Bolivia, and this small town is famous for its incredible red coloured cliffs and canyons which are full of great trekking routes.

 

Then from Tupiza, it’s a 1-hour journey to the border at Villazon, and once you’ve crossed the border, it’s another short journey to the first town you will want to check out in Argentina – Humahuaca.

For more on Tupiza and the town across the border Humahuaca, check out our guides below:

 

 

Option 3 – Travel To Chile

As mentioned, on the final morning of the Salt Flats tour, you can be dropped off at the Chilean border.

 

From here you take a 45-minute bus to the town of San Pedro De Atacama. If you are continuing to travel around South America, and Chile is your next destination then this is the best option. The Atacama Desert is also an incredible place worth exploring.

For more on Atacama and how to turn your visit to Bolivia into a longer itinerary with more countries, check out the posts below:

 

 

How Many Days Do You Need In Bolivia?

For travellers short on time, one week is the minimum amount of time you need in Bolivia to see the two best places – La Paz and the Uyuni Salt Flats.

 

For travellers with extra time to spare, two weeks is the perfect amount of time to all the best bits of Bolivia – La Paz, Copacabana, the Amazon and Uyuni.

 

You need three weeks to a month if you want to explore the less travelled parts of the country such as the lowlands where you can find Sucre and Torotoro National Park.

Check out our three week Bolivia itinerary here if you don’t have a full month to spare:

 

 

How Much Does It Cost To Travel Bolivia For A Month?

With everything included, hostels, food and activities, you should budget between $28-40 day while backpacking in Bolivia.

 

For an entire month backpacking in Bolivia, budget travellers should take $800.

 

Flashpackers who prefer private rooms and eating out once a day at a restaurant rather than a market should aim for $1100.

Expense Average Cost (Per Day) Monthly Spend
Accommodation
$6 - 9
$180 - 270
Food
$5 - 8
$150 - 240
Transport
$2 - 3
$60 - 90
Activities
$15 - 20
$370 - 470
Total
$28 - 40
$760 - 1070

Remember that the popular tours like Uyuni and the Amazon will add to your expenses (but these have been factored into the table above).

 

Here’s a rough estimate of what they cost:

 

 

  • Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (3 Days) – $100-$150
  • Flights and 3 Day Amazon Trip – $150-200

For more information on the cost of food, accommodation and transport in Bolivia and South America, head to the posts below: