Bolivia truly surprised me, in a good way! Many had warned me that the food wasn’t good and that it would make me sick. Instead I found a fantastic food culture and did not get sick at all! Below are a few of the highlights of things that I’ve done or would like to do on my next trip – yes, I will be back!
>> For photos, visit my Bolivia Photo Gallery
Map of Bolivia
Things to do in Bolivia
- La Paz – Wander the steep cobblestoned streets and browse for handicrafts near San Francisco, or observe the potions and oddities (dried llama fetus, anyone?) at the Witches Market. Choose from hundreds of comedor stalls at Mercado Lanza for an inexpensive almuerzo (lunch) or fresh fruit juice. On weekends, the Mercado Rodriguez sprawls onto nearby city blocks and is good for colorful produce, flowers and cheap street eats. If you’re in town on a Sunday, for something you absolutely won’t see anywhere else, head to nearby El Alto for the famous Fighting Cholitas. You can find city tours, foodie tours, pub crawls and more through Red Cap Walking Tours. Nearby day trips include the Valley of the Moon and the ruins of Tiwanaku. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even book a bike tour of Bolivia’s Death Road.
- Salt flats of Uyuni – amazing expanses of natural salt flats stretching as far as the eye can see. One, two, and three day tours are popular. The longer tours will also take in natural geysers, lakes of various colors, a train graveyard, and possibly give you a chance to stay in a hotel made mostly of salt!
- Sucre – Administrative Capital of Bolivia, known as the White City and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Cochabamba – Sounds like a foodie town to me – they have a special dish for every day of the week, like aji de fideos (fideos uchu) every Thursday.
- Potosi – one of the highest cities in the world (over 4000m), important to the silver mining industry
- Tarija – Bolvia’s wine region, listed by Salon.com among 4 Unexpected Wine Regions worth visitng
- Lake Titicaca – Perhaps overnight in Copacabana (Angie recommends Hotel La Cupula), visit Isla del Sol for hiking
What to Eat in Bolivia
- Saltenas – Bolivian empanadas with extra juicy filling
- Tucumana – same filings as Saltenas, but fried
- Chuno – freeze dried potatoes
- Papa Rellena – fried, stuffed potatoes
- Picante – de lengua, pollo, etc
- Charquekan – a dish of potatoes, corn, hard boiled egg and llama jerky. (Ch’arki is the Quechua word for jerky)
- Majadito – a plate with rice, fried plantain, egg and charque, a specialty of Santa Cruz. (Not sure if this is the same as the above?)
- Rostro Asado – A specialty of Oruro, this literally translates as “roast face” and it is a bit of a “bizarre food”, a whole sheep head (with wool left in tact!)
- Chorizo – spicy sausage, a specialty of Sucre
- Fricasse – a specialty in La Paz
- Plato Paceno – a specialty in La Paz, a mixed plate served with potatos, mote, fava beans and carne de res
- Chairo – soup made with chunos, a specialty in La Paz
- Sopa de Mani – peanut soup
- Pique Macho –
- Mondongo – spicy pork dish
- Karapulka – soup from Potosi region served in a ceramic bowl called chilame headed with a red hot volcanic rock
- Tasting Menu at Gustu (Zona Sur, La Paz)
- La Riel – restaurant in La Paz, order mixto (fricassee & chicharrones)
- Specialties of Cochabamba – Silpancho, Picante (pollo, lengua, conejo), chicharrones, pampaku (pork, cooked in an underground oven similar to Hawaii’s kalua pig), watia, humita de queso (savory, not sweet), pichon (broiled pigeon), surubi (tropical fish with no scales, similar to catfish), fideos uchu (aji de fideo)
- Movement for Integration Gastronomic Boliviano (MIGA) – exciting things happening in the local food scene to highlight ingredients of the region based on the transformation in Denmark of the New Danish Cuisine, in partnership with Claus Meyer (of Noma) and the Danish government. Very cool!
- Interesting Food & Wine Mag article about Restaurant Gustu in La Paz
- Bolivia for 91 Days – great resource from two travelers who really take their time to enjoy a destination as “eternal newcomers” as opposed to tourists who hurry from point to point.
- Platos Typicos de Bolivia – recipes
- Bolivia Bella – great info, including on traditional foods
- Recipes of Bolivia
- Bolivia Trip Advisor Forum