This is a highlights holiday, but with a really adventurous element, as reaching these top sights in their relatively remote locations is a journey of discovery in itself. Surely the most authentic country in Latin America, Bolivia is also surely the most colourful, with highland communities preserving their mélange of religious traditions, brightly woven costumes and haunting pipe music. The tropical lowlands and Santa Cruz, where you’ll find a surprising ethnic diversity and a dynamic economy, also offers its share of surprises.
The difficulty of access to the shattered landscapes of Bolivia means many communities remain isolated from modernisation taking place elsewhere. Alongside sprawling cattle farms you’ll see smallholdings where subsistence-level farmers eke out a living from adobe farmhouses. Hidden among the canyons is the Ruta Che, a rough, lonely but incredibly scenic road following Che Guevara’s failed revolutionary campaign in Bolivia, where he is revered.
Potosí was once one of the largest and most affluent cities in the world: the silver mined in its conical hill contributed to the riches of the Spanish Empire and the Mint was located here. The city’s grand architecture reflects this long-gone prosperity, while Sucre is an elegant sun-dappled colonial city and traffic-stifled La Paz, overshadowed by a vast ice-jacketed Andean peak, stuns with its multitude of street markets. At the end of a varied trip you can relax on the peaceful Island of the Sun, with the snow-capped Andes reflected in the cobalt waters of Lake Titicaca.