Bolivia Cheap Hotel Bed and Breakfast Guest House Accommodation
Landscape outside La Paz
Along with its neighbouring Paraguay part of the remotest region of South America, the contrasting landscapes of Bolivia range from stark, jagged mountains and plateaus in the west to lush tropical jungle in the east. In between run two cordilleras of the Andes mountains as well as extraordinary salt beds such as the vast Salar de Uyuni in the south. In the north, and bordering also with Peru are Lake Titicaca, Lake Poopó and the breathtaking landscapes of the ruins of Tiahuanaco, home to a great pre-Columbian civilization. Its constitutional capital is Sucre while La Paz is the largest commercial city as well as the seat of government.
Bolivia ’s history can be divided into three periods which have left their fascinating traces in many remote locations. These periods are known as pre-Columbian, colonial and republican. Important archaeological sites include Tiahuanaco, Samaipata, Incallajta and Iskanawaya, while the Spanish colonists brought their own particular style of architecture, painting and sculpture known as ‘Mestizo Baroque’. Its folk music originates from a strong cultural tradition of folklore, which finds its expression still at the famous carnival of Oruro, an amazing folkloric event recognised for its importance recently by UNESCO.
There are many regions within the country offering unique and startling sights for the adventurous traveller to discover. Some of the most popular Bolivian resort areas lie amid the luxuriant scenery of the eastern foothills and valleys of the Andes, near the cities of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and La Paz. This is the most fertile region of the country, yielding cacao, tropical fruits and coffee, and has dense forests inhabited mainly by indigenous South Americans. In Santa Cruz, it is possible to find tour companies specialising in cultural and adventure holidays, offering trekking, Amazon boat trips and excursions to the Jesuit Missions. Other more mountainous regions were once important sites of the mineral exploitation of the country: Potosí and Oruro in the eastern mountains are world famous mining towns which grew in the colonial era, located near the awe-inspiring heights of the Puna plateau and the peaks of Illimani and Illampú, where rich sources of silver, tin and other metals were mined for cen
turies. Most often visited by travellers is the Bolivian Altiplano, the site of one of the world’s most extraordinary feats of engineering, where the native farmers, working in these challenging altitudes, constructed endless terraces of narrow ridged fields alternating with water-filled irrigation canals in an incredible demonstration of man’s ingenuity and resilience in the taming and exploitation of natural resources. The Altiplano stretches into neighbouring Peru and Argentina. Nearby Lake Titicaca is considered the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world, site of the founding of some of the most influential native cultures of the Andes and now protected with in the Titicaca Reserve, where you may be lucky enough to spot one of its famous giant frogs.
Cochabamba is Bolivia’s third largest city, known for its pleasant climate and for holding the largest open-air market in South America called La Cancha, and for its excellent cuisine. Try the local ‘charque kan’, ‘pique a lo macho’ or ‘silipancho’, for great, meaty local dishes. Here, tourists are spoilt for choice with international restaurants and a broad range of accommodation options. It is a great base for touring regions populated by indigenous people, such as the National Park Isiboro Sécure and known also for its popular paragliding courses.
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