Top five places to explore in Bolivia by motorcycle

27 Mar 2023

Bolivia Unique

The world is full of exceptional rides for motorcyclists. From the Pacific Coast Highway in the USA, down to South America’s Patagonia region, across to Romania’s Transfagarasan Highway, to the steppes of Mongolia – there’s no shortage of incredible riding to be had.

Each place, every ride, has its own special je ne sais quoi – its own unique flavour and feeling. Even locations that are ostensibly similar or in a similar location, have their own individual vibe.

But some places shine above all the others. Some rides, some locations, have claim to a higher level of adventure. These are the places you brag to your friends about. The twists and turns of an exceptional piece of road; the overcoming of some obstacle that nearly derailed a trip; the mountain vistas that dwarfed all else; the hidden gem restaurants that you’d swear served the best food you ever tasted (at least at the time).


Our top five favourite places

Bolivia, landlocked in the middle of South America, lays claim to all the above, and more. Let’s take a look at 5 things that usher Bolivia into the top-tier of adventure riding:


1. The Death Road

Few roads share such an infamous and bloody history as the North Yungas Road, or the Death Road. 

Before the construction of an alternate and paved highway, it was the primary shipping route between the Yungas region and the city of La Paz. Trucks would drive up on the left side of the road, loaded with goods, and return empty on the right side, perilously close to the cliff’s edge. 

The trucks and buses passing each other on the single track road, prone to washouts, led to numerous deaths in the 80s and 90s. Now, of course, the most dangerous traffic on the road is the cyclists hurtling downward on bicycles with questionable brakes! 

An absolute bucket-list item for any adventure motorcycle enthusiast, the Death Road remains legendary.


2. The Salar de Uyuni

You can’t talk about Bolivia without mentioning the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats.

Located at over 3,500 metres above sea level up in the Bolivian altiplano (high plain), it spans more than 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 square miles) in area. Small ‘islands’ jut out of the vast plain of salt, home to ancient cacti. Most of the year, it stays dry, with the texture much like sandpaper; however, during the rainy season, it can transform into what’s been described as the world’s largest mirror, with the water reflecting the endless sky. 

Wet or dry, the Salar de Uyuni is an unforgettable experience for any traveller – and even better when experienced from a motorcycle.


3. Lake Titicaca

Situated on the border between Peru and Bolivia, lies lake Titicaca: a lake so large, standing at its shore you’d think you were at a sea – albeit at an elevation of nearly 4,000 metres! 

A beautiful winding road with landscapes reminiscent of the Scottish highlands as well as a ferry crossing await on the route to Copacabana, the small town on the shores of the lake. 

From there, you can take a boat ride to the Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, two islands rich with Incan and pre-Incan ruins. 


4. Ruta del Che

Almost everyone is familiar with the iconic image of revolutionary guerrilla Che Guevara smoking his cigar; however, less people are familiar with the manner of his final years and death. 

Che decided Bolivia was to be the central hub of a socialist revolution that would spread out through South America, and made his last stand with a small army of 50 men near the town of La Higuera. 

In October 1967 he was finally captured and executed in the town’s schoolhouse, a replica of which still exists today, and is maintained as a small museum. The route to La Higuera delves deep into the jungle mountains, on dirt tracks that wind and move around the slopes. 

Regardless of how you feel about Che Guevara, visiting the town where he was killed and staying in its old telegraph station (now a hotel) is an incredible experience.


5. Tarija

For the food lovers out there, Tarija is Bolivia’s best kept secret, home to its wine region. Bolivia’s wine is mostly unknown in the world, due in part to difficulties exporting. 

However, despite this lack of awareness, Bolivia has produced some world-class wines, with their Tannat varietal doing particularly well. The city of Tarija itself is calm and tranquil, with exceptional steak restaurants serving beef a la parrilla, or on the grill, with local wine varieties. 

The roads leading to Tarija vary between dirt and paved, with jaw dropping scenery as the road climbs up and down the Andes mountains. A must-visit for any food enthusiast, and a great place to relax after a long day’s ride.


Why not explore Bolivia with us?

Our motorcycle tours cover all these locations and many more.Once you’ve chosen your trip, take a look at our calendar to see what dates are available. See you on our next tour!


Photo by Milos Hajder on Unsplash


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