Bicycle Touring Through Bolivia: A Journey through the Altiplano and Central Highlands

Bicycle Tour Bolivia

Bicycle Touring Through Bolivia: A Journey through the Altiplano and Central Highlands

Bolivia is a country of contrasts, with its soaring Andean peaks, vast salt flats, and colorful indigenous cultures. For those seeking an adventure off the beaten track, bicycle touring Bolivia can be an unforgettable experience.

In this blog post, we will explore a popular route that takes you from La Paz to Oruro, then Oruro to Uyuni via a crossing of the Salar de Uyuni from North to South with a night camping on the salt flat, and finally from Sucre to Cochabamba in the Bolivian Central Highlands.

Bicycle Touring La Paz to Oruro

The journey begins in La Paz, Bolivia’s administrative capital and the highest capital city in the world at 3,640 meters (11,940 ft) above sea level. From here, cyclists head south along the paved highway towards Oruro, a city known for carnival celebrations and mining history.

The route takes you through the Altiplano, a high plateau region that spans much of the western Andes and is characterized by its barren landscape, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation.

The distance between La Paz and Oruro is approximately 230 km (143 mi), with a gradual ascent to 3,735 meters (12,255 ft) before descending into the city. Along the way, cyclists will encounter small towns, high-altitude lakes, and traditional Andean communities that have preserved their culture and way of life for centuries.

Bicycle Touring Oruro to Uyuni via the Salar de Uyuni

From Oruro, cyclists head southwest towards the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat,

Cycling Salar de Uyuni

Camping on Salary de Uyuni

covering an area of over 10,000 square kilometers (3,861 sq mi). The route takes you through rugged terrain and small villages before reaching the salt flat, where we’ll spend a night camping under the stars.

The Salar de Uyuni is an otherworldly landscape that seems to stretch forever. Its bright white salt crust is so reflective that it can be seen from space, creating an optical illusion that blurs the horizon and sky. The flatness of the terrain makes for easy cycling, but the extreme temperatures and lack of shade can be challenging.

After crossing the salt flat from north to south, I reach the town of Uyuni, where I rest and replenish supplies before continuing to Sucre.

Bicycle Touring Sucre to Cochabamba

From Uyuni, the route heads east towards Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, museums, and bustling markets. After exploring Sucre, cyclists can continue on toward Cochabamba, a town in Bolivia’s Central Highlands.

The distance between Sucre and Cochabamba is approximately 265 km (165 mi), with an ascent to 3,640 meters (11,940 ft) before descending into the Cochabamba Valley. Along the way, cyclists will encounter stunning mountain landscapes, traditional villages, and ancient Inca ruins.

The Central Highlands region of Bolivia is characterized by its mild climate, fertile valleys, and rich history. It is home to the country’s most important agricultural and cultural sites, diverse ecosystems, and wildlife.

Bicycle Touring Bolivia Conclusion

Bicycle touring Bolivia can be a challenging but rewarding experience that takes you through some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes and cultural heritage sites.

A bicycle tour across the massive Salar de Uyuni is the adventure of a lifetime. If you’re passionate about traveling by bicycle. The Uyuni Salt Flat should be at the top of your bucket list.

The route from La Paz to Oruro, Oruro to Uyuni via the Salar de Uyuni, and Sucre to Cochabamba in the central highlands offers a unique perspective on Bolivia’s natural and cultural diversity. With proper planning and preparation, cyclists will have an unforgettable journey.

Bicycle Touring Bolivia Video Series

Below are four videos detailing my 2023 bicycle tour of Bolivia. It was an incredible life changing experience. The people and places are phenomenal. A bicycle tour of Bolivia should be at the top of your list.

I hope you enjoy the series. Please like, subscribe, and comment. I would love to hear from you.

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