A mad carnival of jostling pedestrians, honking, diesel-spewing minivans, street marches, and cavalcades of vendors, La Paz surrounds you: you'll love it, you'll hate it, but you can't ignore it. The city seems to reinvent itself at every turn – a jaw-dropping subway in the sky brings you from the heights of El Alto to the depths of Zona Sur in the blink of an eye. Standing hotels are remodeled at a manic pace, and new boutique hotels are springing up like rows of altiplano corn.
Salar de Uyuni
An evocative and eerie sight, the world’s largest salt flat measures 12,106 sq km and sits at 3653m (11,984ft). When the surface is dry, the salar is a pure white expanse of the greatest nothing imaginable – just blue sky, white ground and you. When there’s a little water, the surface perfectly reflects the clouds and the blue altiplano sky, and the horizon disappears. If you’re driving across the surface at such times, the effect is surreal; it’s hard to believe that you’re not flying through the clouds.
Plopped onto sprawling Lake Titicaca like the cherry on an ice-cream sundae, Isla del Sol is considered the birthplace of Andean civilization. You can easily spend four days here, tracking down forgotten Inca roads to small archaeological sites, remote coves and intact indigenous communities. At the end of the day, take in the sunset with a cerveza (beer) from your ridgetop lodge. The lake itself has a magnetism, power and energy unique to this world – no wonder many claim the ancient civilization of Atlantis was found here.