Bolivia – Nothing Less Than Magic

The first time I heard about Bolivia was from Aparna, who appeared on the hit Netflix show ‘Indian Matchmaking.’ She rejected a marriage proposal because the guy had no knowledge of Bolivian salt flats. How can someone not know that Bolivia has salt pans? (crazy guy). Well, I didn’t know either. I looked up online and was stunned by what I saw. As I learned more about the country, I realized Bolivia is much more than its salt pans. It’s vivid, it’s unique, and according to The Telegraph, it is yet to be ruined by tourists.

Ex-Torontonian, Pablo, born and raised in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and studied Photography at OCAD University, Toronto, agreed to share his Bolivian adventures with me. Brace yourself for some stunning pictures.

For how long have you been exploring Bolivia and capturing its beauty on your camera?

I’ve had the pleasure to visit my beautiful home country of Bolivia every year in the last four years. I lived in Canada and Korea for the past couple of years and was fortunate enough to come back to visit family and friends every year. But I’ve recently started to see more of what Bolivia has to offer truly.

Which part of Bolivia is your favourite?

This answer may seem cliche, but I love going to Uyuni Salt Flats. It is something out of this world, and I am so proud that it is part of our culture, history, and landscape.

It is a place unlike any other, a place where it is so simple and calming.

What excites you more, the cultural history of the country or the diverse landscapes?

I’ve always been attracted to landscapes, so I will always pick nature over the city.

Most of the top tourist attractions are located in the western part of the country. Are there any specific sights in the East that one should definitely visit in Bolivia?

I’ve been to Chochis, Santiago de Chiquitos, and Roboré, which are beautiful places in the eastern parts of the country. These places are totally opposite of what you see in the west.
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, located on the northeast side of Bolivia, is another stunning destination that I plan to explore during my next visit.

I have read that you need to keep your plans flexible when travelling in Bolivia because anything can happen at any time. How many days do you think one must spend in the country to absorb it fully?

That is right about a flexible schedule when travelling in Bolivia; sometimes you want to spend more time in certain places and vice versa. The thing with Bolivia is that it has more to offer than what the typical routes can be.

But to see the main attractions, I highly recommend spending at least 14 days to visit everything with time and without being in a rush.

Besides all the famous places, I highly recommend looking up Madidi National Park, Toro Toro National Park, and Sajama National Park.

What’s your favourite travel memory from Bolivia?

My favourite travel memory so far happened at the beginning of the past year. I had the opportunity to work with Una Gran Nacion. It is a travel agency promoting Bolivia to Bolivians and trying to reignite internal tourism. What I love most about their vision is that they want their own Bolivian citizens to thrive and show their own country to the world.
I had the privilege to work on a campaign to promote Carnaval 2021 through social media due to the pandemic.

The main reasons for my travel changed, and I learned a lot about the country through this work, and now I look at Bolivia from a different perspective.

I visited a lot of new places and met so many interesting people.

What are some of the best (Instagram-worthy) places to photograph in Bolivia?

My top places are Salar de Uyuni, Sajama National Park, and the surrounding mountains of La Paz.

What advice would you give to someone who is travelling to Bolivia for the first time?

Try to learn basic Spanish. If not, you can always find someone that will help you out. Be polite to people, their culture, and always be careful with your personal belongings!

What’s that one thing every traveller should do while in Bolivia?

If you’re a foodie, visit Cochabamba. It is a city full of food, so be ready to put on a couple of pounds (Cochabamba also has the biggest Cristo (Jesus) statue in the world). I would highly recommend trying a Trancapecho in Cochabamba, a Chola sandwich in La Paz and a Churrasco in Santa Cruz.

Would you rather travel the world for free or get a memory card with unlimited storage space for photographs?

I will always take travel for free as my final answer!

Thank youWe usually run behind places that are popular and miss out on the beauty of other travel destinations that are equally stunning. 12 Months 12 Places is a series in which I will feature 1 unique travel destination each month. This will eventually become a list of amazing destinations that people can add to their travel list/my bucket list. Stay tuned for more.

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