Historic sites in Bolivia

To find out more about the Historic Sites in Bolivia you can explore our Bolivian historic sites map above or navigate further by using the links below.

Once the centre of a powerful pre-Inca civilisation, Bolivia has a broad ranging history and contains landmarks, monuments and ruins of the many cultures to have thrived in the area.

Our list of historical places in Bolivia is growing all the time and there’s an initial selection of Historic Sites in Bolivia below - you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our list.

Once you’ve explored the Historic Sites in Bolivia you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other  Historic Sites in Bolivia, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.
 

Bolivia: Site Index

San Vicente Museum

One of the lesser-known historic sites in Bolivia, this is a small museum dedicated to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

DID YOU KNOW?

San Vicente Museum, also known as the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Memorial Museum, lies in a small mining town in Bolivia which is believed to be the site of the last stand of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although legends have grown up around this pair of bank robbers, it is almost certain that they met their end here on November 7th 1908, at this small and insignificant town about a four hour drive along a dirt track from Uyuni.

There are no paved roads in this part of Southern Bolivia. The landscape is bleak, and the altitude is high on this pilgrimage to the sad end of Butch and Sundance, (or not, if you believe the legends) so romantically played in the 1969 film by Paul Newman and Robert Redford. If you do make it to the end of the trail, you are rewarded by a small museum with some facts and photos of these outlaws. The town is gated, and vehicles should be left outside.

The museum is very small, and is accessed by tracking down the lady who holds the keys. In this one room, there are pictures and explanations of the lives and deaths of these two heroes. It is useful to have a Spanish speaker available, not only to find the lady with the keys, but also to translate the explanations.

There are none of the trappings of larger museums and no gift shop, no restaurant, and no toilets. It is worth the trip, if only for the experience, but do not be disappointed by the size of the museum or the emptiness of the town.

Photo by mishmoshimoshi (cc)

Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku in Bolivia was the capital of a powerful pre-Inca civilisation and is a UNESCO listed site. It is amongst the most famous historical sites of Bolivia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Tiwanaku in Bolivia is an impressive archaeological site housing the capital of pre-Inca empire. Much about Tiwanaku remains a mystery and the subject of ongoing academic debate.

Tiwanaku started out as a small farming village in approximately 1200 BC, possibly the first to ever cultivate potatoes. Over the course of the first century, Tiwanaku developed and, by 550 BC, it was a thriving capital of a vast empire with a presence throughout much of the Americas.

At its peak, Tiwanaku had around 20,000 inhabitants. The city remained prosperous over the coming centuries and satellite towns were built, altogether with a population of up to 175,000 people.

The people of Tiwanaku built a magnificent city spanning approximately 2.3 square kilometres with monuments, temples, homes and public buildings. Constructed using the adobe method, this feat was all the more impressive when one considers that Tiwanaku is located approximately 3.5 kilometres above sea level, requiring many of their materials to be transported over long distances.

Tiwanaku was still flourishing in 900 AD, however by the time it was discovered by the Incas in the mid-fifteenth century, it was entirely abandoned, probably having declined in the twelfth century. Yet, the legacy of the Tiwanaku Empire remains today, albeit in ruins.

That which remains is incredible and has resulted in much excited speculation over the years. For example, the many carved heads on the “Templete” or Small Semi-Subterranean Temple were probably meant to represent humans, but have been said to resemble aliens. This has led to some 'alternative' theories as to who – or what - built Tiwanaku.

One of Tiwanaku’s most famous structures is its Akapana temples, which would once have been a pyramid, but has since been significantly eroded, both by looters and by nature. However, its 16 square metre base does allude to the former grandeur of this structure.

Today, Tiwanaku is a popular tourist site and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitor can view its many monuments, gates – such as the well-known Gateway of the Sun - and statues, all of which attest to the importance of this once ceremonial city.

Train Graveyard

The train graveyard outside Uyuni, holds remains of dozens of steam engines, dumped when the railways in South America were dismantled. This is certainly one of the most unique historic sites in Bolivia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Just outside the town of Uyuni, in Bolivia, lies the train graveyard. Here lie the remains of dozens of steam engines, dumped when the railways in South America were dismantled. It is literally the end of the line.

The railway system was built in the middle of the 19th century by mainly European engineers, to join the east of of the continent to the west,a huge and ambitious task, having to cross the Andes to reach Chile, but the steam engines became obsolete and were discarded at Uyuni.

These beautiful old steam engines lie, unloved and rarely visited, preserved by the dry air of the cold desert.

Uyuni is quite isolated, and it is advisable to go with someone who is familiar with the area. There is no charge for a visit.