Bolivia currently doesn’t have access to any sea beach as it’s a mediterranean country that is located right in the center of South America. But it has some interesting both river and lake beaches which can be seen as common beaches to conduct recreational beach activities. It also has beaches in the world’s most elevated lake, the Titicaca Lake.
Bolivia is mediterranean and doesn’t have any sea beaches, but it has both river and lake beaches. The most important are 1) the Copacabana and Challapampa beaches, both in the Titicaca Lake; 2) the Mamore tropical river beaches; and 3) the Lomas De Arena and Pirai beaches, both near Santa Cruz city.
Here we’re going to show you the most important both river and lake beaches that exist in Bolivia, as well as see their hidden dangers, how you should visit them to avoid usual and serious threats, what you should do there and shouldn’t do, etcetera. You’ll also know about the Bolivia Mar abandoned beach and the private Turquesa Beach.
Bolivia is a mediterranean country
Bolivia is currently a Mediterranean country and this has been the case for more than 140 years. In 1879, the country lost its access to the sea in the Pacific War, which involved 3 countries: Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.
So, nowadays Bolivia doesn’t have any sea beaches, but it has many river beaches and also lake beaches that we’re going to show you later. The country also has restricted access to a sea beach donated by Peru, which is called Bolivia Mar, but it’s currently abandoned and not used.
There are some good river and lake beaches to visit
Bolivia has some important river and lake beaches, and places quite similar to normal beaches, which you can visit and enjoy:
- Copacabana beach
- Challapampa beach
- Mamore river beaches
- Lomas De Arena Regional Park
- Pirai river beach
1) Copacabana beach (in the Titicaca lake)
The Copacabana town is well-known as a tourist place in Bolivia, it’s just next to the world’s most elevated lake, the Titicaca Lake, at 12,507ft amsl (3,812m). So, this town has some beaches around this lake. But these are too cold and dangerous to dive in (some people died of hypothermia by accidentally falling in the lake waters) and nobody bathes there.
Otherwise, what most people and tourists usually do there is enjoy the view and take pictures of the town, the lake, and the boats doing transportation, tourist, and fishing activities. The beaches are also used to embark people in small boats that travel to both Sun and Moon islands, also well-known tourist places within this lake.
If you want to lie down and sunbathe on the Copacabana beaches, you won’t be able to do so, as there is no infrastructure and security to conduct these activities, also there is little sand to enjoy and the place is not like a sea beach. Temperatures are not that pleasant to sunbathe, as they are quite cold even during the day.
2) Challapampa beach (in the Sun’s Island)
There are 2 islands within Titicaca Lake, Moon Island, and Sun Island, both of them have archaeological ruins that are usually visited by tourists. One of these islands, the Sun Island, has an isolated beach that’s never used for either taking sun baths or entering the water. It’s called Challapampa Beach.
This beach has a lot of sand, but nobody is there doing beach recreational activities. What people and tourists usually do is enjoy the landscapes, the lake, and the ruins, and they usually travel to the top of the island to have a better view of the place. As we said, both the water and the air temperatures are so cold they don’t encourage any kind of activity that you may do in a common sea beach.
3) Mamore River’s beaches
However, there are some interesting river beaches in the tropical and Amazonian regions of Bolivia. The most prominent ones are the Mamore River beaches. One of these river’s beaches, for example, is the Suarez Island beach, in Guayaramerin town. Locals from towns around usually go to these beaches to take baths and sun baths. But be careful, they know what they are doing.
The Mamore beaches, along with any other rural tropical river beaches in Bolivia, are quite dangerous because if you go alone, without a tourist guide or agency, you are in danger of:
- Being dragged by the river.
- Be the victim of thieves and robbers.
- Be bitten and hurt by leeches, carnivorous fish, and even crocodiles.
- Get some illness that usually these tropical rivers have in their dirty waters.
Some tourist agencies offer tourist packages to visit these places and beaches, and even to take a bath there. For example, they offer to navigate the Mamore River inside a boat designed for it. To take baths, they have extensive nets that isolate the people who are bathing from the dangers of the rivers along with other security measures. Always get a good tourist agency to visit and bathe on these tropical river beaches.
4) Lomas De Arena Regional Park
The Lomas De Arena is actually not a lake or a river beach, but it has elements of normal beaches and it’s also an interesting tourist place to visit, because:
- It has some dunes of sand, which you can enjoy and play with, they are also interesting landscapes to see.
- It has water streams you can dive into, at least part of your body.
- Is very near to Santa Cruz city (at 7.5 miles or 12km), the largest city in Bolivia, so it’s very easy to visit.
- It’s a well-known tourist place that is often visited by both local and foreign tourists.
In this park, you’ll find a lot of local flora and fauna, an environmental awareness center (Centro de Interpretacion) where you’ll know more about the park and the surrounding areas, as well as rural shelters, where you’ll have very rustic ambiances to distract yourself from the noise of the city.
Although you won’t be able to take complete baths or sunbathes there, it actually looks like a beach and you’ll be able to enjoy the view in this park, and to take partial baths in its streams of water. Also, you’ll be able to play with the dunes of sand that exist around.
5) Pirai river beach (Dangerous!)
The Pirai River passes through Santa Cruz City and cuts it to its east side, so it’s very easy to reach. But in recent times it has become the haven of thieves, gangs, and drug addicts. So, nowadays it has become a dangerous place to be in unless you go with a proper tourist guide.
People still go to this place, in groups and well protected, with their cars or in public transportation, they enjoy the sand outside the river, immerse themselves in these waters, and do other beach activities. Indeed, this place looks and feels like a normal river beach, the only problem is that it’s very unsafe for people, as the gangs and thieves around are always looking for a victim.
Very near to the beaches of this river, on the sidewalks of the main road that leads to it, you’ll find many restaurants with a lot of native food from Santa Cruz and tropical regions of Bolivia, like Tofori, Pacumutu, Zonzo, Majao, etcetera.
If you want to go here, always visit the Pirai River with the help of a proper tourist guide that knows this place and knows its hidden dangers. Never go alone by yourself, even if you are in your car, it’s very dangerous there.
Other important beaches that exist in Bolivia
There are other important places to mention as beaches in Bolivia, but these don’t meet all the requirements for you to enjoy them. Anyway, we’re going to show you these places next.
Bolivia Mar Beach (abandoned)
Bolivia, as a mediterranean country, is always searching for some solutions to this problem. In 1992, Peru agreed to donate a portion of its coastal beach to Bolivia to help somewhat with this issue, so Peru donated about 3.11 miles (5 km) of coastline to Bolivia for 99 years.
But at the end of the day, it turned out that this coastline beach had a lot of restrictions for Bolivia in its usage. It was stated that it could be only used for tourist purposes, and not for commercial and exporting activities. Also, to build a tourist center there Bolivia should invest at least $250 million.
Because of all these restrictions and the important investments needed, this beach got abandoned after its donation. More than 20 years have passed and this beach remains forgotten, desertic, and isolated. It’s also a very difficult place to access. Don’t go to this beach, it’s dangerous and nobody is there.
Turquesa Beach in Santa Cruz (private, artificial beach)
Currently, this place is under construction. It’s located somewhat near Santa Cruz city and it will become a private condominium containing a large private lake beach with all the elements of a common beach in a tropical region.
Be aware that we are not sponsoring this place, we just think that it’s an interesting place that may appeal to you, even to buy real estate from, as its artificial lake will be, as its owners claim, the 2nd largest clear water lagoon in the world, but who knows if it will become true.
This place is also quite far away from Santa Cruz, it’s certainly not a proper place to live in, as there you won’t find the comfort and convenience of an urban area. It’s a plain rural place that in many cases doesn’t even have basic services, but it’s growing.
If you are planning to move to Santa Cruz or to live there might consider Turquesa Beach as a resting or vacation place, beach houses there are sold for about $200,000, you can see more details about this condominium on its official page:
In this overview of the most important beaches in Bolivia, you’ve seen that the country is actually a mediterranean since more than 140 years ago, after the Pacific War when it lost its access to the sea in the hands of Chile. But also you saw that Bolivia still has some interesting and enjoyable both river and lake beaches, it also has an abandoned sea beach and even a private beach.
Among the main river and lake beaches Bolivia has there are: 1) the Copacabana beach; 2) the Challapampa beach, both of them in the Titicaca Lake, and you won’t be able to bath or sunbath in them, only enjoy the landscapes, culture, and ruins of these locations. In the tropical part of the country there are also a lot of tropical river beaches, the most prominent ones are: 3) the Mamore river beaches, which you should always visit with a proper tourist guide.
There is also present: 4) the Lomas De Arena Regional Park, which has many elements of a real beach, like sand and water streams in which you can take a bath, and also 5) the Pirai River beach, but this one usually being the hideout of gangs and thieves, and you must never visit this river and it’s beaches alone and without a proper tourist guide as it’s very dangerous.
Finally, you’ve learned that Bolivia currently has a sea beach, Bolivia Mar, donated by Peru almost 25 years ago, but it’s currently abandoned, because it has its activities limited to tourism and not commercial or exporting activities. You’ve realized there is also a private beach inside a condominium in construction near Santa Cruz city, and a beach house there costs around $200,000, but it’s not sure the project is going to be finished.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know the best places to visit in Bolivia, we have an in-depth review of more than 50 different tourist places, including all their details, main features, and also precautions, in the following direction: The best places to visit in Bolivia, a full overview. Link
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