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A must-do on the backpacker trail, here are our top picks for anyone heading to Central and South America.

1 La Paz, Bolivia

Inca ruins, real-life witches and the world’s most dangerous road – La Paz has a hell of a lot in store for adventure-seeking travellers. The world’s highest capital city sits in a basin at 11,975ft, surrounded by the Andes.

Perched so high in the mountain range, La Paz’s landscape is beautifully unforgiving – so it’s the logical place to find the notorious ‘Death Road’. The highway, on which up to 300 people die each year, clings precariously to mountainsides from La Paz to Coroico and descends about 11,000ft in just 43 miles. Adrenaline junkies can take the road by the saddle of a mountain bike, careering down as close to the vertical drop as they dare (

For thrill-seekers who don’t need wheels to get their kicks, there’s the intriguing Mercado de los Brujos, aka the Witches’ Market. Tourists are routinely baffled by the array of items on sale here – including amulets, potions, dried birds and llama fetuses – to cater for practising witches in need of spell ingredients and other spooky must-haves.

Traditionalists will be pleased to find La Paz has some more historical attractions. Nearby, you’ll find the mysterious Incan Tiahuanaco ruins, which many archaeologists consider the world’s most ancient city. And this sits on the south eastern banks of the majestic Lake Titicaca – one of the highest in the world at more than 12,400ft above sea level.

La Paz also provides a welcome, if hectic, base to visit the awesome salt flats and the striking Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), its canyons eroded by centuries of wind and rain.


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Top five best of Latin America
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