A short hop from La Paz and 20km from Lake Titicaca’s shores, Tiahuanaco are Bolivia’s finest and most important ruins. Founded some three millennia ago, long before the Incans, these remains were the centre of an empire that has a legitimate claim to be the true birthplace of Andean civilization. The ruins have four primary sites, with the iconic Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun), being the main draw, precisely cut and beautifully carved from one enormous block of stone. For Bolivians of the altiplano, Tiahuanaco remains a place fixed in the national imagination and consciousness. If you’re here during June’s winter solstice, you’ll see this in vivid detail, where the Aymara New Year is celebrated in exuberant, spectacular style – a highlight of any South American tour.