Bolivia – Everything You Need to Know

Bolivia is a state in central South America. In the north and east, it borders with Brazil, in the southeast – with Paraguay, in the south – with Argentina, in the west – with Chile and Peru.

The name of the country comes from the name of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), one of the leaders in the struggle against the Spanish colonialists.

General information about Bolivia
  • Official name: Plurinational State of Bolivia
  • Capital: The official capital of the country is Sucre, but the seat of government is in La Paz.
  • Area : 1,098,581 square meters Km
  • Total population: 9.9 million
  • Administrative division: The state is divided into 9 departments.
  • Form of government: Republic.
  • Head of state: President, elected for 5 years.
  • Composition of the population: 55% are Indians (mainly Quechua and Aymara), mestizos 30% are mestizos (descendants of mixed marriages between Europeans and Indians), 15% are descendants of Spanish immigrants.
  • Official language: Spanish, but most local Indians speak the languages ​​of Aymara, Quechua and Guarani.
  • Religion: 95% are Catholics, 2% are protestants, 1% are Jews.
  • Internet domain: .bo
  • Mains voltage: ~ 230 V, 50 Hz
  • Country dialing code : +591
  • Country Barcode: 777
Country description

Bolivia is the heart of South America. It was once part of the great Inca Empire. To this day, numerous ruins of the ancient cities of the pre-Columbian era have survived on the territory of Bolivia. The Incas adapted to live in a harsh alpine climate, and now the majority of the country’s population lives on the Altiplano plateau, here is the actual capital of the country – La Paz, which is the highest capital in the world.

National parks also stand out from the “most-most” places in Bolivia, the biodiversity of which is considered one of the richest in the world, the highest ski resort of the planet – Chakaltaya – and the largest dried-up salt lake in the world Salar de Uyuni.

 

Climate

Tropical and subequatorial in the plains, sharply continental in the mountainous regions. Weather and climatic conditions in Bolivia are highly dependent on the height of the place above sea level. The average monthly temperatures in summer (December-February) range from + 21-24 C above the plains to +3 C on the slopes of the Cordillera. In winter (May-August), the average temperature is from +19 to -1 C, respectively. Moreover, in mountainous areas, freezing is possible at any time of the year.

Due to the proximity to the equator, the seasons are rather weak – the difference between summer and winter temperatures in the plains is less than 10 C, but in the mountainous regions it can reach 30 C. Moreover, the winter temperature in the mountains can drop to -20 C.

Precipitation falls from 150 to 2000 mm per year, the rainy period lasts from October-November to March. The dry season is from April to September. In mountainous areas, rainfall is uneven. Up to 1,500-200 mm of rain falls on the eastern slopes of the mountains, while some isolated intermountain valleys and western slopes, as well as the Llanos plains, receive no more than 300 mm of rain per year. Moreover, in areas that are sometimes spaced apart in a straight line at a distance of no more than 10 km, weather conditions can radically differ.

Frequent strong stock winds from the mountains, as well as powerful winds carrying clouds of dust coming to the plains of the country from the Amazon. The most favorable time for visiting the country is from late June to early September.

 

Geography

Bolivia is located almost in the center of South America. The area of ​​the country is 1,098,581 square meters. km In the north and east it borders with Brazil, in the southeast – with Paraguay, in the south – with Argentina and in the west – with Chile and Peru. Bolivia has no access to the ocean.

In the western part of the country are the Andes Mountains. The mountainous territory is divided into three areas: Western Cordillera, Cordillera Real and the high altitude plateau Altiplano that separates these ridges. In the area of ​​Western Cordillera, there are volcanoes, both extinct and active, among which – the highest point in the country – the extinct volcano Sahama (6542 m). The Andes sharply descend to an area of ​​desert plains called Oriente, decreasing by 4350 m throughout only 80 km. The eastern plains occupy most of the country.

The main rivers of the country are the Beni in the northern part of the Cordillera Real, Desaguadero in Altiplano and Mamor, with numerous tributaries in the eastern plains.

Lakes Titicaca, Poopo and Koipasa are also located in Bolivia. Lake Titicaca is located on the border of Bolivia and Peru. It was formed in the tectonic basin. This is the largest alpine navigable lake in the world, it is located at an altitude of 3812 m, its area is 8446 square meters. km Most of Lake Titicaca belongs to Peru, the smaller – to Bolivia.

The salt lake of Poopo lies at an altitude of 3690 m. To the west of Poopo is the salt and periodically drying lake of Koipas. Salt marshes are located south of Koipas, among which is the largest on the planet – Uyuni.

 

Flora and fauna

Flora world

The slopes of the Andes are covered with dense forests. In the upper parts of the slopes, deciduous trees grow, among which the alder prevails, in the lower – the quench tree, tree-like ferns, bamboos, and creepers. In the northeastern part of the Andes, tropical rainforests with a predominance of palm trees grow. It is here that coca shrub is actively cultivated.

Light forests and dry deciduous forests appear in the south of the Andes. In the vicinity of Lake Titicaca, there are quebracho forests. In Orient, tall grasslands prevail. In the north-east of the plains, a humid equatorial forest begins, which is part of the Amazonian selva. The southern part of Oriente is occupied by savannahs with xerophytic shrubs, xerogalophytic and marshy tropical forests and light forests, and in the extreme south – dry tropical forests and light forests.

Fauna world

The wildlife of Bolivia is very diverse. On the Altiplano plateau, there are the llama, alpaca, vicuna, guanaco, red fox, chinchilla, viscacha, armadillos, and rodents. In the northeastern part of the Andes (Jungas), there are jaguars, capybaras, bakers, and tapir. In the eastern savannahs, you can see the Ondus ostrich, deer, armadillo, anteater, and bakers.

In the north of Oriente, monkeys, sloths, bakers, tapirs, ocelot, maned wolf, bush dog, fox, anteater, badger, porcupine, armadillo, capybara, and bats live in humid tropical rainforests. In the rivers of the northern part of Oriente, large caiman crocodiles and snakes live. There are a large number of tropical birds and a lot of insects.

There is a lot of fish in Lake Titicaca and the rivers of Bolivia, including perch, trout, and piranha.

 

sights

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Landlocked and without countless mineral resources, it has long been a victim of ongoing political conflicts and military coups. But the cultural heritage of the Inca era, the majestic landscapes of the Andes and the colorful local population, more than 60% of which are Indians – direct descendants of mysterious ancient civilizations, make this country the most unusual and most exciting place on the continent.

“Tibet of America”, as Bolivia is sometimes called, truly deserves this name – it is the highest and most isolated of the Latin American countries, also widely known for its ancient traditions and numerous monuments of the extinct civilizations of the pre-Columbian era.

  • Uyuni salt flats
  • Tiwanaku
  • Lake Titicaca

 

Banks and Currency

The official currency of the country is Bolivian Boliviano. 1 boliviano is equal to 100 centavos. Banknotes in nominal value of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 boliviano and coins in 5, 2 and 1 boliviano and 50, 20 and 10 centavos are in circulation.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, hotels and large shopping centers. In most stores you can pay in US dollars. In large retail outlets, hotels and restaurants, credit cards are accepted. Trading checks are best purchased in US dollars. They can be exchanged at banks and large shopping centers.

Banks are open on weekdays from 8:30 to 18:00 with a lunch break from 12:00 to 14:30 and on Saturday from 8:30 to 12:00.

 

Useful information for tourists

Bolivia is an alpine country, so be prepared for the fact that you spend the first few days in bed suffering from a mild form of mountain sickness.

If you go to Lake Titicaca, take care to protect yourself from hard ultraviolet radiation.