About Bolivia


About Bolivia

This page gives some other general information about Bolivia.

Bolivia stretches from the peaks of the Andes to the rain forests and savannas of the Amazon basin.  Bolivia has a large range of landscapes and climates. The terrain boasts lots of attractions. These include: Stark otherworldly salt pans; ancient Inca trails; and towering volcanic peaks. Landlocked at the remote heart of South America, Bolivia rewards the adventurous travelers and encompasses everything that outsiders find most exotic and mysterious about the continent.

The country’s cultural diversity and ethnic make-up are equally fascinating. Three centuries of colonial rule have left their mark on the nation’s language, religion and architecture, but this is essentially little more than a veneer overlying indigenous cultural traditions that stretch back long before the arrival of the Spanish. Though superficially embracing the Catholic religion, many Bolivians are equally at home making offerings to the mountain gods or performing other strange rites, such as blessing vehicles with libations of alcohol. And although Spanish is the language of government and business, the streets buzz with the cadences of Aymara, Quechua and more than thirty other indigenous languages.

Geographically, Bolivia is dominated by the Andes, which form two parallel chains, each with snow capped peaks. Between between these stretch the barren, windswept expanses of the Altiplano. The country’s lowlands range from Amazonian rain forest to plains of dry thorn brush and scrub. The geographical extremes are fascinating to explore. However, they can take their toll on travelers. This varied topography supports a a large diversity of flora and fauna from condors to pink freshwater dolphins. Parque Nacional Amboró, for example, has over 830 species of bird. This is more than the US and Canada combined. The country’s underdevelopment has allowed vast wilderness areas to survive in a near-pristine condition.

Bolivia covers an area the size of France and Spain combined. However, Bolivia is home to just under ten million people, who are concentrated in a handful of cities founded by the Spanish. Potosí and Sucre were once among the most important settlements in the Americas. They are now half-forgotten backwaters, basking in the memory of past glories and graced by some of the continent’s finest colonial architecture. Others, like La Paz and Santa Cruz, are now bustling commercial centers.

Despite these attractions, Bolivia remains one of South America’s least-visited countries. Some blame Queen Victoria, who after a diplomatic incident is said to have crossed the name from a map and declared that “Bolivia does not exist”. For others, Bolivia has a reputation for cocaine trafficking and political instability. These images have some basis in reality, though the 2006 election of Evo Morales has reduced the instability to a certain extent, and Bolivia remains one of the continent’s safest countries for travelers. Bolivia is also one of the continent’s least expensive countries, And it is still not on the major tourist routes. This means that you are unlikely to find yourself sharing the experience with lots of other foreign visitors.

We hope you enjoyed finding out more about Bolivia.