Bolivia is a state in the central part of South America, it borders on Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Chile. The state does not have access to the sea, however, thanks to the 2010 agreement with Peru, the country of Bolivia is considered a maritime power.

Bolivia on the map

general information

The area of ​​Bolivia is 1,098,580 sq. km, according to this indicator, it ranks 28th among all countries of the world. About 11 million people live in the country. 55% of the population of Bolivia are Indians, mostly Quechua and Aymara. Until the 2009 referendum in Bolivia, Catholicism was the state religion, then it lost this status.

It is not in vain that the country bears the official name «Plurinational State of Bolivia» — it is impossible to answer unambiguously the question of what language is spoken in Bolivia: there are 37 official languages! But still, most of the inhabitants speak Spanish, Quechua, Guarani or Aymara. Due to such multinationality of Bolivia, its culture is also striking in its diversity.

The capital of Bolivia is Sucre, but the actual capital is the city of La Paz, which, taking into account the suburbs, is the largest and most populated city of the state. The residence of the President of Bolivia and most of the government institutions are located in La Paz. Other major cities in Bolivia are Santa Cruz, El Alto and Cochabamba.

La Paz Sucre

Many tourists are interested in who Bolivia is named after. In honor of Simon Bolivar, under whose leadership the country gained freedom from Spanish domination. General Bolivar became the first president of Bolivia.

Bolivia is the most mountainous country (maximum altitude is 6542 m), the most multilingual and multinational, the richest in terms of natural resources — and one of the poorest in terms of economy. The most dangerous road in the world — Death Road — is also located in Bolivia.

death road

Flag and coat of arms of Bolivia

State symbols

The flag of Bolivia is a tricolor of red, yellow and dark green. In the center of the yellow stripe is the emblem of the state, on which you can see Potosi, the famous mountain of Bolivia, where the world’s largest silver deposit is located. Against its background are an alpaca, a breadfruit tree and a sheaf of wheat. The bird on the coat of arms of Bolivia is the Andean condor, a symbol of the Andes and the sun god in the mythology of local tribes.

bolivia flag and coat of arms


A visa to Bolivia is needed, but it can be obtained without any problems. To do this, you should either contact the Bolivian embassy in advance, or get it upon arrival at the airport.

Transport links within the country

The main mode of transport that communicates between Bolivian cities is buses. There are 3 types of buses — flotas, colectivios and micros.

  1. Flotas are large buses that carry out intercity transportation. Their seats recline to become beds, and these buses have toilets.
  2. Colectivios are used in suburban transport, they are cheap but inconvenient.
  3. Micros are ordinary minibuses that run around major cities.

There are also two railway lines in Bolivia, located on opposite sides of the Eastern Andes. Bolivians are not too willing to use this mode of transport — both branches carry only about a million passengers a year.

Since the roads in Bolivia are in a rather deplorable state, air transport is in great demand — there is simply no other way to get into some regions of the country during the rainy season or summer floods.

Currency and its exchange

The currency of Bolivia is the boliviano (BOB), «penny» are called centavos. Both dollars and euros can be quite easily exchanged — there are exchange points not only in bank branches, but also at airports, travel agencies and even large stores. It is least profitable to change money at the airport, in other places the rate is about the same. Traveler’s checks are much more difficult to cash than foreign currency. This can be done only in large cities, while 5% of the funds are withdrawn as a commission.


In the flat part of Bolivia, the climate is tropical and hot. On the Northern Plains during the day, the thermometer almost always rises above + 30 ° C, there is a lot of precipitation, there are often showers, and sometimes hail. In the Central Plains, the rainy period lasts from October to April, then it is replaced by a dry one. During the winter months, strong southerly winds bring cool weather for a short period of time.

Yungas is the rainiest region of Peru, here it rains regularly, and when they don’t, the sky is still covered with clouds. However, the climate here is generally more comfortable, with an average annual temperature of +22°C. But the Altiplano is cold and dry. The climate is characterized by large diurnal temperature fluctuations. In winter, sub-zero temperatures are possible here, and snow often falls.

Spa vacation

In Bolivia, the most popular resorts are Potosi, Cochabamba, Sucre and La Paz. Until 2009, the only ski resort in Bolivia worked in Chacaltay, but as a result of the melting of the glacier, it ceased to exist.

Mountain and town of Potosi Copacabana

Historical and cultural attractions

Many tourists come to the country to look at the mysterious monuments of ancient culture. The most famous megalithic complexes in Bolivia are Tiwanaku and Puma Punku — built at different times, but equally mysterious structures.

Another famous attraction in Bolivia is Cristo de la Concordia. The small town of Copacabana is popular among believers, and all thanks to the statue and the temple of Our Lady of Candelaria.

Bolivia is also famous for the most humane prison in the world, San Pedro, which anyone can visit.

natural attractions

The most famous natural attraction in Bolivia is Lake Titicaca. There is the only one of the major beaches of Bolivia, which does not have access to the sea. The Uyuni salt marsh is also world famous — a dried-up salt lake in Bolivia, in the south of the Altiplano. During the rainy season, the surface of the salt desert in Bolivia is covered with a thin layer of water and looks like a giant mirror.

The volcanoes of Bolivia are very interesting and beautiful — Licancabur, Uturunku, etc. By the way, the highest mountain in Bolivia, Sajama, is also an extinct stratovolcano. Lunar Valley is another attraction of Bolivia that attracts many tourists with fantastic landscapes. It is interesting to look at the tropical forests of Bolivia.

What river flows through Bolivia? First of all, the Amazon and Paraguay should be mentioned. The Acre River serves as part of the border between Bolivia and Brazil. In total, there are 16 major rivers in Bolivia.


The best hotels in Bolivia are in Santa Cruz and in La Paz. The 5* Atix Hotel, Suites Camino Real, Hotel Europa in La Paz, Hotel Camino Real, Hotel Cortez, Hotel Casablanca, Los Tajibos Hotel, Sun Hotel in Santa Cruz received the most enthusiastic reviews. Hotels Las Olas in Copacabana, El Hostal de Su Merced in Sucre, Violetta’s Apart Hotel in Cochabamba are considered the best in Bolivia for families with children. And lovers of the exotic will be interested to spend the night in the Palacio de Sal salt hotel on the territory of the dried-up Lake Uyuni.

National cuisine

The cuisine of Bolivia is traditional Indian dishes with «notes» of Spanish cuisine. It contains many meat dishes. The most famous dishes are masaco (alpaca meat with banana or yucca puree), charque (dried and then fried alpaca meat), seltena (pancakes with meat), silpancho — steak with scrambled eggs, rice and potatoes. The most popular side dishes are potatoes and corn, and rice is also widely used. Spicy sauces are a must.

Alcohol is also made from corn — the traditional chicha vodka. And of the soft drinks, mate tea is the most popular.

National Bolivian dishes

Holidays in Bolivia

Holidays in Bolivia are celebrated very brightly and colorfully. Many festivals and carnivals take place here. Carnival in Oruro is the most famous in Bolivia. Every year it attracts a little less tourists than the carnival in Rio.

In November, Bolivia celebrates the Day of the Dead, the Day of the Skull and the Day of All Saints. In February, the Fiesta Virgen de Candelaria is celebrated, the main celebrations take place in Copacabana. Every two years in the province of Chiquitas, a music festival is held in April or May. At the beginning of January, the new year is celebrated, on the 6th day — the Day of the Magi Kings.

Numerous religious holidays are widely celebrated and, of course, the Independence Day of Bolivia, which is celebrated on August 6 throughout the country.


Bolivia is famous for its alpaca and llama wool products. Few tourists leave the country without a sweater, scarf, poncho or other textile item. Also popular are the skins of jaguars, pythons, anacondas, Indian amulets, jewelry with ametrine. And, of course, local musical instruments are in demand as souvenirs from Bolivia — armadillo guitars and Siku reed flutes. Souvenirs can be purchased at any city markets. The most famous of them, which without exaggeration can be called Bolivian attractions, are the Witch Market in La Paz and the market in Tarabuco.

Shops open at 8-00 — 8-30 and work until 19-00. A break for lunch in stores can be at any time convenient for the merchant. Supermarkets in Sucre and La Paz are open until late, there are also around the clock.

Guitar made from armadillo shell

Tourist safety

Bolivia is a fairly safe country. Tourists should be wary of petty fraud, and most importantly, the imposition of completely unnecessary services. It is better to call a taxi by phone, and order tickets for visiting events at the hotel or from tour operators. You should also follow the usual safety measures: do not leave your belongings unattended, do not carry jewelry and large sums of money with you. But from the point of view of maintaining health, a number of rules must be observed:

  • do not drink raw water, but use only bottled water, including for washing fruits and vegetables, as well as for brushing your teeth;
  • use hats and sunscreens with a high SPF;
  • in order to avoid altitude sickness, you should refrain from long walks, climbing to heights in the first few days after arrival.

Interesting Facts

As in any country, Bolivia has its own characteristics:

  1. Roads are often blocked by locals, a common form of protest in Bolivia. Therefore, when going to another city, just in case, you need to take with you not only warm clothes, but also water and food, and even better, clarify in advance if there are any planned actions on the roads you are going to travel.
  2. In La Paz, due to rarefied air, the boiling point of water is + 88 ° С.
  3. The central bus station of La Paz was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the author of the famous tower in Paris.
  4. It is better to travel around the country as part of an organized group — even in large restaurants, the staff often does not speak English.

How to get to Bolivia?

The fastest way to get to the country is by air. You will have to fly with transfers, for example, through Madrid and Lima (Iberia airline), Frankfurt and Lima (Lufthansa), Paris and Caracas (Air France), Rome and Caracas or Milan and Caracas (these two options are offered by Alitalia). The journey will take 27 hours or more. El Alto is the first international airport in Bolivia, it is located in the city of the same name, not far from La Paz. There is another airport in Bolivia — in Santa Cruz, it is called Viru Viru and is the largest in the country.

Airport to Santa Cruz

Customs regulations

There are no restrictions on the import / export of currency — both foreign and national — in Bolivia. It is forbidden to import medicines that are not certified in the country, vegetables, fruits and seeds, products of animal origin. There is also a restriction on the import of tobacco products (400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 500 g of tobacco are subject to duty-free import) and alcohol (5 liters of any alcoholic beverages). It is forbidden to export living creatures, coca leaves and objects of historical or artistic value from the country.