There are fewer and fewer countries in the world for true adventure lovers. Bolivia is one such country. It gives visitors the flavor of local Indian cultures and stunning landscapes like no other. Here you will not find sunny beaches or sights deliberately embellished for tourists. Bolivia is a land of amazing contrasts. You can get lost in the crowds at the central Indian market of La Paz or forget about civilization among the pre-Colombian monoliths of Tiwanaku.
The climate varies from the extreme drought of the Chaco plains in the southeast to the high humidity of the rainforests of the east.
Bolivia is the stunning beauty of Lake Titicaca in the north and the salty expanses of the Uyuni Desert in the south. It is one of two South American countries without access to the ocean (along with Paraguay). Bolivia borders Brazil to the north and east, Argentina and Paraguay to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west. Here you will find the highest navigable lake in the world; the highest commercial airport; the highest golf courses, ski slopes and the capital; one of the newest and wildest frontiers; the most ancient ruins, which are believed to be the place of the greatest concentration of cosmic energy on earth. Bolivia is also a nation of contrasts. That is why the French researcher and scientist called it the microcosm of our planet. There are all types of geological formations, flora, fauna, minerals and tropical products.
Location: In the heart of South America
Population: About 8.000.000 people
Area: 1.098.581 km2
Capital: La Paz is the administrative center and headquarters of the central government. Sucre is the constitutional capital of the republic.
Official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.
Form of government: democratic
Religion: 90% of the population is Catholic, but there is freedom of religion.
Security: Safe country. Crime and tourist robbery rates are comparatively low in South America.
Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccination is required to travel to the Amazon zone
Visa: Citizens of the Russian Federation do not need a visa to Bolivia.
Shopping: Quality products from local craftsmen at low prices, products made of gold, silver, alpaca wool and more.
Altitude: A variety of ecosystems and elevations corresponding to the three major basins of South America: Lake Titicaca, the Chaco and the Amazon. From high mountains and glaciers over 6000 meters, to the plains, pampas and forests of the Amazon. Moderate food and drink are recommended at altitude and a minimum of physical activity upon arrival in La Paz, Potosi or Oruro.
Seasons: Rainy season from December to March. The rest of the time it is mostly sunny and the climate is temperate. In the lowlands, tropical showers are recorded all year round, intensifying from December to March.
Currency: Boliviano (1 US dollar = about 7 bolivianos).
Commercial opening hours:
From 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 18:30. Government and some financial institutions operate non-stop from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Local time: – 4 hours (GMT). The clock is not translated during the year.
Mains voltage: La Paz: 110 and 220 volts. Throughout the rest of the country: 220 volts. 50 AC cycles.
Hotels: From 5* hotels to traditional and comfortable lodges in the countryside.
Communication routes: Several airlines operate from two international airports. The most attractive way to get to the territory of Bolivia is by crossing the sacred Inca Lake Titicaca from Peru on a catamaran or aliscaphe.
Holidays: New Year – January 1.
Carnival – Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Holy Friday is the Friday before Easter.
Workers’ Day – 1 May.
La Paz City Day – July 16th.
Corpus Christi – 60 days until Holy Friday.
Independence Day – 6 August.
All Saints’ Day – November 2nd.
Christmas – December 25th.
From 50 to 60% of the population of Bolivia are descendants of the pre-Colombian indigenous Aymara and Quechua Indians. 35% of the population are mestizo and 15% foreign-born. The country is in the process of constant social change.
In Tiahuanacu, near Lake Titicaca, rise the impressive ruins of a pre-Inca civilization. The Aymara Indians appeared in these parts in 1000 BC. to replace this civilization, which created giant stone structures, exquisite textiles and metalwork. Tiwanaku was destroyed in an unexplained natural disaster around 900 BC, which also greatly reduced the size of Lake Titicaca. When the Quechua-speaking Incas from Cusco conquered the area around 1200, they found the Aymara Indians in Tiahuanaca, who knew nothing about the origin of the monoliths. The Aymaras put up stubborn resistance and were only able to conquer them at the end of the 15th century, during the reign of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui (1471 – 1493). In spite of this, The Aymara retained their social structure and language and continued to fight the Inca invaders. Only religion was formally imposed on them by the Incas.
Francisco Pizarro set foot in Peru in 1532. 6 years later, Spain conquered Bolivia, and Sucre (later Charcas), the official capital of the country, was founded the following year.
Already in the 16th century, revolutionary movements began in Bolivia against the Spanish colonial regime. Bolivia gained independence on August 25, 1825.
Since the independence of Bolivia, the country has had 77 governments, half elected through democratic elections, the other half coming to power as a result of coups. A weak government was to blame for the weakening of the country in the face of aggressive attacks from its neighbors. After several armed conflicts with neighboring countries, the territory of Bolivia was reduced by ¼ and the country was left without access to the ocean. After the last border conflict and the war with Paraguay, young officers and intellectuals decided to start reforming the national identity. As a result, the National Revolutionary Movement (MPR) was founded, which came to power in 1952 and began the first reforms in the history of the nation. The revolution of 1952 is one of the most important in Latin America. It resulted in the nationalization of private mines, universal suffrage and land reform. Over the past decade, Bolivia has experienced the highest inflation rates in the country’s history. In the 1985 elections, Victor Paz Estenssoro of the MPR became president for the third time and introduced economic reforms to end hyper-inflation. As a result of the reforms, Bolivia is now one of the most economically stable countries in the region.
The climate varies with altitude. Winters are usually dry and sunny on the altiplano (high mountain plateau), subtropical in Los Yungas, and tropical in the East. The best time to travel to Bolivia is from May to November.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Bolivia has an extremely diverse flora and fauna. In the Andes you will see llamas and alpacas. A rare variety of camelids – vicuña – lives in special protected areas. Armadillos and condors also live in Bolivia. In the southwest of La Paz, in Comanche, the giant cactus puya Raimondi grows. Trout, salmon, long-legged frogs and several species of birds live in the waters of Lake Titicaca.
In the tropical part of the country, which occupies almost 2/3 of the territory, you can see monkeys, wild turkeys, pigs, piranhas, caimans, local cattle. Redwood grows here. Another interesting tree is cotton, from the fruits of which you can make clothes.
In restaurants, 11% service tax is included in the bill, but not tips. It is customary to give waiters 10% in cash.
Despite frequent strikes and unrest, Bolivia is one of the safest countries for tourism in South America. Thefts and robberies are extremely rare here.
Local airlines Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano and AeroSur have flights to almost all cities in the country. For flights to the tropics and small settlements, you can use the services of scheduled flights of the Military Air Transport (TAM).
There is a rail link between Oruro and Uyuni, Tupiza and Villazón (all in Potosi). Villazón is a city on the border with Argentina (La Chiaca). Trains also run between Oruro and Calama (Chile) and between Santa Cruz and Puerto Suarez on the border with Brazil.
Bus service. Comfortable buses between La Paz and Oruro, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. To get to Sucre or Potosi, it is better to take a plane to Sucre and from there take a bus to Potosi. To get to Tarija, Beni and Pando, we also recommend using an airplane.
Water communication. Catamarans and aliscaphes go on Lake Titicaca. Programs with visits to several islands for the whole day or several days are possible. Communication between La Paz and Puno from the Peruvian side by means of catamarans or aliscaphes and bus transfers.