Bolivia People & Culture

People in Bolivia 

Bolivia has a population of 9.5 million people.  The ethnic distribution is indigenous 55%, European 15%, mixed or mestizo 30%.  There are also small German, former Yugoslav, Asian, Middle Eastern and other minorities who have lived in Bolivia for many generations.  There are over 30 groups which make up the indigenous population: they are Quechua (29% of the total population), Aymara (24%) and Chiquitano and Guarani (each 1%). 

 

Bolivia is one of the least-developed countries in South America. Almost two-thirds of its people, many of whom are subsistence farmers, live in poverty.  Literacy is low in many rural areas.

Last edited Dec 3, 08 9:57 AM. Contributors: Contributors: Andrew W.
La Paz, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
become familar with the map and streets before you arrive. This way you know where you want to go in the taxi. Taxi hijacks do happen. I had no problems here but ran into a few people who did.
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Uyuni, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Don't pay more than 70-75 USD for the 3-days Uyuni-Tour. We asked many agencies, got many different prices, were told there were big differences. But in our jeep were also people who paid 90-95 USD for the same tour in the same group (were told it was a better one).
Anyway all of them go to the same places, stop and eat at the same places almost the same thing! So safe your money!
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Isla del Sol, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
On Isla del Sol you should take a hike around the island: it is such a beautiful island and there are hardly any people so you will enjoy absolute freedom! Enjoy the scenery, the prettiest hairy donkeys who you just want to cuddle, the excellent views of snow-topped mountains, the sun...mmmm....enjoy it!
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Potosi, Southern Altiplano, Bolivia
6 millions people died in the Potosi mines during the last 4 centuries Second richest city in the world 4 centuries ago... Indispensable !!!
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El Alto, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Very modern City near to La Paz, very nice view to La Paz but a lot of poor People.
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Bolivia Religion 

Predominantly Roman Catholic; but Protestant denominations are expanding rapidly.  Many indigenous communities fuse their pre-Columbian faith with Christian beliefs in their religious practices.


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Last edited Dec 3, 08 7:30 AM. Contributors: Contributors: Andrew W.
Bolivia Language 
Spanish (official); Quechua, Aymara, Guarani.
Last edited Dec 3, 08 7:30 AM. Contributors: Contributors: Andrew W.
Bolivia Culture 
Oruro, Southern Altiplano, Bolivia
Best time to go to Oruro is end of February to see the Carnaval de Oruro , the biggest annual cultural event in Bolivia . A fantastic spectacle that is nearly as impressive as Rio's carnaval and was therefore declared one of Mankind's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO in 2001. Over 28'000 dancers and 10'000 musicians participate in the procession that lasts 20 hours.

Take a second shirt with you as you will get wet! (Water baloons and sprays are very popular with kids during carnaval in Bolivia)
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Bolivia Arts & Recreation 
Oruro, Southern Altiplano, Bolivia
the carnival in this town is incredible. people go totally besirk and the music played by the brass bands stays with you forever. it's impossible however to find accomodation during carnival for a reasonable price. and don't forget to see the lake oruro with its gorgeous surroundings and flamingos!
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Bolivia Sports 
Copacabana, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Trucha a la Plancha from the shacks along the waterfront is amazing!!! for 14 Bolivianos ($2) you can get a massive plate of fish, fries, rice and salad. Delicious! Spend a night on Isla del Sol, but keep in mind that the times return boat times in the Lonely Planet ONLY refer to the south side of the island which is the main tourist side. The boats only leave the North side at 1 or 1:30 ish and if you are on a limited timeframe that could mean missing the car blessing back in Copacabana (10am and 2pm.) We found this out a little late and had to book it back to the other side of the island (only took us under 2 hours! so we made the 11 boat.)
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Copacabana, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
If you plan to visit la Isla del Sol (and your really should - a really amazing and gorgeous place), don't take the tourist boat there, but take a idyllic and breathtaking hike (17km) along the coast of Lago Titicaca along gorgeous bays and fisher villages until the end of the road where you can hire a row or motor boat to the island.

Truly worth it!
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La Paz, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
If you only do one thing in La Paz, do the "Death Road"; 64KM on mountain bikes, mostly downhill (with one short uphill stretch). You start at over 4000M and go down to 1000M on what is, according to the UN, one of the world's most dangerous roads. Its an incredible adrenaline rush; the views are some of the most spectacular in the world and I guarantee you'll remember it for the rest of your life. There are quite a few tour companies running this trip, but I'd recommend Gravity Bolivia, slightly more expensive but top notch Kona bikes and equipment and a really good meal at the bottom (you'll need it!).
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La Paz, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Highest capital city in the world. Ensure your belongings are safe when walking through the streets if you do not look local. Take in the friendly locals who are contempt with their lifestyle and are happy to help out. Definately try Extreme Mountain Biking. Leaflets at many hostels and hotels. Try Llama Steak
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Copacabana, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Isla Del Sol is worth the hike (its only about 12K end-to-end), although there's not a massive amount of ruins to see. Probably not worth an overnight stop though, you can do the trip in a day and leave your bags in Copacabana.
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Food in Bolivia 
La Paz, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Don't forget to take good shoes: there is no horizontal street in La Paz :)
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La Paz, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia is one of the most interesting cities to visit.   It is not for the timid traveller, it is one of the highest elevated cities in the world and many that travel to La Paz suffer from altitude sickness.  Mostly European tourist visit.  Once you get adjusted, it is an amazing city.  The "witch market" is a great place to visit. You can find all sorts of charms from brining good luck to your house to enhancing virility and fertility.  The witches really do not care too much for tourists ogling their wares, as they do take their craft seriously.  The food is outstanding.  Mount Ilimani soup is one of my favorite dishes since it helps in combating the altitude, it is a nice broth with chicken, vegetables and some spicy peppers.  Another common item you will find being sold on the street are coca leaves, the locals chew the leaves as part of custom but they also say that it helps to relieve the altitude sickness!  You can also drink coca mate, a tea infused with coca leaves.  In short, if you are looking for an adventure, a different experience, La Paz is a great place to go.  
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Uyuni, Southern Altiplano, Bolivia
In 2003 when I was there there was no ATM. Freezing. Major base for trips to the Salt Plains.
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Potosi, Southern Altiplano, Bolivia
Do the mines tour. It feels quite an important thing to do. Don't bring the Miners cigarettes- it increases the risk they already face of dying far too young. Please be polite on these tours, we were on one with some Danish girls who were very offensive to our guide. We went with Koala Tours, it was very good and we also stayed at their hostel which was very good.
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Copacabana, La Paz & Surrounding Region, Bolivia
Excelente pueblo de Bolivia para descansar, a orillas del lago Titikaka. Muy tranquilo, muy pequeño. Cuidado con las lanchas que hacen excursiones en el lago! sepan nadar...
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Bradt Travel Guides
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