10 Facts about Bizarre and Beautiful Bolivia
Bolivia has a lot to offer but it is still one of the lesser-visited South American countries. Why?! I have no idea because it’s one of my favourite countries in the world! Bolivia has amazing landscapes, beautiful scenery and it’s cheap!!! Also… There is a bizarre and fascinating culture! The sense of adventure and possible challenge that comes with traveling through Bolivia makes it also, especially for the ‘real backpacker’ worth a visit. Read here 10 interesting facts about bizarre and beautiful Bolivia…
1. BOLIVIA IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITH 2 CAPITALS
& La Paz is the highest capital in the world..
Nuestra Señora de La Paz (La Paz), which translates to “Our Lady Peace,” is 3700 meter above sea level. While it is not the official capital of Bolivia (that is Sucre), La Paz has more government departments. Sucre is the constitutional capital and La Paz, is the administrative capital. The highest legal capital in the world is Quito. If you go in to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, many live at over 10,000 feet in the air (as high as some planes fly), pretty cool I saw clouds going through their living rooms…
2. BOLIVIA HAS A LOT OF LANGUAGES & INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Bolivia has over 30 official languages and 36 native cultures. The main language spoken is Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. But they also speak Araona, Aymara, Ayoreo, Baure, Callahuaya/Callawalla/Kallawaya, Canichana, Cavineña, Cayubaba, I would not bother you with more of these names but there are a lot! The country has the largest population of indigenous people in Latin America. About 55% of Bolivia’s population is indigenous, what makes it an interesting place to visit when you’re trying to learn some local culture, customs and history.
Indigenously dressed men and women are a common sight in all towns, villages and most big cities. Most of them don’t like it when you take pictures because they think a camera will steal their souls… So be careful with that..
3. BOLIVIANS STILL MAKE SACRIFICES…
They still worship “El Tio” (Satan) and “Pacha Mama” (Mother Earth) with sacrifices.
For example locals believe a dead llama foetus can bring them luck by building a new house. They buy such thing on the “Witches’ Market” and then burry it under the foundation of their new home. You would think the market in La Paz is for tourists but it’s actually not. Well… It’s an interesting place to visit, so you should definitely go and check out some interesting items! They have a spray what makes people fall in love with you! How nice?! 😉 Not sure if you can take everything with you on a plane though..
4. IT HAS THE CHEAPEST WAY TO THE AMAZON!
Most people if they think of the Amazon, they think of Brazil. Yet, the Amazon covers 9 South American countries, meaning that you don’t have to take an expensive tour in Brazil to see the jungle. Bolivia provides an amazing budget alternative + it’s less touristy and just as biologically diverse as Brazil.. I did a tour over the amazon river, swum with pink dolphins, went piranha fishing and saw loads of birds, snakes, monkeys and alligators, an amazing experience!
5. LAKE TITICACA IS THE HIGHEST NAVIGABLE LAKE IN THE WORLD
…AND THE BIGGEST IN SOUTH AMERICA
At 3,812m above sea level, Lake Titicaca on the Bolivia-Peru border is the highest commercially viable lake in the world. And it’s also the largest in whole South America, and…. It’s beautiful and a must see! 😉
You can visit the lake from Copacabana, what is also a cute little town.
6. BOLIVIA HAS THE MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN THE WORLD
From La Paz, you’ll have the opportunity to bike the planet’s most dangerous road, “the Death Road”. This 40-mile downhill path is extremely narrow, with a precarious and steep ledge. Before 2006, the Death Road was the only connection between La Paz and the jungle. During this time there were about 25 cars and 2 bikes per year that would fall over the edge.
It is safer now because of less traffic, but buses and bikers are still known to fall over the cliff.. Most of the time because of drunk driving, trying to keep up with your boyfriend or because of taking selfies… :/
ACTUALLY, ALL ROADS, BUSSES & DRIVERS ARE JUST NOT THE BEST..
Only about 30% of all roads in Bolivia is paved (mostly in the city). So the roads are bad, the drivers not always sober. Subsequently, there are a lot of bus accidents.. I took the bus from La Paz to Rurrenebaque (the jungle) and I thought I was going to die. In the middle of the night, the whole bus was a sleep and certainly a local men started screaming. “Stop, stop, stop the bus!!” Everyone woke up. I was on the right side of the bus, not the side of the cliff so my 2 friendly neighbours were sitting on my lap in no time. I opened the window and was ready to jump out, but because of all the people in the bus that went to the right, the bus driver managed to stay on the road. The scariest bus ride of my life.
Also… there are almost no toilets in buses, or if there is one they won’t open it. Usually they stop along the way. And maybe… maybe if you just need to go for number 1, they let you go, but you can better just go before you get in any bus.
I can recommend for everyone going to Bolivia to use a good bus company, especially crossing the border to Peru. I travelled with Bolivia Hop/ Peru Hop all the way from La Paz to Lima.
7. BOLIVIA HAS A LOT OF SALT
With over 64 million tons of salt, the Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest deposit of salt in the world. Also known as ‘the largest mirror on Earth’. For a lot of tourists is this THE reason to visit Bolivia. You can visit it by doing a 4×4 jeep tour across the Soleli Desert beginning in either Uyuni, Bolivia, or San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Or a day tour from the town called Uyuni. And under all that salt is the…
…WORLD LARGEST LITHIUM DEPOSIT!
Bolivia’s Uyuni Desert has 5.4 million tonnes of lithium, that’s a lot. It’s also one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever been and where I probably made the most funny pictures!
8. BOLIVIA ALSO HAS A LOT OF FLAMINGOS
Every summer, Salar de Uyuni is a major breeding ground for several unique species of vibrant pink flamingos; the James flamingo, the Chilean flamingo and the Andean flamingo. I was there in April, the wrong season for Flamingos but the best for good weather and still… A lot of Flamingos. Did you know that flamingos aren’t actually born pink?! They get their pink color from a diet rich in carotene which allows them to produce pigmented feathers. How cool?
9. BOLIVIA HAS NOT A LOT OF WIFI
If you are a Digital Nomad, or just really addicted to your Facebook, this is not your country. This would be the only reason not to go. And uh… Seriously?! Is this a reason to skip this amazingly beautiful country? There is Wi-Fi available in most of the hostels, not always in all hotels. But yeah, if it’s there, it’s very slow…
10. AND… BOLIVIA HAS NO MC DONALDS.
Another reason not to go? I don’t think so. There was once a Mac, but it didn’t work out. Too expensive. People where getting dressed up to go to this fast food keten, it was a luxury and even that I like to go to the Mac Donalds sometimes I wouldn’t go if it was twice the price as a normal big, even happier meal.
Is Bolivia on your bucket list?
Hi! I’m Maartje, a Dutchie who left her home to explore the world slowly, thoroughly and never came back. I’m just a little obsessed with travelling, photography, scuba diving and enjoying life.
“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost…”
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