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Bolivia is still a somewhat overlooked country on the well-trodden backpacker routes through South America. While most travelers will take the time to visit the more famous sites such as Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni, this country at the heart of South America has much more to offer than what the typical packaged tours and guidebooks would suggest.
Despite being just a few hours from La Paz by bus or car, Sajama is home to sweeping scenes of volcanoes, otherworldly rock formations, natural hot springs and mysterious ancient ruins. The park takes up a total of 1, square kilometers of altiplano, or highland plain, with elevations ranging from 4, to 6, meters.
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Santa Cruz de la Sierra is a fast-growing city in Bolivia. The city is an excellent example of traditional values combined with a modern lifestyle. Santa Cruz is a paradise with a tropical savanna climate, exciting nightlife, amazing wildlife, and unique culture. You will experience local vendors, traditional clothing, time-honored customs, colonial architecture , and upscale restaurants.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the gateway to amazing outdoor activities in Bolivia including hiking, watching wildlife, river rafting, and sandboarding. Although the city is still developing, it is one of the most contemporary cities in the country. This is an exceptional place to begin if you are interested in learning about Bolivian life and culture.
You will not find many of the most sensational sights in any guidebook or magazine. Some of the most exceptional places to visit are described below. Heading to Sucre?
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This is absolutely not to dissuade people from visiting, as I really do love Bolivia. The first thing most travellers will encounter in Bolivia is the transport system. Like most of South America, people get around the country via an extensive bus network — but experiences on these can be debatable. In terms of the more short-term transport options in Bolivia, though, I spent most of my time in two different types: taxis and trufis.
When I first arrived in La Paz, I was pretty nervous about catching the local buses. For a tourist, this is something of a difficulty when they barely know the name of the street their hostel is on.
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Once you’ve read this guide, ensure the success of your Bolivia business venture by:. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction to Bolivian culture and the people; it cannot account for the diversity within Bolivian society and is not meant in any way to stereotype all Bolivian people you may meet! Spanish is the main and official language of Bolivia. However there are some 39 other living languages used in the country spoken by people in different regions.
Examples include Aymara, Chiquitano, Chiriguano and Guyara. Bolivian Spanish as a result of mixing with its indigenous rivals differs from region to region. The vocabulary and pronunciation differs according to where in Bolivia you are, i. Gifts are usually given at birthdays, Christmas and New Year. The general rule is by good quality but price is not too important. Many of the service staff in Bolivia live on very low salaries. Where they are a genuine help, then consider giving a tip.
If your baggage is carried by airport porters, then you should pay Bolivianos per bag as airport porters do not receive a wage — they live on payments from airport passengers. Do you need to cite this page for school or university research?
Dating & Romance
Bolivia in detail. Bolivia is a multiethnic society with a remarkable diversity of linguistic, cultural and artistic traditions. Within these diverse indigenous communities a strong sense of cultural identity remains, evident in the use of traditional clothing and textiles, food and drink, festivals, spiritual beliefs, music and dance.
Bolivia has 36 identified indigenous groups. That changed with the election of Evo Morales in , who implemented a new constitution reestablishing the rights of indigenous groups within a plurinational and secular state. For the first time there were numerous high-level indigenous ministers and technocrats, many of whom came from humble beginnings. This awareness is creating a growing sense of pride within indigenous communities, where centuries-old traditions of terrace farming, respect for the land and communal decision-making still play a strong role in everyday life, along with satellite TVs, cell phones, rural schools, Westernized dress and changing artistic, musical and political attitudes.
For centuries, women of indigenous descent who lived in cities were known as cholas. Today, many consider this term to be derogatory, and some now go with the politically correct mestiza moniker. Visitors to indigenous communities, especially in the altiplano where communities are especially wary of outsiders, may be turned off by the aloofness and insular nature of these people.
But Bolivia has lived under a highly structured, hierarchical societal framework since the rise of Tiwanaku and a visitor is but a distraction from the daily chores of survival. Many indigenous communities are slowly embracing tourism and a stay in places such as Curahuara de Carangas can provide a unique glimpse into these communities.
In the Tarabuco region beautiful square bags worked in black and white with coloured borders were used to contain offerings to the dead, often foods for eternity, to accompany them on their journey to another life. For example, woven containers for carrying coca leaves were the privileged possessions of Inca aristocracy, including shamans or priests. Television antennas dot the urban landscape, and televisions and long-distance telephone service are now also found in many rural communities.
Because of the high cost of fixed phone service, Bolivians from all walks of life are making use of cellular phones—from Aymara market vendors in La Paz to truck drivers in Cochabamba. The use of the mantilla a form of headdress as an everyday accessory goes back to the XVII century, but the custom has been lost and the mantilla is now sometimes worn by older generations as part of a costume or in religious ceremonies.
Some Bolivians maintain their native indigenous culture by mixing sacrifice and harvest celebrations date back to long before the arrival of.
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Location and Geography. At , square miles 1,, square kilometers , Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America. Bordering Peru and Chile to the west, Argentina and Paraguay to the south, and Brazil to the north and east, it is divided into nine political—administrative units called departments.
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Their ancestors lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca in the late 15th or early 16th century, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century. After the War of the Pacific —83 , Chile annexed territory with Aymara population. Archeologists have found evidence that the Aymaras have occupied the Andes, in what is now western Bolivia for at least years or more than 5, years, according to some estimates, but it is more likely that they are descended from preceding cultures.
Their origin is a matter of scientific dispute. It is most likely that the Inca had a strong influence over the Aymara region for some time. Though conquered by the Inca, the Aymaras retained some degree of autonomy under the empire.
Top 11 Things To Do in Bolivia’s Cities, including One To Miss & A Travel Conundrum!
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Culture , Social issues and Indigeneity. Within the Andean conception of life, getting married follows a higher purpose than simply finding a companion for life. The idea of dating for weeks or years with a series of different partners until you find the right one is not a familiar idea around these parts. The marriage ceremony for indigenous people of the Altiplano is a social ritual in which the whole community takes part.
After this rite of passage, the individual is afforded a different status which affects their affairs, on a social and practical level. That is to say, personhood is only fully achieved with marriage. Come Together But how do couples find each other in the first place? Large celebrations are organised at key points during the year, in line with the agricultural cycle.
These fiestas can bring several neighbouring communities together, and revelers spend up to three days dancing, playing music, giving offerings to the Pachamama and, no less importantly, pairing up. Carnival celebrated in February and Todos Santos All Saints, held in November are two such occasions in which bachelors and bachelorettes wear their finest clothes, and come together amidst alcohol and ceremonially-sanctioned euphoria.
Similar accounts are proffered by sociologist David Mendoza and anthropologist Dr. Ritually speaking, dancing is a way to celebrate and summon the fertility of the earth during the sowing of the field and the harvest. In their article, Sigl-Mendoza document the belief that the singing, dancing and enjoyment of the young couples boost the productivity of the crops. Evolving Indigeneities The last thirty years saw a change in the love practices and rituals of the Altiplano, and while arranged marriages can still happen, they are no longer the norm.
Dating Bolivian Girls: Yes or No?
It left me slightly perturbed to find out my hotel was right next door to the notorious prison! Many ex-inmates offer tours within the prison walls but this is NOT recommended. There are stories of tourists getting stuck inside when they are assumed prisoners. In I spent 3 weeks in Bolivia to sample the best this country has to offer.
Indigenous Culture in Bolivia. Based on animism, the Bolivian Andean indigenous religions believe in natural gods and spirits that date back to Inca times and.
With their distinctive bowler hats, long braids and colourful pleated skirts, the Cholitas of South America have come to be considered the most iconic symbol of the Central Andes and, in particular, of Bolivia. Yet as revered as the indigenous Aymara women may be to outsiders, and as admired as they may be for rocking indigenous fashion like the true native treasures they are, Cholitas have had an arduous journey to recognition in their own home country.
Having suffered decades of discrimination, this incredible tribe of proud women is currently enjoying a resurrection of sorts and at Viva Expeditions , we are immensely proud to be a part of their journey to reclaim their rightful place in South American history. Everything from the stunning dresses to their luscious locks and unique hats, once viewed as a source of backward embarrassment, is now finally recognised with tremendous pride.
When it comes to those gloriously colourful dresses, uniformity is less prominent across the Andes. Regional distinctions dictate the colours and fabrics used. Generally, however, voluminous layered skirts, called pollera, go down to below the knee and are worn above a puffy underskirt enagua , all teamed up with cotton shirts blusa and a single-coloured warm woollen shawl manta , usually made of alpaca or llama wool, over the top.
The negative correlation of the term has now all but disappeared, the resilient Cholitas of Bolivia gaining newfound respect in their own country and now seen as symbols of national pride. In essence, the Cholitas have become respected fashion icons in a land that used to treat them appallingly.
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It is important to note that Bolivia is a diverse country with marked distinctions between race, class, gender and ethnicity. These diverse experiences will affect the level of trust and the kinds of conversations you have with people, depending on where you are, and who you talk to. In general, people are well-informed about everyday political issues and are willing to discuss issues that appear in the news. The best way to prepare oneself for daily conversations with people is to read one of the national newspapers La Razon, Pagina Siete, El Deber , or listen to one of the national radio stations in the morning Radio Panamericana, Radio Fides, Radio Patria Nueva.
People will commonly discuss politics in most public spaces. Another common point of conversation is sports. Bolivia, like many Latin American countries, has a national soccer league that people follow and are passionate about. Each city has at least one team, with the larger cities having two. If you are in La Paz, you will want to decide quickly if you will follow the Strongest black and yellow jerseys or Bolivar light blue jerseys.