Even though people that visit Bolivia often find it quite challenging to travel, Bolivia is well worth the trouble because of its rich history and stunning scenery.
Here are 19 interesting facts about Bolivia to help you prepare an itinerary for your travels. We include some useful links to mountains, ranges and accessible adventures in this fascinating South American nation.
1. The first president of Bolivia – Simon Bolivar, was the leader in the fight for Bolivia’s, Venezuela’s, Peru’s and Colombia’s independence from Spain. Originally, he was a member of the military and a political leader in Venezuela, but Bolivians respected the man that much that even named the country in his honor.
2. La Paz is not officially the capital of Bolivia, but it is the seat of Bolivia’s government. The city is located at an altitude of 3,650 m (11,975ft) above sea level, which makes it the highest unofficial capital city in the world.
3. The highest large city (the city with a population bigger than 100,000 people) is El Alto. This Bolivian city is as high as 4,150 m (13,615ft) and is has a population of approximately 1,184,900, people.
4. Bolivia is also a country that has the most dangerous and deadly road in an entire planet! The Camino de las Yungas road, also known as the Road of Death, is located close by La Paz, and it annually sees approximately from 200 to 300 deaths in no more than 80 km (50 mi) long section of a road. The most accidents happen to buses and trucks as the road is really narrow and it is harder to larger vehicles to drive through.
5. The largest salt flat on Earth is also located in Bolivia. This 10,582 sq km (4,085 sq mi) area is called Salar de Uyuni and is often called the largest mirror on Earth as it is highly reflective, especially after rain. There are many fascinating facts about Salar de Uyuni, including that it features a hotel built completely out of salt. The Palace of Salt has been constructed in 1995, and even its furniture is made of it.
6. There are only two landlocked countries in the whole continent of South America, which are Paraguay and, as you could have already guessed, Bolivia. Even though Bolivia did not give up the accessibility to the Pacific that easily, the country lost 675 km (420 mi) of Pacific Ocean coastline and 120,000 sq km (46,332 sq mi) of land to Chile in the War of the Pacific at the end of the 19th century.
7. Bolivia shares the world’s highest navigable lake with Peru - Lake Titicaca. The lake is situated at an altitude of 3,812 m (12,507 ft) and covers an area of 8,372 sq km (3,232 sq mi). Even though only smaller sized commercial ships are navigating the lake, it is believed that Lake Titicaca can manage larger boats as well.
8. Bolivia is yet another country where its people just can’t speak the same language. In fact, there are 37 official languages in Bolivia, with the main languages being Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní.
9. If you happen to travel around South America and for some reasons have a craving for some delicious guinea pig (cuy), you are sure to be able to eat it at least three countries of the continent, including Bolivia. Cuy is a traditional meal in Bolivia and is actually a major part of a diet for the people living there.
10. El Penal de San Pedro (Saint Peter’s Prison) in La Paz is like no other prison as it is basically a small society with territorial freedom limits. Inmates have jobs and can rent out accommodation and even live with their families while serving time.
11. In order to experience Bolivia as a highly biodiverse country, one of the best places to be is, Beni. Beni is the second biggest state in Bolivia and it is one of the wettest places in the country, therefore, it is covered in pampas and jungle that is full of life.
12. Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), located about 10 km (6 mi) from La Paz, is a place where you could easily feel like you are on another planet. Due to erosion, the rocks appear in tall spires creating the moon like landscape.
13. Illampu is only one of tallest mountains of Bolivia (6,368 m / 20,892 ft). Illampu is believed to be one of the most strenuous climbs in the country. What is more, some say that Illampu has an appearance of a Himalayan mountain when seen from the higher Ancohuma.
14. Nevado Sajama is an extinct volcano and the highest mountain in Bolivia. It is 6,542 m (21,463 ft) tall and it is located in the Sajama National Park. The peak is geologically complicated, therefore the last eruption of the volcano is hard to trace. The tree line on the volcano can be found at an altitude of 5,200 m (17,060 ft), which is one of the highest growing tree lines in the world.
15. The Altiplano is where the Andes are the widest. With an average height of 3,750 m (12,300 ft), it is the most extensive area of high plateau in the world if you do not take Tibet into the account. It is partly located in four South American countries Argentina, Peru, Chile and, of course, Bolivia.
16. With a land of 18,958 sq km (7,320 sq mi), one of the largest protected areas in our planet - Madidi National Park, is yet another Bolivian treasure, with natural sites ranging from glacial mountain peaks to rainforests.
17. You can find 68 million-year-old dinosaur footprints on a vertical wall in Bolivia. In fact, 5055 footprint marks have been found on Cal Orko limestone from at least 8 different species of dinosaurs.
18. Bolivia is one of the wettest countries in the world, as it gets more than 8000 mm of rain annually.
19. Finally, do not be surprised if you see dead animals, such as dried llama fetuses being sold in Bolivian markets. The people of Bolivia purchase it in order to offer them to Mother Nature in return for good luck and blessings.
ADVENTURES IN Bolivia
MOUNTAINS & RANGES
- The Andes