Bolivia (Quechua: Buliwya, Aymara: Wuliwya, Guarani: Volívia), officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a sovereign country located in the central-western region of South America, politically it is constituted as a plurinational state, decentralized with autonomies.

It is organized in nine departments. Its capital is Sucre, seat of the judicial organ; La Paz is the seat of the executive, legislative and electoral bodies, as well as being the political, cultural and financial epicenter of the country.

It has a population of about 10.1 million inhabitants according to the last census, of the year 2012. It limits to the north and to the east with Brazil, to the south with Paraguay and Argentina, and to the west with Chile and Peru, it is a state landlocked and constitutionally maintains a territorial claim to Chile for a sovereign exit to the Pacific Ocean. Its surface is the sixth largest in Latin America and includes different geographical areas such as the Andes, the Altiplano, the Amazon, the Llanos de Moxos and the Chaco, being one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.

In its territory, ancient civilizations such as Tiwanaku, the Hydraulic Culture of Las Lomas, the Moxeña culture, the Aymara Nation that survives to the present day were developed. First the Incas and later the Spanish conquerors dominated the territory until the country became independent in 1825. That is why Bolivia in its current political constitution of the state was declared as a plurinational country to recognize that in its territory pre-exist several nations whose Origins even predate the arrival of Spanish colonization.

Bolivia is a developing country with a medium income and for more than a decade has led the economic growth of the South American region.It is a founding member of the United Nations, IMF, OAS, ALBA and Unasur. It is in the process of joining Mercosur. It is currently ranked as one of the three safest countries in Latin America.


OFFICIAL NAME: Plurinational State of Bolivia

TOTAL POPULATION: 10.4 million inhabitants (2013)

DENSITY: 9.94 inhabitants / km2

POPULATION: Aymará (25%), Quechua (31%), Others (44%)


SURFACE: 1,098,581 km2



OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní and other 33 languages

FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Presidential State

PRESIDENT OF THE STATE: Juan Evo Morales Ayma (since January 22, 2006)

OFFICIAL TIME: GMT -4 hours (normal / summer)

NATIONAL PARTY: August 6, Independence Day


CURRENCY: Bolivian (BOB).

MEANS OF PAYMENT: Credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa). Visa and Master Card are the most accepted. Certain commercial transactions can be made with checks from national banks and certificates from abroad. As well as in American dollars (USD).

ISO CODE: 068 / BOL / BO



Geography and climate

Bolivia is located in the central zone of South America, with 1,098,581 km² of surface extending from the Central Andes, through part of the Chaco to the Amazon.

Borders: Bordered north and east by Brazil, east and southeast by Paraguay, south by Argentina, south west by Chile and northwest by Peru.

Geographic and climatic zones

The territory is divided into 3 zones:

Altiplano: The highest area is more than 3000 m above sea level and is located between the two major Andean branches: the Western and Eastern Cordilleras, which have some of the highest peaks in the Americas. The average temperature is between 15 to 20 ° C. At night temperatures fall drastically and are just above 0 ° c, while at midday the climate is dry and the intensity of solar radiation is higher. Frosts occur almost every month and snow is frequent.

Valleys and Yungas: The sub-Andean area is intermediate between the altiplano and the plains and includes the valleys. The weather is warm. The northeastern humid winds are pushed towards the mountains, making this area wet and rainy. The temperatures fall with the increase of the height, nevertheless the snowfalls are possible in elevations that oscillate the 2,000 msnm.

Llanos and Amazonia: The plains cover 59% of the national surface and are located north of the Eastern Cordillera, which extends from the foot of the Andes to the Paraguay River. It is a land of plains and low plateaus, covered by extensive forests rich in flora and fauna. Humid tropical climate with an average temperature of 30 ° C. The winds coming from the Amazon rain forest cause significant rainfall. From May, dry winds produce a minimum rainfall so the days are clear. In winter, strong winds from the south, called surazos, can bring cool temperatures for several days.


Constitutionally, the national emblems are the red, yellow and green tricolor flag, the national anthem, the coat of arms, the wiphala (flag of the Aymara culture), the rosette, the flower of the kantuta and the flower of the patujú.

The flag of Bolivia that is the main national symbol was adopted on October 31, 1851 and approved by law on November 5 of the same year during the government of Manuel Isidoro Belzu with the definitive colors of red, yellow and green. By supreme decree of July 30, 1924, it was determined that August 17 was commemorated as Flag Day. The National Coat of Arms of Bolivia is the national heraldic symbol of the country, as established in the Constitution and in accordance with the Supreme Decree of July 14, 1888 subsequently regulated by Supreme Decree No. 27630 of July 21, 2004 by President Carlos Mesa .


Tricolor State Flag


Coat of arms



Flower of kantuta

Flower of patujú


The culture of Bolivia is characterized by having a great diversity of expressions as a result of the variety of geographical scenarios that its current territory comprises, as well as the ethnic diversity that characterize it.

In Bolivia there are around 40 ethnic groups, which in many cases preserve their traditions, cultures and languages.

Bolivia presents in all its cultural variants a considerable indigenous influence.

The Bolivian culture has been defined by its interesting geographic disposition, the predominant indigenous population and the miscegenation of its ancestral traditions with the European cultural elements that were imported during the period of Spanish colonialism. The amalgamation of all these elements has resulted in a rich, varied and unlike culture in the rest of the world.


The cultural patrimony of Bolivia is constituted by all intangible and tangible cultural assets, both movable and immovable, found or produced in the Bolivian territory, as an individual or collective product, that as a testimony of human material creation or immaterial artistic, scientific, archaeological, urban, documentary or technical that are susceptible of a declaration of this character.

The Bolivian State recognizes the pluricultural, multiethnic and plurilingual conformation of the Nation, and consecrates the principles of inter-culturality, inter-institutionality and social participation as pillars of the integrated conservation of Bolivia’s cultural heritage.

The State has as one of its highest functions, the protection with equity of the tangible and intangible heritage of all the cultures that are developed in the national territory and that make up the cultural heritage of Bolivia, and promotes the recognition, rescue, recreation, preservation, integrated conservation, access and dissemination of cultural heritage as a right of all the inhabitants of the country.

Bolivia contains an enormous historical and cultural wealth, which is expressed in a universally praised tourist importance for lovers of nature, anthropology, archeology and paleontology.


Bolivian painting has its beginning in the rock art of native peoples. Currently, more than a thousand sites with rock art corresponding to different periods such as Paleoindian, Pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial and Republican are registered. The main archaeological parks of Bolivian rock art are: Calacala in Oruro, Samaipata (site declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity) in Santa Cruz, Copacabana in La Paz and Incamachay (site declared National Monument) in Chuquisaca

Durante el periodo colonial, los pintores del actual territorio boliviano recibieron la influencia del manierismo de Bernardo Bitti y del arte estilizado carente de realismo de las tradiciones incaica y tiahuanacota, destacándose pintores como Diego Cusihuamán

Ángel Letiel Dei, painting by Melchor Pérez de Holguín, Church of Calamarca

In the seventeenth century, the Baroque generates the School of Potosí and the School of Collao. In Potosí there is a strong influence of the Spanish mannerism, standing out Melchor Pérez de Holguín, the most important baroque painter of the Viceroyalty of Peru. On the other hand, in the Collao the Spanish flamenco influence manages to inspire indigenous and mestizo artists, standing out the anonymous Master of Calamarca with his works known as Angels and Archangels of Calamarca.

Independence incorporated painting influenced by neoclassicism and academicism with painters such as Melchor María Mercadoy Zenón Iturralde. In the 20th century, art appears marked by revolutionary nationalism and indigenism. The magical realism of Arturo Borda, the indigenous portraits of Cecilio Guzmán de Rojas and the revolutionary art of Miguel Alandia Pantoja, Walter Solón Romero and Alfredo La Placa are the main references. On the other hand, contemporary art at the end of the century introduces themes such as urban man and social criticism. The most outstanding contemporary painters are: Gil Imaná, Lorgio Vaca, Edgar Arandia, Gastón Ugalde, Tito Kuramoto, Carmen Villazón, Sol Mateo, Luis Zilveti and Roberto Mamani Mamani.


The Bolivian sculpture dates back to the Tiwanaku period with anthropomorphic stelae such as Bennett Monolith or the sculptured figures in the Puerta del Sol. Later, in the colonial period, Tito Yupanqui, author of the Virgin of Copacabana, who had a technique that linked the indigenous tradition with the Spanish sculpture of the time. Later, sculptures carved in churches of Sucre and Potosí stand out that were influenced by the Seville School and the Cuzqueña School.

In the republican period, the sculpture receives an impulse with the creation of the School of Fine Arts of La Paz and it is so at the beginning of the 20th century that Emiliano Luján, Hugo Almaráz, Víctor Zapana and mainly, Marina Núñez del Prado stand out who is considered one of the greatest sculptors in Latin America. The work of Núñez del Prado is distinguished by the use of stylized curves (worked in onyx, black granite, alabaster, etc.), which symbolize women, a subject that occupies a central place in his art. Later, after the 1960s, new talents appeared, such as Ted Carrasco, Carlos Rodríguez and Marcelo Callaú, who were mostly inspired by Bolivian society and Andean myths.

Door of the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, sculpture by Tito Yupanqui, Copacabana.


Bolivian architecture rescues the buildings of Tiwanaku built with large blocks of stone carved with excellent junction and the Inca buildings such as the palaces of Isla del Sol and the military forts of Samaipata and Incallajta for example.

In the colonial era, the 18th-century Baroque religious buildings that combine European and native mythological elements stand out: the Church of San Lorenzo de Potosí, the Basilica of San Francisco de La Paz and the churches of the Jesuit Missions are representative works of art. this period.

After the independence, new styles arise like the neoclassic one with the Cathedral of Potosí of Manuel Sanahuja; and the French academicism with the Government Palace of José Núñez del Prado and the Cathedral of Santa Cruz de la Sierra de Felipe Bertrés At the end of the 19th century, the eclecticism reflected in works such as the Palace of the Glorieta of Antonio Camponovo was imposed which combines 14 architectural styles.

In the 20th century, styles such as the neotiahuanaco emerged with the National Museum of Archeology of Arturo Posnasky; and the official academism with the Legislative Palace of Camponovo In the use of both styles, Emilio Villanueva is distinguished, who is considered the most important Bolivian architect of the century for works such as the Mayor’s Office of La Paz (1925), the Central Bank of Bolivia ( 1926) and the complex of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (1941-1948).

Church of San Lorenzo, architecture of the mestizo Baroque, Potosí.


In Bolivia there is an infinite variety of folk dances that show the diversity of cultures. A living example of this is the Oruro Carnival, “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” (UNESCO), the Festival of Great Power and the university and religious folklore tickets in the main cities of the country.

Dances by departments:

º Beni: Macheteros, Bajones, Achu, Moperas, Dance of the Sun and the Moon, Chovena.

º Chuquisaca: Pujllay, Cueca de Chuquisaca (Vals), Bailecito, Huayño, Doctorcitos.

º Cochabamba: Cueca de Cochabamba, Carnival of Cochabamba.

º La Paz: Caporales, Kullawada, Llamerada, Cueca de La Paz, Waka Waka, Saya, Incas, Carnival of La Paz.

º Oruro: Diablada Boliviana, Morenada, Kallawaya, Suris Sicuris. Antahuara, Awatiris, Suri Sicuri, Wititis, Intillajta, Sampoñaris and Tarqueada.

º Pando: Chovena,

º Potosí: Tinku, Potolos and the Cueca de Potosí.

º Santa Cruz: Carnival of Santa Cruz, Chovena, Sarao.

º Tarija: Chapaca Wheel, Tonada, Cueca de Tarija, in the Chaco Chaco region, cat, hidden, triumph, Chamamé, Chunchus, tufas, bailecito.

º Tupiza-Sud Chichas: Tonada, Rueda y la Cueca.

Also outstanding are the National Folkloric Ballet founded in 1975, the National Symphony Orchestra founded in 1945 and the Urubichá Choir and Orchestra that includes the Baroque and Renaissance musical heritage of the Bolivian Chiquitania.

The music is played during festivals and dances, it contains strong Spanish influences. The most common musical instruments are:

º Western Zone: zampoña, siku, quena, tarka, pinkillo, charango.

º Zone of the valleys (Tarija and Tupiza): erke, box, camacheña, anata, guitar.

º Eastern Zone: guitar, pinguyo (flute of taucara), drum and instruments introduced by the jesuíticas missions like hype, violin and harp.
The 1952 Revolution fostered and supported the development of a national culture, mainly the Aymara and Quechua sectors through the middle strata of society. A Folklore Department was established within the Ministry of Education.

The awakening of culture was also reflected in music. In 1965 Edgar “Yayo” Jofré formed a quartet called Los Jairas in La Paz. With the rise of popular music Jofré, along with Alfredo Domínguez, Ernesto Cavour, Julio Godoy and Gilbert Favre modified the forms of traditional music, fusing it with urban and European rhythms. Subsequently, groups like Wara, Khanata, Paja Brava, Savia Andina and above all Los Kjarkas will appear, which will refine this fusion and bring Bolivian music to the main international stages.

Among the   most outstanding singer-songwriters are:  Gladys Moreno ,  Alfredo Dominguez ,  Orlando Rojas ,  Nilo Soruco ,  Willy Alfaro ,  Luzmila Carpio ,  Ulises Hermosa , Yalo Cuellar,  Luis Rico ,  Pepe Murillo ,  Emma Junaro ,  Enriqueta Ulloa ,  Juan Enrique Jurado  and  Aldo Peña , Montserrat Arce, Omar Ríos.

In musical composition, the late  Alfredo Domínguez  with all his works. Simeón Roncal  with his << Marcha hacia el Chaco >>,  Teófilo Vargas  with his folkloric work << Aires Nacionales de Bolivia >>,  Eduardo Cava  with his << 18 Aires Andinos >>,  Gilberto Rojas  with his taquirari << Viva Santa Cruz >>,  Willy Alfaro Carballo  with the «Fiesta de Reyes or Tonada para Remedios»,  Apolinar Camacho  with the composition << Viva Mi Patria Bolivia >> considered the second anthem of the country, the classical guitar composer  Piraí Vaca .

The most representative national music groups are:  Los Kjarkas ,  Los Andariegos ,  Palala Ahicito ,  Los Canarios del Chaco,  El Negro Palma ,  Juan Enrique Jurado ,  Savia Andina ,  Grupo Andino ,  Grupo Femenino Bolivia ,  Raymi Bolivia ,  Jacha Mallku ,  Tupay ,  Kala Marka ,  Andean Passion ,  Projection ,  Amaru ,  Bonanza ,  Alaxpacha ,  Oriental Trio , Duo Feeling ,  Tola Claudio ,  Huáscar Aparicio .

In genres such as  Rock-Pop  and  Rock  , groups such as  Loukass ,  Octavia ,  Azul Azul  and  Atajo stand out internationally.


In the colonial period, writers such as Antonio de la Calancha and Vicente Pazos Kanki stood out, while at the beginning of the republican life Juan Wallparrimachi stood out. During much of the 19th century, the historian Gabriel René Moreno is the main point of reference for Bolivian letters.

The first Bolivian literary works appear in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with authors such as Nataniel Aguirre, Ricardo Jaimes Freyre, Alcides Arguedas, Franz Tamayo, Gregorio Reynolds, Jaime Mendoza and Armando Chirveches. During the first half of the 20th century, Adela Zamudio, Demetrio Canelas, Abel Alarcón, Tristán Marof, Enrique Finot and Javier del Granado stand out.

During the second half of the 20th century nationalist literary works were emphasized, with writers such as Augusto Céspedes, Carlos Medinaceli, Antonio Díaz Villamil, Óscar Alfaro, Raúl Botelho Gosálvez, Joaquín Aguirre Lavayén, among others. On the other hand, writers who mark a new way of making universal literature in Bolivia are Jaime Saenz, Óscar Cerruto, Julio de la Vega, Jesús Urzagasti, Jesús Lara, Raúl Otero Reiche, Adolfo Costa Du Rels, Renato Prada Oropeza, Eduardo Miter, Pedro Shimose, Néstor Taboada Terán, Gastón Suárez, among others.

Within the contemporary literary scene, writers of different genres stand out, many of them driven by the National Novel Prize created in 1998. Gonzalo Lema, Edmundo Paz Soldán, Wolfango Montes, Cé Mendizábal, Ramón Rocha Monroy, Homero Carvalho, Juan de Recacoechea, Víctor Montoya, Adolfo Cárdenas, Giovanna Rivero, Wilmer Urrelo, Rodrigo Hasbún, Víctor Hugo Viscarra, Claudio Ferrufino-Coqueugniot, Sebastián Antezana are the main references.

Adela Zamudio, one of the main figures of Bolivian literature.


In Bolivia you can find around 35,000 archaeological sites. Many of the most conserved, for climatic reasons (deserts and very dry areas) or by the type of materials used (stone), are found in the Andes, belonging to pre-Inca and Inca cultures. However, in the eastern tropical sector of the country (2/3 of the territory of Bolivia) there are countless archaeological sites, with cave paintings, remains of ceramics and even the vestiges of huge pre-Hispanic hydraulic works in the plains of  Moxos and  Baures .

The most important archaeological zone of the country is the  Ruins of Tiwanaku , in which is the  Puerta del Sol , with its monuments of astronomical observation   and its cultivation techniques  , which denote an advanced degree of knowledge, not only of its  environment  but of the laws of the  universe .

Gate of  the Kalasasaya  Temple and Semisubterranean Temple

The Bolivian tropical Orient was the center of an important pre-Columbian civilization, known as the  Hydraulic Culture of the Hills . From more or less 4000 years a. C. (probably before: the current data is based on dated ceramics) until the  13th century dC, the region was the settlement of important human groups organized in pre-state societies (in some cases very centralized), defined as cacicazgos, local potentates. The system was based, environmentally and economically, on the use of specific environmental characteristics (use of aquatic plants as fertilizers and gigantic fishing systems) and on the construction of large hydraulic works that allowed the connection between the various human nuclei in any station, the crops also in the time of floods (for this reason the creation of high cultivation fields visible even today from the air), of embankments, dikes, canals and lagoons with road and fishing functions.

Cal Orko , Paleontological Deposit

with the  largest dinosaur footprint deposit  in the world on the outskirts of the city of Sucre.

Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, the region was already in full decline for nearly three centuries. In any case, it remains as one of the centers of origin and propagation of many agricultural products of worldwide diffusion:  tobacco , peanut or  peanut ,  cotton , cassava ( Manihot esculenta ), sweet potato ( Ipomoea batatas ).

Another area of importance, World Heritage of  Unesco , is the ceremonial center of  Samaipata , also known as Fort, the largest land petroglyph built by Amazonian populations in ancient times. The center was occupied apparently a few years before the Spanish conquest by an Inca outpost that has left superimposed on the decorations of the Amazonian cultures, some of the typical Inca motifs. In the surroundings, more than 50 buildings have been discovered in an area of ​​30 to 40 hectares.

Also in the country are pre-Hispanic roads, cave paintings and the well-known dinosaur footprints of  Toro Toro . Many of these archaeological sites -some of ancient antiquity- have been declared a  World Heritage Site  by  Unesco .


Cuñapé, cassava starch bread mixed with cheese.

Bolivian cuisine has many common elements with the gastronomy of neighboring countries, especially the consumption of products typically considered regional. However, due to the variety of climatic zones, Bolivian cuisine is very rich and differentiated according to the culinary tradition of each region.

Bolivian gastronomy has deep ethnic, European and Arab roots, and transformed by miscegenation and the different historical moments that the country has experienced, Bolivian cuisine has added dishes, different mixtures and preparations to a long list covering all varieties of Bolivian food.

In the dishes of the Bolivian altiplano area there are many starches and carbohydrates, such as potato or potato, an ingredient that usually accompanies most dishes, especially dehydrated potatoes called chuño or ch’uñu, the chairo also stands out , a lamb or sheep broth with potatoes, chuño and vegetables. The paceño dish has the particularity of not having meat, it consists of a portion of cooked beans, a slice of fried creole cheese, a potato with cooked skin, a cooked corn and abundant sauce called llajwa. 

Oruro, the capital of Bolivian folklore, has a variety of little-known dishes such as: thimpu, beef consommé, followed by a main dish with meat (consommé) accompanied by rice, potato, chuño, sometimes vegetables and a sauce of chili and onion; the jolke, a soup of cow kidney and boiled potato; a typical dish called intendente, abundant dish with various meats and offal of lamb, accompanied with rice and other carbohydrates; the roasted face, a particular dish that cooks the head of seasoned lamb (sometimes cow) in the oven, without removing the fur or leather of the animal, although they do not eat the latter; charquekan orureño or fried dehydrated llama meat accompanied with mote, potato, boiled egg, cheese and llajwa.

In the Bolivian sub-Andean valleys a great variety of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes are produced. However, the most important product is corn, of which there are many varieties, such as kulli or purple corn, ch’uspillu or willkaparu (Tupiza, Tarija, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca). Among the typical dishes of the central valleys (Cochabamba), sajta is counted, the chicken served in a hot pepper sauce; the pacumutu, beef fillets; the salteña, the sillp’anchu, meat macerated with egg on top; the male mince, minced meat with onions, the false rabbit, the breast-lock, the anticuchos and the meat empanadas. Among the typical dishes of the provinces in the department of Cochabamba is the uchuku (chili soup accompanied by potato filling with goat cheese, rice, egg, chuño, chicken and duck meat, potato, beef tongue and fried “chilijchi”); dish of the Aiquile region.

The traditional dish of the city of Tarija is the same saice that is prepared with ground beef, floury potato, peas and is accompanied with rice, noodles and chuño overflowing with cheese and egg, also served with tomato salad , lettuce and onion. Another dish that is attributed to the city is the famous Salta, as an urban story tells.

The traditional cuisine of the city of Cotagaita is varied and has the following dishes: the k’asa uchu, tamales, humintas, patasq’a, stew of palqui, spicy kid, grilled kid, goat or lamb to the cross, tortillas Made with goat milk, corn flour and salt, you also have goat cheese.

The qaras a la brasa is a typical dish of the region of Los Valles, in an area near the departments of Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca, more properly in the province of Vallegrande, located in the department of Santa Cruz. It contains mote, potatoes, pork chops, and the pork roast that is cooked over the live coals, it is a delicious dish, especially the preparation of the meat and the roast. The asadito colorado is another typical dish of the province of Vallegrande; It consists of the following: it is made of pork, prepared with condiments, especially a red dye for which it bears the name, it is cooked in the same lard that drains from the meat. It is accompanied with cooked potatoes, chili, sometimes bread, if desired.

In the lowlands or plains, cassava replaces potatoes and the use of vegetables is more frequent. It produces sugar, bananas, almonds, tropical fruits, soybeans and beef. The main course of the plains is locro, a rice soup with charque (ch’arki) or chicken.

The dishes are made on the basis of corn, such as the locro of white corn, the tamales made with a base of corn stuffed with a sautéed butter and onion, hot pepper and paprika minced meat, and the huminta in chala, made with corn (grated corn) grated, sugar and cinnamon, with a sauce of tomatoes, peppers and paprika, also wrapped in chalas (corn husks) and boiled like tamales.

The chipilo, traditional of the department of Beni. It is green banana cut into very thin slices and fried in oil. Its flavor resembles a salty biscuit.

In the eastern food stands out the covered soup that is a typical plate of the plains to the northeast of the country that basically consists of three layers: one of rice and another one of a preparation of meat with egg and banana with some olives more or less like a noodle cake

In this extremely humid part of the country, confectionery is preserved in a very ingenious way: It is left in the oven on a low heat until it dehydrates and hardens. To consume it, it is soaked in the coffee or in the hot drink with which it is accompanied.

In the Bolivian east, tujuré is consumed with milk, made with corn, bleach and milk, hot or cold.

Among the Bolivian desserts, sweet pastries, goat cheese (Tupiza, Cotagaita and Tarija) and lacayote candy stand out. Typical beverages are chicha (Tupiza, Tarija, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba), yerba mate, mate, api and mate de coca, as well as alcoholic beverages such as singani, the country’s national liquor, wines, chicha, hospeda (in Tarija, Tupiza, Cotagaita), etc.