BOLIVIA - GENERAL INFORMATION
SBolivia is a country rich in biodiversity, counting on a wide variety of fauna and flora and landscapes that extend from the Andes to the Amazon. The Bolivian population is formed by 31 ethnic groups of different ethnical expressions. It also count on more than 1 340 touristic sites across the country, among them, we can encounter more than 300 archeological sites and 66 of the 112 ecosystems existing in the world. It is one of the 8 countries with the most diverse biodiversity in the world. It also count 31 protected areas, among them numerous national parks, reserves, biological stations and wildlife sanctuaries. We also find in this country a lot of beautiful colonial churches that made the UNESCO declare the following places as part of the World Heritage: Potosi (1987), Jesuit Missions (1990), Sucre (1991), Samaipata fort (1998), Tiwanaku (2000), Noel Kemff park (2000), Oruro Carnaval (2002) and the Kallawaya culture (2003).
Bolivia is the fifth greatest country in South America. It is located in the center of the continent, surrounded by Brazil, Paragay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Its territory includes part of the Andes, Altiplano, Amazon and the Gran Chaco.
The surface of Bolivie covers more than 1 million km2 (1 098 581 km2). It is a country rich in biodiversity, fauna and flora.
The country is divided in three regions:
The Altiplano is surrounded by the Andes, the best time of the year to do some tours is from April to December. During the day, the weather is hot and dry, with a maximum temperature of 20o C. During the night, the temperature can go down to 2o C.
In the valleys and yungas, the climate is warm almost all year long. The average altitude is 1 800 m.
The Amazon is where we encounter fertile plains and the jungles of the eastern plains.The best time to explore this part of the country is from May to October. Traveling through the mountains to the tropical valleys, the clima changes abruptly. During the day, the weather is hot and humid, going up to 25o C and during the night, it goes down to a fresher 10o C.
The Andean mountain range crosses the north part of the country to form 2 main ranges: The Occidental and the Oriental or Real. The best time to go is between the months of May and October. During the day, the weather is pretty hot, windy and dry with a maximum temperature of 15o C. However the weather gets really cold during the night, as it can reach 10 degrees below zero. In the high campsites, it can even get to a minimum of minus 25 degrees celcius.
Of course we have to mention the Salar de Uyuni, the greatest salt desert in the world and the fluvial system of the country which is formed by numerous lakes and basins, including the Titicaca lake which is on the border between Peru and Bolivia.
The capital of Bolivia is Sucre, however, the Government palace is situated in La Paz. The country in 9 departments: La Paz, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Potosi, Oruro, Tarija, Trinidad and Pando. Bolivia is a democratic republic. The president is elected each 5 years and is Head of State and Head of Government and he chooses his ministers. The parliament consists of 2 chambers: the Senate, composed by 27 seats and the Chamber of Deputies, formed by 130 seats. The actual president of the country is Evo Morales (2010- ).
Bolivia is the cradle of the Aymara civilization, which is a pre-Inca civilization. The remains of this civilization can be observed in some archeological sites such as Tiwanaku, Chiripa, Samaipata, Iscanwaya, etc.
The cities of Potosi and Sucre, part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO also show, through its historical monuments, the colonial heritage of the country.
Before the colonization of the country by the Spaniards, the territory of Bolivia was part of the Inca empire and was the greatest state of the pre-colonial times. The Spaniards conquered the area during the 16th century. During the colonial times, the region was called “High Peru” or “Charcas”. After gaining its independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the republic was declared and the country took the name Bolivia in honor of Simon Bolivar.
The money of Bolivia is called the boliviano. The main products exported by the country are the natural gas, soya, oil, zinc and tin. Bolivia is the second producer of natural gaz in South America after Venezuela. 40% of the importations of the country are coming from Brazil. The main industries of the country are agriculture, forestry and fisheries, as well as manufactured products such as textiles and clothings. Oil and metal refinery are also great parts of the economy.
The weather in Bolivia varies according to the different geographical areas. The altiplano is usually cold. In the cities such as La Paz, Oruro and Potosi, the temperature varies between 5 and 12o C in winter and between 8 ans 18 o C during summer.
In the valleys, the average temperature is 15 o C. In cities like Cochabamba, Sucre and Tarija, the weather is pleasant and varies between 6 ans 16 o C during winter and between 13 and 24 during summer.
In the plains and jungles, the weather is hot and humid due to abundant rain. In cities like Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Cobija, the temperature ranges between 12 and 24 o C in winter and between 30 and 40 during summer.
Bolivia is a country rich in traditional handcraft, objects carved in silver and wood, as well as textiles. You can find these items in markets, on the streets and in handcraft centers.
Working hours, holidays and festivities
The banks and the majority of the offices are open at 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The main holidays are: New Year (January 1rst), the carnivals (in February), Easter (April), Labour day (1rst of May), Independence day (August 6), the All Saint day (November 2) and Christmas (December 25).
Buses: There are some private buses which can be rented for a determined number of passengers, they are realizing trips in different parts of the country. There are also public transports and travelers buses with tilt beds, restrooms and confortable seats.
Train: The railroad passes by the towns of Oruro-Atocha-Tupiza and Villazon toward the fronteer with Argentina. Toward Brazil, it goes through the towns of Santa Cruz-San Jose de Chiquitos-Puerto Suarez.