- Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest major lake- Sucre, the constitutional capital - La Paz, the old colonial capital of Bolivia- Uyuni desert
Brazil forms its eastern border; its other neighbors are Peru and Chile in the west and Argentina and Paraguay in the south. The western part, enclosed by two chains of the Andes, is a great plateau—the Altiplano, with an average altitude of 12,000 ft (3,658 m). Almost half the population lives on the plateau, which contains Oruro, Potosí, and La Paz. La Paz is the highest administrative capital city in the world. The Oriente, a lowland region ranging from rain forests to grasslands, comprises the northern and eastern two-thirds of the country. Lake Titicaca, is the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world.
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. Some 50% of the population have an indigenous language as their mother tongue.
Ascending to a town like La Paz will mean rugging up all year round, with maximum temperatures only reaching 20°C (68°F). Visit the Bolivian lowlands, however, and you'll be peeling off the layers, with average monthly highs centring around 30°C (86°F). In both cases, the rain is generally less in the middle months, especially July. November to March at low altitudes are very wet seasons.
Generally, in order to enjoy Bolivian cuisine, it is wise to spend the first two days eating lightly and avoiding alcoholic beverages, at least in La Paz. Once the body has become acclimated to the altitude, one can have a great variety of dishes, especially those featuring meats and poultry. If what you are looking for is local dishes, then "empanadas salteсas" (a type of meat pie), the "plato paceсo" and a big variety of tuberous vegetables and sauces are just a sampling of true Bolivian cuisine. Occasionally, one might find llama, alpaca and vicuсa and lamb dishes listed. In the lake and river regions, fish dishes are popular. Be sure to try the local beverages, "coca mate" and "chicha" (maize liquor). Bolivia is also known for its fantastic frog legs from Lake Titicaca; these are even exported to France.
The Andean region probably has been inhabited for some 20,000 years. Having started in the second century B.C., the Tiwanakan culture developed at the southern end of Lake Titicaca. This culture, centered around and named for the great city of Tiwanaku, developed advanced architectural and agricultural techniques, which can nowaday still be discovered. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called "Upper Peru" or "Charcas". As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew. Independence was proclaimed in 1809, but 16 years of struggle followed before the establishment of the republic, named for Simon Bolivar, on August 6, 1825.
An estimated 95% of Bolivians are Roman Catholic. The remaining 5% are Protestant. Religion was traditionally the domain of women in Bolivian society.
Since pre-Columbian times, Bolivia had a great cultural and intellectual life. Architecture, ceramics, temples and other symbols scattered throughout the country give testimony to a culture with an advanced social organization. Many Bolivian artists have been inspired by indigenous artwork. The Aimara people's culture eventually fused with the Incas' and later, with that of the Spaniards. The result: a rich culture quite varied in the areas of sculpture, painting, literature and architecture. The culture maintains the best of the colonial period; at the beginning of this century it decided to recuperate and incorporate the art of its indigenous predecessors.
Dance and music are the most popular cultural expressions found in Bolivia. Through them, the people feel free and happy, especially during carnival. The mixture of indigenous and Spanish cultures gave birth to dances in honor of Our Lady of Copacabana, called El Gran Sicuri.In the Oruro carnival, the diabladas, or devil-dancers, are known for their masks and costumes. The dancers are generally accompanied by guitar, harp, flute, or a small guitar called a charango.Bolivian celebrations bring together folklore and national traditions.
The thick forests of Bolivia are untouched and unspoiled and they are one of the best places to encounter South American wildlife. Alpacas, llamas and alpacas are domesticated and can be found everywhere in Bolivia. Other animals who can be found in the southwestern Andes are foxes, hue mules and wolves. One third of bird species in the world can be found in Bolivia. Flamingos, Rheas, condors, vultures are commonly seen on the highlands and plains of the Altiplano. Some animals who live in the remote valleys of the Cordillera include pumas, jaguar, javeli, tapirs and giant ant-eaters. There is also a huge variety of lizards, parrots, monkeys, snakes, butterflies, amphibians, fish and bugs. Other creatures include dolphins, otters, armadillos and sloths.
The Bolivian Boliviano is the national currency of Bolivia. 1 USD is worth 6.96 Bolivian Boliviano (February 2015).