Facts about Bolivia

Bolivia, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America its Capital City is Sucre and La Paz. It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru. One-third of the country is the Andean mountain range. With these interesting facts about Bolivia, let’s learn about its culture, history, economy, people, industries, tourism, tradition, religion and more.

  • Bolivia named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR
  • Bolivia is a landlocked South American country
  • The world’s largest butterfly sanctuary, which spans 24 hectares, is in Bolivia. It is located 20 minutes from downtown Santa Cruz, and is open 365 days a year.
    A variety of amenities are available inside the sanctuary for the visiting guests. There are restaurants, bars, tent-camping facilities, bungalows, a resort hotel, picnic and barbeque areas, a huge are’s playground, biolabs and much more. You can spend weeks — not just days — inside the sanctuary without running out of things to see.
  • The North Yungas Road, which is also known as the Road of Fate or Death Road, is in Bolivia. It is 56 kilometers long, and as per an estimate, nearly 200-300 people died from falling off the road every year until recent improvements were made to the road to avoid casualties. The road also has cross markings on the places where vehicles have fallen in the past to alert passing drivers.
  • Bolivia has the world’s largest salt flat, which covers 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi) of area and is 3,656 meters above sea level. It contains 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves.
  • Madidi National Park, with an area of 18,958 square kilometers, is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world. Scientists have identified more than 1,000 varieties of butterflies living in the park.
  • Tiwanaku, located in Bolivia, is among South America’s most intriguing archeological sites.
  • Bolivia also has Lake Titicaca, which is the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,507 feet above sea level. It has a surface area of 8,300 square kilometers. It is shared between Bolivia and Peru.
  • San Pedro prison in Bolivia is another tourist attraction. Unlike other prisons around the world, this special prison permits its inmates to live with their families, work, earn and even buy or rent their accommodations.
  • A hotel in Bolivia­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­–The Hotel Luna Salad–is built entirely from salt blocks including the interior and the furniture.
  • For those who have a special interest in dinosaurs, it will be interesting to know that there are 5055 footprints from at least 8 different species of dinosaurs in Bolivia on Cal Orko, an imposing limestone slab 1.5 km long and more than 100 meters high. The marks are 68 million years old. And they are on a vertical wall.
  • During the 18th century, Bolivia was known as Upper Peru. It got its name from Simon Bolivar, the military and political leader.
  • Bolivia became independent on August 6, 1825 (from Spain).
  • An estimated eight million Andean Indians died because of the mining of Cerro Rico (Rich Hill). The mine is 4,860 meters above sea level. Each day, approximately 3,000 tons of minerals are brought out of it by around 15,000 miners. The mine has provided these resources for the past 460 years.
  • Bolivia is home to the highest administrative capital city in the world, La Paz. It is roughly 11,975 ft above sea level. It has one airport, and has a population of 1.816 million. However, the official capital city of Bolivia is Sucre. Thus, it is one of the few countries in the world with more than one capital cities.
  • Bolivians become eligible to vote at the age of 18 if they are married, and at 21 if they are single.
  • Interestingly, there are 37 official languages in Bolivia.
  • Bolivia contributes 70% of all Brazil nuts produced worldwide.
  • Bolivia gets over 8000 mm of rain, on average, per year, which makes it one of the wettest countries in the world.
  • The dolphins in the Amazon in Bolivia are pink.
  • More than 40% of all animal and plant life on planet Earth is found in Bolivia in its tropical rainforests and Pantanal Wetlands.
  • Guinea pig is a delicacy in Bolivia. It is usually served whole, with the legs and head pointing up.
  • Soccer: is the main sport in Bolivia. It is also its national sport. Below are some famous people from Bolivia from various categories and fields of work.

    Sports: Maria Fernanda Álvarez (tennis), Geovana Irusta (running), Bernardo Guarachi (mountain climbing), Paulo Víctor Aguilera (BMX racing), Marco Antonio Etcheverry (soccer), Mariel Diamond and Carola Nostas (bodybuilding) are some famous athletes from Bolivia.

    Acting: Reynaldo Pacheco, Raquel Welch, Jorge Ortiz, Arturo Lora, David Mondacca, David Santalla, Eduardo Hoffmann, Milton Córtez, Carla Ortiz, Peter Travesí and Marcos Malavia are some famous actors from Bolivia.

    Science: Noel Kempff Mercado, José Steinbach, Martín Cárdenas and Iván Guzmán de Rojas are some famous scientists from Bolivia.

    Literature: Edmundo Paz Soldán, Eduardo Scott-Moreno, Giovanna Rivero, Adolfo Costa du Rels, Antonio Díaz Villamil, Adela Zamudio, Ricardo Jaimes Freyre, Maria Josefa Mujia, Alcides Arguedas, Javier del Granado, Nataniel Aguirre, Tomás O’Connor d’Arlach, Yolanda Bedregal, Jaime Saenz and Juan de Recacoechea are some of the prolific writers from Bolivia.

  • Bolivia is the 88th-largest export economy in the world and the 93rd-most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI).
  • The economy of Bolivia is the 95th-largest in the world in nominal terms, and the 87th-largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.
  • As per World Bank’s report, nearly 800,000 tourists visited Bolivia each year in the last few years. And this count is rising every year.
  • Only about 30% of all roads in Bolivia are paved.
  • There are 36 indigenous cultures in Bolivia. Each has its own customs and languages. The Quechua are the largest culture of Bolivia, while the Aymara are the second largest in the region. For further in-depth information regarding Bolivian cultures, visit this link.
  • Families are closely knit in Bolivia. In rural regions, multiple generations live in a single house together. The family plays a significant role in social life and structure. Men are predominantly the breadwinners, while women look after the household work.
  • A husband’s first surname is added to his wife’s name after the marriage with the connector “de”. So if Jennifer Maria Lopez marries Manuel Sebastien Costa, she would be called Jennifer Maria de Costa.
  • Bolivians exchange gifts at several different occasions. If you want to gift someone in Bolivia when you visit their house, avoid yellow and purple flowers, as they have negative connotations.
  • Some phrases that you may find useful when travelling to Bolivia – Hello – Hola; Please – Por favor; Thank you – Gracias; Goodbye – Adiós; Yes – Si; No – No.
  • When a passenger boards a bus, it is customary to greet other passengers with “buen dia” or “buenas tardes”.
  • Do not be amazed if you find a driver’s son, daughter, wife or girlfriend in the front seats of Bolivia’s taxis. Also, travel, hotels and meals are very cheap in Bolivia.
  • Bolivians eat coca to combat the effects of altitude. As a result of the habit, you can see a bulge in their cheeks.
    Bolivians are also famous for drinking juice out of plastic bags.

Country Information