Bolivia is a beautiful, geographically diverse, multiethnic, and democratic country in the heart of South America. It is surrounded by Brazil to the northeast, Peru to the northwest, Chile to the southwest, Argentina and Paraguay to the south. It shares with Peru control of Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca), the world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805m).
Sometimes referred to as the Tibet of the Americas, Bolivia is one of the most "remote" countries in the western hemisphere; except for the navigable Paraguay River stretching to the distant Atlantic, Bolivia and Paraguay are the only two landlocked nations in the Americas. It is also the most indigenous country in the Americas, with 60% of its population being of pure Native American ancestry.
Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon Bolivar, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much
The current President is Evo Morales who won majority in a 2005 election and inaugurated at the historical Tiwanaku archaeological site. Morales and his party, the Movement for Socialism, were re-elected in 2009, with another majority. There are often large protests in Bolivia considering issues like environmental protection, logging, hydrocarbon extraction, auto imports, mining, construction of highways, as well as other issues. These protests often cause the shutdown of streets in La Paz, specifically the area surrounding the Plaza Murillo, and the creation of blockades along major inter-city travel routes. If travelling between cities by bus it can be common for the trip to be stalled by several hours due to these protests.
Bolivia's climate varies drastically with altitude and from one climatic zone to another. It ranges from humid and tropical to cold and semiarid. In most parts of the country winters are dry and summers are somewhat wet. Despite its tropical latitude, the altitude of cities like La Paz keeps things cool, and warm clothing is advised year-round. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier.
Transportation strikes (bloqueos) are a common occurrence in Bolivia, so try to keep tuned to local news. Strikes often affect local taxis as well as long-distance buses; airlines are generally unaffected. Do not try to go around or through blockades (usually of stones, burning tires, or lumber). Strikers may throw rocks at your vehicle if you try to pass the blockade. Violence has sometimes been reported. Many strikes only last a day or two.
Bolivia has 37 official languages -of which Spanish (often called Castellano), Quechua, and Aymara are the main ones. In rural areas, many people do not speak Spanish. Nevertheless, you should be able to get by with some basic Castellano. Bolivia is one of the best places in which to learn or practice your Spanish because of their very clean, deliberate accent. There are many options for studying Spanish in Bolivia, and they are usually very good (often, the program includes a very good homestaycomponent).
- The Death Road (North Yungas Road including the old section): from La Cumbre to Coroico. A mountainbike tour of 64km where you'll be able to see the diversity of Bolivia. Leave from La Cumbre at 5000mts, in a cold and windy environment, and get to Coroico, in a wet and tropical environment. You can take an organized tour with one of the companies (i.e. Downhill Madness) from La Paz or ride it on your own bike. If you ride on your own, be very careful (ride down in-line one after another, keep safe distance from the rider in front of you, slow down before the turns), use a good mountain bike (at least with front shock absorber), helmet. If you take the tour, you'll get the equipment, instructions and guiding, but you probably won't be allowed to stop to take pictures wherever you want.
- Explore the Provinces: Bolivia is a place to explore; it is mostly still untouched. The people are friendly in the countryside. There are hundreds of off the map, mostly out-of-the-guide places to go in Bolivia, and far more exciting than what the tour agencies and guide books offer. In the La Paz department for example you can easily catch transport to places like Pelechuco, the east side of Lake Titicaca, Achacachi, Isla del Sol, or Quime... not to mention scores of other villages and small towns. The free govt. tour agencies at the Plaza Estudiantes or Prado can help you find transport anywhere and tell you about it.
Offering a favorable exchange for Western tourists, lodging can be found at very reasonable prices throughout the country, from hostels to luxury hotels. One traveller to Bolivia reports that during a 4 week trip in 2012 they stayed mainly in hostels with the average rate per night c. USD6.50. The most basic accomodation facilities are Alojamientos (at BOB20/25 per night).
Apply common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when selecting a travel guide and never accept medication from unverifiable sources. At night try to use "radio taxis" as fake cabs are common and robbings and even rapes do occur. It is a good idea to register with the consulate of your country of residence upon entry into the country. And it is also helpful learn at least basic Spanish to keep yourself a little safe.
Beware of a scam involving 'non-uniformed' policemen asking for your passport and permit; official policemen will always be satisfied with a copy of your passport and a copy of your Bolivian visa on your passport. In the event that the con-artists requesting this get aggressive do not hesitate to scream, yell, or do something to attract the attention of passers by. This will usually be enough to scare them away.
There is a number of adventure activities to do when in Bolivia. Paragliding can be done in both Cochabamba and La Paz. There is also the possibility of doing some mountain climbing, mountaineering and trekking. It is recommended when participating in these type of activities to use companies with a known safety record. Andesxtremo has offices both in Cochabamba and La Paz. In Cochabamba you can find them at calle la paz # 138 entre ayacucho y junin Phone: 4523392, 70721520, 60365816. In La Paz Francisco Bedregal 2962, entre Victor Sanjinés y Pedro Guerra, Nuestra Señora de La Paz Phone:70193392. Other adventure activities that can be done while in Bolivia include white water rafting in and around el Chapare three hours from the city of Cochabamba. If you find yourself in Santa Cruz you can also go skydiving, there is only one company that does this and they can be found at El Trompillo airport in Santa Cruz.
source : http://wikitravel.org/en/Bolivia