General tourist information about Bolivia, including all the useful things to know before leaving for a trip or vacation in this state of South America.
Bolivia in a nutshell
- Capital: Sucre
- Area in sq km: 1,098,581
- Population: 10,426,154 (2010)
- Religion: 88% Catholics, 9% Protestants, the remainder refers to pre-Hispanic sects and ancestral religious rituals.
Where is it
South America landlocked state, Bolivia borders Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, Chile and Peru to the west.
Its territory consists of two large areas divided by the Eastern Andean Cordillera, to the west of which are the Plateau and the Western Cordillera, while to the east lies a large alluvial plain, constituted to the north by the Amazon basin, to the east by immense grasslands or “pampas” (Los Llanos de Moxos and Llanos de Chiquitos) and to the south-east from the Chaco region, a wild plain covered by low shrubs.
The Amazon basin boasts a lush tropical forest.
The pampas of Los Llanos de Moxos are characterized by savannah and forest with large areas seasonally flooded by the spillage of rivers.
The savannah of the Llanos de Chiquitos is covered by the centuries-old Chiquitano forest, a part of which has been deforested and used for cultivation and grazing.
In the western part of the country, the Andean area stands out for the peaks that exceed 6,000 meters above sea level, including the highest peak in Bolivia, the Sajama volcano (6,542 m), and mountains characterized by the presence of majestic glaciers such as Nevado Illampù (6,421 m) and Nevado Illimani (6,402 m).
Most of Bolivia's rivers are tributaries of the Amazon River and to a lesser extent of the Rio della Plata.
In the northern part of the country, the Mamoré joins the Beni (one of the most important rivers for navigability) and forms Madeira, which was born in Bolivia and then entered Brazil, and is one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River.
In the southern part of Bolivia the main stream is the Pilcomayo which descends to Paraná via Paraguay and then flows into the Rio della Plata.
To the west, between Bolivia and Peru, there is Lake Titicaca at 3,812 meters a.s.l., from its southern part the Desaguadero river is born which connects it to Lake Poopó, collecting along its path many tributaries from the Andes.Recommended readings
- Bolivia: general information
- La Paz (Bolivia): what to see
Bolivia is located in the southern hemisphere, winter lasts from May to October (dry season) while summer from November to April (rainy season).
The country is characterized by strong climatic differences, ranging from the dryness of the Andean highlands to the frequent rainfall in the east of the eastern Cordillera.
The plateau has a warm climate mitigated by altitude, with very low night temperatures in the Andes.
The lowlands of the Beni and Mormoré rivers, and the eastern side of the Eastern Cordillera are characterized by an equatorial climate, very hot and humid, with abundant rainfall that decreases going south.
The Bolivian population is made up of Quechua 30%, Aymara 25%, Mestizos 30% and Europeans 15% (mostly of Spanish origin).
In Bolivia the time zone is 5 hours behind Italy and 6 hours behind when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy.
The official languages of Bolivia are Aymará, Quechua and Spanish.
The Bolivian economy is very poor although the country can count on abundant natural resources, on a large variety of natural ecosystems and on a low population density.
Bolivia is rich in minerals, oil, gas and forests, but the livelihood of the population comes largely from agricultural activity.
Considering that most of the lands are in the hands of foreign companies and landowners, many families are forced to go to the outskirts of major cities and often live in conditions of hardship.
When to go
The best time to visit Bolivia is from June to October during the dry season which coincides with the southern winter.
To enter Bolivia, Italian citizens need a passport with a residual validity of at least six months from the date of entry into the country.
An entry visa is not necessary as a tourist card is issued upon arrival which allows a stay of 90 days.
- The international code to call from Italy to Bolivia is: 00591
- The international prefix for calling from Bolivia to Italy is: 0039
As for the use of the mobile phone in roaming, in Bolivia the GSM 850/1900 system works, usable with trial band mobile phones, not compatible with dual band mobile phones that are used in Italy and Europe.
To call via the internet, in the big cities there are cheap phone centers, but the connection is often not the best.
The electric current in Bolivia is 220 V 50Hz. In La Paz and Viacha the voltage is 115V. The plugs are of type A (2-pole USA) and C (2-pole European). It is advisable to have a power adapter and sockets.
Money and credit card
Bolivia's official currency is the Bolivian. ATM withdrawals can be made at banks in larger cities. The main credit cards can be used in the major centers.
How to get
Bolivia's international airports are located in La Paz and Santa Cruz, where the flag carrier AeroSur operates, which makes some direct connections from Madrid to Santa Cruz.
Since there are no direct flights from Italy to reach Bolivia, you can stop in a neighboring country connected to it with daily flights operated by US or South American airlines.
Main flights available from Italy to destinations in a neighboring country from which to reach Bolivia:
- Colombia (Bogota), with Air France, Continental Airlines and Iberia
- Venezuela (Caracas), with Lufthansa, Alitalia and TAP Air Portugal
- Peru (Lima), with Iberia, Continental Airlines or KLM
- Florida (Miami), with Iberia or Alitalia
- Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), with Air France, TAP Air Portugal or Iberia
- Brazil (São Paulo), with Air France, Alitalia and TAP Air Portugal
- Chile (Santiago), with Iberia, Air France or TAM Linhas Aereas.
To enter Bolivia anyone coming from a country at risk of yellow fever transmission must be in possession of the relative vaccination certificate.
Vaccination against yellow fever is however recommended for those who visit the risk areas of the Beni and Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and the sub-tropical areas of the province of La Paz, excluding the cities of La Paz and Sucre .
Malaria risk exists all year below 2500 meters in the following departments: Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija.
There is no risk in the city of La Paz. Other recommended vaccinations are against hepatitis A and B, antitifica and tetanus.
It is also advisable to follow some hygienic measures, drink only bottled water without adding ice, eat only cooked meats and vegetables, fruit only if peeled personally.
Before departure, it is recommended to take out health insurance that covers medical costs and those for a possible repatriation.