Bolivia Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Bolivia

Language: Spanish and 36 native languages

Currency: Boliviano (BOB)

Calling Code: +59


Bolivia (Quechua: Buliwya, Aymara: Wuliwya, Guarani: Volívia), officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a sovereign country located in the central-western region of South America, politically it is constituted as a plurinational state, decentralized with autonomies. It is organized in nine departments. Its capital is Sucre, seat of the judicial organ; La Paz is the seat of the executive, legislative and electoral bodies, as well as being the political, cultural and financial epicenter of the country. The largest and most populated city is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, considered the economic engine of the country.

Bolivia has a population of about 10.1 million inhabitants according to the last census, of the year 2012. It borders to the north and to the east with Brazil, to the south with Paraguay and Argentina, and to the west with Chile and Peru, it does not have exit to the sea Its surface is the sixth largest in Latin America and includes different geographical areas such as the Andes mountain range, the Altiplano, the Amazon, the Llanos de Moxos and the Chaco, being one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.


Travel Destinations in Bolivia

Amboró National Park is locate in Santa Cruz Department in Bolivia. Amboró National Park covers an area of 4,425 km² (1,709 sq mi).

Carrasco National Park is located in Cochabamba Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 6,226 sq km.

Chulumani high in the Andes of Bolivia is famous for its deadly Road of the Death that claimed many lives.

Madidi National Park is mostly covered by dense rainforest, open savannah and Amazon river along with its many tributaries.

Noel Kempff National Park is located in Santa Cruz Department in Northeastern Bolivia. This national preserve covers an area of 15,234 sq km.

Rurrenabaque is a small town located on the banks of Beni river in Beni Department in Bolivia. The easiest way to get here is by plane.

Sajama National Park is located in Oruro Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 1,002 sq km.

Ancient ruins of pre Colombian city of Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku) are located in La Paz Department in Bolivia. First people came here around 1700 BC.

Torotoro National Park is located 140 km south of Cochabamba in Northern Potosí Department in Bolivia. This national park covers an area of 165 sq km.

Tunari National Park is located in the western part of Cochabamba Department in Bolivia. This national reserve covers an area of 3,090 sq km.



The name of the country Bolivia (Spanish Bolivia) was established in the first decades of its independence. At the General Assembly of Deputies of the Provinces of Upper Peru (Spanish)rus. On August 6, 1825, the independence of Upper Peru (Spanish: Alto Perú) was proclaimed; using the names Upper Peru and the State of Upper Peru (Spanish: Estado del Alto Perú). Proposing the name of the country, Congressman Manuel Martin Cruz stated: "If Rome came from Romulus, then Bolivia will come from Bolivar" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). After the General Constituent Congress (Spanish: Congreso General Constituyente) began work on May 25, 1826, the name Republic of Boliviana (Spanish: República Boliviana), or Bolivia, began to be used. Only from October 1, 1868, the Republic of Bolivia (Spanish República de Bolivia) became the official name of the country.

On February 7, 2009, after the current Constitution came into force, the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Spanish: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, Quechua Buliwya Achka nasyunkunap Mama llaqta, Aim. Wuliwya Suyu, Guar. Tetã Volívia) became the official name of the country in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and strengthening the role of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia.



In the XIV century, the territory of modern Bolivia, inhabited by the Aymara, Quechua and others, was conquered by the state of the Incas.

1532-1538 - the territory of modern Bolivia was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro.
1542-1776 - as part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru under the name Upper Peru. The territory of Bolivia is divided among the Spanish landowners. The Indians are included in the encomienda system.
XVI-XVII centuries - the Bolivian city of Potosi, as part of the Royal Audience of Charcas, was one of the largest cities in terms of population (160,000 inhabitants) of the Old and New Worlds and the world's largest industrial center (during the development of silver mines).
1776-1810 - part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata.
1825 Upper Peru proclaims its independence. The country is renamed Bolivia, named after Simon Bolivar.
1836-1839 - Confederation of Peru and Bolivia.
1879-1883 - The Second Pacific War with Chile, ended in defeat and the loss of access to the Pacific Ocean and control over saltpeter deposits in the Atacama Desert.
1903 - On November 17, an agreement was signed with Brazil on the transfer to it of the territory, long known as the state of Acre.
1932-1935 - unsuccessful Chaco war with Paraguay for the Chaco Boreal oil fields.
1952 - The Bolivian Revolution marked the beginning of the nationalization of the tin industry by the government of Victor Paz Estenssoro.
1964 - military coup led by General René Barrientos Ortuño. Later in 1966, René Barrientos Ortuño was constitutionally elected president.
1966-1967 - Ernesto Che Guevara, with a group of partisans, is trying to organize an insurgency in order to overthrow the ruling regime. In October 1967, with the active assistance of the US CIA, the government army destroys Che Guevara's detachment.
1969 - President René Barrientos Ortuño dies in a plane crash. On September 26, as a result of a military coup, General Alfredo Ovando Candia comes to power.
1970 - On October 7, as a result of a military coup, left-wing officers led by General Juan José Torres come to power.
1971 - On August 21, a military coup takes place (the 187th in a row since 1825), led by Colonel Hugo Banzer Suarez.
1978 - the resignation of Hugo Banser. The new president, Juan Pereda Asbun, is overthrown on November 24 by the constitutionalist military, led by General David Padilla Arancibia. He will schedule a general election for 1979.
1979 - in the July 1 general election, none of the candidates received the required number of votes. On August 8, the military transfers power to interim President Walter Guevara. On November 1, Colonel Alberto Natush seizes power, but after meeting general resistance, he renounces power. On November 17, for the first time in the history of the country, a woman becomes the new president - Lydia Geiler Tejada.
1980 - Left-wing candidate Hernán Siles Suaso wins the June 29 general election. On July 17, the army makes a coup, General Luis Garcia Mesa comes to power. The ultra-right military-criminal regime of garciamesism is being established.
1981 - On August 4, the dictatorship of Garcia Mesa is overthrown as a result of a conflict in the armed forces. General Celso Torrelio becomes president.
1982 - On July 19, in the face of a worsening crisis, President Celso Torrelio transfers power to General Guido Vildoso. He gathers the National Congress elected in 1980 and on October 10 transfers the presidency to Hernan Siles Suazo.
1985 - in the elections, the majority of the population voted for the former dictator Hugo Banser, but the majority of the deputies of the National Congress (in the case when none of the candidates won more than 50% of the votes, the issue of the presidency was decided by the National Congress) voted for the neo-liberal Victor Paz Estenssoro, who came second, who became the president of the country for the 4th time.
1997 - Hugo Banser is elected president of the country.
1999 - The water system is privatized (World Bank and Netherlands Company), water prices are skyrocketed, rainwater harvesting is banned, and a series of mass protests and street riots occur.
2003 - the so-called "Gas War", a series of mass protests and street riots, the main demand of the participants is the nationalization of the gas industry and the transfer of control over its development to the state.
On June 10, 2005, Chief Justice Eduardo Rodriguez became interim head of Bolivia, replacing Carlos Mesa, who resigned on June 5. According to Bolivian laws, in the event of early resignation of the president, his powers must pass to the head of the upper house of parliament, in case of his self-rejection, to the speaker of the lower house. Since both current politicians rejected the offer to take the post of head of the country, the power was taken by "man number three" on the list - the chairman of the Supreme Court. The reason for the resignation of Carlos Mesa was anti-government demonstrations, whose participants accused him of the collapse of the country's economy, and also put forward demands - the nationalization of the oil and gas industry and amendments to the country's constitution.

On December 18, 2005, presidential elections were held in which the left-wing radical candidate Evo Morales, who leads the Movement towards Socialism, won. Evo Morales received 53.74% of the vote, over 15% ahead of his closest rival, Jorge Quiroga. For the first time, an Indian was elected president of a country. The election of a president directly, rather than by the National Congress, occurred for the first time since 1978. At the same time, elections were held for 27 senators and 150 deputies to the national congress, the "Movement for Socialism" received a stable majority.

On October 14, 2008, at the request of the right-wing opposition, a referendum was held to recall the president from his post. Morales received the support of 67% of voters and remained in office.

Referendum on a new constitution
On January 29, 2009, the Central Electoral Commission of Bolivia, after counting 98.83% of the votes, announced that 61.67% of the country's citizens voted for the new constitution proposed by Evo Morales. According to it, the state secures control over key sectors of the economy. Gas reserves and other natural resources are proclaimed national treasures. The new constitution also abolishes the status of Catholicism as the official religion and greatly expands the rights of the country's indigenous inhabitants, the Indians. In addition to Spanish, the status of the state is given to the languages ​​​​of all the Indian peoples of the country. It also provides for the introduction of restrictions on the size of land holdings, the mandatory study of Indian languages, state control over key sectors of the economy. All stocks of natural resources will have to become a national treasure. According to the new constitution, national minority groups will enter the country's parliament. In addition, it is proposed to honor at the state level the goddess of agriculture and fertility of the ancient Indians - Pachamama. The decision to deprive Catholicism of the status of the state religion caused a sharply negative reaction from the Bolivian episcopate and conservative circles in the Vatican.

The new constitution abolished the ban on being elected twice in a row to the presidency.

Continuation of the reign of Evo Morales
2009 - On June 10, President Morales signed a decree according to which Bolivia received a new official name "Plurinational State of Bolivia".
2009 - On December 6, Evo Morales was re-elected president with 64.08% of the vote. The "Movement for Socialism" won over 2/3 of the seats in the National Congress.
On October 20, 2010, Bolivia and Peru entered into an agreement under which a small piece of coastal territory is leased to Bolivia for 99 years for the construction of a port. Thus, Bolivia, having lost access to the sea in 1883 as a result of the defeat in the war with Chile, after 127 years again received access to the sea.
2014 - On October 12, Evo Morales was re-elected president for the third time, receiving 61.36% of the vote. The "Movement for Socialism" again won over 2/3 of the seats in the National Congress.

Political situation during the reign of Evo Morales
During his campaign, Evo Morales (nicknamed El Evo) promised to nationalize the oil and gas industry, invalidate contracts for the development of oil and gas by foreign corporations (American ExxonMobil, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF, Brazilian Petrobras, French Total, British British Gas), abandon payment of the foreign debt and permit the cultivation of coca.

Evo Morales - a native of peasants, a representative of the Aymara, one of the largest Indian peoples in South America, a friend of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, built his election campaign on patriotic slogans, sharply criticizing "American imperialism and neoliberalism."

The political career of Evo Morales is closely connected with the peasant struggle. In 1997, as leader of the Bolivian Coca Producers' Association, he ran for Congress to defend peasants from coca-destroying authorities. In parliament, he showed himself to be an ardent anti-globalist, gradually turning to criticism of capitalism as such. Later, Evo Morales led the speeches of the peasants, for which he was deprived of a deputy mandate, but gained even more popularity.


Bolivia is now, along with Colombia and Peru, the main supplier of cocaine to the world market. In 2005, the production of this drug in Bolivia increased by another third. According to the UN, the area of ​​coca plantations in the country is more than 23,000 hectares. El Evo claims that coca, not like a drug, is harmless, and proposes to organize the production of soft drinks, chewing gum and coca-based soaps in Bolivia. The US administration is extremely concerned about such initiatives.

Morales expressed his attitude to this problem in an interview with the Russian channel Vesti:
Mr. President, explain one thing to me, please. Here in Russia, in your politics, many do not understand something. On the one hand, you yourself have just called drug trafficking the main internal enemy of Bolivia, and on your very first visit to Moscow you signed a convention with Russia on the joint fight against this evil. Previously, you had such an agreement with the United States. But you, as the leader of the coca growers' union, when you became president, the US ambassador was expelled from Bolivia, and the anti-drug agreement with the US was terminated. So what exactly is your political stance on coca?

“Firstly, coca leaves in their natural state are another agricultural plant: medicinal and edible. There is no harm to human health from it. Of course, a completely different matter is when cocaine is obtained from coca with the help of chemical reagents. But we don't defend cocaine, we fight it ourselves. And secondly, for the United States, the fight against drug trafficking is nothing more than a front. But in fact - geopolitics, a reason to ensure a presence. And not just his ambassador, but organizations like the CIA and the DEA. But even this department is actually engaged primarily in active political interference.

After the resignation of Evo Morales
On October 20, 2019, presidential and parliamentary elections were held. On November 10, 2019, Evo Morales resigned after mass demonstrations caused by accusations of electoral fraud.

The socialists are back in power
The general elections in Bolivia were held on October 18, 2020. At the same time, the president of the country, the vice president and all the seats in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies were elected. The election results replaced the controversial 2019 election results, which were annulled after a long political crisis. The victory in the presidential race was won by Luis Arce, a party member of the deposed previous president, Evo Morales.


State structure

Republic. The head of state and government is the president, who is elected by the people for one 5-year term. The president heads the government, approves the composition of the cabinet of ministers, and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The candidate who receives an absolute majority of votes (more than 50% of the votes) is considered elected. If the winner is not determined, Parliament, at a joint meeting of both chambers, elects a president from two candidates who receive a simple majority of votes.

As a result of the referendum in January 2009 on changing the constitution (the introduction of privileges for the Indians and the introduction of state control over the economy), the next presidential and parliamentary elections were held ahead of schedule, on December 6, 2009. Morales received the right to run for a second presidential term and won a landslide victory in the elections (over 60.01% of the vote).

Bicameral parliament - 36 senators and 130 deputies, elected for a 5-year term.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.

Political parties
As a result of the elections in October 2014:
Movement towards socialism - left (led by Morales), 25 senators, 88 deputies (received 61.36% of the votes).
National United Front - centre-left, 9 senators, 32 deputies (24.23%)
Christian Democratic Party - centrist, 2 senators, 10 deputies (9.04%)
Movement Without Fear - Centre-left, 0 deputies (2.71%)
Green Party - 0 deputies (2.69%)
In Bolivia, there are 6 more legal parties that are not represented in parliament.


Autonomy and separatism of regions

In 1995, the country adopted a law on decentralization, which gave the regions (departments) significant political and economic powers. After Morales came to power, the population of the so-called. "crescent" - 6 most developed regions of the north, south and east of the country (departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca), where 58% of the population lives and mainly 80% of the country's GDP is produced due to oil and gas production, expressed strong dissatisfaction with the new policy of the central authorities on nationalization and redistribution of income in favor of the poor mountainous Indian regions. In July and December 2006, municipal referendums and congresses of municipal councils were held in the southern and eastern regions, as a result of which a desire was announced to create a new state entity, the Nation of the Plains of Bolivia, to which the central authorities replied that they would not allow the collapse of the country by all means, including military. However, the contradictions only grew and resulted in a tough confrontation between the "left" central authorities and the "right" regional opposition, up to episodic acts of violence. In order to consolidate the unity of the country and the policy of redistribution of income, the central authorities changed the constitution in December 2007, followed by a constitutional crisis, which was planned to be resolved by holding a constitutional referendum, which, however, was postponed by the decision of the constitutional meeting due to the position of representatives of developed regions. In May and July 2008, despite acts of violence, regional referendums were held in the departments of the "Crescent Moon", in which the majority of voters voted for the broadest economic and political autonomy, bordering on separatism. The regional authorities announced a course towards the creation of a "sovereign New Republic of Bolivia" - a subject of international law with its own legislative and judicial power, government, police, tax system and budget, and the right to conclude international agreements. The central authorities declared the regional referendums unconstitutional and illegitimate and held a confidence referendum in August 2008, in which 60% of the voters supported the policies of Morales with a boycott of the majority of the population of the rebellious regions.


Administrative division

In territorial and administrative terms, Bolivia is divided into 9 departments, each of which, in turn, is divided into provinces. There are 98 separate municipalities in total. According to the new version of the Constitution, all 9 departments are autonomous entities.


Geographic data

The area of ​​Bolivia is 1,098,580 km². It ranks 27th in the list of countries by area after Ethiopia.

Bolivia has been landlocked since 1879, when it lost the coastal region of Antofagasta in the Pacific War with Chile. However, Bolivia has access to the Atlantic Ocean - along the Paraguay River, and on October 20, 2010, Bolivia and Peru entered into a lease agreement, according to which a small section of the coast is transferred to Bolivia for the construction of a port for 99 years. Thus, 127 years later, Bolivia again gained access to the Pacific Ocean.

On the territory of Bolivia there is a huge variety of ecological zones. The western highlands of the country are located in the Andes, including the Altiplano plateau. The eastern low plains include large areas of the Amazonian rainforest and the Chaco. The highest point in the country is the extinct volcano Sajama (6542 m), located in the department of Oruro. Lake Titicaca is located on the border of Bolivia and Peru. The world's largest salt marsh, Uyuni, is located in the southwestern part of the country, in the department of Potosi.

The largest cities in Bolivia are La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba.

Bolivia has land borders with five countries: Argentina - 832 kilometers, Brazil - 3423 kilometers, Chile - 860 kilometers, Paraguay - 750 kilometers, and Peru - 1075 kilometers.



Bolivia is an underdeveloped agrarian state. GDP per capita in 2010 - 4.8 thousand dollars (150th place in the world). Unemployment - 8.5% (in 2009), below the poverty level - 60% of the population (in 2006).

Bolivia has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela and is rich in other minerals, however, it remains the poorest state on the continent (according to the IMF, about 70% of the country's population is below the poverty line).

The accelerated increase in the minimum wage is worth noting, given that in previous decades (1990s and 2000s), the minimum wage for Bolivian workers was the lowest in South America, below $100 a month. As of 2017, the minimum wage in Bolivia is higher than in Russia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. Bolivia is now the leading country in Latin America to have raised its real minimum wage during this decade without high inflation. As of 2018, the minimum wage in Bolivia is Bs 2060 ($298.38).

Agriculture (11% of GDP, 40% of employees) - soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; logging.

Animal husbandry: cattle, sheep breeding.

Industry (37% of GDP, 17% of employees) - mining of tin and oil, food industry, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing. The country has rich natural resources - tin, gas, oil, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lithium, lead, gold, timber, hydropower resources.

Service sector - 52% of GDP, 43% of employees.

The network of ten Mi Teleferico cable cars opened in La Paz has become the largest such urban system in the world.

International trade
Export - 8.08 billion dollars (2017) - natural gas (32%), zinc ore (17%), gold (13%), soybean and soybean meal (5.5%), tin, lead.

The main buyers are Brazil 17%, Argentina 15%, South Korea 7.1%, India 6.8%, USA 6.7%.

Import - $ 9.37 billion (2017) - machinery and equipment (26.7%), vehicles (17%), chemical products (11%), metallurgy products (9.8%), oil products (4.4 %), consumer goods (including clothing, shoes, paper products, etc.).

The main suppliers are China 21%, Brazil 16%, Chile 11%, USA 7.5%, Argentina 7.5%.


International relationships

It has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on April 18, 1945).



Population: 11.6 million (2020 est.).

Annual increase - 1.44% (fertility - 2.48 births per woman).

Average life expectancy - 67.6 years for men; 73.4 years for women.

Ethno-racial composition - mestizos 68%, Indians 20% (mainly Quechua and Aymara), whites 5%. The descendants of Russian Old Believers live here.

Languages ​​- 37 official state languages (first place in the world in terms of quantity): Spanish 60.7%, Quechua 21.2%, Aymara 14.6%; other languages ​​3.6%.

Religions - Catholics 77%, Protestants (Evangelical Methodists, Assemblies of God, etc.) 16%, non-believers and others 7%.

Literacy - 96.5% of men; 88.6% women (according to 2015 data); 97.5% male, 92.5% female (2012 census).

Health care is very poor, and malnutrition and disease are common.


National holidays

April 9 - Constitution Day;
June 24 - Inti Raimi and Indian Day;
August 6 - Independence Day;