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Bolivia

Travel Guide 2022

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There is hardly another country in the world that has given one of their fighters for independence the honor of naming the nation in his memory. This is the case in Bolivia, and this name goes back to Simon Bolivar. He was the first president of the Andean nation and is revered as a national hero not only in Bolivia. The son of a Creole family, he was born in Caracas, Venezuela, traveled through Europe at a young age and there experienced the triumph and tragedy of Napoleon Bonaparte, his rise to emperor, and he gradually became animated by the will to free the subjugated peoples and countries of South America from the scourge of the European occupiers. He felt called to take part in the liberation struggle, spent some time in exile, and after the conquest of Angostura in 1821 became the first president of Greater Colombia. The naming of Bolivia is a later bow to the achievement of this fighter for freedom.

Bolivia at a glance

Population11.052.000
LanguageSpanish
Area1098580 km2
ContinentSouth America
CurrencyBoliviano (BOB)
Neighboring countriesPeru, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil und Argentina

Guide to Bolivia

For a frighteningly long time, Bolivia was considered the epitome of crime and drug trafficking. And since independence, which was won not least by Simon Bolivar in 1825, the country has experienced no less than two hundred coups or at least attempted coups. Bolivia has always been unstable with a poor population. In 2009, the just re-elected President Morales said, “Today a new Bolivia is being founded, with equal opportunities for all…” A new constitution, in which Bolivia found itself a multiethnic state with 37 official languages, was also supposed to serve this purpose. But Bolivia’s hopes for better times fizzled out and the promise of a “good life” for all, faded into nothingness. Situated between the riparian states of Argentina, Peru, Chile and Brazil, the country remains one of the poorest in South America.

And yet it has a fascinating scenic beauty with the Cordilleras and their peaks over 6,000 meters and an interesting treeless highland steppe of the Altiplano. Where the desert loses itself in a salt plain lies the Salar de Uyuni, which at 12,000 square kilometres is the largest salt lake on earth. Two rivers irrigate large parts of Colombia: the Rio Grande and the Rio Beni. Both are headwaters of the Amazon. The state, which has no access to the sea, is located in the tropical zone of South America. It is a country where the animal world is largely extinct and where only in the lonely canyons and high pastures of the Andes pumas and deer have still found a niche for their existence. After all, the mighty condor, the king of the skies, is one of the survivors. Across Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world, runs the border between Bolivia and Peru. The lake, which can be up to 281 metres deep, was the “Sacred Sea” of the Incas and is fed by numerous small mountain rivers.

Sucre is the capital of Bolivia, home to one of the oldest universities on the South American continent and is considered the most beautiful colonial city in the country. In its old town, numerous houses have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here the holidaymaker encounters women with pleated skirts, bowler hats and stoles. They are still synonymous with poverty in Bolivia.