About Bolivia

Here’s some quick facts about Bolivia, readily available on Wikipedia (my primary source) but thought it would be handy to share some highlights here.  Click here for a brief summary of what we did while we were in Bolivia.

Location and Geography: Bolivia is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile by the south west and Peru by the west.   Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin.  Its huge biodioversity includes tropical rain forests, dry valleys, and the Chiquitania, which is a tropical savanna. Bolivia is a land of geographical contrasts, with elevations ranging from 70 m in the Paraguay River to 6,542 m above sea level in Nevado Sajama. Bolivia is a landlocked country, meaning it does not have any direct access to the sea.

Size:  1,098,581 km (about the same size as Ontario which is 1,076,395 km2)

Languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara as well as 34 other indigenous languages are all official languages.

Currency: Boliviano (BOB)  Exchange rate on December 9, 2011:  1 BOB = 0.15 CAN

$100 BOB = $15 CAN

Population: Estimated at 10 million and is multi-ethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans and Africans. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

Major cities in order of size (2011 population):

  1. La Paz (Administrative Capital) – 2,756,989
  2. Santa Cruz de la Sierra – 2,626,697
  3. Cochabamba – 1,786,040
  4. Potosi -780.392
  5. Sucre – 631.062


  • It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level of 53%. 
  • Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum.
  • It is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.
  • Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America, despite being rich in natural resources.
  • Bolivia was rated ‘Repressed’ by the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.
  • The income from tourism becomes increasingly important. Bolivia’s tourist industry has grown gradually since about 1990.
Other interesting facts:
  • In 2009, a new constitution changed the country’s name from the “Republic of Bolivia” to the “Plurinational State of Bolivia” in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples under the new constitution.
  • The region that is now known as Bolivia has been occupied for over 2,000 years.
  • The CIA had been active in providing finances and training to the Bolivian military in 1960s. The revolutionary leader Che Guevara was killed by a team of CIA officers and members of the Bolivian Army on 9 October 1967, in Bolivia.
  • The climate of Bolivia vary drastically from one ecoregion to the other, from the tropics in the eastern llanos to polar climates in the western Andes. The summers are warm, humid in the east and dry in the west with rains that often modify the temperatures, the humidity, the winds, the atmospheric pressure and the evaporation, giving place to very different climates.


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