Sandwiched between Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, while straddling the Andes Mountains, lays Bolivia, the “Tibet of the Americas”. Bolivia earns this title by being the highest and most isolated of all the Andean nations. About twice the size of Spain, Bolivia holds over 67,590 square kilometers and is home to over 11 million people. The capital city of La Paz embraces over 900,000 Bolivians and rests at an elevation of 3,596 meters.
This unique country possesses nearly every possible climate and terrain: from the snowcapped peaks of over 6,400 meters, semi-tropical lowlands, and steaming jungles of the Bolivian Amazon Basin. The famous Lake Titicaca, which shares a Peruvian border, is the highest navigable lake in the world. Furthermore, the lake boasts crystal blue waters, reed boats, islands, and well-known pre-Columbian ruins making Bolivia a must-see destination.
Though Bolivia stands as the poorest land in South America, the cultural landscape of this country is one of a kind. The religious and native practices of both Indigenous people and “hybrid” Christians, an influence from the Spanish conquistador Simon Bolívar, categorize Bolivia as truly rich in culture. As Bolívar claimed independence for Bolivia from Spain in 1825, the absence of clergy in rural areas led to the development of a hybrid Christian/Indigenous way of life. Today, overlapping cultures exist where 95% of Bolivians profess faith to Roman Catholicism, however over 50% of the population maintains traditional indigenous values and beliefs as well. Visitors are exposed to the wonderful locals and their lifestyle full of intriguing doctrines, rites and spirituality.
In addition to rich culture, the breathtaking terrain and wildlife of Bolivia will surely stand as the clincher to discover this country. One has the opportunity to see various exotic birds, plants, insects and animals due to Bolivia's relatively sparse population, lack of development and diverse geography. In fact, Bolivia is one of the best places to see South American wildlife, including the jaguar, llama, anteater, chinchilla, condor, and the rare spectacled bear!
Climatic consideration should be taken when planning your visit to the “Tibet of the Americas”. Remembering the high altitude of Bolivia, the weather here requires close watch. Though unpredictable, the weather more or less follows certain trends. Summer months from November to April entail heavy rains with washed-out roads, making a buzzing river community of boats and vibrant colors. The winter months from May to October typically offer a more gentle travel experience with dry, temperate weather during the day, breathtaking alpine glow, and freezing overnight temperatures. The most popular months, due to festivals and mostly temperate weather, range between June and September. During these months, you will find lots of activity and smiling faces. Remember the impact altitude has on irregular weather, so investing in a quality raincoat, sunscreen, and an insulated jacket are highly recommended!
Vast amounts of Bolivia continue to remain undiscovered and unknown. The country’s phenomenal landscapes, colonial architecture, indigenous cultures and the legacy of its ancient mysterious civilizations, combined with a quiet political climate, offer an extraordinary travel experience!