Bolivia,  South America

10 things you didn’t know about Bolivia

Bolivia is one of these countries I didn’t have a lot of information about when I started to plan my trip. I knew much more about Peru or Brazil, but what did I know about Bolivia? As soon as I googled the most important places to visit in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni appeared in all search engines. I had no doubt it was the most significant destination in Bolivia and I planned my one week stay giving the priority to the salt desert. During my stay in Bolivia, I also learned some interesting facts about this country, so please find below the things I guess you didn’t know about Bolivia neither!

1. The land of languages 

Bolivia has a strong heritage with over 30 official languages! The most widely-spoken among indigenous people are Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní, while Spanish is the most common one in the whole country. Few years ago Bolivian government approved a second national flag, representing the multicultural character of the country.

2. City heights and the capital dilemma

Two highest cities in the world are located in Bolivia – Potosí and El Alto, with more than 4 thousands meters above the sea level. Apart from that, La Paz is considered the highest national capital in the world with 4058 meters of altitude! Despite the fact that most of the administrative institutions are in La Paz, it’s not the official capital of the country. The the constitutional capital is set in Sucre.

3. Landlocked country

Bolivia is one of the two countries n South America which don’t have a coastline (the second one is Paraguay). It used to be a much bigger country and included a larg part of Pacific coast, but was defeated in the War of the Pacific by Chile in the 19th century. 

4. Home to the highest lake in the world

Bolivia, together with Peru contains the highest navigable lake in the world which is Titicaca Lake. The funny fact is that Peruvian people constantly make jokes about Bolivian neighbors saying that „titi” belongs to Peru and „caca” (in Spanish literally means feces) forms part of Bolivia.

5. There is no McDonald’s

Thera are almost 40,000 McDonald’s locations all over the world, but not even one in Bolivia! It’s the only country that rejected Big Macs and where the implantation didn’t work. Why? There were different reasons and one of them strongly cultural – Bolivian people are used to another type of cuisine with a lot of variety and eating is considered a cultural act. Bolivian society does not consider food as something that can be done „fast”. It has to be done with passion, care and love. In consequence, all the eight restaurants that were opened, closed very quickly. Bolivians preferred to choose their traditional empanadas for 1 dollar over any Big Mac!

6. The largest salt desert in the world

As I said, the most popular destination in Bolivia is Salar de Uyuni – the largest salt flat on the planet with more than 10 thousand square kilometers of impressing white landscape. When it rains, a thin layer of water is formed on the salt desert, creating a reflective effect and making this place the largest natural mirror in the world!

7. Old school buses in La Paz

One of my favorite things about La Paz were incredibly colored old buses all over the city. They looked like american school buses, just painted in an extraordinary way. La Paz is a city full of colors thanks to amazing graffiti covering the streets, so for me the buses match perfectly and reflect the spirit of this place!

8. Biodiversity of Bolivia

Did you know that 40% of all fauna and flora of the planet can be found in Bolivia? I bet you didn’t! Neither did I. Bolivia has one of the largest ecosystems in the world thanks to the strategic location in the tropics. Madidi National Park is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world with at least 8500 different species!

9. Guinea pig for… dinner

Bolivian people, especially in the Andes highlands, use to eat cuy (guinea pig) as a traditional meat. This small animal is a very common plate also in Peru and Ecuador. It is usually served whole, with the lead and head pointing up.

10. Pink dolphins

The Dolphins in the Bolivian Amazon are… pink! They have been declared Bolivia’s Natural Heritage. These river creatures are considered the most intelligent among the five freshwater species all over the world, with a brain capacity 40% large than the human one! Sound amazing, doesn’t it?
10 things you didn’t know about Bolivia

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