Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

By: 3rd Culture Children

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it.

And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman. Bolivia is the country where the Spanish left their living legacy, where ancient cultures still co-exist with modern habits and traditions; a place where the Spanish language is mixed with the neighboring Portuguese [or Portuñol, for that matter!] and the visiting English, sprinkled by the native dialects [like Ayamara and Quechua]. Bolivia share cultures with the world and within itself. It’s definitely a ‘Plurinational’ country, and will likely remain that way – people come here, they struggle with the high altitude, they suffer with the constant lack of oxygen, and with no doubt, end up falling in love with its people, its colors, and its blend of climates due in part to its long-standing isolation from the world. Still curious? Bolivia has the highest capital in the world - La Paz - from the top of its 3,593 meters - quite high, I'd say! :o The diversity of Bolivia’s topography and landscapes is not its only marking feature: the Bolivian people display an unpaired psyche and the lifestyles they lead. The country is proud to showcase the largest proportion of indigenous people in the Americas; the world’s most organized non-violent protest culture, and yet, the lowest crime rate in the Americas! The Bolivian colors, its textures and feelings are well-known... but, what else it's up here for the 'nomadic' traveler souls out there?

Suggestion 1: Travel through Bolivia's colors, textures, fabrics and traditional clothing...

Suggestion 2: Hike through 'lunar valleys', weird topography and features that seem out of a science fiction moving... all for free! What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Suggestion 3: Enjoy the calmary displayed by the world's largest navigable lake - Lago Titicaca...

Suggestion 4: Bike - along other adventurous souls - through the world's most dangerous road!

Suggestion 5: Wake up to snow-capped mountains... pretty much every single day out the year!

Suggestion 6: What better way to understand a country's culture than through... let's say... partying like the 'locals' do?! :o

Suggestion 7: Experience visiting places where 'heaven meets earth'... many opportunities lie right here, just a couple of hours outside the capital, La Paz!

Suggestion 8: Enjoy zip-lining in the Yungas region, right after crusing the world's most dangerous road - you bike, then you fly!

Suggestion 9: Introduce yourself to the " Quenua Tree", the typical high altitude Andean species, with its unique 'paper-peeling' trunk!

Suggestion 10: Attempt to comprehend the Bolivian traditions, faith, and fears... The harmonious relationship between the Indian population and the Mother Nature is very present in the handycraft industry, the musical folklore, and the religion. The worship dedicated to the natural divinities influences the daily life of the Indian community on the altiplano. Bolivians have a great respect and veneration of Pachamama, the goddess of the Earth. In her honor, offerings (challa) of small object with symbolic value are deposited or burned in the medium of incantations and prayers. There are lots of rituals dedicated to Pachamama, as for example, the construction of a new house must be preceded by a small blessing ceremony; another common ritual is before swallowing a glass of beer or liquor, one must honor Pachamama, while pouring a few drops on the ground.

Suggestion 11: Unplug and connect with Nature...

Suggestion 12: Immerse into the Bolivian culture... get to know the different 'pueblos', their hopes and needs...

Suggestion 13: Enjoy the different seasons, climates, landscapes - in an ever-changing scenario...

Suggestion 14: Go on a tour through the warm land wineries, and yet, reserve some time to enjoy the typical Singani drink...

Suggestion 15: Attend a 'Cholita Wrestling' show, performed at the highest ring in the world - a one of a kind [weird!] experience! :o

Suggestion 16: Visit, hike, learn about and feel the inexplicable power of the Pre-Inca Ruins...

Suggestion 17: Understand that religion, faith, tradition can peacefully co-exist...

Suggestion 18: Connect with the Bolivian people through their expressions of art...

Suggestion 19: Explore the "live science"... always in display!

Suggestion 20: Understand the peculiar 'transportation methods', my favorite being the 'trufis' [single cars with multiple passengers] and the taxis, deprived of not only seat belts, but also, lacking meters - the reason? Apparently, taxi drivers believe the high altitude messes up with the meters... how to calculate your fare? Hummm... leave it to the driver to 'guess it'!!! :o

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future... Bolivia offers it all! ♥

About the author

Expat Blog Listing3rd Culture Children is an American expat living in Bolivia. Blog description: Life of a globetrotting family of 5 in the US foreign service. La Paz will be our home for the next 2 years - we're excited and curious with all the possibilities...
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Contest Comments » There are 11 comments

Elaine Canham wrote 10 years ago:

I'm intrigued: I thought Lhasa was the highest capital in the world. I've been there, and the mountains and the light in your pictures, and the way the people look remind me of it a lot. I hope you have a wonderful two years.

Jan Blanton wrote 10 years ago:

I love your writing style and your suggestions make me want to visit Bolivia now! Enjoy your tour

MKSP wrote 10 years ago:

Wow! What a delight to find out about your blog from this contest. Too bad your entry as posted here doesn't show your wonderful photography. Best to you and your family as you travel across Bolivia and the world with you open loving hearts.

Madeleine wrote 10 years ago:

ADOREI SEU BLOG!! Meu Deus…you made me cry, I MISS Bolivia like crazy, everything you posted is SO TRUE…I am glad that you guys are having a great time. Being in EUR its so different from Bolivia, 180 degree change for me...the culture, the people, the weather and the community- there are no comparison, I enjoyed my time there. I miss the warmth and kindness of the people, and that I was called “señorita” by everyone made me feel very special. Great photos, keep it up, GRACIAS! for sharing. Good luck to you! Beijos!

Sharon wrote 10 years ago:

Thank you for sharing your experiences in Bolivia. You made it sound amazing. I would love to go now and to live there too. It sounds like you are on the verge of poetry. Do you write poems too?

Leonel wrote 10 years ago:

Wow...that is exactly how I remember my 9 months there. I specially miss driving from town to town feeling like I was the only one on top of the mountains. To party like the locals you have to be prepare to drink and dance for two days straight, I miss that too. Great blog and thanks for bringing back so many great memories! :)

TBM wrote 10 years ago:

I love unplugging and connecting with nature! Bolivia is on my must-see list!

Ersatz Expat wrote 10 years ago:

Fascinating post. You have whetted my appetite for all things Bolivian.

Madhu wrote 10 years ago:

Wow, your list is very compelling! Makes me want to check fares to Bolivia :-)

Lynn Lees wrote 10 years ago:

Wow, you have evoked an interest in visiting Bolivia! Such fascinating pointers to what sounds to be a "bucket list worthy" destination. Thanks for sharing.

Mike wrote 10 years ago:

Bolivia must be on you list of places to go, where it be missions trip for a vacation! The culture, the country, sights and the list goes on. * Warning: You'll never be the same!

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