Bolivia. Information & facts.

What a wonderfully interesting place to learn Spanish - Bolivia.

Total immersion is the best way to learn a language, especially if combined with:

  a good grammar learning system,(see on the Grammar pages on this site...

  vocabulary learning system (if you are not learning 200 words a day you are using an outdated system)

. . .take a few days to study up on the vocab before you launch off!

  . . . and an onsite course with a good teacher.

For more information on how to learn Spanish in Bolivia click on the link.

Learn Spanish in Bolivia!

Here are a few hundred fun facts for you to study up on before you scoot off to Bolivia to learn Spanish.

Background information on Bolivia:

Bolivia was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century. Following the rebellion of 1825, led by Simon Bolivar (who later lent his name to the new republic), the country finally regained its independence.

Unfortunately, any stability was short-lived: history records over 200 military coups over the next 200 years.
Finally, in 1982, a relatively democratic civilian government came to power.

The long term problems caused by drug production, terrible poverty and social unrest have not given the modern government an easy ride.

They are focussed on improving strategies to stamp out government corruption,appease the coca farmers who are suffering in the wake of the government's anti-drug policies, improve education, carry out further privatisation and attract foreign investment.

Geography information on Bolivia

Geographical position: Central South America, southwest of Brazil
Latitude & longitude: 17 00 S, 65 00 W
Country area: Total: 1.1m square kilometres, Water area: 14,000 square kilometres, Land area: 1m square kilometre
Land borders: Total: 6,743 kilometres
Shared borders: Brazil 3,400 kilometres, Peru 900 kilometres, Chile 861 kilometres, Argentina 832 kilometres, Paraguay 750 kilometres.
The coast: The country has no coastline, being totally surrounded by its neighbours. However, it does shares the famous Lake Titicaca (at an altitude of 3,800 metres, the highest navigable lake in the world) with Peru.
Climate information: The climate is very varied due to the country's topography. It ranges from tropical with high humidity to quite arid and very chilly!
The lie of the land: The country encompasses the awesome beauty of the Andes Mountain range, the high altitude Altiplano plateau, the highlands and the lowlying areas surrounding the Amazon Basin.
Elevation highs and lows: highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
Natural resources: natural gas, hydroelectricity, petroleum, sustainable forests and rich seams of gold, iron ore, lead, silver, tin, tungsten, zinc which are mined.
Land use: arable land: 2% Permanent crops: 0.2%, Other: 98%, Irrigated land: 1,280 square kilometres (As estimated in 1998.)
Natural geographical risks: Avoid going to the north-east of the country during the rainy season, which lasts from March to April, as floods are frequent!

People information on Bolivia

The figures given below are based on estimates made in 2003.
Country population: 8,586,443
Population structure: Under 14 years: 37%
15 to 64 years: 58%
Over 65 years: 5%
Median age: total: 21 years
male: 20 years
female: 22 years
Population growth rate: 2%
Birth rate: 26 births per 1,000 population
Death rate: 8 deaths per 1,000 population
Grammar relating to nationality: Noun/Adjective: Bolivian Ethnic composition of population: Quechua 30%, mestizo (Amerindian and white) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Religious faiths: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
Official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Total population: 87% male: 93% female: 82%

Government of Bolivia

Type of government: republic
Capital city: The government sits at La Paz, so this is often mistakenly thought to be the capital. However, Sucre is the actual capital.
National independence: The country's independence from Spain was declared on 6 August, 1825.
National holiday: Independence Day is celebrated on 6 August.
National constitution: The current constitution came into effect on 2 February 1967 and was revised in August 1994.
The legal system: The country has not yet accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Its legal system is still based on the Napoleonic Code and Spanish law.
Voting Age: Voting is compulsory(!) for men and women at age 18 if they are married, or at age 21 if they are single.

Economic information on Bolivia

Gross domestic product: US$21 billion (as estimated in 2002)
Exports: worth US$1.3 billion
Export partners: Brazil, Colombia, US, Argentina and Peru
Imports: worth US$1.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Import partners: Brazil, Argentina, US, Chile and Peru
National currency: boliviano, Currency code - Bolivia: BOB

Communications information on Bolivia

Telephones - main lines: 327,600 Mobile telephones: 116,000 in 1997
Radio stations: AM: 171, FM: 73, shortwave: 77
Television stations: 48
Internet country code: .bo

Transport and Travel to Bolivia

Click on the Lonely Planet website for more information on what to do and see when you travel to Bolivia.

Airlines: The country's national airline, Lloyds Aereo Boliviano, is more commonly known as LAB. Click here for the Lloyd Aereo Boliviano website Railway network: total: 3,519 kilometres
Road system: Total: 49,400 kilometres, Paved: 2,500 kilometres of which only 30 kilometres is dualcarriageway/motorway, Unpaved: 46,900 kilometres
National Waterways: 10,000 kilometres which are commercially navigable
Pipelines: crude oil 1,800 kilometres; natural gas 1,495 kilometres; petroleum products 580 kilometres.
Ports: Puerto Aguirre on the border with Brazil (the Paraguay/Parana waterway). The country also has free use of the maritime ports of neighbouring Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay.

Military information

Military forces: Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana), Army (Ejercito Boliviano), National Police Force (Policia Nacional), Navy (Fuerza Naval, includes Marines).
Military expenditures: US$147 million

International Issues - Bolivia

International disputes:
The government is still trying to reclaim the territory of the Atacama corridor which was ceded to Chile in 1884. Chile, in return,is demanding water rights to the country's Silala Spring and Lauca River.
Drug trade:
After Colombia and Peru, the country is the third greatest source of coca in South America. Currently, over 24,000 hectares are given over to the crop, a 23% increase over a year. Coca products and cocaine are exported both to and via Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia to the international drug market.

Unfortunately, despite initial successes, current schemes to ensure the erradication of this crop and to encourage farmers to turn to production of alternative crops cannot match the cultivators' increased coca production.

The majority of the money laundering which goes hand-in-hand with the narcotics business occurs near the borders with Paraguay and Brazil.

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This page was last updated on 29 April, 2004.
Information from Cia Factbook.
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