10 Fun Facts About Bolivia
Landlocked Bolivia lies in the heart of South America and is a country of breathtaking contrasts.
Projects Abroad is based in the town of Cochabamba and our volunteers are often amazed by the diversity of this nation and its people. Bolivia is definitely an adventure lover’s paradise. From the jungles and rivers to the salt flats and mountains, opportunities to explore the vastness that is Bolivia are unlimited. Also unlimited are the amount of fun and interesting facts about this exotically rugged country. In this month’s post I share a few of my favourites with you.
- If butterflies are your thing then Bolivia is the place to be. The Guembe Biocenter is the world’s largest sanctuary for these beautiful winged creatures. Located 7 kilometres outside of Santa Cruz, the centre functions like a resort in many ways and has a natural recreation park, a swimming pool and a zoo.
- The largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world is located on a site known as Cal Orcko on the outskirts of the city of Sucre. In 1985 workers were trying to expand a quarry when they uncovered the huge limestone wall covered in footprints. This specific area used to be the shore of a lake and the footprints found here have been dated back to the second half of the Cretaceous period where it is believed that dinosaurs left over 5,000 footprints on the shoreline during warm, damp weather.
- The North Yungas Road commonly referred to as ‘The Road of Death’ has a reputation for being the world’s most dangerous road. This treacherous stretch of dirt road is only 3 metres wide and runs for 69 kilometres between La Paz and Coroico. With continuous threats of landslides and a 1,000 metre cliff face, it is little wonder that this rocky path claims the lives of 200-300 people each year.
- The tropical rainforests and Pantanal Wetlands in Bolivia have one of the most biologically abundant ecosystems in the world. A whopping 40% of all animal and plant life on planet Earth is found in Bolivia.
- With over 30 official languages and 36 native cultures, Bolivia’s culture is almost as diverse as its ecosystem. Spanish is widely spoken around the country and the most prominent indigenous languages include Quechua and Aymara.
- You may consider a guinea pig to be a cute childhood pet, but in Bolivia the guinea pig (or cuy) is a local delicacy. It is prepared differently in each region of the Andes but will usually be served whole, with the legs and head pointing up. The head is regarded as the tastiest part of the animal and is savoured by the locals. The tiny bones mean that you’ll have to tuck in with your fingers if you’re really eager to get every morsel of meat.
- San Pedro prison is certainly one of Bolivia’s most bizarre tourist attractions. The prison is the largest in the city of La Paz and is famous for running as a society within itself. What sets San Pedro apart from regular correctional facilities is that the inmates have jobs inside, can buy or rent their accommodation and can live with their families. This notorious institution also boasts several restaurants and shops which are run by the inmates themselves.
- If you’re looking for protection or good luck then perhaps you should take a wander around The Witches Market in La Paz. Wind your way down the side streets and find chaotically assembled stalls selling a variety of ingredients for spells and potions. Perhaps one of the most disturbing items, lama foetuses are common. Dried lama foetuses are believed to protect the home and it’s been said that many families place one under the foundations of their house for good luck.
- The Hotel Luna Salada, or Salt Moon Hotel, can be found in the Salt Flats of Uyuni in Bolivia. The unique hotel is built from salt blocks and even the interior and furniture are made of solid blocks of salt. Guests of the hotel can enjoy mesmerising views of Uyani’s famous salt flats.
- With a surface area of 8,300 square kilometres, the highest navigable lake in the world is Lake Titicaca and it can be found at 3,810 metres above sea level on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The indigenous Andean people consider the lake to be a sacred place and the birthplace of civilization.
Do you know any other fun facts about Bolivia? Tell us about them using the comments box below.
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