Bolivia is home to a plethora of wildlife species; arguably, this nation is one of the most populous on earth! There are countless animals just waiting to be discovered in the midst of this remarkable country, including the following exciting species:
Whilst there is an abundance of animal life to be found in Bolivia, a large percentage of it is in grave danger of becoming extinct if something is not done to protect it. Poaching and habitat destruction are the two biggest threats facing the country's animals, so unless conservation efforts are increased, we could soon witness an irreversible change impacting Bolivia's wildlife. This is why Bolivia's animal sanctuaries are so incredibly vital, as without them many species could vanish from existence.
Bolivia’s very name comes from Simon Bolivar, the leader of the war of independence against Spain back in the 19th century. The official language of Bolivia is, in fact, Spanish, and certain elements of Spanish culture can be found here alongside the more traditional Incan remnants. The country’s overall culture is an exciting and varied one, with festivals, dancing, and cuisine all being major elements of life there. Some of the most fascinating – or delicious! – parts of Bolivian culture can be seen below:
• Rituals and celebrations - the Carnaval de Oruro sees an array of cultures blending to create an exciting, enjoyable event, celebrated on the Saturday before ‘Ash Wednesday’. Thousands of spectators and performers take part in musical performances, with dance troupes incorporating storytelling into their performances. If you ever happen to be around Oruro around Easter, try to catch the ceremony!
• Food – it’s evident that Bolivia has retained a Spanish influence, and this is most apparent in the nation’s dishes! The three staples of Bolivian cuisine are corn, potatoes, and beans, yet as simple as these ingredients may be, it’s all about their preparation! Sample some Papas Rellenas (‘stuffed potatoes’): this moreish dish consists of mashed potato stuffed with egg or cheese, before being coated in flour batter and deep-fried. Yum!
• Art – Bolivian art is instantly recognisable through the use of vibrant, summery colours, and arguably the nation’s most popular work has been created by Roberto Mamani Mamani. The artist’s work is incredibly significant in Bolivia, putting the indigenous traditions on the map due to Mamani’s use of Aymaran symbols. Check it his work – it’s stunning!
With lush jungles and hundreds of years of history to explore, Bolivia certainly has it all. Find time in your itinerary to discover some of the sights and attractions listed below:
• Salar de Uyuni – this is possibly one of the most famous sites in Bolivia, and for good reason! Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and stands as the legacy of a prehistoric lake run dry. Some 11,000 square kilometres of bright-white salt give the impression of standing on another planet entirely and, while life in the area is sparse, Salar de Uyuni curiously houses an abundance of pink flamingos!
• Laguna Verde – another popular salt lake is Bolivia’s Laguna Verde. Sitting at the foot of 2 volcanoes, Laguna Verde is well-known for its unusual green colour. The lake is closeby to the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna, as well as hot springs, making this a brilliant place to visit on a day out.
• La Paz – take a deep breath and pay a visit to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia and the highest administrative capital city on earth. La Paz rests on the Andes Altiplano plateau at a staggering 3,500m above sea level, meaning the air is thick and the views are spectacular. Breathtaking, indeed!
When you're not preoccupied with exciting volunteer work, it's certainly worth exploring more of Bolivia!