I’ve been living in Bolivia for almost 2 years now, so if you ask me why you should visit it, I can come up with a bunch of reasons and say: “Trust me, I’m an expert!”
But we’re trying to be humble down here!
Jokes apart, Bolivia is an amazing and unique country and it is totally worth visiting! Here are a few reasons why:
1 It is incredibly diverse
Bolivia is mainly known for its highlands and its Quechua and/or Aymara culture. But that is just one side of it!
This country is incredibly diverse geographically. There are high mountains in the West, with cities at over 4,000m (~13,000ft) above sea level and lowlands in the East, with jungle in the north and pampas in the South.
Bolivia is also home to over 30 indigenous people groups that mix with mestizos, criollos (white Bolivians), Afro-Bolivians, Japanese-Bolivians, Mennonites, etc. All these groups preserve, to some extent, their own culture and traditions.
2 It has amazing food
One of the benefits of having such a diverse geography and population is that everyone brings something different to the table.
There is a wide variety of culinary traditions and dishes that you can make your tummy happy with.
Personally I love to eat Charque in La Paz, Pique Macho in Cochabamba, Majadito in Santa Cruz, Masaco in Beni and Kalapurka in Potosi.
Though delicious, food here is generally high in carbs and proteins, so you might want to balance it with some veggies and salad, so your pipes don’t get stuck.
Cholitas are the Quechua and Aymara ladies from the Andes, who are known for their distinctive outfit and hairdo.
While in many tourist places women would wear traditional clothes for the sake of tourists, Cholitas here wear their attire because they love it and are proud of it.
There are many types of cholitas but my favorite one is by far the Cholita paceña. Walking on the streets of La Paz your head will turn after the ladies proudly wearing their colorful and elegant polleras (skirts), mantas and sombreros.
Moreover, in the city of El Alto there is a place where you can attend a show of Cholitas wrestling. Yes, it pretty fake, just like WWE, but still extremely funny to watch!
4 It is budget-friendly
While foreign goods can be pricey because of high import taxes, food and transportation are generally affordable and the exchange rate favorable for foreigners.
You can get lunch for as little as US$1.5 on the streets and can eat at a decent restaurant for less than US$10.
Ground transportation is cheap as well, although distances between cities can be long and roads sometimes dangerous.
Local flights are affordable, though not always as cheap as low-cost flights in Europe.
5 It is generally safe
While many countries in Latin America can be dangerous, especially for foreigners, Bolivia is generally a safe place to visit.
I would say that the probability of getting assaulted in the streets is a lot smaller than in most other countries in the region. Also, there is usually less hassle for tourists and gringo taxes (the extra price tourists are sometimes asked to pay) are lower.
However, use common sense! Pickpocketing and petty crimes still happen, especially in crowded places!
Bolivia is an amazing country for plenty more reasons, not just the ones listed above.
Trust me, I’m an expert!