Practical Information in Bolivia

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Capital: La Paz (Administrative, de facto) and Sucre (Constitutional, Legal).

Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Guarani.

Government Type: Democratic Republic.

Religion: 90% Roman Catholic, but freedom of worship is guaranteed by law. There are significant Jewish, Mennonite, Buddhist, and Evangelical Methodist and other Protestant minorities. 

Shopping : Indigenous handicrafts at bargain prices made from gold, silver, pewter, wood, alpaca vicuña, cotton, and wool.

Altitude: Highland cities such as La Paz and Potosi are at nearly 4000 m above sea level.  Cochabamba, Sucre, and Tarija are located in the Andean valleys at around 2,500 m.  Cities in the Amazon basin such as Santa Cruz de la Sierra are just 300 m in altitude.

Seasons: The rainy season takes place in the summer and extends from November to March with the rest of the year dry and sunny.  Highland cities are cold in the winter (June-August) and lowland cities are hot and humid in the summer. 

Monetary Unit: 8.0 Bolivianos per USA Dollar (January 1, 2006).

Crime Rate: Overall a safe country.  Index of violent crimes is low although petty theft is common.  For tourists, Bolivia is one of the safest countries in the Americas even compared to the USA.

Business Hours: 9:00 to 12:30 with an extended lunch (siesta) until 15:00.  Many businesses stay open until 19:00 or later.  Government offices and some financial institutions are transitioning to an horario continuo, which means working straight through the day with only a half hour lunch period and closing around 17:30.

Local Time: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  Bolivia does not observe daylight savings time.

Electric currency: The standard in Bolivia is 220V, 50 cycles AC.  In La Paz, buildings constructed before 1990 may also have 110V.

Accommodations: Bolivia has an abundant variety of lodgings of all types.  Hotels are rated on a five star scale.  Besides hotels, common names for accommodations are hostal, alojamiento, residencia and pensión

Ports of Entry: The primary international airports are La Paz and Santa Cruz.  Major highway entries are Villazón with Argentina, Tambo Quemado with Chile, and Yunguyo and Desaguadero with Peru.  Train routes reach the borders at Puerto Suarez with Brazil, Yacuiba and Villazon with Argentina, and Charaña with Chile.  Lake Titicaca is the highest altitude navigable lake in the world.  There is boat service from Huatajata and Copacabana to Puno in Peru.  Bolivia has no sea coast.

Major Holidays: New Years day - January 1st., Carnival - Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Good Friday - Friday before Easter, Labor Day - May 1,Corpus Christi - 60 days after Good Friday, Bolivian Independence Day - August 6, Todos Santos/All Saints Day - November 2, Christmas Day - December 25.

March 14, 2006 change by boliviano (2 points)


The local currency is the Bolivian Boliviano (BOB)

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