By : Ramsey Davies

"¡La unión es la fuerza!"

"Unity is Strength!"

As one of the highest and most remote countries in the world, Bolivia continues to be a wourld of tradition, history, and excitment.

Datos de Bolivia

Population - 10, 556, 102

Capitals - Sucre (constitutional) and La Paz (administrative)

National Language - Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and 34 Native Languages

Currency - Boliviano (BOB)

Largest City - La Paz

Surrounding Countries - Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru

La geografía

Bolivia's geography has three main regions; the Andean region (Andes mountains), the semi-tropical Llanos region which contains jungles and temperate valleys along the eastern slopes of the Andes; and the Sub-Andean region, tropical lowlands covering the eastern half of Bolivia.

Bolivia's climate varies with altitude from humid and tropical to cold and relatively dry. The average annual teperature in the country is 62.9 (F) with 2.8 in. as the annual percipition. The terrain ranges from the tall, jagged Andes Mountains (highest point is Nevado Sajama at 6,542 m), to plateaus, to hills and the low plains of the Amazon.

Lugares para visitar

Yungas Road - "World's Most Dangerous Road" - Yungas Road begins in La Paz at 13,162.73 ft above sea level. The road climbs 15,000 ft before descending 4,000 to the town of Corocio near Bolivia's Amazon rainforest. Small mini buses carry mountain bikers up to La Cumbre Pass, the highest point along the road. After that, it's all downhill from there- literally! Most of the road is only 3.5 meters wide, and sections are unpaved, without guardrails. Warm and humid winds from the Amazon hit the eastern slopes of the Andes bringing heavy rain and fog- soaking the road in water. Mudslides, tumbling rocks, and small waterfalls occasionally rain down from the cliff sides.

Internet fame turned Yungas into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts, especially downhill bikers. At least 13 riders have died in accidents in last the 10 years. Some estimates go as far as to say that 200-300 people die on the road annually.

"Such conditions made several precautions necessary. Special rules apply at Yungas road. While the rest of Bolivia drives on the right side, here vehicles drive on the left. A driver on the left has a better view of the edge of the road. Furthermore, descending vehicles never have the right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road. This forces fast vehicles to stop so that passing can be negotiated safely." (Atlas Obscura)

Salar de Uyuni - Located in the Adean region, Salar de Uyuni is one of the flattest places in the world. Formed by a prehistoric lake, the 4,000-square-mile salt flats have been decorated by locally fashioned structures made entirely from bricks of salt.

Theories of how the salt flats were formed generally follow the same outline. 40,000 years ago, the area was part of Lake Minchin. Over time, the lake dried up and formed the salt flats. "The Altiplano (high plateau) here had no drainage outlets, which meant that water from the surrounding mountains once collated to form a giant lake. High salinity meant that whilst this vast, prehistoric lake has long since evaporated under the fierce Andean sun, a thick crust of salt remains, forming what we now recognize as the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni.

Aymaran legend provides an alternative explanation, involving the mountains surrounding the salt flats, Kusina, Kusku and Tunupa. The story is that these mountains were once giant people, and Tunupa and Kusku were married. When Kusku betrayed his wife for Kusina, Tunupa’s tears are said to have formed the salt flats." (Beautiful World)

Salar de Uyuni is especially beautiful after a rain; the water collects in a thin layer giving the illusion of a mirrored surface. Because the surface of Salar de Uyuni is so flat, perspective is different. Instead of seeing a rising plane, one would see an extremely one-dimensional image. This allows optical illusions to be created by placing one object in the foreground and another far behind it.

Carnaval de Oruro - Much like Brazil's Carnaval de Rio de Janeiro, Bolivia has its own festival that takes place right before Ash Wednesday. The festival features over 28,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians who perform ethnic, cultural, and folkloric dances. The Carnaval de Oruro always begins with the diablada which is the dance of the devil.

"The native Itu ceremonies were banned by the Spanish in the 17th century, during their rule over Upper Peru. However, the Uru continued to observe the festival in the form of a Catholic ritual on Candlemas, in the first week of each February. Christian icons were used to conceal portrayals of Andean gods, and the Christian saints stood in for other minor Andean divinities. The ceremony began forty days before Easter.

Legend also has it that in 1756, a mural of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared in a mineshaft of the richest silver mine in Oruro. Ever since, the Carnaval has conducted in honor of the "Virgen de la Candelaria" (Virgin of the Candlemas) or "Virgen del Socavon "(Virgin of the Mineshaft). The most important parts of the Carnaval now revolve around the "Sanctuaria del Socavon" (Church of the Mineshaft).

The highlight of the festival is the three day and three night parade of 48 groups of folk dancers over a 2.5 mile route to the sanctuary of the tunnel. The pilgrimage climaxes in the enactment of two medieval-style mysteries. The first is about the Spanish conquest and the other revolves around the battle between good and evil, with the Archangel Michael ultimately triumphing over the Devil and the Seven Deadly Sins." (Bolivia Bella)

Expresiones locales

Creo que voy a buitrear/arrojar - I think I'm going to throw up.

El es un atolondrado - He is awkward.

Lagartear - to laze around.

Tíli - Child/Kid

Bebidas y alimentos locales

Leyenda y folclore

" 'La la la', by British artist Naughty Boy and singer/songwriter Sam Smith's music video is a Bolivian legend about a deaf boy with special powers living on the streets. The video, shot in just 4 days in La Paz (Bolivia) leans toward ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when you look at the visuals, but actually has more depth and drama than a pair of ruby red slippers.

The music video revolves around a word of mouth Bolivian legend, from the 19th century, which concerns a deaf boy who fled from his abusive home and found a stray dog that accompanied him since then. After living on the streets for long time he discovers that he has a special talent of perceiving people's troubles, which he can heal by screaming. His screaming is said to be as loud as an earthquake and a tornado. One day, the boy finds an old man who is being stoned by villagers while being taunted and ridiculed. By screaming, the boy resolves the situation and revives the old man's heart (in the video, the boy buys a new heart for the man). Together, they meet a disfigured man who was abused, considered a leper by society. The disfigured man reveals that he is a prophet who was cursed by a demon (El Tio) because he didn't worship him, and abandoned the society where the demon resided. El Tio is considered as the lord of the underworld, to whom mortal people offer gifts to him in order to be protected by him or to ease his anger. The prophet said anybody who could hear the demon would fall under his control. He told them the demon could be found in desert, where there once was a town in which people worshipped the demon and he cursed them to kill themselves. Together they go to the place where the demon should reside. They arrive at a mine where the demon is supposed to be, but anybody who enters and could be cursed after hearing the demon speak. And so the boy alone could go into the mine to meet the demon and over voice him with his scream to stop him from cursing others." (The Smoking Fox)

(To watch the video, go through the link; the school's safety mode does not allow you to watch this through YouTube for some reason.)

The Legend of Anahi -

More Bolivian Legends and Folklore -

Referencias bibliográficas

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Wow! Lots of cool facts!

2 years ago

Hey Ramsey! This is great! I didn't know you were taking Spanish. That's really cool! Nice job! I love the facts and the pictures up there!

2 years ago

This was so good! You went above and beyond!

2 years ago

I like your pictures