Information about Bolivia

Information about Bolivia
Information about La Paz
Information about Sucre
Information about Cochabamba

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HOW TO GET TO BOLIVIA?
Air travel is the obvious way to get to Bolivia, the main airports are located in La Paz to the western side of the country and in Santa Cruz to the east. The arrival plan must be based mostly in the purpose of your visit to the country; you have to remember that La Paz receives most of their visitors due to the immense culture and heritage from the Incas and other indigenous cultures from the Andean region, and therefore from La Paz it is easier to move to the Tiwanaku ruins,Oruro’s carnival, Potosí’s mines, Uyuni, Lake Titicaca, Los Yungasvalley and the Andes Mountains.

Basic Facts:

Throughout the country's colonial history, Bolivia was known as 'Upper Peru', until after Simon Bolivar led the country to independence in 1825, when it was named in his honour. Today, those who venture beyond the mass tourism of neighbouring, modern-day Peru will find a country offering a far more authentic take on Latin American culture. While upscale hotels and international-standard restaurants do exist, there are also plenty of long bus journeys along mountain passes, rough-and-tumble jeep trips across empty landscapes and chilly nights in low-frills hotels under llama-wool blankets. The infrastructure may need some work but the country's innate charm lies in its staggering breadth of contrasts: the clash of indigenous and European culture, the sweep of landscape from jungle to high-altitude mountains and the diversity of activities from adrenaline sports to ancient monuments.

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Bolivia is a beautiful, geographically diverse, multiethnic, and democratic country in the heart of South America. It is surrounded by Brazil to the northeast, Peru to the northwest, Chile to the southwest, Argentina and Paraguay to the south. It shares with Peru control of Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca), the world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m).

Climate
Bolivia's climate varies drastically with altitude and from one climatic zone to another. It ranges from humid and tropical to cold and semiarid. In most parts of the country winters are dry and summers are somewhat wet. Despite its tropical latitude, the altitude of cities like La Paz keeps things cool, and warm clothing is advised year-round. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier.

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Entry requirements
U.S. citizens seeking to enter Bolivia as tourists must have an entry visa. Bolivian tourist visas can be applied for by mail or in person at Bolivian consulates in the U.S., as well as at Bolivian ports of entry, such as at Bolivia’s international airports and at land border crossings. The cost of the tourist visa is $140 U.S. dollars. In addition to the $140 fee, the applicant must present a visa application form with a 4x4 color photograph, a passport with a validity of not less than 6 months, evidence of a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation in Spanish, proof of economic solvency (credit card, cash or a current bank statement), and an International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever.

EU citizens, Australian citizens and Canadian Citizens are not required to have a visa for a stay of 90 days or less. Only a passport is required and this should be valid for up to six months following your return date. In order to enter the country, you must also present an international certificate verifying your yellow fever vaccination. This 90-day permit can be extended without a problem as long as you pay the respective fees. Another option, however, is to simply travel outside the country for a short time and upon return, the permit will automatically be renewed for another 90 days.

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Health
In Bolivia, we only recommend that you attend private health clinics. Public healthcare can be quite deficent. While in Bolivia, you should avoid consumption of tap water and ice cubes to avoid stomach problems. Also, one must exercise precaution in making sure all foods are well cooked.

Money and Prices
The official currency is the Bolivian boliviano. Average prices in Bolivia are considerably lower than those in Europe and the United States. Always take small denominations of cash with you. Large bills are often not accepted.
Typical meal: 1.5-3 Euros / 2-4 USD
Tip: Between 10 % and 15 %
Forms of Payment:
Debit Cards (for ATMs, only in big cities)
Credit cards are rarely accepted
The best form of payment will be in cash in the local currency (Boliviano)
Take along some US dollars in case of emergency

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Transportation
In Bolivia the most typical form of travel is by bus. If you want to travel around the country by bus, you should plan for constant problems and delays. The buses are old and often in malrepair. In Sucre, there are local buses as well as taxis which are easily accessible.

Phone & Internet
For those of you who love to chat, we recommend that you use phone centers (“centrales telefonicas”). Be careful, however, because these call centers can be relatively expensive and the quality varies from location to location. In the cities, you’ll easily be able to find public phones for local calls. The Internet will be the most easy and reliable way for you to make phone calls. Internet cafes can be found in all cities and typical tourist destinations. Although the quality of the connection will not be ideal in all internet cafes, in most cases you’ll be able to find applications to make internet calls such as Skype and Messenger.
Bolivia Calling Code: 00591

Time Difference
Bolivia Standard Time is GMT (UTC) - 4. It does not use daylight saving time and coincides with EST (Eastern Standard Time) in the North American summer and is one hour ahead of EST during the North American summer. CET (Central European Time) minus 5 hours (minus 6 hours during European summer).

Voltage
220 V (same as Europe)
European plug with two round connectors
Japanese plug with two flat connectors

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Information about La Paz

Founded in 1548 by the Spanish conquistadors at the site of the Native American settlement, Laja, the full name of the city was originallyNuestra Señora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace).

La Paz is located in the valleys of the Andes, and is closer to the Eastern split of the Altiplano region. Therefore, it is closer to the famous mountains such as the Illimani (guardian of La Paz), Huayna Potosi, Mururata, and Illampu.



The official capital of Bolivia is Sucre and it is the seat of Justice, La Paz has more government departments, hence the "de facto" qualifier. The city sits in a "bowl" surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano.

As it grows, La Paz climbs the hills, resulting in varying elevations from 3,000 meters to 4,100 meters (9,840 ft to 13,450 ft). Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city, El Alto. As of the 2001 census, the city had a population of 877,363.



The geography of La Paz (in particular the altitude) reflects society: the lower areas of the city are the more affluent areas. While many middle-class residents live in high-rise condos near the center, the houses of the truly affluent are located in the lower neighborhoods southwest of the Prado. And looking up from the center, the surrounding hills are plastered with makeshift brick houses of those of less economically fortunate.

La Paz is an important cultural center of Bolivia. The city hosts several cathedrals belonging to the colonial times, such as the San Francisco Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral, this last one located on Murillo Square, which is also home of the political and administrative power of the country. Hundreds of different museums can be found across the city, the most notable ones on Jaén Street, which street design has been preserved from the Spanish days and is home of 10 different museums. The home of the Bolivian government is located on Murillo Square and is known as "Palacio Quemado" (Burnt Palace) as it has been on fire several times. The palace has been restored many times since, but the name has remained untouched.



Airport
La Paz is served by El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB), which is situated eight miles (14 km) south-west of La Paz.

Bus station
La Paz Bus Station, previously bus and train station, was built by the French architect Gustave Eiffel. The main gateway for transporting intercities bus travel in La Paz with several daily departs to all the main Bolivian cities. Bus Terminal in La Paz is the main city bus station. The city is connected by road with the city of Oruro where you can access the cities of Sucre, Potosí and south of the country. There is an important road that connects the road to Oruro in the cities of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

Climate
La Paz has a subtropical highland climate. Owing to the altitude of the city, temperatures are consistently cool throughout the year, though the diurnal temperature variation is typically large. The city has a relatively dry climate.

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Information about Sucre

Sucre, also known historically as Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca (population 247,300 in 2006) is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the capital of the department of Chuquisaca. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2750m (9,000 ft). This relatively high altitude gives the city a cool temperate climate year-round.

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Sucre is one of the most beautiful, nice, quiet, clean and amazing places in South America. In this peaceful city where everybody walks from one to another place through squares, parks and colonial streets you are able to see beautiful and well preserved colonial buildings, all painted in white, with the traditional balconies and architecture.
Also all the monuments, parks and historical places are surrounded by green and flowery gardens where you can sit down and read a book, relax, think, get a tend or just watch people coming and going.

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The beautiful colonial city of Sucre , located in the heart of Bolivia , is considered by many to be the “Jewel of South America ”. Its lower altitude (2750 meters) gives the city a warm temperate climate year-round. Visitors to Sucre are enchanted by the city's permanently blue sky, a striking backdrop for the brillant white buildings that characterize the city center.

Sucre is also called “The City of Four Names”. Each of the well known names represent a specific era of the city's history.
- CHARCAS, was the indigenous name for the place upon which the Spaniards built the colonial city.
- LA PLATA , was the name given to the emerging hispanic city of priviledge and honor.
- The name CHUQUISACA was bestowed upon the city during the independence era.
- SUCRE , honors the Great Marshal of Ayacucho, Don Antonio Jose de Sucre.

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In 1991, Sucre was declarated a " WORLD CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE SITE"by the UNESCO. Its many well – preserved 16 th century churches, such as San Lazaro, San Francisco and Santo Domingo are unique examples of local architectural styles blended with styles imported from Europe.

Sucre has 250,000 inhabitants. Its universities attract large numbers of students from around Bolivia and South America, giving it the reputacion of a “ university city ”. Sucre is a charming city where you can enjoy long walks along colonial streets or biking and hiking in the sorrounding countryside. It's sunny, warm weather invites you to explore the landscape, relax and of course, to learn Spanish.!

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The city is tranquil and safe. It's an easy walk to cafes, bars and live music venues in the city center. Locals are friendly and happy to answer questions or offer information. The food in Sucre is inexpensive and diverse. The city has a good transportation system and many cultural museums including some of the most important museums in Bolivia. Nearby, one can also visit the largest wall of dinosaur prints in teh world , Kal'a Orcko.

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Information about Cochabamba

Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andesmountain range. It is the capital of theCochabamba Department and is the fourth largest city in Bolivia with an urban population of 608,276 (2008) and a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 people. The name derives from a compound of the Quechua words qucha, meaning "lake", and pampa, "open plain". Residents of the city and surrounding areas are commonly referred to as Cochabambinos. Cochabamba is known as the "City of Eternal Spring" and "The Garden City" due to its spring-like temperatures year round. It is also known as "La Llajta", "town" in Quechua.

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Currently, Cochabamba is among Bolivia's most economically and socially progressive cities. Commensurate with other large cities in the Andean highlands of South America, Cochabamba is a city of varied contrasts. Its central commercial districts, bounded by Plaza Colón and Plaza 14 de Septiembre, is generally equipped with modern urban amenities, and is where the majority of the city's business and commercial industries are based. An active nightlife is centered around Calle España and also along the broad, tree-lined boulevard, El Prado. In contrast, the remote area adjacent to the Wilstermann International Airport is visibly impoverished, with adobe homes and unpaved roads, which is often the first impression visitors acquire while commuting into the city.

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The spacious new-town avenues have a wide choice of restaurants, eagerly grazed by the food-crazy cochabambinos, and the bar life is lively, driven by students and young professionals. Despite this, Cochabamba remains a very affordable city, with prices far below those in Sucre or La Paz.

Airport
Cochabamba is served by the modern Jórge Wilstermann International Airport (IATA code CBB), which handles domestic and international flights.

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