Amazing Bolivia Culture will Blow you Away!

Bolivia culture booms around the place and is arguably the country that you will see the biggest culture change to what you are probably used to. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and one of the poorest in the world but there is a warmth and solidarity about the people that defies their circumstances and I certainly found them to be as friendly as anywhere in the continent. Bolivia has plenty of culture for the intrepid traveller to soak up.

People

Bolivia culture is very multi-faceted and can largely be defined by the division between the aboriginal people and the "mestizo" or those from mixed indigenous and Spanish descent. As a rule the majority of indigenous people live up in the rural mountainous regions or the rainforest regions and dress in the traditional attire that one associates with the country. The "mestizos" generally reside in the larger cities and are much more westernised in the way they live, dressing in western style clothes and listening to modern music. The current President of Bolivia is Evo Morales who is the first leader of Bolivia that hails from indigenous decent and he has done much to improve the inequality that has for so long blighted indigenous communities.

Markets

More than anywhere that you travel South America, Bolivian cities are characterised by the huge markets that seem to sprawl across every street and sell everything from hats and gloves to coca leaves and llama foetuses! The witches markets of La Paz are a must for anyone who wants to experience the sights, the smells and the buzz of Bolivian culture not to mention the fantastic bargains you can get if you shop around!

Festivals

The festival that has become synonymous with Bolivia culture is undoubtedly the Oruro carnival that takes place in February each year. The carnival attracts around 50,000 revellers to the Andean mining town and its showpiece event is the procession which lasts for 20 hours over 4 km! If you prefer a slightly warmer climate then you can venture to the Santa Cruz carnival in the same month which has an altogether more tropical feel!

Sport

Football is Bolivia's national sport with Bolivar and The Strongest being their most famous teams. The people of Bolivia are very passionate about the sport and the national team are particularly notorious for being difficult to beat when they play in La Paz because opponents find it difficult to acclimatise to the altitude. A more unique hobby in Bolivia culture is midget wrestling which needs to be seen to be believed but is well worth a look when you visit the capital!

The 3 of us playing football in the Andes, Bolivia
The 3 of us playing football in the Andes, Bolivia