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Bolivia Country Guide

Explore Bolivia in South America

Bolivia with the capital city Sucre is located in South America (Central South America, southwest of Brazil). It covers some 1,098,580 square kilometres (slightly less than three times the size of Montana) with 9,247,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Bolivia

The terrain features rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin. The average density of population is approximately 8 per km². The notable climate conditions in Bolivia can be described as varies with altitude with humid and tropical to cold and semiarid. Potential natural disasters are flooding in the northeast (March-April).

To reach someone in Bolivia dial +591 prior to a number. There are 810,200 installed telephones. And there are 7,148,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".bo". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220/230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Bolivia

Bolivia Flag Icon

Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band; red stands for bravery and the blood of national heroes, yellow for the nation's mineral resources, and green for the fertility of the land note: similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; in 2009, a presidential decree made it mandatory for a so-called wiphala - a square, multi-colored flag representing the country's indigenous peoples - to be used alongside the traditional flag.

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation''s poor, indigenous majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will allow him to continue his process of change. In October 2011, the country held its first judicial elections to appoint judges to the four highest courts.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: South America
Neighbours: Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina
Capital: Sucre
Size1,098,580 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 424,164 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than three times the size of Montana
CurrencyName Boliviano, Currency Code:BOB
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).bo
Telephone Country Prefix+591
Mobile Phone Connections7,148,000
Landline Phone Connections810,200

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area1,098,581 (sq km)28

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population10,461,053 82
Population growth rate1.63 (%)73
Birth rate23.77 (births/1,000 population)67
Death rate6.67 (deaths/1,000 population)143
Net migration rate-0.76 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)144
Maternal mortality rate180.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)59
Infant mortality rate39.76 (deaths/1,000 live births)58
Life expectancy at birth68.22 (years)161
Total fertility rate2.87 (children born/woman)67
Health expenditures4.80 (% of GDP)147
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.20 (%)95
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS12,000 92
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 67
Obesity - adult prevalence rate17.90 (%)109
Children under the age of 5 years underweight4.50 (%)92
Education expenditures7.60 (% of GDP)16
Unemployment, youth ages 15-249.20 (%)113


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)56,140,000,000 93
GDP - real growth rate5.20 (%)57
GDP - per capita (PPP)5,200 157
Labor force4,718,000 83
Unemployment rate5.50 (%)51
Distribution of family income - Gini index53.00 14
Investment (gross fixed)21.00 (% of GDP)83
Taxes and other revenues45.90 (% of GDP)23
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)1.50 (% of GDP)24
Public debt32.70 (% of GDP)107
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.50 (%)127
Central bank discount rate3.00 (%)103
Commercial bank prime lending rate11.50 (%)71
Stock of narrow money7,320,000,000 88
Stock of broad money17,130,000,000 92
Stock of domestic credit10,490,000,000 96
Market value of publicly traded shares6,089,000,000 81
Industrial production growth rate4.80 (%)62
Current account balance271,800,000 51
Exports11,770,000,000 88
Imports8,180,000,000 107
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold13,690,000,000 68
Debt - external4,200,000,000 125
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home8,810,000,000 83
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad8,000,000 91


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production6,940,000,000 (kWh)104
Electricity - consumption6,301,000,000 (kWh)102
Electricity - installed generating capacity1,317,000 (kW)117
Electricity - from fossil fuels58.90 (% of total installed capacity)140
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants39.30 (% of total installed capacity)56
Electricity - from other renewable sources1.70 (% of total installed capacity)64
Crude oil - production40,000 (bbl/day)65
Crude oil - proved reserves209,800,000 (bbl)60
Refined petroleum products - production314,700 (bbl/day)43
Refined petroleum products - consumption45,840 (bbl/day)102
Refined petroleum products - exports865 (bbl/day)113
Refined petroleum products - imports14,150 (bbl/day)123
Natural gas - production48,970,000,000 (cu m)20
Natural gas - consumption8,590,000,000 (cu m)54
Natural gas - exports40,280,000,000 (cu m)11
Natural gas - proved reserves281,500,000,000 (cu m)42
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy13,290,000 (Mt)93


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use879,000 83
Telephones - mobile cellular8,355,000 85
Internet hosts180,988 75
Internet users1,103,000 95


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports865 7
Railways3,652 (km)46
Roadways80,488 (km)57
Waterways10,000 (km)13
Merchant marine18 98


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures0.90 (% of GDP)135

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

City of Potosí
In the 16th century, this area was regarded as the world’s largest industrial complex. The extraction of silver ore relied on a series of hydraulic mills. The site consists of the industrial monuments of the Cerro Rico, where water is provided by an ...
Fuerte de Samaipata
The archaeological site of Samaipata consists of two parts: the hill with its many carvings, believed to have been the ceremonial centre of the old town (14th–16th centuries), and the area to the south of the hill, which formed the administrative and ...
Historic City of Sucre
Sucre, the first capital of Bolivia, was founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century. Its many well-preserved 16th-century religious buildings, such as San Lázaro, San Francisco and Santo Domingo, illustrate the blending of local arc ...
Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos
Between 1696 and 1760, six ensembles of reducciones (settlements of Christianized Indians) inspired by the ‘ideal cities’ of the 16th-century philosophers were founded by the Jesuits in a style that married Catholic architecture with local traditions ...
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
The National Park is one of the largest (1,523,000 ha) and most intact parks in the Amazon Basin. With an altitudinal range of 200 m to nearly 1,000 m, it is the site of a rich mosaic of habitat types from Cerrado savannah and forest to upland evergr ...
Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture
The city of Tiwanaku, capital of a powerful pre-Hispanic empire that dominated a large area of the southern Andes and beyond, reached its apogee between 500 and 900 AD. Its monumental remains testify to the cultural and political significance of this ...