Living in Bolivia
Road blockade on the Altiplano
According to homosociety, Bolivia is one of the safest countries in Latin America. In view of the still widespread poverty, this appears to be a paradox, but corresponds to reality, even if there has been a significant increase in crime in recent years. This particularly applies to the lowlands and the regions there where drug trafficking (mostly cocaine) has spread. Most of the crimes committed against foreigners, however, still consist of bag and trick theft without the use of force.
As in other countries, greater caution is generally required in the centers of large cities – and there especially in places that are heavily frequented by tourists, such as bus stations. At night you shouldn’t walk long distances there, but get around in a private car or radio taxi.
Due to the unstable political situation after the election fraud and the subsequent resignation of President Evo Morales, demonstrations or road blockades can occur at any time. Caution and restraint are absolutely advisable here, even if foreigners are rarely the target or cause of the arguments.
By far the greatest risk factor when staying and traveling in Bolivia is and remains road traffic. Bad road conditions, lack of vehicle lighting, excessive speed, alcohol and fatigue lead to a series of serious accidents involving foreigners every year.
When dealing with the military and police, one should exercise a certain degree of caution to avoid inconvenience. In addition to the after-effects of the dictatorship, poor training and low pay, as well as the spirit of the corps and the high level of corruption, contribute to the fact that the police have little reputation among the population. Again and again there are cases in which active police officers are involved in robberies, fraud and theft.
For further information, please refer to the detailed safety instructions from the Foreign Office for Bolivia, which are constantly updated and include a political assessment.
Telecommunication and internet
Satellite communication in rural Bolivia
Antenna forest above Sucre
With regard to the supply of telecommunications services, there is also a concentration on the seat of government and the main cities. The majority of landlines are in La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. However, the telephone network has been expanded significantly in recent years, so that landlines are available even in remote locations. The most famous providers are Entel, Viva, Cotel, Cotas and Tigo.
The telecommunications companies now offer high-speed internet such as LAN, DSL, ADSL and WiFi. There are internet cafes almost everywhere: Bolivia is one of the countries with the largest number of internet cafes. In addition, many of these stores can download photos from digital cameras and burn them to CD.
The cellular network (GSM 850, GSM 1900) is also concentrated in the cities, but it is also improving a lot in the rest of the country from year to year. The majority of Bolivians now have a cell phone. In addition to the companies already mentioned, the most important providers are the German roaming partners Entel and Viva (formerly: Nuevatel PCS de Bolivia). However, a SIM card (pre-paid) is the cheapest option for most visitors. Which provider is ultimately the best also depends on the respective location and should be inquired about locally.
The list of the rapidly growing Internet service providers (ISP) helps you to establish initial contact and to find out about the respective conditions.
Food and drinks
Bolivian meat bags
Bolivian grape brandy
Here you can find recipes for typical dishes of the Bolivian cuisine, such as the “Salteñas” dumplings filled with meat and vegetables. Also typical are the “Lomo Montado” (steak with two eggs, garnished with rice and fried banana as a side dish), “Picante de Pollo” (chicken, fried potatoes, rice and salad with chilli), “Chuño” (dried potatoes that are in Chairo soup can be cooked) and “Lechón al Horno” (suckling pig with sweet potatoes and plantains). “Chicha” (fermented corn or peanut beer) and coca tea (recommended to counteract the altitude sickness “sorojchi”) are typical Bolivian drinks. Alcoholic beverages, such as the one with “Singani”, Bolivians like to talk to, especially on festivals and holidays.
Health and Social Services
State health post in the country
According to WHO data from 2015, life expectancy is 68 years for men and 73 years for women. The child mortality rate is 36.4 per 1,000 births. The leading cause of death in children is stomach and intestinal diseases.
The medical care situation varies according to the urban-rural gap, with rural regions being disadvantaged. The frequent lack of or difficult access to health services, social problems, environmental pollution, insufficient food supply, inadequate hygiene practices and lack of access to (drinking) water are often reasons for diseases and epidemics. Due, among other things, to poor living conditions, tuberculosis, malaria, Chagas disease and yellow fever are widespread in large parts of the country and especially in the tropical, humid lowlands. In 2009, a dengue fever epidemic broke out in Bolivia, affecting more than 30,000 people. In addition to the WHO, the PAHO is also monitoring(Pan American Health Organization) the health situation in Bolivia. While AIDS is less of a problem than in other developing countries, it is recommended that further follow-up to AIDS developments is recommended.
In addition to conventional medicine, the ” Kallawaya ” or natural healers still play an important role, especially in rural areas. In addition to the application of medicine from flora, fauna and minerals, the natural healers use specific rituals for various clinical pictures.
According to the latest studies, the tsimans from the northern lowlands are considered to be the world’s healthiest population in terms of cardiovascular and vascular diseases. The extent to which diet or lifestyle as a whole are responsible for this is still being debated.
The corona pandemic in Bolivia
Since it first appeared in Bolivia at the beginning of March 2020, the corona pandemic has developed into a multi-dimensional crisis, with diverse effects on the health of the population, politics, as well as the economy and society.