Monday, January 9, 2012

About Brazil

- Official name: Federal Republic of Brazil.
- Capital: Brasília.
- Area: 8,514,876 sq km, divided into 26 states and one federal district.
- Population: 203 million inhabitants (estimate 2011).
- Population density: 23.8 inhabitants / km ² (with 87% of urban population and 70% of Brazilians living within 100 km of the sea).
- Currency: real (plural reais).
- Official language: Brazilian Portuguese.
- Rules: constitutional democracy. Presidential system.
- Head of state: Dilma Rousseff (PT, center left) since 1 January 2011. This is the first Brazilian woman to hold this position.
- Major religion: Roman Catholic (79% of the population).
- Minimum monthly salary: Rls 510 (about € 230 per month).
- Heritage Sites UNESCO World: Brasilia, the Iguaçu National Park, the historic city of Olinda, the historic center of the city of Diamantina, the historical center of the city of Goiás, central history of Salvador da Bahia, the historic center of São Luis, the sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas, the historic city of Ouro Preto, the Pantanal Conservation Area, the complex of Amazon Conservation Central Coast discovery - the Atlantic Forest Reserves (States of Bahia and Espirito Santo), the Atlantic forest - South-East Reserves (States of Paraná and São Paulo).


International in the doldrums, the Minister of Finance announced that Brazil will be among the top 5 world economies by 2020. The country has considerable advantages: the fifth country in the world's population, Brazil repaid its foreign debt, it is independent of raw materials and mineral resources, and reached energy self-sufficiency.

Brazil is among the leading producers and agri-food industry in the world. Agriculture plays a major role in the economy, although it represents only 6% of GDP, and contributes very significantly to the maintenance of growth. The forest holds riches (rubber, vegetable oils, resins, medicinal plants ...), but the Northern Forest states are affected by the growth of agribusiness.

Nearly a third of the country's GDP comes from industries and mines. Brazil remains a country at different speeds, with poor regions (the Northeast), emerging (states located on the Venezuelan border in Minas Gerais) and developed (large southern states).

Lula has contributed to the emergence of his country as a world power. Better still, he managed to impose on the diplomatic front. The only downside, not least, the lack of interest towards the "landless", the main social movement in Brazil and Latin America, who reproached him for his excitement against land reform.


More than a country in South America, Brazil is a continent in the continent: about 8,512,000 km ², 286 times Belgium, nearly 16 times that of France! "A land of contrasts," said anthropologist Roger Bastide in a formula that had success against materialism brutal mysticism exacerbated magnificent splendor of the carnival against daily misery, against colonial baroque delusions futuristic Brasília, ardent Christian fervor and trance possession of African gods, colossal fortunes against malnutrition rampant ... There is no end to list them.

From the Amazon to the endless colossal Iguaçu Falls, the quadrilateral of drought in the area of the Pantanal wetland, Brazil, reached the extreme nature of the excess. Excess! This may be the key to Brazil. A civilization that is built is falling apart, reborn with crunches, explosions and incredible energy. So come to Brazil for its beaches, for its sun, its music, for the folly of its unique carnival for its tropical forests and jungles of the cities ... and especially to undermine your certainties, to let you eat, gently, without resistance, by the "Indians" and "Indian" natives of this land ... Brazil, a cultural boundary to cross.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lifestyle In Bolivia


Knowledge of Spanish is really an advantage. For the benefit of the trip is also in discussions with the population and few Peruvians or Bolivians speak English.
If you have no knowledge of Spanish, learn a few words and still make a mix "frangnol" is sometimes very understandable. Hard-core backpackers who have learned some Quechua Language to O will be rewarded!


The Post called ECOBOL (Empresa de Correos de Bolivia). The services have improved in major cities. To address mail to (no valuables!): Recipient's name and correo central city name, Bolivia, South America (specify the continent, sometimes the letters arrive in Libya!). It will then ask the window to search by the first letter of your name. The price of postage to Europe is 9 Bs Count 5 days on average in the direction France to Bolivia, one month to send beautiful postcards of the Salar! However, if you put them in envelopes, count 10 days.  The parcel to France is quite safe (around 20 days).

Telephone and telecommunications

International Communications

- From France to Bolivia: 00-591, and city code and subscriber number.
- From Bolivia to France: 00-33 + operator code (10 for ENTEL, if not 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 competitors) + number (9 digits without the leading 0).

It is best to visit the major cities ENTEL to buy a phone card (UNICE) Scratch (from 12 B's, or € 1.20) avoids paying the sum of three minutes each call. There are also card phones (chip) on the streets, airports, post office and some hotels. PCV in France possible. Other operators also offer promos interesting point.


This is where it gets complicated ... Some numbers are slow to be connected in the new numbering. Check the numbers in advance. As for laptops, Bolivians themselves lose their Latin ...

- To call a Bolivian city to another, dial 0, then the city code followed by the telephone number to 7 digits.

- For more information local phone: 104.

The network ENTEL

The trick for urgent communications is to take advantage of an excellent service (cheap also) made available by ENTEL, the local Telecom. Public booths exist in every office ENTEL Bolivia.

You can send and receive faxes anywhere in the world. Just put the first and last name of the person, c / o ENTEL Cabina public (or the phone number of the hotel where you stay Bolivia: it is obvious that it is in the same city as where you can take your fax), then go claim your message with an ID.

For calls, new companies (VIVA COTAS, Telecel ...) compete more networks ENTEL. In large cities, their rates are often much more attractive.


Internet is widely used in Bolivia. In a city, it is always possible to connect from home or an Internet cafe ENTEL. In all cases, prices are almost identical. Takes about 2-4 hours of Bs in major cities like La Paz, Santa Cruz and Sucre, but up to 5 times more expensive in the more remote as Rurrenabaque or Coroico.
To avoid entanglements, we urge you to mark on paper the precise time that you logged.

Transport In Bolivia

The most difficult of the trip! Many tracks, no asphalt, it has its charm ... and disadvantages. If you can, by far prefer the dry season flow, rain making the roads very slippery and impassable tracks. However, the network is improving from year to year even if the comings and goings of old trucks still exists and that soon we may regret that the country is improving its structures too fast ...

Beyond Uyuni, Tupiza or Concepción (Jesuit Missions), the adventure continues ... Arm yourself with patience and plan yourself a comprehensive route while allowing your budget and your kidneys ...


The brake system with cost sharing is common. But check the circuits (and altitudes!) You will have to borrow. This is probably the cheapest way (about half the price of the bus), the most uncomfortable, but also the most typical of visiting the country. But only for backpackers in the long term, because it is the slowest way to travel!
In the mountains, the trucks do not often exceed 20 or 10 km / h.

Car rental

International driver's license required. The choice of an all-terrain vehicle is absolutely necessary, unless you want to be limited to paved roads in the country (approximately 1 500 km). To give you an idea, you can rent a 4x4 from about $ 500 for 7 days, without drivers. For a standard car, it takes about 300 to 500 B (30 to € 50) per day (but this can vary).

You must have over 25 years to drive yourself, but do not recommend this solution to many places. Starting with La Paz where, apart from traffic infernal talent starter coast are almost required to survive!

Also more generally for all regions where the road is unpaved, primarily because it is more difficult to drive on this type of terrain, then because it is very easy to get lost (very rare signs)! In short, ASK WELL. And provide a credit card Visa or MasterCard for the deposit.


The bus and waves are numerous and very cheap, if not particularly fast and safe. Although the difference between a bus (similar to European coaches, some are even equipped with AC / heating and toilets for long journeys) and a micro, smaller (you are keen!) But not necessarily cheaper; a kind rickety vehicle between the truck and school bus.

Given the reduced interior space, luggage always travels on the roof. But not plants or animals, or fragile items ... so it is quickly crowded. To this, add the windows no longer close and often punctured the tires ...

In general, many departures in the late afternoon and early morning to avoid overheating engines and tires (already quite tired). Not to mention cancellations due to rain, dams unexpected schedule changes, breakdowns in nature, and so on. Keep calm and, above all, allow very large if you have a plane to catch!

Companies apply all roughly the same rates. However, they vary in comfort and safety. So much to learn on the water the most modern and secure. The purchases are common and name changes as well.

Otherwise, try at best to take a look at the bus before paying you. Emphasis: do not hesitate to travel more safely for a minimal price difference!

The competition is so fierce that sellers of every company are flocking around the terminal to sell you a ticket on the next bus claimed ready to go. But in fact, one or two other waves may leave before yours. We must therefore get a little ahead and indulge in a little comparison schedules.

Another difference between the companies: comfort. Some only offer bus "standard" other than buses "semi-cama" and "cama", the latter being equipped with reclining seats strong. It is recommended to leave your beautiful alpaca poncho for travel at night.

During the rainy season, some routes (especially in the lower parts of the country) are made very difficult (or impossible) due to flooding. The trails become very slippery. Well informed, because the cancellations are common.

As for luggage, they travel mostly in the hold in the bus, but on the roof in the pickups and vans. Usually they are covered with plastic but, after a long drive by the tracks, you're likely to get your things stained with red ocher.

Finally, the paths Potosí-Tarija, Tarija-Tupiza, Sucre, Cochabamba and La Paz-Coroico (the old road) are not recommended for those who have vertigo.

In small and medium towns, book your tickets as soon as possible.

The planes

Cheap and handy when you have a tight schedule. Indeed, the time savings from the bus is considerable. Most international flights arise both in La Paz (El Alto) and Santa Cruz (Viru-Viru). However, we advise you rather start in Santa Cruz, just to get used to the smooth altitude. Most domestic flights make a stop in Cochabamba, the city at the center of the country is a hub for almost all matches.


Rather slow, sometimes crowded, but they walk better and better.
There are only four lines in the country:
- Oruro-Uyuni-Tupiza-Villazon (Argentine border);
- Uyuni-Avaroa-Calama (Chile);
- Santa Cruz-Yacuiba (re-Argentina border);
- The line of the East Santa Cruz-Quijarro (Brazilian border).

The first two lines are managed by the company Empresa Andina, the other two by Ferroviaria Oriental. All these lines have only one track! There is therefore, in each direction, a few departures per week.

All these lines have only one track! Why, no doubt, there is, in each direction, a few departures per week.

Rates roughly equivalent to the bus ... if you travel economy class. Otherwise, the service clase ejecutivo Expreso del Sur and Wara-Wara (Oruro-Uyuni-Tupiza-Villazón) and service ferrobus with cama and semi-cama (reclining seats very comfortable) and meals on board, on the lines Santa Cruz -Yacuiba and Santa Cruz-Quijarro.

Warning: Tickets are sold only at the station the day of departure. The tail is formed at dawn. You will need to arm yourself with a lot of patience, or through a travel agency that can book in advance for a fee. And the more the path is requested, the stakes rise and more retailers of fake agencies are emerging. Be careful, it can be cold in the trains of the Altiplano, especially in July and August!

Border crossings

Storing the "Tarjeta" stamped paper that you are given upon arrival in Bolivia. This document will be called on exit. In case of loss a fine of Bs 300 (€ 30) will be sought.
Warning: you enter Bolivia by Brazil and Peru, several readers have reported abuse by customs officers, excluding those who will ask you 10 to 20 B (1 to € 2) to put the pad under penalty of leave you hanging around until you lose patience. In this case, explain that you know the law, refuse politely and wait a few moments the situation is defused. Remember that there are changes in time zone between Peru and Bolivia (Peru least 1 h) and between Bolivia and Argentina (over 1 h). This is important because the borders have closing times. They open at 8 am (Bolivia) and close to 17 h 30 (Peruvian hours!).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Traditions In Bolivia

Mercados bolivianos

The market in Bolivia is a forum where the culture is preserved. Unlike other countries where the tourism side outweighs the rest, the focus mercados bolivianos different strata of society in the country, its communicating vessels, its traditions but also its contradictions. The places we chose are all rich in color, flavor and social relations.

- Punata: the absolute winner. The market Punata near Cochabamba occupies a city of nearly 10,000 inhabitants. Like the Moroccan souks, each place has a specialty or area (peppers, corn, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, hats, utensils to make the Chiquita and everything you can imagine). Is held every Tuesday.

- Tarabuco: the classic. The image of Bolivia is often associated with elegant yamaparáez peasants wearing the rise, the conquistador helmet of leather tanned and dressed in ponchos red and orange and purple or black (a sign of mourning). The exchanges are in the streets around the tambo, a colonial court. Here we swapped coca leaves against oranges casually playing the charango. The visit is made from sugar every Sunday.

A tip though: Try to make the market before that of Tarabuco Punata to avoid a big disappointment. Tarabuco is certainly interesting and worth a visit but it is much more touristy and especially Punata market is so big, so so wonderful, that Tarabuco looks like a small market town nearby.

- Tarija: the mercado central Calle Sucre, open daily. The "Chapacos" are nicknamed as the people of Tarija, eat breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea in the traditional supermarket. The food and especially the local bread (los bollos) are extraordinary.

- Cochabamba: every day is held el mercado the Cancha. It is the largest market in South America! Very typical, there is absolutely everything.

- La Paz on the corner of Jimenez and Linares is the market the most amazing (and terrifying!) Of all Bolivia, el mercado de las brujas of hechicería or mercado (the market of witches or witchcraft). On the shelves, magic powders, herbs bizarre frogs, dried insects and all sorts of things essential for Aymara rituals. The product's most wanted here is the llama fetus. According to tradition Aymara, we must bury one to ensure the prosperity and the protection of the Pachamama (Mother Earth). Above all, do not buy a llama fetus (prohibited exports) and do not take photos without the permission of a witch.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sports and Leisure in Bolivia


In Bolivia, the football played an indisputable role of catalyst in the rise of the country on the front of the international scene, after its economic success. Remember, football is probably the best way to start a conversation with the local population.

The football academy Tahuichi tonne, based in Santa Cruz, the Basque Xavier Azkargorta and the national team are part of contemporary history of Bolivia. At the time of economic and political turning point of 1993, Bolivia has regained its pride with the poor kids rescued from the streets of Santa Cruz, formed by a rehabilitation program, and are now the pillars of the national team. Bolivia has become the country's revival of football in Latin America, shattering the image of "football money."

Jacques Chirac defended it to play Bolivia in La Paz the qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup. To thank him, Bolivians have awarded the honorary medal most of the country.
Since 2007, Bolivia has been engaged in a battle against FIFA, which for reasons of health of the players, wants to ban matches at above 2,500 m altitude.


The climbers will enjoy in Bolivia. With the Himalayas, the Andes is a paradise for mountain trekkers (the "mountain climbing"). The area around La Paz offers exceptional potential for lovers of long walks, descending to the Yungas as climbing to the "6000" (Huayna Potosi, Illimani, Sajama). The infrastructure is still underdeveloped, however: few refuges, and so little help ... few tourists!

For further Information visit:

And others ...

Apart from "King Football" many opportunities available to the backpacker sports. Windsurfing on Lake Titicaca (provided you have a good combination), cycling velodrome in the world's highest in La Paz, mountain biking at 4000 m altitude (La Paz), rafting in the Yungas, hiking or horseback across the nine departments of the country, swimming in rivers and tropical lakes (preferably free of "piranhas" well informed before making a dive) or the Golf in Santa Cruz or La Paz.

At the games include a version of Poker equivalent to five dice, cachos. It also practices sapo game which involves throwing coins into the mouth of a toad, tin, and "play games" that you do not practice: the Tinku, this ritual combat in northern Potosí that would Mike Tyson may flee ...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Health and Safety in Bolivia

An extra precaution on hygiene in Bolivia: a number of diseases are transmitted by pork (tapeworms, trichinosis, etc.).. Avoid what is fricassees, sandwiches and chola chicharrones, and Chuletas pork meat if you do not seem undercooked. Pork said chancho, cerdo or cuchi.

Dangers and annoy

Despite its reputation as a "land of coups," Bolivia, which also displays 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, can boast of being one of the safest countries on the continent. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in petty crime, with situations and methods that are reminiscent of those of Peru.

Travellers should be well informed to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on traffic conditions in Bolivia.


This is because it is very easy to become isolated or in endless stretches of virgin forests that one must be careful because the backup in case of accidents are rare. The first recommendation is elementary: do not go alone. Hiring the services of a travel agency. If you go in the Salar, South Lipez, Amazonian national parks or in places very remote, better check that the agency is also equipped with a radio.

The second recommendation is the same ilk: it is advisable for backpackers traveling in more remote areas (Beni, South Lipez ...), with communication restricted to phone the embassy before departure, to communicate its route and leave the details of the persons to contact in case of problems.

The mountain deserves special attention: trekking the Inca Trail (in the Yungas), let alone the mountaineering, require a minimum of experience, good physical condition, an adaptation to altitude (more than 3000 m) at least 1 week and of course good equipment. Do not underestimate the peaks and Bolivian remembers that the dry season (May-October) is the only recommended if you go for the first time. From the forest also requires special precautions.


Various schemes and scams have unfortunately developed. The places where we must be vigilant: Copacabana, La Paz, the borders with Peru and Brazil. Beware of pickpockets in the bus terminals and railway stations (woe to him who gives up her bag, if only a few seconds) and false Interpol agents in civilian clothes who ask papers and vaccination certificates, then searching your bags and pockets. Always ask them to present their books and do not hesitate to call a policeman in uniform.
Backpackers who are not accustomed to travel in Latin America avoid venturing into the villages where there is the "gold fever" Tipuani, Mapiri and other located between the departments of La Paz and Beni.

Socio-economic instability

From time to time, bloqueos (roadblocks), paros indefinidos (work stoppages) and other huelgas (strikes) paralyze a city or an entire region of the country. In recent years it has become more common, especially during election periods, to the point of disturbing affect on tourism. For 2 or 3 days or more, the whole economy of the region which may be suspended.

These social movements are often advertised at least one week in advance. But with the rise of tensions since the election of Evo Morales in December 2005, the disturbances become unpredictable and significantly worse than normal children. If you ever find yourself stuck, you should just take it out or your courage to walk to bus or taxi a few miles of blocked entries cities. Or try to catch a plane (air travel are often spared).

Note also that the region of Chapare (Cochabamba) is set to become a permanent source of violence between coca growers and the armed forces, due to excess plantations of coca leaves, as well as Santa Cruz and Tajira, rich cities plains that are home to most protest movements for regional autonomy.

Accommodation in Bolivia

There are many cheap hotels, if we accept a minimum of comfort. It is still better to sleep in his sleeping bag on the bed or in his sleeping bag in the tropics. Although these addresses are often very clean, furniture is usually outdated or dilapidated, lived well mattresses and sheets are nickel but a little thin ... Remember to bring a pair of flip flops or plastic sandals, always practical when making use of shared bathrooms.

Pensions (or residential) are interesting because they offer discounted prices when you stay several days. There are taxes (usually included in small hotels).

The cheapest hotels are called Alojamientos. The breakfast is rarely included in the price.

There are more and more boutique hotels in price quite reasonable. These hotels, the category "average prices" have the advantage of combining a certain comfort, original decoration, an owner's commitment to quality care and often a central location.
In this category of hotels, called Hostal, the city of Sucre won the best score, followed by La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Of course, in places like Coroico, Sorata, the Jesuit missions, there are also hotels that will appeal to backpackers. Even the cold city of Uyuni is one now.

Lovers of big hotels with marble bar, pool and beautiful hostesses at the reception will be interested in La Paz, Cochabamba and especially in Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Geography, climate and weather at Bolivia


Bolivia is home to the Altiplano, valleys and the Amazon, the wonders of this Vespucci saw as the "earthly paradise". In addition to the blank spaces and grandiose of the Altiplano, the vegetation is one of the most fascinating wealth of Bolivia.

The Puya Raimondi found in the park Comanche flower valleys or orchids Amboró Park, not to mention the giant cactus of the Salar de Uyuni and carnivorous plants in the Amazon.

The Altiplano

This high plateau (above 3000 m) is surrounded by two mountain ranges. Including a worthy competitor of the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. To the east of the Altiplano, the Cordillera Real: 500 km long, 30 km wide and 300 peaks over 5000 meters! To the west, the Western Cordillera and volcanic peaks such as Sajama (6500 m), or Payachatas Licancabur (this beautiful volcano behind the Laguna Verde).

It is also found on the Altiplano large lakes in Bolivia: Lake Titicaca, lakes Uru-Uru and Poopó south of Oruro, or the deserts of Uyuni salt and Coipasa, South Lipez with Colorada and Laguna Verde.

The Yungas

It is northeast of La Paz that is the region where the Andes marry the Amazon. It is this region of lush vegetation that supplies the city of all the exotics of your dreams.

The valleys

1 500 to 2 500 m, the valleys are characterized by a mild climate and lush vegetation. Its fertile soil make this region the breadbasket of Bolivia.

The Chaco

Here is an area that marked the painful history of Bolivia (Chaco War in the 1930s). Rich in oil, the area dry, flat stretches on the southeast corner of Eastern in the confines of Paraguay. Because of its low population density, there is a sample of rare varieties of fauna and flora.

El Oriente

This is the Oriente itself. Despite some idea of
​​Bolivia, the region occupies 67% of its surface. Area hot plains, lush vegetation, it is now the main economic hope of the country (Santa Cruz became the locomotive of progress Bolivia). The Amazon and the Pantanal (the largest in the world) are there.

National Parks

There are currently twenty parks and protected areas in Bolivia. In total, these areas of the biosphere are 100 000 km ². The word "park" means first of all reserves. Few places are indeed marked or guarded by gamekeepers. Hikers, do you not venture without a guide and feel free to use the services of an agency.  It is in some of these parks that are the hidden gems of Bolivia.


The tropical location of Bolivia that the seasons and climate are directly related to major geological zones that determine the climate. First the Altiplano at over 3000 m above sea level, surrounded by the Cordillera of the Andes to the east (over 500 km long!) And the Western Cordillera to the west. In July and August, in the heart of the dry season it can get very cold at night (this is the southern winter), but mild enough during the day (15-20 ° C) if the blizzard does not blow; rare rain in June and July.

Then the temperate valleys in the center of the country east of the Cordillera, where it will remove the wool from July to August. And finally, contrasts: the Amazon and the plains of the east (El Oriente, 67% of the country) with hot winter to 30 ° C (in Trinidad and Rurrenabaque) or Surazos (cold winds of Patagonia) that require them to pull out the alpaca under the coconut trees of the square of Santa Cruz from July to August!

For backpackers who go to the Salar and Lipez, provide thermal underwear and good wind. At the Laguna Verde, it can do to - 30 ° C at night! The best time to visit Bolivia is during the dry season that is to say from May to October. The wet season from November to March, brings, in turn, a strong and stifling heat in the plains and the Amazon basin.

Not easy, therefore, to provide the best clothing. Get ready for all types of situation: the swimsuit ... the jacket. In general, light and equip themselves backpackers buy locally complement, wool clothing is common and cheap.

While the dry season is of course advisable, Bolivia has so many climates and microclimates that can, without hesitation, to get all year.

A few notes

- Although the roads in Bolivia are improving, we must reflect this climatic cycle for travel. Especially in the Amazon flights are canceled if it rains too much, and sugar due to fog.

- In the Oriente, from June to August, temperatures can in a few hours from 30 to 10 ° C. With the humidity, it can be annoying.

- A small note unpleasant during the month of August, the country can be covered with a dense smoke (chaqueo), the result of burning of land in the Bolivian Amazon and Brazil. Experts say the practice, associated with the greenhouse effect, is currently having a strong impact on the cycle of rain in Bolivia. The glaciers of the Cordillera Real are melting. Cordillera governs the whole climate of Bolivia, both in the Andes in the Amazon....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Culture of Bolivia

The paths of the Baroque

In 1992, the foundation Paribas and Lorraine house record 617 K launched an ambitious but eccentric to say the least. This is a program of re-discovery of this cultural movement that is the baroque. Thus were born the "Chemins du Baroque".

Bolivia is the country most baroque of Latin America, through its rich art, music, paintings, churches and sculptures.


- At Potosi: the Casa de la Moneda, the convent of Santa Teresa, the gate of San Lorenzo, the interior of the church of San Martín, the Church of Manquiri around ...

- The church of La Merced, the Church of San Francisco, the University Museum, the university, the church of San Miguel, the Convent of Santa Clara, the Recoleta, the cathedral and, to finish off, the jewels of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

- At La Paz: the home of Accounts Arana (the National Museum of Art), the Church of San Francisco. Do not forget the church of Copacabana with its dome azulejo nor the circuit Baroque churches of the Altiplano.

- Between La Paz and Oruro are the churches of Carabuco, Sica Sica and Curahuara. They are more or less in the way of the Camino Real, which linked the Potosí, the financial center of the Viceroyalty of Peru, in Lima, the administrative capital.

- Jesuit Missions of San Javier, Santa Ana, San Miguel and the wonderful church of San José de Chiquitos is the extraordinary set of 75 years of Jesuit presence in South America. The Bolivian Baroque missions, a mixture of art Guarani tribes and missionaries in Switzerland and Austria, is a treat.

- The Blessed: the mission of San Ignacio de Moxos, do not miss the celebration of July 31, during which the musicians leave the Bajon, the panpipes of the largest in the world. 

- For tables see the Museum of Art in La Paz, the Casa de Murillo in La Paz and the Casa de la Moneda in Potosí.


For lovers of Andean music, the real, Bolivia remains the cradle of the charango, the kena and zampoña. The charango, the region of Potosi, is the adaptation of the Andean guitar Italian baroque orchestras. It is with the kena, the most popular instrument in Bolivia. Can be found charangos honorable in shops or markets. The wind instruments of Andean Bolivia have meanwhile not yet been a comprehensive inventory. There are perhaps half a thousand different varieties! 

Baroque music, coupled with the contemporary music of Bolivia, which began to form in the trenches of the Chaco War, will follow a long and tortuous path before reaching its final recognition in the 1990s through the work of several groups.

You will be able to hear the contemporary music, and all other styles of music found in Bolivia, at parties, in the street markets, radio and, of course, in Peñas, those restaurants where artists took turns playing the traditional music or original compositions. Warning, these have become peñas tourist haunts, where you pay a bit expensive sometimes interpreted average....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Food and Drink of Bolivia

Bolivian Kitchen

Bolivian cuisine is not particularly varied, but it has the merit to decline in many forms it has the ingredients, starting with potatoes! To decorate, there are pasta, grains of the Andes, the meat of camels, cattle and sheep that roam the Altiplano and the flesh of fish ... freshwater (Titicaca, rivers, Amazon).

It is popular in restaurants, such as markets, you will find the food the most "typical" and the cheapest. Disadvantages: the choice is extremely limited and general hygiene not always guaranteed.


- The ubiquitous potato is the staple food of the Andean peoples. Do not miss it, el ají of papalisa (dish made of potatoes, meat and onions) which is prepared in Cochabamba. Finally, there is the Chuño, also called Moraya Tuntas or specialty of the central Andes. This ingredient is ancestral becoming a starchy star of the new Andean cuisine.

- The grain of the Andes, including quinoa, delicious soup or milk, was the staple diet Inca. There are also a lot of bread or pasta.

You must try especially to:

- Sajta de pollo: chicken + peppers.

- Aji de lengua: beef tongue + peppers.

- Anticuchos: skewered beef heart + peppers.

- Fricassé: dish with pork and corn.

- Empanada Salten: specialty from the north of Argentina. It's kind of shoe with meat and onions, excellent when it's hot.

- Chicharrones: pieces of pork (mostly) grilled. They are found everywhere in the markets.

- Parillada: pieces of meat and offal (tripe, steak, heart, kidneys, etc..) Grilled over a wood fire. It brings parillada on small portable grills to cook and it ends at the table.

- In the series meat, two courses are popular with backpackers: the pacumutu (skewered meat) and pique macho (spicy mixture of meat, potatoes, onions and other vegetables). The top pic is the macho meat surubí in Cochabamba.

- All soups (sopas) are excellent and not expensive at all.

- Finally, as the desserts are not the high country, you take the opportunity to taste the delicious fruits, which are found everywhere, in abundance: mangoes, oranges, papayas and co!

- The water is not potable throughout Bolivia. Even in areas that benefit from water system safe to drink, the service is not continuous. We can therefore speak of water as a scarce resource. Prefer bottled water. Cheap mineral water are available in virtually every city.

- Bolivians take a hot drink, sweet and thick corn-based violet, cinnamon and cloves for breakfast. It's called api, and it's energy and burning!

Other popular hot drink in the morning, jugo quinoa, mix milk, quinoa and apple juice, vitamins very. The morning coffee is always mixed with the milk, otherwise the tintura (coffee concentrate) is really too Carabineer to drink in small black version. The mate de coca will be offered everywhere, especially as a welcome drink when you arrive in the heights. If you like the taste, feel free to try Trimate composed of coca, chamomile and anise.

- In Tarija, be sure to taste the Aloja, a sweet drink made from grains (wheat, corn or quinoa). You can enjoy the near basketball court, in the main market and around the cemetery.

- As for drinks, try the Papaya Salvietti. Apart from its exotic, it tastes like liquid gelatin terrible. You can also try the Coca Colla, on sale since spring 2010. This new soft drink has the color of Coca-Cola, a packaging and a similar name, but the comparison stops there. The word refers to the Colla indigenous peoples of the Bolivian Altiplano and the soda does contain extracts of coca leaves.

- The chicha (a drink made of corn and fruits) Bolivia is better than the Peruvian. In Santa Cruz, you may be surprised since there is often chicha consumed no alcohol.

- On another note: the Urquell in Prague, the best pilsener for connoisseurs of the world, has a serious competitor: the Paceña of La Paz. Teased Cochabamba is eaten fresh with a good dish gargantuan valley. The Huari Oruro and Potosina (from guess where) should not be overlooked.

- As for wines, the amateur will visit the region of Tarija, for a tour, tasting, local farms. Our favorites are the wines Concepción and Kohlberg.

- In Santa Cruz, try the Culip, alcohol from sugar cane. For those who prefer soft drinks, try the somo, a cool drink and delicious corn-based.

- The Singani, grappa Bolivia. Enjoy it as a cocktail: Chuflay, as pisco sour in Lima, yungueñito with orange juice or, best of the best, Tumbo cocktail with a tropical fruit of the Yungas.

- A word of caution: the Bolivians have a party "to Bacchus." Station then alcohol!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Money, banking, foreign exchange and many more about Bolivia

The national currency is the Boliviano, indicated by the abbreviation B, sometimes also called peso (its former name). Beware of old notes that you pass sometimes glued together: they are valid, but only if the serial number is the same right and left of the ticket.

- End of 2010, € 1 was worth about 9 B, a USD Bs around 7 We rounded up the rate of 1 € = 10 Bs

- To have bolivianos, two options: withdraw cash with a credit card in the cities where we indicate that there are distributors, increasingly easy to find, or change dollars or in banks or in the casas de cambio (exchange offices), found everywhere. Almost identical rates. Can often change on the street also, again at a rate close to the official rate, or in many hotels. Most hotels, restaurants and some shops accept dollars for payment.

Many casas de cambio are open every day as banks, they are generally open Monday to Friday from 8 am from 30 to 12 h 30 h 14 and from 30 to 18: 30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm .

- Traveler's checks are exchanged in exchange offices and banks rarely, usually at the cost of a commission that may be more or less important. Less convenient than cash, then, but we can repay them in case of theft or loss. Note they can also be a means of payment in travel agencies, as in Uyuni and Rurrenabaque, but they then take, in general, a committee of at least 3%.

- The euro is now accepted in major tourist cities, including in the street. But many of the banks still refuse. As a precaution, prefer dollars.

Payment cards

Do not rely too much on the credit card to pay your expenses, you can use it in some hotels, restaurants and shops of La Paz, Sucre and Santa Cruz. However, you will find in most cities of ATMs (cajeros automáticos) accepts Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus. Withdrawal by the Commission is normally set at 3 USD, but check anyway with your bank before leaving.

- Warning: vending machines issuing tickets first and then the machine makes the card.


Bolivia is a country where the cost of living is very cheap, where you can quietly make his journey for a very low cost, from time to time, afford real luxury without stopping his bank account. Excluding anything you can buy, and the various excursions, we can totally, including bus travel, live decently with € 20 per day!

However, the economy is "dollarized" and the prices vary depending on the tourism demand, the level of development where they are found or the distance of that production centers. And Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the villages of Beni and Pando or Uyuni, far from everything, show prices 30-40% higher than the valleys of the Andean region.


Prices are those we give you a double room. If you travel alone, take 30 to 50%. For a room with double bed, ask a marriage, because a double or twin habitación usually involves twin beds (there are rarely marriage in hotels in the first category).

- Very cheap: less than 60 B (6 €).
- Cheap: 60 to 80 B (6 to € 8).
- Moderate Price: from 80 to 140 Bs (8-14 €).
- Average Prices: from 140 to 240 B (14 to € 24) or about 20 to $ 35.
- More chic: from 240 to 350 B (24 to € 35) or about 35 to $ 50.
- Chic (only in major cities or popular tourist areas like Uyuni): over 350 Bs (€ 35) or about $ 50.


Here, prices are those of a flat map (often more than enough to be able to do without something else). Note that many restaurants also offer a almuerzo (input and / or soup, main course and dessert sometimes) cheap lunch (usually for 20 to 40 B, 2 to € 4).
- Very cheap: about 10 B (1 €).
- Budget: less than 25 Bs (€ 2.50).
- Average Prices: 25 to 40 B (2.50 to € 4).
- A little more chic: 40 to 50 Bs (4-5 €).
- More chic (only in La Paz, Sucre, Trinidad and Santa Cruz): 50 B (5 €) and more.


Some excursions (Salar de Uyuni, Rurrenabaque, mountain climbing, Amboró parks, and Kempff Isiboro Secure, and the Pantanal) need to go through a specialized agency. Provide 200-B (20 €) per day (Salar and South Lipez, Rurrenabaque) to more than $ 500 (€ 350) for a trip of a week full board in the parks and the center of the Amazon. Also keep 25 USD or 177 Bs (€ 17.70) for the airport tax International in La Paz or Santa Cruz.


Bolivia has a rich handicraft. Bargaining takes place in the markets. Bolivian prices remain among the best Latin American and crafts sold in Peru is most often manufactured in Bolivia.

- Alpaca: the beautiful sweaters, many producers, increased competition, then negotiate.

- Angora: to go to the Salar and Lipez, you will need thermal underwear angora sport. Wool is a high-end.

- Antiques: you have to pay very, very expensive to acquire an original piece. In addition, you can not repatriate that by requesting permission from the Ministry of Culture.

- Baroque Art: beautiful replicas of Baroque painting are for sale in La Paz and Cochabamba. Pieces carved wooden extraordinary bill (details of the Jesuit missions) are offered by the artists who restored San Javier, Concepción and Santa Ana.

- Silver Jewellery: paradoxically, Potosí does not offer a great choice. You will find them in La Paz.

- Wood: carved pieces representing Aymara and Quechua. Also amazing chess sets made of precious wood from the Amazon.

- Bowler hat and leather boots: the very British bowlers, known here as the "Borsalino" cholitas of La Paz or the beautiful hats Charcas Glorieta de Sucre if you want something class. As for leather, there are very nice backpacks, jackets and also clothes that would go very well with Uma Thurman, all in La Paz.

- Devils and other masks: Bolivia has a variety of masks worthy of his dances, with a limitless variety. Can be found on Calle La Paz to Oruro and La Paz.

- Ceramic Figurines: the famous dioremas, miniatures of the characters typical Bolivian. These are cholitas, musicians or llamas. You will find them in La Paz.

- Musical instruments: there are enormous: charangos (preferably wood), wind instruments: kena (notched vertical flute), zampoña (Andean panpipes), the tarka (large wooden whistle sounding hoarse) .

- Ll'uchus (caps): as in Peru, there is a choice between ll'uchu Aymara, simpler but it covers the entire head, Quechua, most beautiful but still above the forehead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Useful Addresses keep while going to Bolivia

In France

- Embassy of Bolivia: 12, avenue du Président Kennedy, 75116 Paris. M. Passy.

- Embassy: 01-42-24-93-44. Offices open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 12 am and 14 am to 17 pm No tourist information available on Bolivia, but can receive by mail or fax photocopies of the documents you want. But it is better to contact the association Wayra, the "club of backpackers' of Bolivia.

- Honorary Consulate of Marseille: The Négresko 2, 14, rue Négresko, 13008 Marseille. Tel. : 04-91-22-67-70. Email:

- Honorary Consulate of Bordeaux: 12, place de la Bourse, 33076 Bordeaux. Tel. : 05-56-79-50-00. Email: consulat.bordeaux @

In Belgium

- Embassy of Bolivia: Avenue Louise 176, Box 6, 6th floor, Brussels 1050. Tel: 02-647-27-18. Email: @ embajada.bolivia

- Same address for the consulate.

In Switzerland

Honorary Consulate: Sevogelplatz 2, 4052 Basel. Tel: 061-312-44-45.

- Permanent Mission to International Organizations: 139, rue de Lausanne (6th floor), 1202 Geneva. Tel: 022-908-07-17. Email: @ mission.bolivia.

In Canada

- Embassy of Bolivia 130 Albert Street, Suite 416, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4-. Tel: 613-236-82-37. Email: @ embolivia.ottawa


- Passport valid at least 6 months after the date of return.

- Since 1996, Bolivia no longer require visas for tourists French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian. But beware, this can be challenged at any time. INQUIRE WITH ABSOLUTELY CONSULATE PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. For arrivals by plane, you are issued a residence permit usually for 30 days.

Free to extend it to 60 more days to go to the office Migración of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Trinidad, Oruro and Uyuni. Otherwise, just go out, you will pay each additional day.

- International Driving Permit: essential for those wishing to rent a car and even a moped. For motorists, it must be validated on site by the Automobile Club of Bolivia and the traffic police (Tránsito). A temporary permit may be obtained upon presentation of a foreign license (2 days and about approaches $ 50 fee).

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

The ISIC prove student status in the world and can enjoy all the benefits, services, student discounts on transport, accommodation, culture, recreation, shopping ...
The ISIC also provides access to exclusive benefits on travel (airfare, hotels and hostels, insurance, SIM cards, car rental ...).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

About Bolivia

- Population: 9,975,600 inhabitants.
- Area: 1,098,581 sq km (or 2 times that of France).
- Capital: Sucre is the constitutional capital. La Paz is the seat of government.
- Density: 9.4 inhabitants / km ².
- Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua, Aymara and Guarani.
- Currency: Boliviano.
- Plan: parliamentary republic. Current president Evo Morales, elected in December 2009 with over 63% of votes.
- President of the Republic, Evo Morales (elected in December 2005).
- GDP per capita: 1,500 USD.
-Heritage Sites UNESCO World: the city of Potosí (1987), the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos (1990), the historical city of Sucre (1991), Fort Samaipata (1998), the Noel Kempff National Park Mercado (2000), the Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture (2000).


The hydrocarbons represent a quarter of the GDP of Bolivia. Natural gas, oil topped the list of export products, and zinc, tin and soybeans. Both suppliers and major customers of Bolivia are Brazil (40% of Bolivian imports) and the United States.

In recent years, the press has been much talk of lithium, a metal that is found mainly in the salt desert of Uyuni. Bolivia possesses nearly half of the world. This material, called white gold Bolivian interests the global industry and manufacturers of battery electric cars. Bolivia wants to keep hold of the industrialization of its lithium.

Since the 1970s, the economy switches from the Andes to the plains of Santa Cruz. La Paz has been replaced as the economic capital to the thriving city of Santa Cruz. After the "lost decade" (the 1980s: it embraces all of Latin America), Bolivia has pursued a liberal path after collecting one billion dollars in investments. The "social fracture" is obvious, but everything is relative with the appearance of a real middle class.

Since 1995, Bolivia set up a system of liberal reform of the economy leading to privatization of hydrocarbons. In July 1996, it signed a free trade agreement with Mercosur. In 1999, it inaugurated a gas pipeline the longest in the world, built mainly to supply the industries of Southeast Brazil.

At his inauguration in January 2006, Evo Morales vowed to nationalize the hydrocarbons.
The IMF in late 2009, highlighted the country's sound economic management, which would allow a GDP growth of over 3%, the best of Latin America.


Bolivia is Latin America as we imagine. It is primarily the inexhaustible treasury of Potosi, which funded the entradas, expeditions in the Amazon in search of the mythical El Dorado.

When we think of Andean music, it is always the air of Bolivia we tickle the ears and say that even the Lambada came from there. Remember also that the father, the famous potato was brought from that country and presented to Louis XVI through the culinary talents of Parmentier and knowledge in agronomy. And then there Bolívar, Che Guevara and before him the Jesuit missions, the Incas and Tiwanakus, part of the Latin American world. All were the source of inspiration for many adventures, including those designed by the famous reporter ... Hergé

Bolivia has fed our childhood dreams! The wide open spaces of the Pantanal wetlands or geometry displays the Salar de Uyuni, the peaks of the Cordillera Real magnificent cathedrals or volcanic park Amboró. Bolivia is the Andes and Amazon, nature and culture at a time.

But she lives to the rhythm of Latin America real today, torn between an ancestral way of life and the pressures of the world market. Chills and revolutionary speculative temptations openly defy them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Belize Itineraries

Belize City and the surrounding

  •      Baron Bliss Memorial and Fort George Lighthouse
  •      Museum of Belize
Near Belize City
  •      Community Baboon Sanctuary, the Sanctuary of howler monkeys
  •      Altun Ha, a Mayan site
  •      The Belize Zoo
  •      Turneffe Atoll

Originally from Orange Walk
  •      The Mayan site of Lamanai
Ambergris Caye and San Pedro

 San Pedro is the largest city on the island of Ambergris Caye, more and more American than Caye Caulker. Despite some constructions, the northern part of the island is still pretty wild.

Caye Caulker

The perfect place for a course of peace and lobster in season, in an atmosphere of holiday village, far more relaxed and cool. The streets are sand we walk barefoot in the village. No cars.
  •      Blue Hole dive site in Belize's most famous
  •      Hol Chan Marine Reserve, site of a break in the reef (excursions departing from Caye Caulker). Beautiful diving.
From San Ignacio

     The archaeological site of Xunantunich

Dangriga and surrounding

     Gales Point, one end of the world which houses a Creole community

Tobacco Caye
  •      Glover's Reef, one of the most beautiful atolls of Belize
  •      Cockscomb Basin Sanctuary, the first nature reserve in the world devoted mainly to jaguars.
Diving and snorkelling

From Punta Gorda
  •      The Maya site of Nim Li Punit
  •      Blue Creek Cave tour that promises a magnificent landscape of turquoise sinuant river in the  jungle.
  •      Sapodilla Caves, surely the most natural and most beautiful Belize.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lifestyle in Belize

Time difference

The same as in Guatemala, 7 at 8 under with the season.


110 volts and flat-pronged plugs. An adapter.


The Creole English of the country is a mixed or broken up Français. Nice to hear but hard to understand. Fortunately, all Belizeans will ask you the question in English from Oxford: Where are you going?

And if you really do not understand, try the Spanish: at least one third of Belizeans speak it.
If you experience Mennonites, try the German they use a dialect of Low German.
It is probably with the Garifuna (around Dangriga) you have the most difficulty. Though! When the Garifuna allied to the French island of St. Vincent against the English, they took the fourth of our vocabulary. For example, if you hear a Yamama, it will include "yes, ma'am!" Finally, in the south, the Indians speak Mayan languages
​​as MOPAN or Kekchi.

Telephone and telecommunications


- From France to Belize: 00-501 + number.
- From Belize to France: 00-33 + number without the first 0.

The numbers are 7 digits in the country. No indication to do. Many booths for national calls and international agencies, especially near BTL (Belize Telecommunications Limited), easily identifiable by their purple and white buildings.

One can buy such a prepaid card (prepaid card), which is actually a receipt that displays a pin code to be dialed before each call. Can call a cab for a great rate. Cards 5, 10, 20, 30 and $ 50 Bz.


You can buy the card BTL agencies Digicel SIM card to insert into your laptop (about $ 55 Bz, including $ 10 Bz communication). Refills of the amount you want or use of the code of the prepaid card to make calls.


You will find no problem in Internet cafes and tourist cities in Belize City. The hotels do not offer any position with internet access. However, the wifi is quite widespread. Convenient for those traveling with a laptop (laptop).