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).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Transportation in Belize


We travel mainly by bus. Several airlines serve the country. Travel preferably early in the morning, the frequencies are dwindling in the afternoon.


Several shipping lines provide connections to the islands, including one to Chetumal across the Mexican border. These are very powerful outboard.


The International Driving Permit is normally required. Pick-up 4x4 or indispensable, given the road conditions. Only crossings north-south and east-west are currently paved and in good condition. The rest of the track is sometimes very rocky.

Driving in Belize requires a good control of the vehicle and a lot of vigilance, at least we want to move away from the main roads.

Otherwise, we can not say that the roads are busy. Then it is not always easy to obtain confirmation of a direction when signaling fails. Count about $ 200 Bz per day for a pick-up. Barely more expensive than a conventional passenger car. Therefore not given.


Both companies share the domestic country: Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. Their small planes commute with the keys and the main cities. Tropic Air also provides links to Flores, Guatemala.

Tradition and Culture in Belize


Difficult to find more churches of different denominations as small a scope and with a population as unimportant! Given its history, Belize remains heavily Christianized (62% Catholic, about 25% of Anglicans, Baptists, etc...), But many minorities are present: Buddhist, Hindu, Mayan syncretism, and so on.

The Mennonites

Here is the ethnic-religious minority most surreal of Central America! In this colorful country, populated by Creoles and mestizos, they immediately notice they are white Europeans, often blond. The women are distinguished by their long black and red dress and a scarf that serves as a head covering, version Little House on the Prairie. These are the Mennonites.

Occasionally, you come across them on buses or in shops in Belize City where they come to shop and sell their products. Then they return to their communities. In total, they would be more than 5000, all followers of the Mennonite religion, a forgotten branch of the movement of the Anabaptists.

The origin of this little-known religious minority was in Germany of the sixteenth century. At the time, a Dutchman, a Menno Simons, rebelled against both Catholics and Lutherans corrupt enough reformers. He advocated a radical return to the original purity of the Bible. Of hard-core of Protestantism. They emigrated to Canada, the United States and Belize.

Even today, the followers of Menno grant baptism to adults and only by immersion. Far from Belize City and any city that booed sinful, they live in relative autarky, cut off from the world. Pacifists, the Mennonites condemn the war and the death penalty. You can talk to them: they seem to land another time and another planet. Puritans and ascetic obstinate indolence in the lush Caribbean.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sports and leisure in Belize

The cayes (pronounced "Kiiza") is one of the main attractions of Belize. And you are spoiled for choice. Imagine a myriad of islands, islets and pieces of sand along the barrier reef, a few miles from the coast. So small and flat as some disappear and reappear at a rate of hurricanes. Most are uninhabited, buried under the mangrove havens for marine animals and birds. Some are home to luxury resorts for North Americans, overpriced, as in San Pedro. Others, such as Caye Caulker, constitute the base for backpackers in search of coconut trees, crystal clear water and marine life.

For it is clear especially in the cayes for diving and snorkelling. The coral reef of Belize, declared World Heritage by UNESCO, is the longest in the northern hemisphere and the world after Australia. It stretches 184 miles (nearly 295 km) to the Mexican border. Greatly affected after El Niño, corals regenerate now with fabulous fauna of exceptional richness, thanks to the many marine reserves created along the reef. Needless to say snorklers (snorkeling) and diver, even beginners, put them treat for the eyes.

The two main islands, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker and Placencia Peninsula, the agencies will take you on diving spots around the day or half day.

Accommodation in Belize

There is no problem of accommodation in Belize. Whether in town, lost in the jungle or on the beach, there's something for every taste and every budget. Housing is the preferred cabana, a wooden shack on stilts, equipped with fly screens principle, because they are found mainly in the forest. Some are very luxurious. Tight budgets also find hostels and small guesthouses price tenuous.

Attention breakfast, when he proposed, is rarely included in the price of the room. Similarly, you will pay much less by just a fan instead of AC. And it is greener ... The site contains a program funded by the Ministry of Tourism. The site lists the authentic and cheap accommodation district.

Geography, climate and weather Belize

Nearly three-quarters of its surface is covered by rainforest that clings like a green mantle, the sides of a chain of small mountains better known as the Maya Mountains. Maya through the mountains inland from the northeast to the southwest. The highest point is Mount Victoria (1225 m). Strange and beautiful area, unspoiled and unexplored, which is beginning to be highlighted and a ride where the slightest scent of distant expedition.

In this appendix east of the great forest of Petén, there are all sorts of valuable species: mahogany, cedar, rosewood, sapodilla (for the chicle used to make chewing gum). This mountainous terrain is crossed by waterfalls, waterfalls and many rivers where you can practice rafting, tubing or canoeing. It is also studded with numerous caves, some exceptional, where it has found traces of Mayan rituals that we visit in the state.

The water, dense vegetation, a small human presence: all the conditions are right for them bloom several rare animal species. So it does one encounter the black howler monkey, whose cry is hoarse and powerful audible over 1 km! It also crosses the tapir (mountain cow), unusual quadruped nosed shaped trunk. It is also one of the few countries where one can still glimpse jaguars.

For several years, authorities have made great efforts to safeguard this heritage by creating parks and protected reserves.

Behind the scenes

This program of environmental protection, developed for this very small country, has stalled. And the site of UNESCO, inscribed in 2009 on the list of World Heritage in Danger, shows how environmental policy is vigilant at all times, which should reflect a firm. However, the moratorium on mangrove destruction was completed in 2008. UNESCO therefore requests the renewal of the ban and calls for a controlled development of the coast, the reef and making it his wealth (lagoons, islands, atolls, mangroves and estuaries).

Waste management is another serious challenge to the authorities. All mains drainage is far from widespread, waste water often end up in the sea, not far from the coast, if not right on. While the fumes from landfills stink along the roads, everything is burned. Small cays inhabited without clean water resources, regularly experience water stress. Private companies, some lodges for example, take care of the problem and are working to energy self-treat their waste, thereby enhancing eco-tourism carrier. But these initiatives are currently isolated. Still areas to be cleared for an environmental policy major who faces a lack of obvious.


As in Yucatan, and probably more pronounced, the climate in Belize is subtropical, that is to say, hot and humid. Inside the country, in the mountains Maya (Maya Mountains), the days are a bit cooler because of the altitude, while in a small cays blowing wind that is not unpleasant. The dry season lasts from February to April in the northern half of the country. But in reality, it often rains in Belize.

The ideal time, in our opinion, is between January and April: heat bearable, beautiful light, almost no rain, a wave of freshness is not excluded at this season: take a sweater. From June to August, the tropical rains sometimes daily and often violent. A lot of storms this season. It should be noted that there is a short period of drought in the middle of August.

Belize is a subscriber to hurricanes in the Caribbean. On several occasions - 1931, 1961, 1978 and 2001 - his ribs were blown by deadly hurricanes. Do not worry, this happens when not even every day. And when the calamity comes, she always looks before striking. You will have time to pack. As for Belizeans, they should follow the recommendations of use.

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