Bolivian Culture

Bolivia contains a mix of Spanish and Indigenous heritage, acting as a natural bridge connecting the Andean regions with the Amazon. Heirs of glorious and ancient cultures, many people in Bolivia still preserve centuries-old traditions, shown by the diverse languages, uniquely colorful fashion, dances and music, and a veritable treasure of native folklore. Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, is the world’s highest capital city at two miles above sea level.

Bolivians tend to be relaxed about everything, especially time and punctuality. They are open, friendly, welcoming, and affectionate. Bolivians often hug, kiss on the cheeks, or say hello to everyone they meet.

Host a Bolivian student in the U.S.

Bolivian People and Community

Most Bolivian families and communities have strong religious ties and can be considered conservative or traditionalist. Family is the backbone of Bolivian society, and it is uncommon for children to leave home before they get married. For most Bolivian families, Sunday, (día de la familia) is family day, where members share experiences and stories over lunch or dinner.

The average Bolivian family has two or three children. The oldest daughters in a family, often referred to as mamitas (little moms), are considered second mothers to their younger siblings. Girls learn tend to children and do domestic tasks. In more rural areas of Bolivia, the mother is considered the wisest of the family.

Language and Communication Styles

While the primary language in Bolivia is Spanish, most of the rural locals also speak their native tongues: Quechua, Aymara, or Guaraní.

Food in Bolivia

Food in Bolivia varies depending on the region. Food from the higher mountainous regions contain a lot of spices, whereas dishes in the lowlands and Amazonic region of Bolivia tend to be comprised of yucca, fish, vegetables and fruit. Typical Bolivian dishes include papas rellenas (deep fried balls of mashed potato stuffed with a boiled egg or cheese), salteñas (baked dough and filled with meat, vegetables, egg, olives, and a slightly spicy sauce) and pique a lo macho (bite-sized pieces of beef, sausage, onions, spicy peppers, boiled egg, and fries).