Twice the size of France, Bolivia offers an incredible diversity of geographical and bio-geographical landscapes. Altiplano, Llanos, Titicaca, Yungas, Lípez, Amazonia, so many names for landscapes very different from each other. High plateaus perched at 4,000 metres and surrounded by peaks peaking at an altitude of more than 6,000 metres, endless plains lost at the borders of Brazil and Argentina, desert of stones and volcanoes where temperatures can fluctuate between +20°C and -25°C within 24 hours, intertropical valleys with gentle moisture....For example, you can start a day by contemplating the eternal snow of Huayna Potosí, a mountain range in the department of La Paz at an altitude of more than 6,000 metres, and end it by the edge of a Yungas stream, papaya juice in hand, listening to the song of Amazon parrots.
A population rich in diversity :
11 million inhabitants, including more than 6 million indigenous people who, apart from an identical passport, often have nothing in common. An Aymara from the Altiplano has nothing to do with a Yungueño and even less with an Indian from the Amazon basin. Skin colour, language, traditions, everything is radically different.In this respect, Bolivia is undoubtedly the last refuge of many Amerindian cultures: Aymara, Quechua, Guarani, Tocaña, Essejas, Chimanes... It is not for nothing that the Whipala, the flag of the Andean peoples, holds a unique place in Bolivian culture.All you have to do is walk around La Paz, a city that is a melting pot par excellence, and follow a rainbow poncho or a busy cholita in one of the many popular markets where dozens of colourful and fragrant stalls seem to mix, apparently in the greatest disorder.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette