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Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. I repeat, Bolivia is the POOREST country is South America. Sure everything is cheap but you will be paying with it in terms of comfort and health. During my two weeks in Bolivia I did not meet a single traveler whose stomach was unaffected by Bolivian cuisine, which will be something fried in recycled oil. Do not come here unless there is something specific you want to see, like the Potosi mine or the spectacular Salar de Uyuni.
Could this be the ugliest country in South America? I’m confident the answer is yes. The girls here have very round, chubby faces with prominent features and jet black hair. Their bodies can be best compared to a can of Coke. This look doesn’t do the Bolivian men so bad, who seem to have an Erik Estrada look going. Prettier girls exist in the east of the country like in the city of Santa Cruz. Don’t come here for the girls or nightlife.
Basic set lunch: $1.25
Bottle of big beer: $1.25
Internet per hour: $0.40
Hostel dorm bed per night: $3.00
Nice steak dinner: $5.00
Short taxi ride: $0.75
Postcard stamp: $0.90
I felt relatively safe outside in medium-sized cities. Take usual precautions and watch out for the tourist / fake policeman scam where a friendly English speaker you meet gets in “trouble” with a “cop” that results in you being robbed of your credit cards.
If you're only going to visit only Bolivia then I recommend you get this guide, which is far more detailed than the continental guide below, with options that cater to a range of budgets instead of only the shoestring backpacking crowd. Also it gives more respectable treatment to small cities and towns that the larger guide breezes over with a paragraph or two.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.
You are out to lunch dude, have you ever been to Santa cruz Bolivia????
The food there is world class, and the women are beautiful, unbelieveably beautiful….again who ever reads this what this guy wrote , do not believe it, I have been working in Bolivia for coming on 7 years, (not just two weeks like the authour) he dose not know what he is talking about
Dude, you haven’t been to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. It’s the best kept secret in Bolivia. The women here are hotter than Brazilians and Colombians. The women are the most beautiful in the world here – no joke!!4 years, 2 months ago
I hate you so much. You perpetuate modern day fucking colonialism and patriarchy. I hate you die. Sincerely.3 years, 8 months ago
I like what this guy has to say. What’s so wrong with judging, and summarily writing off, a whole country in one paragraph? They kind of people who will be swayed by a review like this probably aren’t the kind of tourists you want in Bolivia anyway. What do you want to be, Bolivia, Thailand? If so, you should RAIL against this tool’s review of your country. But there are some kernels of insight here too. It makes me wonder. When he puts down the looks of Bolivian women so creatively, he’s actually just describing indigenous people, you know. And you’ll find the exact same physical type everywhere in the Western Hemisphere south of the US border. Is he merely saying that there are few European genes mixed into the Bolivian pool? Are all the posters who are going “Dude! Santa Cruz!” really just saying “hey, we have white women and women with European features here too!” Is that any less douchey than what this guy said in the original article? I don’t know. But when I travel around as a single guy, it’s nice to see pretty girls, even if the fantasy of hooking up with one of them is completely unrealistic. I think it’s true that there ARE generalizations to be made about the looks of women from country to country (men too, but that’s not my thing). For example, I feel the women in Buenos Aires are over-rated. They look by and large like they are trying too hard, which is a bore. Lots of surgical enhancement. And even the best of them seem a little too much like telenovela [soap opera] actors. Not a good look. Many of the women in Uruguay have a hard, shnozzy, bone-faced sort of thing which reminds me of the model Giselle (who actually might be Brazilian), and they didn’t do much for me. Also, they don’t have the dark looks (tan skin, black eyes, black hair) that I love in Latinas. Brazil has beautiful women, but Brazil is HUGE and the cities have many millions of people, so of course there will be tons of hotties. The sexy dark Latina thing is very much in effect in Brazil, as is the beach body thing. Furthermore, if you happen to like black women, Brazil is definitely your place. I don’t speak Portuguese, so not much chance of hooking up in Brazil. For me, it’s the women of Colombia who really do it. So many beauties. Dark, romantic, brooding eyes, shiny black hair, in-your-face sexiness, but not in-your-face sexuality (a la Brazil). Anyway, it’s not fair to generalize about the looks of just one gender within the population of a single country. Hows that for modern day fucking colonialism and patriarchy, Andrea?3 years, 3 months ago
You are disgusting!3 years, 3 months ago
You must be an ignorant American!3 years, 3 months ago
I am sorry but i cannot agree with you, i have a friend in santa cruz and she was showing me pictures of carnaval festival, and the girl were beauuuuuuuuutiful, and i am sure even if the country is pure using new oil would not cost too much. You are stupid man3 years, 2 months ago
Half & half.3 years ago
I’m a 17 year old girl, and i’m from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Dude, i understand that you wrote about what you saw, but you cant generalize the entire country by visiting just part of it, you make us look horrible, and if I could upload pictures of me or my school, or our parties here, I would and you would DEFINITELY change your mind…Santa Cruz de la Sierra , is truly the best kept secret in bolivia, about 80% of my friends are Caucasian and blue eyed.. 90% of my friends and family speak fluent English and there’s less poverty than any other city in bolivia.
It’s a Shame that coming from the first World you go to a dollar lunch place. Wouldn’t anyone get sick or obese if you ate mcdonalds or other cheap stuff for a couple of days?. This is Bolivia not Dubai! Go to nicer places there are a lot of them in La Paz.2 years, 9 months ago
If someone arrived to a country area in the United states, the result would be the sameI’d Wow I saw women here with the body of a donough, so I’d choose the can.
Im my persoective there’s pretty and ugly everywhere. Bolivia may not have the prettiest women, but for sure THEY DO have beautiful girls there. If not just google bolivian models or Miss Bolivia and you will see.
Food is cheap but great too, and yeah if you get a dollar menu lunch you may get sick. You pay for what you get. Want a nice hotel? There are many 5 starts in there as well.2 years, 8 months ago
Bolivian women are absolutely beautiful. I would say that even the average Bolivian woman is beautiful.
Please ignore the ignorant message of the 17 year old girl above who makes it a point to say that most of her friends are “Caucasian and blue eyed.” She mentioned these facts because this is her idea of a beautiful woman. This is ignorance. Bolivian women come in many colors. ALL of them are beautiful, regardless of the color of their skin or eyes. I also find Bolivians to be among the nicest people in South America.
bitch please..ps keep your cheap change and upgrade for better food mate.2 years, 3 months ago
Hey next year am going to Bolivia for job there after post my comment2 years, 3 months ago
I find indigenous men and women truly beautiful. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t find you attractive.1 year, 11 months ago
I am from Bolivia and have been to many countries. Bolivia has beautiful views, but the people are lazy, corrupted and love to drink and then complain about how there lives are miserable.1 year, 8 months ago
bolivia is a very nice country the whole trip from uae took like around 27 hrs just to get there and im going to do that again in a month or two please cuz u didnt like some part of that country dosent mean that the whole country is the same1 year, 6 months ago
Wrong! I have been in both, La Paz and Santa Cruz. La Paz is soul of native south america, colorful, folklor, roots, very nice place and very nice and traidtional people, in La Paz you can find more than just food, building and all that stuff you can find in any other city. It is a beautiful experience.
Santa Cruz is different, the most developed city, many cosmopolitan stuff. Women here are the prettiest in Bolivia I think, more Brazilian type, nice body, taller. Bolivia does not have the prettiest girls in Latin America of course, but Santa Cruz is the place.
PS. My wife is Bolivian, and beautiful.1 year, 6 months ago
stop hating. the guy is right and if you have ever put a foot in bolivia (yes, even in the dump that is sta cruz) you know it.1 year, 6 months ago
It’s ridiculous how sta cruz people want to step themselved apart. Pathetic. Since Santa Cruz population consists to 90% on immigrants from the west region, so just genetically speaking,it’s the same people.1 year, 5 months ago
Contrarian investment strategy advises the author is legit. Author isn’t writing for these posters. To you haters who posted your hate and wear your identity on your sleeve I thank you for offering confirmation to the author’s insights. By jackEchan1 year, 5 months ago
Well, I am from Santa Cruz – Bolivia, thankz God I had the opportunity to live in the USA for about eight years. got full scholarship for soccer, I met so many good people who loves to know about different culture. they were I believe educated people, who never talks bad about other nationalities. it is funny to say that in Bolivia you find the ugliest girls. that the food is cheap and not good for ur body. I can say that life expenses in Bolivia are higher than in the USA, even the beer is more expensive, clothing and so. I know the wage salary is nothing close comparing it to the USA, but even though people find their way to work for their stuff and gets it.
About ugly girls or boys, you can not say that to anybody, if you are a honest person to yourself, just look around your family, some of them are better looking than others, it is the same every where, any country. I love American womans the same way I love Bolivians, brazilians, chinese. and people gotta stop posting weird things about beauty, dont forget the day we go from this world. your beauty is going to be eating by warms. just be nice1 year, 5 months ago
goodbye1 year, 4 months ago
LMFAO whoever wrote this is a fucken heediot, the women in Santa Cruz are world class.1 year, 3 months ago
yall dumbasses havent u watched scarface alejandro sosa represents bolivia and cochabamba is the shit1 year, 3 months ago
When I read your post I think that you came to Bolivia, my country of origin, to find really cheap and decent looking whores. When you paid 3 dollars for a bed, that sends right away a red flash in your post. YOU ARE DIRTY POOR my friend. No one, with some love for themselves would stay in the places you did, they are reserved for the lowest of the lowest. Sure, people there are not the pretty either, just like in New York or other place in the world. I have lived in various continents, studying, working and traveling. The amount of money one has exposes us to the better or the worse part of a country. It would be stupid to judge the whole when we were not able to pay for it’s finest, and I am not saying that Bolivia has really fine hotels, even at the most expensive Hotel in Santa Cruz, I had to put a complain. Also by the “girls” you are referring to the indigenous women, normally old, overworked and already married with children. Fine girls can be seen at their homes, streets, uni, etc, but it all depends in which environment you hang out. Bolivia is well known for being nice to foreigners, even dirty poor back packers, even if the people have money and the back packers obviously not. Normally back packers that visit Bolivia will do it coz they are strong and smart to know how to get around cheap and yet not LOW. Also they come for cheaper prices on pot or Not for whores, they wouldn’t be able to pay a fine whore. So what is left is naturally disgusting and you have tried, at least you did take a look at those! hahahahahah. Your words say it all my friend. BTW, I moved back to Europe, Germany, coz the prices in Bolivia are getting very expensive and because I don’t like seeing low class people in Hummers around the city, I hope you can get what kind of “low class” people I am referring to. Next time you travel to any country, google it and see if you can find cheap and not so ugly prostitutes. Maybe I recommend Thailand, they have some men with women looks that could pass your taste. But the oil thing, well that on cheap and street food, you will have a hard time anyways. But you must be used to having a hard time, since you you everything very dark. Yeah, we are attract in life people and situations like us.1 year, 1 month ago
I plan to go in South america next november
for 4 mons.I will be realy interested by getting
some advise for your country.
About low class with hummer you find that everywhere. Even in Germany.
For now the economic situation there is quite good.But they gone face some bigs problems. Dutch bank and Commerce Bank are bankrouts.
They will need in the next 10-15 years (it mean tomorrow) 4 maybe 5 millions new people other Wise the retirements will go down of 30% or 40% in the next 15 years.
The german society is not ready for that. I know they think they are open and peacefull but it’s only working when things,economy if you prefer,are good.And they gone face big economics problems…
I have a big opinion about South america(that i don’t know)i think this part of the world did not show yet to the world the uge potential.
Very rich,young population,goods philosophes, great writters…..
Anyway if you have any advise about your continent, i will be really pleased to receve a answer from you,i wish you a exellent day.
I’m a girl in the US with parents from la paz and I have been going back and forth from the US to la paz since I was a child. The girls in Santa Cruz, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, venezuela are beautiful because they are the cosmopolitan surgical capitals of south america and the world! Girls and girls from other countries crowd Santa cruz for cheap plastic surgery. The “ugly” girls you are referring to are most likely the indigenous ones. La paz and Cochabamba have many NATURALLY beautiful women and if you could have not been so cheap and gone to good restaurants you would not have gotten sick! Being American too not every US restaurant has been the cleanest because we all know what goes on in the US restaurant kitchens!9 months, 1 week ago
Many say that girls in Santa Cruz are beautiful. But maybe it would be good to remind potential travellers that Santa Cruz is by far the most dangerous city in Bolivia. Moreover you don’t want ot have anything to do with Bolivian police as they are often worse crooks than the actual criminals. I met a police commander at a party and he said that 95% of the police are corrupt. You can even buy assassinations from them.7 months, 3 weeks ago
Helpful information. Fortunate me I found your site by accident, and I’m shocked why this accident didn’t took place earlier!
I bookmarked it.
This was a terrifying assessment of my country.
As it has already been stated,it seems you are giving a discriminatory definition of beauty by marking indigenous features as “ugly” and European as “beautiful.” Since Bolivia has one of the largest living populations of indigenous individuals in the Americas and you don’t like the racial features of such people, then I suppose yes, our women are “ugly.” Santa Cruz has been threatening to separate from the country for years so it makes sense that people from that region are trying to separate themselves and see themselves as the best or more beautiful.
Bolivia has a lot of history and culture. It is rich and beautiful, and the people- including the women- are unique. I’m from LA Paz but my mother’s family is from Cochabamba were women are known for being headstrong. The women in my family are classy and beautiful. Men such as yourself would not be welcomed near them. If you’re coming to Bolivia for our women please do us all a favor and leave.6 months ago
I had a great time there. just my 2 cents…3 months, 3 weeks ago
Santa Cruz was so good, I went there twice! I met a very nice lady who worked as a presenter in one of the local tv stations and we hit it off the same day! She then took me to a black tie event later in the week where there were hundreds of very well dressed, very good looking people with the servers being predominantly female models. It was like being in a James Bond flick. I met a few former Miss Bolivia’s and hit it off with one of them on my second trip. The night life is amazing. Beautiful women walking all over, I believe it was called Carson street; the main nightlife area. I also stayed at the hotel Cortez. If you stay in a nice place and visit nice places, you’re bound to meet very nice women. P.S. That DOES NOT mean that the women are gold diggers. They just tend to be more “upscale” in upscale places.2 months, 2 weeks ago
I see the vast majority of you are young and stupid. This is fine with me as you can keep your ignorant asses out of Bolivia. Having lived in Santa Cruz for over 20 years I find the people normally friendly and mostly honest.As for the woman most of them are certainly far more attractive than I.2 days, 6 hours ago
I lived in Bolivia for 16 years returning to the states in 2000. Very difficult country to do business in. The food is great! I owned a bar in La Paz for a few years as a side job. As in any Latin country, their are many classes of people. The Imara and Ketchua gals are not my type but classy beautiful women can be found in La Paz. Santa Cruz and the Beni beautiful women were abundant. In Santa Cruz the gals were very forward and start at a young age. I lot of European and Lebanese blood in the mix.
Most American tourists visiting another country do not understand what foods to watch out for and using ice with untreated water in their drinks, cheese, etc… I never had problems with the food and lived in the yungas for years.
Bolivia is a very beautiful country and has everything less ocean. If you like great pilsner you will love Bolivian beer.
Safety is always a concern in a 3rd world country, female hikers have had problems in the past and the cities have the normal pickpocket crimes. Just be observant and think.
If you have not visited Bolivia, you are missing one of the jewels of South America.