Odd, Strange, Unusual Bolivia Facts

Charisma Handmade Bolivian Jewelry

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1. The highest navigable lake in the world is found in Bolivia at 3810 meters above sea level (that's 12,382.5 feet above sea level.) It takes six hours to cross Lake Titicaca on a fast hydrofoil. It's also one of the deepest lakes in the world.

Salar de Uyuni

2. The largest deposit of salt on the planet is also found in Bolivia. The Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni salt beds or salt flats) contain over 64 million tons of salt! Believe it or not what you see in the picture below is SALT! When it rains the water forms a thin layer on top that reflects the entire sky!

3. The largest deposit of lithium in the world is found under all that salt! That's right, it's buried under all that salt! Major battery manufacturers are now interested in Bolivia because they want to extract the lithium to make long-lasting batteries for cars, cellular phones and more. That would be really great for our economy, but it would mean destroying part of Bolivia's biggest tourist attraction! See more about the Salar de Uyuni.

4. Bolivia is also home to the Cerro Mutún, located in the Department of Santa Cruz. It is the world's largest iron ore mine. President Evo Morales blocked a Brazilian company from exploiting it because they planned to destroy 45 hectares a DAY of Amazonian wood to run the mine. Instead, he gave the contract to Jindal, a company from India which will use natural gas from Bolivia's pipeline, only 12 miles away.

5. Bolivia is located within one of the wettest zones on the planet. We get over 8000 millimeters (8 meters!) of rainfall per year.

6. Bolivia contains 40% of ALL animal and plant life in the world (called biodiversity). Our tropical rainforests and Pantanal Wetlands are some of the most biologically abundant ecosystems in the world.

7. Did you know there are more wetland regions and more bird species than the Pantanal in Bolivia's northern Department of Beni? All rivers that cross through Beni are tributaries of the Amazon River and there are hundreds of lakes and lagoons in Beni, all filled with Bolivia's abundant wildlife! The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, you can still dip fresh water out of the ocean!! Read more about that here.

8. Bolivia has over 30 official languages and 36 native cultures and nearly half of them reside in Beni. For example, the Moxos, which date back about 5000 years, once numbered around 8 million! They existed at the same time as the Tiwanakotas and their society was just as advanced. They built over 20,000 hand-made hills all connected by an effective system of aqueducts, channels, and terraces that covers thousands of square miles. The irrigation, cultivation and flood control systems of this hydro-culture rivaled those of Egypt. Bolivia's native peoples knew how to work with nature, not against her.

9. Bolivia is among the top "mega-diverse" countries on our planet. Together, the mega-diverse countries contain over 70% of all species known to humankind. In plant species Bolivia is the 11th country in the world (over 20,000 plant species). In vertebrate species it is 10th in the world. In bird species it is 7th in the world and in butterfly species it is 4th in the world. See more photos and facts about Bolivian wildlife here.

10. The world's largest butterfly sanctuary is located right here, in Santa Cruz Bolivia.

11. Bolivia has 23 major ecoregions, numerous sub-ecoregions, and hundreds of ecosystems - more than most countries.

12. Bolivia is home to the world's one and only known bolivianita mine. Bolivianita (ametrine) is a precious stone or gem that is partially yellow and partially purple. It's produced when citrine and amethyst combine. It is said that hundreds of years ago a beautiful Ayoreo princess named Anahí fell in love with a Spanish conqueror. This angered the members of her tribe so they plotted to kill the Spaniard... Click here to view the legend of Princess Anahí and the bolivianita stone. Plus you can read about more famous people from Bolivia here.

13. Bolivia is the NUMBER ONE country on Earth for certified tropical forests. Bolivia is among the top 5 exporters of certified tropical wood in the world.

14. Bolivia is one of Earth's top 12 countries with the greatest amount of organic agricultural surface in the world. Exports of organic products could reach an estimated 450 million dollars worth by 2016.

15. Bolivia is among the top 3 exporters of organic Brazil nuts in the world.

16. Bolivia is among the top 10 exporters of organic coffee and cacao in the world.

17. Bolivia is home to the two highest cities in the world. Potosí is the highest, and La Paz is the second highest. In the 1570's Potosí was also the most populated city in the world! See more major cities of Bolivia.

18. Bolivia has two seats of government. The Executive and Legislative branches of government are in La Paz and the Judicial branch of government is in Sucre. People sometimes say Bolivia has two capital cities.

Does Bolivia really have two capital cities? Find out here.

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