Expat Stories: Met my Bolivian Partner in Argentina and Moved with Him to Santa Cruz, Bolivia

by Anonymous Female - From Canada
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

Photo © BoliviaBella.com 2013

Photo © BoliviaBella.com 2013

1. How did you first hear about Bolivia and/or become interested in Bolivia as a possible place to live?

I met my partner who is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When he was relocated back to Santa Cruz I later accompanied him.

2. Where are you from originally and why are/were you considering living overseas when you first took Bolivia into account as an option?

I am from Canada. I came to Bolivia strictly because my partner is from here. If this was not the case I wouldn’t have considered Bolivia as a place to live.

3. Which languages do you speak? If you do not speak Spanish, has this made adjusting to, and living in Bolivia more difficult for you?

I speak English, Spanish fluently and some French.

4. Did you come here as an individual, couple or family?

I came here as a couple (my partner is from here).

5. Are you planning to live in Bolivia short-term or long term?

I don’t want to sound negative but unfortunately long term! Since my partner has a good job here and his family is close and aging it makes sense for us to be here. Yet again for his work it is often required to move abroad (oil and gas industry) so we are prepared to have to leave if the opportunity arises.

6. Do you work or plan to work or start your own business in Bolivia?

I currently work in Bolivia for a Canadian development organization but I work with their Bolivian Counterpart here in Santa Cruz.

7. Is Bolivia the only country to which you contemplated moving, or did you consider other choices? If so, why did you ultimately choose Bolivia?


8. What steps did you take to research about Bolivia to prepare yourself prior to arriving?

Your site BoliviaBella.com kept popping up whenever I looked for information from Canada. It was very useful and interesting but the site design made me question the validity of the information.

9. What do you miss most about your home country?

Security, healthcare, workplace health and safety and wellbeing, adequate law enforcement, bike trails, lakes and ocean, campgrounds, clean public bathrooms, quality and safe public transportation, higher working wages, quality and affordable clothing and household items, etc.

10. What do you like/love/appreciate most about Bolivia?

The weather in Santa Cruz is very nice. It can be too hot but I won’t complain since the winter in Canada is terribly long. The wildlife and vegetation is also spectacular but national parks are not easily accessible and not very visitor friendly in terms of park rangers, infrastructure, marked trails, etc.

11. Did you relocate on your own, or do you work for a company that relocated you to Bolivia?


12. If your plan is/was to retire in Bolivia permanently, how did you prepare financially, and in other ways to make that possible?


13. For those of you who have lived in Bolivia for at least 6 months, now that you are here, what have you learned about Bolivia that you did not know before?

I thought after living in Argentina for 5 years before coming to Bolivia that I was more or less well prepared for the transition. Living in Bolivia is very challenging at times due to the informality of everything. In my experience it is very conservative and religious which is the opposite of my values and ideals which has made adjusting very difficult.

14. Is there anything about Bolivia that turned out to be very unexpected to you?


15. What special skills or attitudes do you think a person or family needs in order to ensure their stay in Bolivia is enjoyable/successful?

Open-mindedness and flexibility. Your financial situation also makes a big difference on how you enjoy the cities or country. If you have money you can buy pretty much anything (health, papers, police, security) you can create your “bubble”.

16. Is there any reason you would NOT recommend Bolivia as a place to live, work or retire?

Healthcare, low wages and poor working environments.

17. What is the most negative aspect about living in Bolivia in your opinion?

Lack of infrastructure for various public activities. Fields, parks, trails. There are beautiful places here but if you wander into them you will supposedly as they say “come out naked”.

18. What are some of the most positive aspects about living in Bolivia in your opinion?

Some things are very cheap. Food at the markets is very inexpensive, etc. If you want to live the same quality of life as you would in the US for example its more expensive then it would be in the US or Canada.

19. Have you faced any unexpected difficulties while living here? Were you able to overcome those obstacles? Are they serious enough to cause you to want to leave?

Nothing too serious, very frustrating moments of inefficiency which makes me not want to be here in the long term or raise children here.

20. If your children moved overseas with you, how did you prepare them for the differences in lifestyle or culture shock?


21. For future potential expatriates who are considering living in Bolivia, what advice would you give them (how to prepare, what to bring or not bring, etc.)?

Bring your sense of adventure!

22. What are some of the things that were most difficult for you to accept or adjust to in Bolivia?

Lack of women’s rights. Machismo.

23. Prior to moving here, what aspects of living in Bolivia would you have liked to know more about or have more assistance with? Is there anything anyone could have done, or informed you about that would have made your choice to move to Bolivia, the relocation process itself, or your initial adjustment period easier, less stressful, less frightening?

I think knowing Spanish is a major determining factor on how well someone can adjust. Coming here without Spanish I think would be a very very difficult and painful task.

24. Hindsight is 20/20. If you could go back in time to the months before you moved to Bolivia, is there were anything you would do differently to prepare for living in Bolivia?


25. Just for statistical purposes, had you heard of BoliviaBella.com or Expat Services prior to moving to Bolivia? If so, which parts of our website were most helpful to you? What information would you like to see added for future potential expats?

The forums were really helpful where a number of people respond to a certain question.

Return to Bolivia Expat Stories Home Page

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Expat Stories.