Bolivia may be one of the poorest countries in South America , but its cultural wealth, the mind-blowing Andean landscapes and the remnants of mysterious ancient civilizations make it a rich and exciting destination for those looking for more than postcards.
This landlocked country is practically the Tibet of the Americas - it's the highest and most isolated of the Latin American republics. It is also the most indigenous country on the continent, with more than 50% of the population maintaining traditional values and beliefs.
History abounds in such wonders as the ancient ceremonial site of Tiahuanaco; the legendary mines of Potosí; the ornate Jesuit missions of the eastern lowlands; and the vestiges of Inca culture set against the dramatic backdrop of the Andes . Bolivia has certainly had a turbulent history, but nowadays its image as a haunt of drug barons and revolutionaries is greatly overstated. It's one of South America 's most peaceful and welcoming destinations.
Bolivia is home to the largest dry tropical forest area in the world. Today, approximately 63 million acres of frontier forest (large tracts of relatively undisturbed old growth forest) remain in Bolivia . The World Wildlife Fund has listed Bolivia 's ecosystem as one of the two hundred most important ecosystems in the world. The average annual decline of this precious resource is 2.1 percent or 580 square miles. One major cause of this destruction is a four hundred mile pipeline project sponsored by Enron International, which poses a threat to the country's forests and wildlife as well as local communities.