HOTSPOT: Tropical Andes [Bolivia]

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Bolivians are probably the people most in love with their country and their culture that I have met. That is extraordinary, when you consider that Bolivia is incredibly ethnically diverse, containing about 36 indigenous groups. How peoples with such distinct histories and traditions can come together to warmly embrace Bolivian [pluri]nationhood I find incredible, on the basis of the failure to do so in so many other parts of the world.

climbing the road to the archaeological ruins of El Fuerte Samaipata

Bolivians love Bolivia. So they love to travel IN Bolivia if they have resources. And who wouldn’t love to do so? In a globally relatively modest-sized country, Bolivia contains drastic contrasts and variety. The Tropical Andes pass through the heart of the nation, rising to snow-covered rocky peaks and creating humid, lush valleys. Swamps, deserts, salt flats, savannahs… Bolivia has it all. Due to so many elevations and climates, Bolivia’s biological heterogeneity mirrors its topographic heterogeneity. Bolivia contains 4 biomes, 46 ecoregions, and 190 ecosystems.

Within Bolivia, Salvi Muller and I collected material together for a documentary about the interdependence of biological and cultural diversity in Bolivia. Therefore, I was able to travel extensively within Bolivia. My time within Bolivia was spent recording around the following locations: La Paz, Madidi National Park, Salar de Uyuni and its adjacent protected lands, Samaipata, the Rio Grand basin, Potosi, with a side-trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Click here to see all my photos from Bolivia.

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© Copyright Emma Steigerwald | Vanderbilt Traveling Fellow