As I traveled to Bolivia, I began to write about some of our cultural differences.

When we decide to travel, we leave our cultural background to discover a new one. This involves learning a minimum about the local customs in order to avoid mistakes.

Of course, this is what I feel and it is purely subjective even if I think some information might be useful if you come to Bolivia. The country is very diverse with marked differences between regions. The social interactions that one can have with the Bolivians will highly depend on where you are and who you speak to.

How to greet someone

A kiss on the cheek no more! How many times did I feel uncomfortable by holding out the other cheek. After a few missed greetings I finally understood how it works.

Men shake hands as they greet each other and maintain direct eye contact. During a first meeting between women, a light handshake can be enough, sometimes accompanied by a slight nod and a warm smile. Friends usually kiss each other once on the cheek. Between a man and a women, a handshake is usually enough if you meet the person for the first time, but if you know the person already or have common friends, you can kiss.

The notion (or not) of time

Bolivians and time: 10 minutes, … 20 minutes, … 1 hour and your friend hasn’t arrived? No panic it’s normal or almost! Like many Latin American countries, Bolivians are usually late. Nevertheless, a punctual person is very much appreciated because it shows a sense of responsibility and professionalism, especially in business situations.

My feelings:

Bolivian to sit next to you in a public place without talking to you or asking about you … and even if you tell them you don’t speak Spanish!

This list is exhaustive and presents some characteristics of Bolivia but you have to come to experiment the local culture by yourself.