• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Bolivia


Nearly a third of Bolivia's population is Quechua, which is an indigenous group in the Andes Mountains. Nearly another third is mestizo, or a combination of European and native (generally Quechua or Aymara). Another quarter of the people are Aymara and the almost everyone else is wholly European from an ethnic perspective.

The Quechuas are often considered an ethnic group, but in reality they are linked more closely by language and are technically a linguistic group who identify and often claim the ethnicity of Quechua. These people may be referred to as Runajuna, Nunakuna, Ingas (in Colombia), Kichwas (in Ecuador), and others depending on the individual and how he or she identifies. None-the-less, all are related to each other ethnically and are often referred to simply as "Quechua," although some people prefer to be referred to in one of the more specific ways mentioned above.

The Aymaras are, like the Quechuas, a group more closely related by language than ethnicity, although again all these speakers are ethnically related, although in some cases somewhat distantly. Over time the people considered to be "Aymara" has expanded to include many groups of people, nearly all of whom are ethnically related, but not the same ethnicity. There are over a dozen ethnic groups who claim to be Aymara in Bolivia alone.


Bolivia has three official languages: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. Unlike the ethnic breakdown of Bolivia, most people are native Spanish speakers as about 60% speaks this language natively. Another 20% speaks Quechuan and about 15% speak Aymaran natively. Many of the first generation immigrants in Bolivia also speak additional languages, but these are very small in number.

Spanish is a Romance language also spoken in Spain; it is closely related to other Romance languages, including Portuguese, Italian, French, Romanian, others. The dialect of Spanish in Bolivia is quite distinct in comparison to that of Spain and there are also many minor differences in the language across Latin America.

Quechuan is a language family of South America, primarily found in the Andes Mountains. There are numerous languages that are included in this language family, but all are similar. Aymaran is another language family found in the Andes Mountains and most of the native speakers today live in Bolivia. In some areas Quechuan and Aymaran share vast amounts of vocabulary and are quite similar.


About 95% of Bolivia's population is Roman Catholic, including many of the mestizos, Quechua, and Aymara. Despite this huge percentage of Catholics, many are not regularly practicing. Among the few people that aren't Roman Catholic, most are Evangelical Methodist.

Catholicism is a Christian religion that is one of the first Christian religions and was the most dominant religious force in the Christian world for years. Catholicism believes that there is a single God who created everything, a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins, and there is the Holy Spirit, which makes up the last part of the Holy Trinity.

Continue reading on Safari the Globe to Learn the Catholic Church's doctrines, liturgy, symbolism, traditions, & hierarchy

This page was last updated: May, 2014