Geography of Bolivia
Location and territorial extension:
Bolivia is situation in the center of South America between the meridians 57º 26´ and 69º 38´ of longitude west of Greenwich and the parallels 9º 38´and 22º 53´of latitude south, thus embracing 13 geographical degrees. Its territorial area is 1,098,581 square kilometers.
Bolivia is bounded on the north and east by Brazil, on the southeast by Paraguay, on the south by Argentina and on the west by Peru and Chile.
Bolivia is comprised of three main geographical zones.
The Andean zone (The Anteplano): This comprises 28% of the national territory with an estimated area of 307,000 square kilometers. It is more than 3,000 meters above sea level and is limited by the Cordillera Oriental, the Cordillera Occidental and also by the highest navigable lake in the world (with an altitude of 3,810 meters).
The Sub-Andean zone: This region, between the Anteplano and the eastern plains, comprises 13% of the country and includes the Valleys and the Yungas, with an average altitude of 2,500 meters. It is noted for its agriculture and a temperate to warm climate (15º to 25º C).
The Plains: This region comprises 59% of the country and lies to the north of the Cordillera Oriental (or Cordillera Real). It extends from the base of the Andes to the Paraguay River. It is a land of flat plains and low tablelands covered by extensive forests rich in flora and fauna. It registers a median annual temperature of from 22º to 25º C.
The Mountain System
The eastern region is formed by the vertebral column of the Andes mountain chain which begins in Venezuela and Colombia and ends in Argentina and Chile. In Bolivia the Cordillera divides in two: The Cordillera Occidental, the Western Cordillera, whose principal peaks are of volcanic origin, such as the Sajama, Llicancabur and Ollagüe. The Cordillera Real or Cordillera Oriental, the Eastern Cordillera, has various secondary mountain chains such as those of La Paz, of Tres Cruces and those of Lípez and others. The most important summits of this chain are: Illimani, Hankohuma, Illampu, Mururata, Huayna Potosí and others.
Between the two mountain chains is the plateau of the Antiplano at an altitude above sea level fluctuating beween 3,000 and 4,000 meters. It extends over an area of more than 100,000 square kilometers and takes in the departments of La Paz, Oruro, part of Potosi and part of Cochabamba.
The zone of the Yungas and the Valleys commences in the spurs of the Cordillera Real and extends over areas of the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Potosi and Tarija and the east of the west of the department of Santa Cruz. Altitudes here vary between 1,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level.
The eastern plains occupy the major part of the country and are part of the Amazon Basin. They occupy part of the departments of La Paz and Cochabamba and a the greater part of the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando. The altitude of this area varies between 200 and 800 meters above sea level.
Chief mountains over 6,000 meters above sea level
Pomerape Chachacomani Parinacota
Real u Oriental Real u Oriental
Real u Oriental Real u Oriental Occidental
Real u Oriental Occidental
Real u Oriental
Chief lakes and salt flats by area and department
|(*) 3,690 km2 corresponden a Bolivia
Although all of Bolivia is situated in the Tropic of Capricorn, it possesses a variety of climates. For example, in the Antiplano or the Andean zones above 3,000 meters, the climate is rather hard. Daytime temperatures fluctuate between 15 and 18 degrees centigrade; while at night they descend considerably, in winter (July – September) reaching freezing. The rainy season is from November to March.
The Valleys, also called the Yungas, are warmer and have a humid sub-tropical climate. The median annual temperature is 23 degrees centigrade.
In the tropical zone of the plains, the east of Bolivia, the median temperature is 30 degrees centigrade.
Source: National Institute of Statistics (INE).