Etiquette in Bolivia

Bolivia, located in central South America, has a population of 10 million people.

Bolivia has 38 official languages, including Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, and 34 other native languages. Most businesspeople speak Spanish.

The Republic of Bolivia is a multiparty republic with two legislative houses, lead by a President who is both chief of state and head of government.

78% of the Bolivian population follow Roman Catholicism, while 19% follow Protestantism.  Protestantism and traditional indigenous beliefs are experiencing expansive growth. Catholicsim is the official religion, but religious freedom is guaranteed by law.

The currency is the Boliviano.

Dining Etiquette

Business meals are popular in Bolivia, and are usually hosted in restaurants over lunch. Dinners are considered a social occasion.

When dining, be sure to keep your hands on the table and not in your lap. Also, do not eat anything with your fingers. There are utensils for everything, including fruits.

There are many complex taboos surrounding pouring wine, so it is best to avoid it. Some of the less complex taboos include pouring with the left hand (insulting), and pouring it backwards (indicating hostility).

If invited to dine in a Bolivian home, know that it is expected that everyone eats everything on their plate. Traditionally, you should decline the first time the hostess offers more food. Wait until they insist or you may find yourself with an overabundance. Also, a compliment is considered a request for more, so hold your compliments until well after the meal is complete.

Stay at the table until all diners are finished eating. It is considered polite to leave about 30 minutes after the meal has concluded.