top of page
  • Writer's pictureTo-Go

Customs & Traditions in Bolivia

Home> Countries> South America > Bolivia> Customs & Traditions

Traditions and customs vary by region in Bolivia. Here is the basic Etiquette in Bolivia.

General Etiquette

  • Bolivians tend to stand close to one another while talking. One to two feet is normal. It can be considered rude to back away from someone while they are speaking.

  • You have to maintain direct eye contact, otherwise, you will be viewed as untrustworthy.

  • When speaking with family, it is common to share hugs, touch shoulders, and in general express affection through contact. Otherwise, it depends on if the other person is a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, an acquaintance, or someone you don’t know.

  • It is best to always cover your mouth when you yawn.

  • Avoid using a finger to point, it is best to use the whole hand or just nod your head in the direction you are referring to.


  • The family is the main core of social life and structure.

  • Families are very close and in rural areas, many generations still often live together in one house.

  • The extended family or "familia" serves as strong support and network system.

  • Roles within the family are very traditional.

  • The wife is generally responsible for domestic duties whereas the husband will be the breadwinner.


  • Unlike Europeans, Bolivians use both their maternal and paternal surnames. The father's surname is listed first and is the one used in conversation.

  • When a woman gets married she usually adds her husband's first surname to her first surname with the connector "de".