The difference between Peru and Bolivia, illustrated in random messages

Whenever I move to a new country, I receive e-mails from people whom I don’t know, welcoming me to their country, offering help and giving advice. That’s nice.

As I am about to move back from Peru to Bolivia, I realized how well these random messages from strangers illustrate the character of both countries.

When I moved to Peru in August 2016, I got a lot of e-mails about food,

You have to try ceviche!

You have to try guinea pig!

You have to try this and that!

as well as not very original touristy advice,

You must go to Machu Picchu!

and business offers:

My uncle/brother/grandmother has a travel agency/car rental/taxi company. It’s the best travel agency/car rental/taxi company in town. Don’t go anywhere else! Everyone else is trying to rip you off.

I can rent you an unfurnished shack in a village for loads of money.

There were so many identical, non-personal messages that it felt like a country inhabited by bots. After a short while, I knew in advance what people would say when they met me. (To be fair, there were one or two exceptions during the five months in Peru.)

Now, as I am moving back to Bolivia, the first message was from a lawyer with the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales in Cochabamba:

Hello, this weekend there will be a seminar on PHILOSOPHY AND METHODOLOGY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW. It’s free, and if you want to join, I can add you to the list of participants.

If there is a country that thinks like me, has the same interests as me, and where I feel at home, it’s Bolivia.

After all, even the children here are already engaged in moot courts and legal debates:


(Zur deutschen Fassung dieses Artikels.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Bolivia, Law, Peru, Philosophy, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The difference between Peru and Bolivia, illustrated in random messages

  1. Pingback: Der Unterschied zwischen Peru und Bolivien | Der reisende Reporter

  2. Pingback: Why I will return to Europe | The Happy Hermit

  3. Pingback: My Travel Year 2017 in Photos | The Happy Hermit

  4. Travel To Peru | Agencia de Viajes y Tour Operador Mayorista Receptivo
    Agencia de Viajes en Cusco Peru Venta de Paquetes de viaje,circuitos turisticos, planes de viaje nacionales en Cusco Lima Arequipa Puno Iquitos Tarapoto Paracas Nazca

  5. Sean Burles says:

    Hey, i appreciate your blog. I am actually contemplating making a move to bolivia or Peru at some point in the next several years and anyone sharing their thoughts about it all is great. Thank you.

    • Under one of my articles about Bolivia, there is a comment thread with someone in a similar situation as you. I just don’t remember now which article it was. (You may browse all my articles about Bolivia, of course.)

      In short, I would recommend to visit and travel both countries yourself for a few months.

      I used to think that they are very similar, but by living on both, I found out that there are great differences.
      For me Bolivia is close to paradise. I never felt as happy and welcomed anywhere else (and I have been around quite a lot). Ever since I left, I am plotting plans of returning to Bolivia (maybe for a PhD, maybe working as a foreign correspondent there, or why not find a girlfriend) and I know for certain that if I only had one year left to live, I would go to Bolivia right now, even without a sound plan behind it.
      Peru, on the other hand, was by far not as nice and not as welcoming, to put it diplomatically. In other words, I would be a happier person if I had skipped it altogether and only flown above it to get from Chile to Ecuador.

      But then, everything depends on what you are looking for, what type of person you are, what you like and dislike. Without that information, nobody can really give you any advice and all pretend-advice given regardless should be discounted.
      So, if you tell me a bit about yourself and your expectations, I will try to chime in in a more informed manner.

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