Etiquette

  • Greetings A handshake is the most usual form of greeting. When meeting, people will usually say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good evening).
  • Forms of Address It is common to use señor/señora and the usted form of address (using usted and the corresponding verb forms rather than for the word you) with people you don't know well. On the altiplano, some locals will use amigo/amiga, which is intended to show friendliness.
  • Photographs Ask permission to take photographs of people, especially in rural areas.
  • Politics It's fine to express well-informed opinions and Bolivians are generally happy to talk about their political views. Naturally you should be tactful and avoid being overtly critical of the country.
  • Eating When passing the table of diners who are seated in a restaurant, it's common to say buen provecho (enjoy your meal).