Dating in Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the many countries that make up the vibrant and colorful Latin American region.

Romantic relationships in Bolivia embody a mix of traditional and modern influences that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and its evolving societal norms. In this culturally diverse nation, dating practices can vary widely between urban and rural areas, as well as across different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

In the countryside and among indigenous communities, traditional customs play a significant role in dating and courtship. Here, one might encounter practices such as “Serenata,” where a man serenades his beloved under her window, accompanied by friends and musicians. In some regions, one might also witness the “preste,” a community feast where young singles mingle under the watchful eyes of their families, who hope to foster auspicious matches.

Floating islands Uros on Lake Titicaca in Andes

In contrast, urban Bolivians, especially the younger generation, have embraced a more Westernized approach to dating, influenced by global media and the proliferation of online platforms. Casual dating, meet-ups in coffee shops or parks, and finding partners via online dating apps are becoming increasingly common, especially in cities like La Paz or Santa Cruz.

Interestingly, despite modern influences, many urban Bolivians continue to uphold traditional values when it comes to relationships. A strong emphasis is still placed on family approval and marriage. In fact, it is customary for a man to ask the woman’s father for permission to marry her, known as pedida de mano.

That said, Bolivia, like many countries, has its share of challenges when it comes to dating and relationships. Gender roles and expectations are often stereo-typically divided, and machismo culture is still pervasive, with men expected to be dominant and women passive. Nevertheless, there’s an ongoing shift towards more gender equality, reflected in increasing dialogue and activism around women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

Incan woman; dating in Bolivia includes traditional indigenous influences

Moreover, Bolivia’s rich ethnic diversity brings additional layers to the dating landscape. With over 30 indigenous groups, each with their own customs and languages, dating practices can vary significantly between different communities, offering a beautiful tapestry of traditions.

In conclusion, dating in Bolivia is a complex and multifaceted topic that reflects the country’s diverse cultural makeup and the tension between tradition and modernity. Whether it’s a serenade under a moonlit window

Interesting facts about dating in Bolivia

Bolivia has a unique history with indigenous influences. Though these facts are more likely relevant to rural communities we thought they would be more interesting than mainstream knowledge of Bolivian culture.

  1. Pre-Columbian Aymara Tradition: In traditional Aymara culture, one interesting courtship ritual involves a man kidnapping his desired wife and negotiating the terms of the marriage with her parents following the ‘abduction’.
  2. Serenading the Bride: In both Quechua and Aymara cultures, it is not uncommon for a suitor to serenade his prospective bride outside her home, a custom that shows his commitment and romantic intent.
  3. Matchmaking Market: Bolivia’s indigenous communities sometimes hold ‘matchmaking markets’ where people engage in a form of speed dating. Young women dressed in traditional garb meet and chat with potential suitors in a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
  4. Charazani Marriage Festival: The community of Charazani has a unique tradition where, once a year, couples test out their compatibility by living together for three days during a festival. If they are still happy at the end, they typically decide to marry.
  5. The Tinku Ritual: Originating from indigenous Aymara and Quechua cultures, the Tinku ritual involves men fighting to prove their strength and attract potential wives. However, this tradition is less practiced today.
  6. Coca Leaves Divination: Indigenous Bolivian cultures often use coca leaves for divination purposes, including predicting the outcome of relationships. A shaman or yatiri reads the leaves to determine if a couple is compatible.
  7. Role of Godparents: In many indigenous communities, godparents play a crucial role in marriage ceremonies. They guide and support the couple throughout their marriage, providing advice and mediation in times of conflict.
  8. Building the Couple’s Home: In some traditional Bolivian cultures, it’s the job of the groom and his family to build a new home for the newlyweds. This demonstrates the groom’s commitment to providing for his new wife.
  9. Alasitas Festival: This festival involves buying miniature versions of things you desire from Ekeko, the Aymara god of abundance, to bring fortune in the coming year. Singles often buy miniatures symbolizing the type of partner they hope to find.
  10. Pachamama Offerings: Indigenous cultures in Bolivia often make offerings to Pachamama, Mother Earth, to bless their unions and bring fertility and prosperity. This tradition is often carried out in August, the month of Pachamama.
  11. Cholitas: In indigenous Aymara culture, women known as Cholitas have a distinct dress style combining traditional and modern elements. The Cholita wrestling events have even become an attraction, showcasing these women’s strength and changing gender norms.

Most Romantic Day in Bolivia

Dia del amor y la Amistad, one of the most romantic holidays in Latin America. Dia de san valentin
Día de San Valentín

In Bolivia, Lover’s Day, or Día de los Enamorados, is generally considered to be the most romantic holiday. It is celebrated on February 14th and is similar to Valentine’s Day in the United States. Couples exchange gifts and go out for romantic dinners or other special activities. In some circles, the day is also as celebrated as Día de la Amistad (Friendship Day). This reflects the importance of friendship and platonic love in latino culture, and many people use the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate all types of love, not just romantic love.

Typical First Date in Bolivia

The typical first date in Bolivia will vary depending on a few factors such as couple dynamics, socioeconomic factors, location or city, however there are some common elements that many dates share. The main emphasis of a first date in Bolivia should be on getting to know each other in a relaxed, informal setting. Whether it’s over a cup of coffee, on the dance floor, or out in nature, the goal is to build a connection, check the vibe and see if there is potential for a deeper relationship.

  • Coffee or drinks: Many first dates in Bolivia take place in a casual setting, such as a coffee shop or bar.
  • Mall: In many large cities, shopping malls are common date spots. The reason is for safety and the idea that it is a public setting. This could be a restaurant, bar or coffee spot inside a mall, or just walking around.
  • Outdoor activities: In some parts of Bolivia, there are many beautiful natural landscapes, and outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, biking, or visiting a local park. These can be a popular options for a first date, depending on the activity level of your date.
  • Group dates: In some dynamics of culture in Bolivia, group dates are more common than one-on-one dates, particularly in the early stages of a relationship. This can be a way to get to know each other in a more relaxed, social setting among friends.
  • Dancing: Dancing is an essential part of Latin American culture. Dancing can be a common activity on a first date. This can include anything from mainstream latino music like salsa, bachata or merengue or traditional Bolivian classics like La Morenada, la Diablada, los Carporales, and the Waca-waca. It all depends on what music is trending among Bolivian singles and the couple’s interests.
  • Meeting the family: In some demographics and communities in Bolivia, it is common for couples to meet each other’s families early on in the relationship. This may happen on the first date, or shortly thereafter.

Dating etiquette

Latinos tend to be very passionate about dating and social life. When you are going on a date in Bolivia, it is important to consider the dating etiquette and manners. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when dating in Bolivia, they may also be applicable in other Latin American countries:

Latin America map
Popular culture in Latin America
  • Punctuality: Though latinos are known for their mañana (tomorrow) attitude, punctuality still may be important for your date in Bolivia. However, it is always a good idea to be on time for a date or at least let your date know if you\’re going to be late.
  • Dress to impress: Dressing well is important in Bolivia. Make sure to put effort into your appearance for a date, and consider dressing up a little more than you might for a casual date in other cultures.
  • Family values: Family is often highly valued in Bolivia. Be respectful of your date\’s family and take an interest in getting to know them.
  • Public displays of affection: Public displays of affection can be more common in some Latin American cultures than in others. Pay attention to your date’s body language and cues to determine what is appropriate.
  • Conversation topics: In some Latin American cultures, it is considered impolite to discuss certain topics such as religion or politics on a first date. Try to stick to more neutral topics and focus on getting to know each other.
  • Chivalry: Chivalry is often highly valued in Bolivian culture, and many men still practice traditional acts of chivalry such as opening doors or pulling out chairs for their dates. However, it\’s important to respect your date’s independence and avoid being overly controlling or domineering.
  • Gifts: Bringing a small gift for your date, such as flowers or chocolates, can be a nice gesture in many Latin American cultures. However, it is important to avoid going overboard or giving gifts that are too expensive or inappropriate for the level of your relationship.

The Importance of Spanish

With the exception of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, Spanish is the dominant language in Latin America. As such, Spanish is incredibly important for communication in Bolivia, both in personal and professional contexts. While Spanish can be thought of as a lingua franca of sorts, it is by no means the only language spoken in Bolivia. In fact, the Bolivian constitution lists 36 official languages including those spoken by large ethnic groups such as Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní.1 Guaraní is also a shared language with Paraguay while Quechua is spoken in parts of Peru and Ecuador as well.

From a practical standpoint, being able to speak Spanish is also important for anyone dating in Bolivia will greatly enhance their experience. While some people in Bolivia may also speak English or other languages, being able to communicate in Spanish can help to build stronger relationships with locals and facilitate communication in a variety of contexts.

Is Bolivia gay friendly?

In recent years, Bolivia has made strides towards legal and social acceptance of homosexuality, but challenges still remain.

In 2016, Bolivia passed a comprehensive law to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This law allows people to change their name, sex and gender on legal documents, and it also includes provisions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment and provision of goods and services.2

Gay couple

However, society in Bolivia, particularly in more rural and traditional areas, may not be as accepting. There have been reports of societal discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender individuals.

In terms of recognition of same-sex relationships, Bolivia does not currently recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions (as of 2021).

If you plan on using one of the gay dating apps in Bolivia, please not only keep these tips in mind, but also check the latest regulations from an organization like the ILGA.

Social cues

Dating culture in Bolivia can vary depending on the country and culture, but there are some common social cues to be aware of when on a date. Here are a few examples:

  • Physical touch: In many Bolivia countries, physical touch is a common way of showing affection, even on a first date. This can include anything from holding hands to a light kiss on the cheek. However, it is important to be respectful of your partner’s boundaries and comfort level.
  • Dressing up: In Bolivia, it is common to dress up for a date, particularly for a special occasion or a fancy restaurant. This shows that you are taking the date seriously and are making an effort to impress your partner.
  • Family and friends: Family and friends are often a central part of social life in Bolivia, and this extends to dating as well. It is common for couples to introduce each other to their families early on in the relationship, and for family and friends to be involved in social events.
  • Conversation: In Bolivia, conversation is often seen as a way of getting to know each other and building a connection. It is common to talk about a wide range of topics, from family and work to hobbies and interests.
  • Courting: In some Bolivia cultures, particularly in more traditional settings, there is a strong emphasis on courtship and romantic gestures. This can include things like bringing flowers or chocolates, writing love letters, or serenading your partner.

Gender roles

Due to the historical nature and influences of Latin America, traditional latino gender roles are well known and documented. This is no different in Bolivia. Though these roles are not universal and they are evolving rapidly, there are still stereotypes and common expectations.

  • Bolivian men are expected to be chivalrous but also take the lead: In Bolivia, men are expected to be chivalrous, show respect and courtesy towards women, but also possess masculine characteristics. This is where the term macho comes in to play. When it comes to dating, men are expected to take the lead. This can include making plans, choosing the location for a date, and initiating physical contact. Further, men should be polite and open doors, pay for meals, and offering to help with a woman’s coat.
  • Bolivian women are expected to be feminine and modest: Though many latinos are secular, there is a significant percentage of latinos who are religious with most practicing some form of Christianity. Coming from this historical influence is the ideal called marianismo. Marianismo, portrays an image of Mary, from the bible as being the ideal feminine way. Therefore within some traditional communities in Bolivia and other parts of Latin American, there is an expectation that women will be feminine, take care of their appearance and be modest in public. This can include wearing makeup, dressing in a feminine style and practicing conservative attitudes in person.

Best way to meet singles in Bolivia

Latinos are known for their warm personalities and being approachable. Meeting singles in Bolivia can be a fun and rewarding experience. By trying out a variety of different methods, you can increase your chances of meeting someone special and potentially finding a romantic partner in Bolivia.

Here are a few ways to meet new people and potentially meet partner or singles in Bolivia:

  • Social events: Attending social events such as parties, festivals, or cultural events can be a great way to meet new people and potentially find a romantic partner. These events are often lively and fun, making it easier to strike up a conversation with someone new.
  • Through friends: Meeting potential partners through friends or mutual acquaintances is a common way to connect with singles in Latin America. Ask your friends to introduce you to someone they think you may hit it off with, or attend social events with them to meet new people.
  • Joining clubs or groups: Joining a club or group centered around a shared interest, such as a book club, sports group, or language exchange group, can be a great way to meet new people and connect with potential partners who share similar interests.
  • Go shopping: Malls and shopping centers are great places to meet singles in Bolivia. If you are a big city it is likely that there will be at least one commercial center.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering for a local organization or charity is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it can also be a great way to meet new people who share similar values and passions.
  • Online dating: If all else fails, there\’s always online dating. Online dating has become increasingly popular in Bolivia in recent years. These platforms allow you to connect with singles in Bolivia who could share similar interests and values.

Is it safe to date people in Bolivia?

Though dating life in Bolivia is vibrant, Latin America is not known for its safety. In general, dating in Bolivia can be a wonderful experience for you, latino or not, but it is important to take certain safety precautions to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Learn about the local culture: Learning about the local culture and customs, like you are doing now, can help you navigate dating in Bolivia and avoid cultural misunderstandings or faux pas.
  • Meet in a public place: When meeting someone for the first time, always choose a public place such as a coffee shop, restaurant, or park. Avoid secluded areas or places that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Tell someone where you are going: Before your date, let a friend or family member know where you will be and who you will be with. Arrange to check in with them at certain times throughout the date.
  • Validate your date: If you are meeting someone online, then learn more about them before agreeing to meet. For example, do they have other profiles which help to legitimize them.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can impair your judgement and put you in potentially dangerous situations. Pace yourself and avoid drinking too much on a date, especially the first few times you meet.
  • Use protection: If you engage in sexual activity, always use protection to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and take steps to remove yourself from the situation. Don not hesitate to leave if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Dating scams in Bolivia

Unfortunately, dating scams are not uncommon in Bolivia, much like many other places in the world. This can include both scams online and those which happen in person. In general, always be somewhat cautious when meeting new people until you have built trust with them.

  • Money scams: Scammers may create fake profiles on dating apps or websites and then ask their targets for money, either by claiming to need financial assistance or by asking for funds to help cover travel expenses to meet in person.
  • Catfishing: Catfishing is when a person pretends to be someone else online in order to deceive their target. This can involve creating a fake identity or using someone else\’s photos to create a false impression.
  • Romance scams: Romance scams involve building a false sense of trust and connection with a target in order to exploit them for money or other resources. Scammers may claim to be in love with their targets, and then ask for money or other favors under false pretenses.
  • Identity theft: Scammers may use dating apps or websites to steal personal information from their targets, such as credit card numbers or other personal details.

Online dating in Bolivia

The online dating industry in Bolivia has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by a combination of factors including increased internet penetration, changing social attitudes towards online dating, and the rise of mobile technology. As a whole, Latin America has a growing population and a high proportion of young adults, the region presents a huge potential market for online dating companies.

Online dating

One of the key factors driving the growth of the online dating industry in Bolivia is the increasing popularity of mobile devices. As more people in Bolivia gain access to smartphones and other mobile devices, they are increasingly using these devices to access online dating platforms. Many online dating apps and websites have responded to this trend by developing mobile-first platforms that are designed to work seamlessly on smartphones and other mobile devices. Further, among religious latinos, there are also Christian dating apps.

Another key factor driving the growth of the online dating industry in Bolivia is changing social attitudes towards online dating. While online dating was once stigmatized as being only for desperate or socially awkward individuals, it has become increasingly normalized in recent years. In many communities of Bolivia, online dating is now viewed as a viable and legitimate way to meet potential partners.

However, there are also challenges facing the online dating industry in Bolivia. In addition to safety or security, one of the biggest challenges is the prevalence of fraudulent activity on some online dating platforms. In order to maintain user trust and safety, online dating companies must be vigilant in their efforts to detect and remove fake profiles and other fraudulent activity.

Despite these challenges, the online dating industry in Bolivia is poised for continued growth in the coming years.

Top dating apps in Bolivia

Across much of Bolivia, well known international dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo, Happn and OkCupid are quite popular with the mainstream. By trying out different platforms and finding the one that works best for you, you can increase your chances of meeting someone special. There are also many dating apps or sites specifically for latinos, such as:

  • Chispa: Owned by Match Group, Chispa is a dating app that is designed specifically for Latino singles. The app allows users to create a profile, swipe through potential matches, and send messages to those who they are interested in. It is growing in popularity in Bolivia.
  • AmoLatina: AmoLatina is a dating website that is specifically geared towards connecting singles in Bolivia. The site offers a variety of features, including chat and video chat, to help users connect with potential partners.
  • LatinAmericanCupid: LatinAmericanCupid is a dating website that is geared towards connecting singles throughout Latin America with a presence in Bolivia. The site offers a variety of features, including chat and video chat, to help users connect with potential partners.


1 Languages which Bolivian singles might speak:

2 Bolivian LGBTQ laws: