In contrast to Bolivia’s arid and treeless altiplano, northern and eastern Bolivia are covered by tropical rain forests and grassland plains. These lowlands make up more than half of the nation’s land area but are home to only a small percentage of the population. Those who live here raise cattle and grow cotton, rice, and sugarcane. The government is working to attract more people to the Oriente.
Alpacas live in meadows, marshes, and grasslands of the Andes Mountains of Bolivia and Peru. The domesticated alpaca is grown for its fur, which is woven into sweaters, hats, and other items. On a high Andean plateau near Ulla Ulla in western Bolivia, a herder watches a flock of llamas. The strong, agile llama, a relative of the camel, is perfectly suited to the difficult terrain of the Andes and has been used as a pack animal for thousands of years.
The tall reeds growing along the banks of Lake Titicaca are gathered by the Uru, who transform them into architectural wonders, including homes and floating islands. Dried reeds of the tall grass also are woven into strong and efficient boats. Bolivia shares Lake Titicaca with Peru, and the Uru people are found in both countries, living along the lake’s shores.