The longest continuous glaciological mass-balance time-series in the intertropical zone of South America goes back to 1991 on Glaciar Zongo, Bolivia. Photogrammetric and hydrological data have been used to (1) check the specific net balance over long periods and (2) extend the mass-balance time series over the last 50 years. These data reveal a bias in the glaciological mass balance which can be explained by the field-measurement sampling network. Our study shows a large temporal variability of the surface mass balances in the ablation area and reveals strong relationships between independent surface mass-balance data coming from selected ablation areas with numerous data. It demonstrates the very large contribution (80%) of low-elevation ranges (one-third of the surface) to the specific mass balance and, consequently, the importance of the reduction of the area of the tongue. With these new results, Glaciar Zongo offers the longest and most accurate mass-balance series in any Andean country. The dataset shows that Glaciar Zongo experienced a relatively steady state over the period 1956-75, with even a slight mass gain over 1963-75, and a rapid and continuous decrease since then.