5 Tips for Travelling in Bolivia

April 24, 2017
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Bolivia is unlike any country in South America. Around every corner is a new delight, from bustling markets to other-worldly landscapes, and the unique Bolivian culture is one that will stay with you for a lifetime. See locals in indigenous dress walking the streets of the capital, photograph the crystalline lands of Salar de Uyuni, or take a dive at the world’s highest lake in search of ancient ruins. Whatever you decide to do during your visit to Bolivia, we’ve put together five tips for making the most of your time and dealing with the uniquely Bolivian idiosyncrasies you may come across during your travels.


1.  Learn to be patient

The pace of life in Bolivia may be entirely different than what you are used to back home. Patience will serve you well while travelling the country, as everything from public transport to restaurant service runs on its own clock. While the bus system is wonderful for budget-minded travellers, expect less than pristine conditions and leave time in your schedule for delays – they will happen. Rules of the road don’t seem to exist in Bolivia, so you should also prepare yourself for erratic drivers who may drive on the wrong side of the road or disregard speed limits on your journey. *deep breath* Internal flights aren’t outrageously expensive, so this may be a good choice if you need a dependable transport source to hop around the country. While patience is a virtue that you’ll test to its limit in Bolivia, like most things – those experiences will be well worth any potential itinerary disruptions thrown your way.

2.  Prepare for high altitudes

Prepare for high altitudes

Altitude is an unavoidable fact of life when visiting Bolivia but you shouldn’t ignore it. Altitude sickness can ruin a trip, therefore you should plan ahead to acclimatize before doing any strenuous activities. We’d recommend two or three days to adjust, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol where possible. Common symptoms include nausea and fatigue but if you experience shortness of breath or feel extremely drowsy – you should seek medical attention.

 3. Pack smart

Pack smart

There are two things you should always have on hand in Bolivia: toilet roll and water. Toliet paper is not widely available in public bathrooms but it will be in your hotel and will almost always cost extra if it’s available at all. We’d recommend carrying some in your bag to ensure you are always prepared.


The majority of tap water in Bolivia is not safe to drink. Purchase bottled water ahead of time, and carry it with you. Alternatively you can purchase plastic bags of water for a much cheaper price at local market stalls. Don’t forget: due to high altitudes you need to stay hydrated.


4. Avoid scams

Avoid scams

Scams are unfortunately a fact of life, no matter where you are travelling. Crime in Bolivia is low, but you should practice the same caution as you would in a crowd in London. Always keep an eye on your belongings, especially in popular tourist areas, never accept free gifts, and only take taxi rides from marked vehicles. In Bolivia, you may wish to travel with a photocopy of your passport in the event you are asked for identification by local law enforcement.

5. Enjoy every moment

Enjoy every moment

For every trial or snail-paced service you come across in Bolivia, you’ll be rewarded with a multitude of amazing stories and experiences that you’ll cherish forever. We have no doubt that this country will win your heart, and our biggest tip is to enjoy every colourful, side-step it throws your way. There is no nation on earth full of such kind people, amazing landscapes, and laughter-laden adventures. You’ll be planning your return trip to “the rooftop of the world” before you even step on your flight back home.


Are you ready to experience the magic of Bolivia? Contact us today and we can help you plan the perfect Bolivian itinerary.

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