Here are some Bolivia tips and advice for backpacking or travelling through this amazing country:

Tourist Visa Requirements

  • Visas NOT required to enter as tourist (some exceptions – notably USA citizens and people from parts of Asia, Africa, communist countries)
  • Normally granted 30 days upon entry – for most nationalities, you are able to extend at the nearest Immigration office twice for a maximum stay of 90 days per year
  • Do NOT lose your tourist card (green slip of paper immigration given to you upon entry) – you will need to hand this over when leaving the country and losing this may delay your departure
  • Overstay fines apply – you will need pay 20Bs per day for every day you stay over your visa and you pay this in the airport or at border when leaving

Identification

  • Valid passport – bring 1 or 2 photocopies though to use for nightclub entrance etc.
  • Drivers License if you intend to rent a car – although we highly recommend you don’t, drivers here are crazy!

Money

  • Currency – Boliviano (Bs)
  • Dollars (up to a certain amount) are also accepted in many places
  • ATM fees can be high at some cash machines so try to use ATMs at banks like BNB and BCP
  • Currency exchange sellers on the street are not always bad and give good exchange rates, ask hostel for advice
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash – use the lockers provided in hostels
  • Be aware of gringo taxes in markets/taxis – always haggle prices
  • Average cost of a meal in a middle class restaurant – $7 (49 Bs)
  • Average cost of a dorm bed in a hostel – $8 La Paz (55Bs), less elsewhere

La Paz Airport Arrivals

  • Try to arrive with a minimum 100 Bolivianos – no large bills as taxi drivers won’t have change
  • Exchange rates are not the best in the airport – only change what is necessary, you will get better rates when you get into the city
  • Taxi rank outside of arrivals is safe – price to centre is roughly 60Bs
  • Be careful if you arrive at night
  • Be sure you agree on the price of the taxi in Bolivianos before leaving
  • It helps to have clear directions to your hostel printed off BEFORE you arrive

Taxis

  • No meters – always haggle and agree on the fare BEFORE you get into the taxi
  • Average journey within the centre should cost approx. $2 (10-15 Bs)
  • Be careful – keep your belongings close to your feet at all times, NOT in your lap
  • Try to share cabs with another tourist when possible
  • Always ask the hostel reception/Bolivia Hop guide for approximate costs and the best places to find taxis

Hostels

  • Book in advance, many can be full throughout the year
  • Use Hostelworld’s review functions – check location rating and security ratings
  • Use lockers provided for all your valuables
  • Be wary when coming home at night to your hostel – avoid walking at night if at all possible

Language

    • Spanish is the national language.
    • English is spoken by most hostel receptionists and waitresses in touristy areas
    • Taxi drivers in general don’t speak English unless in you are in a touristy area

Medication and vaccines

      • Bring some altitude sickness tablets for La Paz (3600m)
      • Vaccinations and malarial medication may be required if visiting Amazon regions, consult your local GP

Luggage

    • Use a backpack if possible – it’s easy to carry around and store in hostels
    • Bring a small backpack for day trips/treks
    • Bring clothes and flip flops for summer weather – up to 30 degrees in some cities ALL year round
    • Bring a rain jacket – rain is possible ALL year round
    • Bring warm hoodies and pants – nights can get cold!
    • Bring comfortable trainers for trekking and activities
    • Usual items such as sun cream, camera, sunglasses, etc.
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