Located in central South America, Bolivia is a great place to visit.
While it is sometimes overlooked in favor of more well-known destinations, Bolivia still offers many things to see and do.
Featuring an array of diverse landscapes, Bolivia is a good place for those who love the outdoors or those who wish to see something new.
From the Andes mountains to the Amazon Basin Rainforest, to the world’s largest salt flat, Bolivia offers an exciting trip.
This Bolivia travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Fast Facts about Bolivia
- Power voltage is 230 V at 50 Hz. Type A and C.
- Bolivia’s currency is the Bolivian Boliviano and 1 Boliviano is equal to 0.14 USD.
- You can check up to date prices at XE Currency Converter.
- The best way to get around Bolivia is by bus.
- To enter Bolivia, you need a passport valid for six months after your stay as well as a Bolivian visa. This visa allows you to stay for up to 90 days per calendar year.
- Entel and Tigo are two popular network providers in Bolivia and a SIM card can be purchased through either of them. Purchasing SIM cards through the network’s official website is the recommended way to go.
- Bolivia has a sales tax rate of 13%.
Things to See and Do in Bolivia
- Bolivian Salt Flats – Take an adventure tour to the biggest salt lake in the world.
- The Atacama Desert – Visit Salar de Tara is located in the Los Flamencos National Reserve, and borders with both Bolivia and Argentina
- The Witches’ Market: This famous market in La Paz is a popular tourist attraction for those who want a different kind of market experience. Browse through a variety of potions and herbs (both for curses and for good luck and prosperity), as well as a gift shop
- Lake Titicaca – Visit the highest lake in the world at 12,555 feet
- Visit the Bolivian Amazon – The Amazon isn’t only in Brazil or Peru, Bolivia has Amazon adventures as well.
- Death Road – Vehicles don’t travel this road anymore and instead you can pay to whip down it on mountain bikes in oversized armour and questionably safe padding.
Bolivia Travel Guides
Budget – Bolivia offers a variety of backpacker hostels for around 50 to 180 Bolivianos per night. Select either private or dorm-styled rooms and enjoy amenities like prime locations, shared kitchens, lockers, and hot showers. The popular Casa Blanca hostel in Potosi comes with its own bar and bicycle rental.
Mid Range – For mid-range hotels, expect to pay between 300 to 540 Bolivianos per night and enjoy services like complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, the hotel’s restaurant/bar, and lounge areas.
High End – Upscale hotels will cost about 750-1,250 Bolivianos per night. Experience the best of Bolivia with high-class service, air-conditioned suites, outdoor pools, fitness rooms, and shuttles to nearby airports.
- Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and VRBO for the best deals on accommodation.
The cuisine in Bolivia favors corn, potatoes, beans, and rice. Salteñas (a spicy beef-filled pastry) is a main dish of Bolivia.
Bolivia, especially major cities like La Paz, also has a rich street food culture. Early mornings or later in the afternoons are the best time to go.
Try a Choripan (sausage wrapped in bread, usually with tomatoes and lettuce) or an Anticucho (cow heart kebab with peanut sauce).
Bolivia also has a number of sit-down restaurants and cafes. In total, expect to pay around 100 Bolivians per day for food and drinks.
The Best Ways to Get Around Bolivia
Getting to Bolivia:
Getting to Bolivia: If going to La Paz, El Alto International Airport is a convenient airport to fly into and is located just 8 miles from La Paz.
If going to Santa Cruz, Viru Viru International Airport is the best way to go and is just 10 miles from the city center.
Flights: You can check for the best flights to La Paz on Skyscanner.
Buses: Buses are a great way to get around Bolivia and operate frequently. You can find buses for both shorter distances as well as longer distances, such as overnight buses that take you between cities. Expect to pay 20-150 Bolivianos depending on the distance traveled.
Train: Trains are a good way to take a slower route through Bolivia and see some excellent views. Expect to pay around 11 to 240 Bolivians depending on the distance. Cable cars are a good alternative and cost just 3 Bolivianos to ride one line.
Taxis: Be sure to settle on a price before getting in a taxi. Ask your hotel or tour operator what approximate prices should be.
Radio taxis are the most reliable and your hotel or restaurant can call a cab for you.
Car Rental: As long as you have a valid US license and are at least 18 years old, you can rent a car in Bolivia. However, as the public transport system is very efficient, renting a car is recommended only if you are planning to go to very remote locations. Prices are around 350 to 700 Bolivianos per day. Taxis are also available in Bolivia, as well as Uber.
You can also compare prices here
When to go To bolivia
Bolivia operates on a separate schedule from the US, so the winter (dry) season is from May to October and summer (wet) season is from November to April.
Because of this, the best time to visit would be from May to October. During this time, there is less rainfall, the roads are in better condition, and you will be able to do more outdoor activities in the sunshine.
Where to Stay in Bolivia
Hotel Rosario La Paz: Located just minutes from The Witches’ Market and the Plaza Murillo, this three-star hotel in La Paz is a great place to stay.
Enjoy the hotel’s restaurant that features authentic Bolivian cuisine or step outside to the nearby shops and attractions.
Hotel Palacio del Sal: Located in Potosi, this beautiful four-star hotel offers gorgeous architecture and a central location. This hotel is uniquely built from salt and has a variety of rooms, including ones with gorgeous mountain views. Visit the renowned Uyuni Salt Flat, walk over to the Colchani train station to explore more of Potosi, or stay inside and enjoy the hotel’s restaurant and bar.
Buganvillas Hotel Suites & Spa: Centrally located in Santa Cruz, this four-star hotel puts you in the heart of Santa Cruz. Walk to the downtown park or the Municipal Zoo, among other attractions. Afterward, enjoy the hotel’s amenities, including 2 restaurants, an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, tennis court, and football pitch, among others. Those traveling with children will especially enjoy the family rooms and a children’s playground.
What to Pack for Bolivia
Bolivia has a diverse landscape and climate. It can be cold in the mountains and highlands and hot and humid in the jungle. Be prepared for varying temperatures when traveling through Bolivia.
- Layers: As Bolivia has a diverse climate, packing clothes with layers will keep you prepared no matter the weather.
- Sunscreen: With so much beautiful sunshine, protect your skin with some sunscreen.
- Travel Backpack: With so much to see outdoors, a travel bag will help keep all of your essentials with you without weighing you down.
- Dress in layers and be prepared for cool nights, (even in the summer and especially in the mountains.
- How to Pack for a winter vacation read – Travel Tips for Winter Packing
Bolivia Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
- Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
- Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
- VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
- Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
- Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
- Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
- Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
- World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.