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Bolivia - Travel Information

The journey to Bolivia is similar to a journey in a time tunnel. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America, and it remained undeveloped over the years. This gives the travelers a magical authentic feeling, which makes the journey fascinating. Bolivia is offering an endless richness of nature, sceneries and interesting history.

Most of Bolivia is situated on the Andes, therefore it is the highest and most isolated country of all South America's countries. The percentage of native Indians in Bolivia's population is the highest among South America's countries (about 50%!).

Bolivia's Geography

Bolivia doesn't have a coastline. It is surrounded by countries: Chile from west, Peru and Brazil from north, Paraguay and Argentina from south. The population is about 8 million, and the country covers an area of about 1.09 million sq km.

The official language in Bolivia is Spanish, but a large part of the population speaks local languages (Quechua for example).

Technical information

International phone code: 591
Electric current: 220V

When to travel to Bolivia

Bolivia's dry winter (May - October) is good for traveling to the low tropical parts, where the rains, the heat and the mosquitoes are bearable.

There is no such thing as good timing to go to Bolivia's high area. In winter it is too cold and in summer too rainy. You just need to decide what you prefer - the cold or the rain (I prefer the cold!).

In and Out

Regulations change frequently, but currently some nationals can stay 90 days without a visa (Japan and most EU countries), some nationals can stay 30 days without a visa (USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and other nationalities receive a visa for 30-days stay. It is possible to extend the visa for another 90 days at immigration offices (with the cost of 165 Boliviano for each 30 days of extension). Each day above this extension period costs 10 Boliviano.

Bolivia's border crossing with the surrounding countries is simple, and involves minimum bureaucracy.

Travel costs in Bolivia

Bolivia is very cheap for traveling. About $400 to $500 per month will be sufficient for most backpackers. Of course the budget depends on special spending.

The local currency is called Boliviano ($1 = 7.93 Boliviano, updated for July 2006)

Some tips regarding money in South America:

  • Take most of your money in Traveler Checks, preferably American Express. Leave at least
    400 Dollars unused until the end of your trip. This is safety money in case of a robbery.
    The exchange rate and commission on traveler checks are relatively high.
  • Write down your traveler checks details in your private e-mail, including emergency
    phone numbers for communication, in case your bags are stolen.
  • For daily use, draw money from ATMs using an international credit card. The ATM
    commission is per transaction; therefore draw each time a big amount of money.
  • Try to pay with credit card instead of cash - usually you will pay no commission.
  • Try to keep $200 in a hidden place, in a $100 bill and other smaller bills in case
    you reach a place with no ATMs (rare).


  • Make a photocopy of your passport and entrance visa. Don't carry your passport with you
    (if possible). Only the immigration police is authorized to ask for the original passport and
    even then you can ask to present it in a police station.
  • Do not underestimate anyone. The main danger in Bolivia is theft. The person that looks
    harmless might be the thief.
  • Watch out at night. Don't carry valuable things on you at night, specifically in the bigger

(Last update: July 2006)