Bolivia is like no other. This bold and enchanting place is where the natural wonders are brazen, the lakes are bright red and good fortune can be bought at Witches market.
Bolivia. Not just an excellent (and perhaps only) rhyme for the name Olivia – you can do heaps of things here too!
Prune up in thermal baths surrounded by erupting geysers and desert; marvel at ruins on Lake Titicaca’s Island of the Sun (the mythical birthplace of Inca civilization); saddle up and tour Old Sucre’s monastic buildings and, of course, check out the mega salt-lick of the Salar de Uyuni – it’s like being on a snowfield…but with flamingos!
Ski lovers can find real snow at Chacaltaya, the world’s highest ski resort (comes with bonus llamas). Back down at normal altitude levels, take some deep breaths and toast your amazing trip with a gourd full of tasty chicha.
Bolivia travel highlights
Browse potions, totems and other strange things at the Witches Market while yatiri (witch doctors) in black hats offer to read your fortune.
Salar de Uyuni
Take some seriously mind-bending photos (no filter needed) at the world’s largest salt flats.
The Andean Desert is like no other. Flamingos, llamas and foxes play among volcanoes and lakes, including the eerie blood-red lake, Laguna Colorada.
The closest you’ll ever get to visit a real life Jurassic Park – check out the 60-million-year-old dinosaur footsteps that cover a massive vertical wall.
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Articles on Bolivia
Bolivia holiday information
Local culture of Bolivia
Food and Drink in Bolivia
Festivals and Events in Bolivia
Geography and Environment
Shopping guide to Bolivia
Bolivia travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: Yes
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
Visitors from most nations do not require a visa for trips of up to 30 days. Travellers from The United States of America are required to obtain a tourist visa from a Bolivian Consulate in advance of their trip. Visas cost USD 160, are valid for 10 years from the date of issue and take up to 10 business days to process. Travellers should contact the nearest embassy or consulate to find out the latest information on their visa requirements.
Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months after your date of arrival in Bolivia and has a couple of blank pages for stamps.
While tipping isn’t mandatory in Bolivia, it is customary to add spare change to restaurant bills. Many bars and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill.
Internet can be accessed at hotels and internet cafes in large cities and tourist areas, but is limited in rural and remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Bolivia’s urban areas, but may not be available in more remote and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Bolivia has a mix of both Western-style flushable toilets and squat toilets. In some cases you may be asked for a small fee to use public toilets, which is used to pay cleaners. It’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are not always provided.
Cup of coffee = USD 1.50
Bottle of local beer = USD 1.50
Simple lunch = USD 2.90 – 3.60
Sit-down dinner at a local restaurant = USD 11.50
Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Bolivia. Avoid drinks with ice and make sure to peel fruit before eating it. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your leader or hotel can tell you where to find filtered water.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors and family-run restaurants and market stalls. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.
ATMs are widely available in larger cities but are less common in small villages or rural areas. Make sure you have enough cash before leaving urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Feb 27-28: Carnival
Mar 14: Good Friday
May 1: Labour Day
June 15: Corpus Christi
Aug 6: Independence Day
Oct 12: Columbus Day
Nov 2: All Saint’s Day
Dec 25: Christmas
For a current list of public holidays in Bolivia go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/bolivia/public-holidays/
Discretion is advised for LGBTQI-travellers in Bolivia. Same-sex unions are illegal and homosexuality is not widely accepted, although an underground gay scene can be found in larger cities, particularly Santa Cruz and La Paz.
Most people start to experience symptoms of altitude sickness when they are more than 2,500 metres/8,200 feet above sea level. Many popular tourists spots including La Paz, Sucre and Cochabamba are above this elevation. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. In order to avoid or reduce these symptoms, stay away from alcohol and exercise before your body has adjusted, drink plenty of water and talk to your doctor about possible medication. Bolivians also have their own natural methods for treating the effects of altitude – try chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea.
Bolivia requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever. Many South and Central America countries pose a risk (including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia), so if you are planning on visiting other nearby nations, you may be required to get this vaccine. Please note that your home country may also require proof of yellow fever vaccination on return from Bolivia. Consult your nearest embassy for more information.
Visit your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date advice and make sure to schedule your vaccination 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some may require time to become effective. No other vaccines are required in order to enter Bolivia but some are recommended for protection against disease.
1. Hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated water)
2. Typhoid (transmitted through contaminated water)
Malaria, yellow fever and Zika are all mosquito-transmitted diseases found in certain parts of Bolivia. Zika can also be transmitted through sexual exposure. Since Zika has been tied to serious birth defects, pregnant women are advised to not travel to Bolivia. You can protect yourself by wearing light coloured clothing, using a good bug repellent and taking anti-malaria medication. Talk to your doctor or travel clinic about your travel plans to determine what medication is right for you.