Although Bolivia is one of South America’s poorest and least developed countries, it is one of the safest and friendliest. The few, somewhat rough roads pass some of the continent’s most pristine subtropical and rain-forests, temperate inter-Andean valleys and high Andean plateaus.
This is a big country but the best sites are relatively close together, enabling travelers to see and experience many of the star attractions during a short trip.
Bolivia is large (1,098,581 km²), over 4 times the size of Ecuador and twice as big as France. While much of the north remains inaccessible, most of your travel experience is likely to occur at sites between Santa Cruz in the east and La Paz in the west, a distance of aproximately 800 km.
There are daily flights from Miami to La Paz and Santa Cruz on Boeing B-757 with American Airlines, while many South American and European airlines fly daily to&from the major cities in Europe.
You are welcome to make your own arrangements to reach Bolivia. This is ideal for those who wish to use frequent flier miles, specific carriers, or who have special flight and/or arrival or departure requirements.
Fremen Tours Bolivia can arrange all of your domestic flights within the country. See our OnLine Plane Reservations System.
Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of entry.
Citizens of most countries can get a tourist card on entry for stays up to 30 days or 90 days, depending on the nationality.
If you want to stay longer, an extension can easily be obtained at the immigration office in any major city.
Do I need a visa to visit Bolivia?
Depending on your citizenship, you may need a visa to travel to Bolivia.
Visa is NOT required for the following countries.
If you cannot find the name of your country in this list, then you probably need a visa to come to Bolivia. Check the website of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, website in Spanish) for more, up-to-date information, or contact the Bolivian consulate prior to entry.
A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (yellow card) is required if you plan to travel to yellow-fever infected areas. If necessary, a jab can often be administered at the border or in any major city. Check the website of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores for more information (in Spanish).
Transport companies, such as airlines, must ensure you have proper, valid travel documents when you enter Bolivia. If you do not have the proper documents, including a tourist visa/temporary resident visa, you may be delayed or denied boarding.
It is advisable to start a trip to Bolivia at Santa Cruz in the eastern lowlands. It is then possible to acclimatize to the increasing altitude while traveling westward towards the high Andes around La Paz. If arriving directly at La Paz by air, consider one or two days to get used to the altitude.
Bolivia has a few roads and only 5% of them are paved. Some of the trans-Andean roads are rather frightening such as the one from La Paz to Coroico, while others, such as the new road between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba are wide and paved. The internal air network is quite extensive and railway cross the altiplano south of La Paz.
We do not recommend to travel on your own unless you have plenty of time and speak spanish. Should you decide to travel independently, a four-wheel-drive is recommended but not absolutely essential. Modern buses run regularly along the main routes but be sure to book in advance; they are cheap but do not enable to stop at your convenience.
The varied topography creates a variable climate, although in general the wet season is from November to March.
September/October is probably the best time to visit. This is the end of the southern winter when it is not too hot in the eastern lowlands and the Andean flowers are beginning to bloom. March/April, the end of the southern summer, is also a very good time to travel.
Visiting a number of sites involves considerable altitude changes so the full range of clothing is required, even during a single day. Be prepared for anything from damp, misty mornings and scorching sunshine to low temperatures at night.
First, you will need a current passport. Second, you may wish to discuss health issues with your doctor. Many travelers opt for treatment such as the yellow fever vaccination and malaria pills.
Some of the basics include:
Warm weather, casual, outdoor clothing: In addition to shorts and short-sleeved shirts, you should bring jeans, long-sleeve shirts, tennis shoes and boots, and a jacket for the cool nights. Don´t forget a hat and sunglasses!
A flexible attitude: You will be traveling in remote areas of Latin American countries on Latin American time. Delays are more accepted there than in the US and Europe. So bring a book, slow down, and relax.
Spending money items: You will be able to support several projects of handicrafts and others during your trip. You will have many additional purchasing opportunities during your stay in the big cities.
You may use credit cards and travelers checks in all major cities. You may also use US Dollars. If you use dollars make sure they are in good condition (torn, worn or stained bills cannot be cashed in for their full value so traders do not accept them). Small denominations are best because nobody ever has change!
There is plenty of accommodation to choose from. Cities house a wide range of hotels suitable for all pockets and tastes, but small towns offer from simple to basic accommodation.
As with hotels, cities provide a wide range of restaurants (including vegetarian food), but backcountry villages offer a very limited array of options. Organic food is everywhere and fresh produces are tasty. The trout and beer are recommended.
People of all ages enjoy Bolivia each year. Ability to walk a block or two and to do some easy climbing are necessary though. Boarding and disembarking buses, boats and 4WD vehicles need some agility but there is always help from the drivers and guides.
You may want to adjust your level of involvement in activities to your physical condition. The Andes are not so hard once you’ve adjusted to altitude. Check with your doctor if you have a medical condition that concerns you.
If you visit the Andes Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude.
The safest way to avoid stomach problems is to eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruit that you peel.
Bolivia is, arguably, the safest, friendliest country in South America, although a very small minority may be less than helpful.
Whether to purchase it depends on your personal coverage. Insurance enrollment from a variety of insurance companies is easily available. Fremen Tours Bolivia can also provide Travel Assistance. Do not hesitate to contact us for further references.
Fremen Tours Bolivia Andes & Amazonia is a DMC (Destination Management Company) legally established in Bolivia under the registration number (NIT) nº 2890519015.
We are proud members of the following local and international institutions/trade associations:
- International Air Transport Association (IATA),
- Latin American Travel Association (LATA),
- South America Group (SAG Travel Alliance of South American DMCs),
- Bolivian Chamber of Tour Operators (CANOTUR, founding member),
- Bolivian Chamber of Tourism (CABOTUR),
- Bolivian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI),
- Bolivian Association of Travel Agents (ABAVYT),
- Bolivian Hotel & Lodging Association (CBH),
- Bolivian Association of Ecotourism (ABET, founding member),
- Conservation Associations (ARMONIA-Bolivia / BIRDLIFE-International),
- Bolivian Council of Tourism (CNT) through our membership in Canotur et Cabotur.
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Good question! As professional travel consultants, we know which local service providers are best depending on your particular needs. This might be price consideration, quality of service, personal needs, time frame, interests, expectations, and more.
Also, we have been in the Bolivian Tourism Business since 1984, and we are the proud partners of a number of tourism infrastructures, local lodges, community projects and service providers throughout Bolivia, Andes & Amazonia. Experience counts!
Not only do we handle all basic pre-departure arrangements and information for your trip, we also can arrange and setup additional add-ons or programs. We provide the right air and ground transportation, source and find additional hotels, transfers, car rentals, specific activities, whatever you need. Again all this is part of our know-how.
Who are you? Who will attend me?
When you call a local company or an outfitter, you get that company's or outfitter's trip, or their biased opinion. And guess what... they like to sell their trip, but will hardly help you with further enquiries and arrangements, and they will certainly not help you in case of trouble.
We are an independent Destination Management Company. This means we take care of your trip arrangements from beginning to end, and we endorse a number of carefully chosen outfitters and partners across Bolivia. Tell us what you need and we will find the right trip for you, and will recommend the corresponding company or outfitter.
|Much information is available to you right here on our web site and via the "Resources-Contact Us" button on this page (click on the binoculars to the right). A lot more background and personalized information is available through our Online Travel Counselors.|