BoliviaTravel Guide

If dramatic landscapes, natural wonders, and immersing yourself in a fascinating culture is your vibe, Bolivia, in the heart of South America, should be on your bucket list. See some of the world’s most jaw-dropping sights, like bizarre rock formations and the “Birthplace of the Incas” – Lake Titicaca.

Shop for potions and weirdly wonderful souvenirs at the witch market, or get your adrenaline on, cycling along the world’s most dangerous road!

This country is a feast for the eyes, the rich culture reflected in the colourful traditional clothing that’s still worn. Visitors also come to Bolivia for the wildlife, to explore the many pristine, untouched places, and experience the carnivals and enjoy the local music. To top it off, Bolivia’s also budget-friendly!

A holiday of a lifetime is waiting for you. Our Bolivia Travel Guide has all you need to know!

Bolivia quick facts

Language

National language

Spanish

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

GBP £0.66

Local time

Wednesday

3:29am

Currency

Boliviano

GBP £1.00 = BOB $b8.73

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

GBP £2.28

Electricity

Plug type: A

2 pins • 115V / 230V

Explore Bolivia

Where to stay in Bolivia?

Wondering where to stay in Bolivia? We’ve got the scoop on the best areas and hotels, no matter your budget.

If you’re a first-timer in Bolivia, La Paz is a great place to stay. The country’s administrative capital city is bursting at the seams with sights and experiences, and a range of accommodation options too. On a budget? Casa Fusión Hotel Boutique has got you covered. This casual hotel offers affordable rates, and access to an outdoor pool and a lovely garden. Want to splurge? It doesn’t get more luxurious than a stay at Casa Grande Hotel, one of the best hotels in La Paz. It has an on-site café, bar and restaurant, and access to a sauna, indoor pool and free Wi-Fi.

La Paz also has many hostels to choose from, with Saint Peter’s Llama Hostal one of the popular ones. From friendly staff, large dormitories, and continental breakfasts to epic happy hours at the vibey bar, this is a top spot for making new friends and joining the party after a day of sightseeing.


It’s the largest city in Bolivia, so there’s plenty in store for you if you stay in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Los Tajibos, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel is your go-to for a lavish getaway, offering three restaurants, a spa, an outdoor pool, a gym and a conference centre. Located within walking distance of Ventura Mall, Hampton by Hilton Santa Cruz/Equipetrol is also quite plush – especially if sustainable travel is important to you. It’s eco-certified with a relaxed atmosphere, a gym and a rooftop bar offering gorgeous views of the Pirai River. Breakfast is included in your room rate. If hotels are not your thing, you can also find holiday houses and apartments to rent in the city.


How about an island stay? Isla Del Sol, on Lake Titicaca, is a small island so the luxury accommodation providers are limited. Book well in advance unless you’re happy with the basics of a hostel or a no-frills guesthouse. For a sustainable, tranquil escape, the Ecolodge La Estancia, on the island’s southern tip, ticks all the boxes. Incredible views of the mountains and the lake are guaranteed. Another reason to love this lodge? All the cabins were built by community members using materials with minimal environmental impact.


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

Things to do in Bolivia

Nature lovers, outdoor adventurers and culture vultures flock to Bolivia. With a wealth of activities and iconic places, book a longer stay to discover it all!

The Altiplano, the country’s mountainous west, is home to the world’s largest salt flat, called the Salar de Uyuni. It spreads across 10 000 square kilometres (3 900 square miles) and in November, during breeding season, it’s dotted with beautiful flamingos. See if you can spot the ultra-rare James’s flamingo – its feathers are a lighter shade of pink, and its bill bright yellow and black-tipped.

Bolivia is also known for its intriguing rock formations and otherworldly landscapes caused by erosion. At Salar de Uyuni, you’ll find the surreal looking, 5m high Arbol de Piedra (Stone Tree) and many other weird and wonderful rocks.


Yungas Road or “Death Road” has a reputation for being the most dangerous road in the world. Built to connect La Paz to the Bolivian Amazon it’s 64km (40 miles) long with a 3 500m (11 483ft) descent and, in some places, it’s just 3m (10ft) wide. There are many perilous blind corners and sharp turns, so you’re guaranteed an adrenaline rush and bragging rights! Make sure to organise your daring ride with a reputable tour company to maximise your safety!


Here’s another opportunity to lace up those hiking boots – walk up 2 000 stairs to view the Cristo de la Concordia statue, east of the city of Cochabamba, perched on top of San Pedro Hill. It’s the second largest of Christ (the first is Christ the King in Świebodzin, Poland) and while it’s possible to admire it from afar, there’s nothing quite like seeing it up close. But here’s a lazy traveller’s hack: you can get a better look by cable car, too. No sweat!


If wildlife is why you came to Bolivia, then the Biocentro Guembe Mariposario tropical eco-park is your kind of paradise. Situated in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, it showcases unique habitats, such as the terrarium with its iguanas and tarantulas, the swamp, where you could spot one of the world’s smallest deer, and the butterfly farm. Other residents include tiny Capuchin monkeys, colourful tropical birds, and there’s also a tortoise hatchery. If you’re travelling with kids, they’ll have the time of their lives splashing in the pools and lagoons and playing paintball or soccer, and after all that activity, the whole family can relax and refuel at the on-site restaurants.


The Andes Mountains cradle Lake Titicaca, which is sandwiched between Bolivia and Peru. This stunning body of water is a must-see for many reasons. It’s South America’s largest freshwater lake, the world’s highest large lake and it’s also considered an ancient lake, estimated to be about 60 million years old! According to legend, this is the “Birthplace of the Incas”, and Inca ruins have been found in the area. This has made Lake Titicaca popular among culture and history buffs, and also with hikers because of the great trails in the area offering breathtaking views.


One of South America’s most important cultural events takes place every year in the city of Oruro in February, just before Ash Wednesday. So, if you happen to be travelling to Bolivia at this time, experiencing the Oruro Carnival is highly recommended. Thousands of musicians and dancers take part in this tradition that’s about 200 years old, and proceedings always kick off with the “devil dance” (the diablada).


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Bolivia food and drink

Prepare to eat plenty of quinoa in Bolivia! It’s a South American staple, together with beans and potatoes. (Royal quinoa is richer and creamier when cooked than other types and can only be grown on the salt flats). Delicious local flavours will tickle your taste buds, and you’ll also come across influences from Spanish, German and French cuisine.

Gustu (which translates to “flavour”) is a stand-out restaurant in La Paz, serving up classic Bolivian fare such as smoked llama, Amazonian potatoes, lamb tamale and many more mouth-watering delights. The restaurant is about preserving and promoting local food heritage and welcomes diners into a minimalistic but warm space.

Ali Pacha, also in La Paz, is one for the vegetarians and vegans. It’s also known for its “secret menus”, adding an element of mystery to the dining experience. Choose from the short menu, the complete menu, and the most exciting of them all: the Ali Pacha menu.

If you’re in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and looking for a good place to have lunch, then head to Restaurant La Barca. A family eatery that’s been around since the 1980s, it’s still going strong! The menu features local cuisine, comfort food and great meat dishes.

Over in Oruro, a popular spot for friendly vibes and no-fuss South American and Peruvian food is El Negrito, which serves all three meals of the day.


Street vendors are everywhere in Bolivia, so it’s a good idea to follow the locals’ lead and go where they’re going. Like a juicy pie? Then try the salteña – packed with vegetables or meat. A surprise street food is popcorn, but if you need more than a snack, tuck into a choripan – this is a chorizo sandwich packed with lettuce and tomato and finished off with a topping of pickled veggies and mustard (or mayo, if you prefer). If you’re in La Paz, the food stalls at the Mercado Lanza market will blow your mind. This is also where you’ll find the country’s best choripan at Doña Elvira’s stall on Level 3.


Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Bolivia through your eyes

Where to shop in Bolivia?

If your trip to Bolivia has to include shopping sprees, we’ve got good news for you. There are many malls and fascinating markets to choose from.

Downtown La Paz is home to the Las Torres Mall, one of the top-rated in the city. International and local brands are showcased here across 50 stores, there’s a food court and restaurants, and it’s open for evening shopping until 10pm. Also in La Paz, Shopping Norte offers six levels of retail bliss focusing on clothing, footwear, beauty and perfume. It can get very busy, so try to get there early.

Another go-to for shopping in Bolivia is the upmarket Ventura Mall in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Here you’ll find high quality items, brand-name stores, a bustling food court and a movie theatre. Las Brisas is another popular shopping centre in the city, known for its charming indie shops and entertainment options, particularly for families.

Looking for unique gifts? In Oruro you’ll find a gem – the Artesanias de mi Tierra Handicraft Shop. It’s packed with beautiful handmade items made by the locals, from alpaca wool sweaters and hats to ceramics, pewter items, candles and jewellery.


You’ll have the most fun spending your money in traditional markets in the major cities! They’re overflowing with crafts, souvenirs, and a few bizarre finds, especially at the Witches’ Market in La Paz. This is an extraordinary experience bringing you face-to-face with local culture and tradition. Treat yourself to something weird and wonderful – how about a potion for confidence? Or maybe you’d like to have your fortune told by a witch doctor? If you prefer to shop for items that are a little more conventional, head to the La Paz markets of Mercado Negro or Mercado Lanza. They’re tourist favourites for clothing, shoes, handmade crafts and much more.


Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Bolivia?

Bolivia has three climate regions – the humid, tropical lowlands, the semi-tropical valley, and the mountainous west. This means that the climate is quite different across these regions, but there are only two seasons: summer and winter. The high-altitude Altiplano region, where La Plaz and Lake Titicaca are situated, has mild to cool weather all year.

If you want to spend your holidays outdoors, then you book your stay any time from May to October. Unfortunately, this time of year is also high season, so rates for hotels in La Paz and many of the other major cities will be quite pricey. Temperatures in Bolivia can differ significantly depending on where you’re staying. For instance, in La Paz during high season, you can expect an average of 18°C (64°F), while in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the average is around 28°C (82°F).

If you’re planning a trip to Bolivia to immerse yourself in local culture, you’re better off booking from November to March during the low season (which is also the rainy season). Temperatures in La Paz during this time of year are around 17°C/63°F, while it’s warmer in Santa Cruz de la Sierra with an average of 30°C/86°F.

Oruro tends to be a cold city because it’s situated in the semi-arid highlands. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from April to October, when the maximum temperatures reach between 19°C and 20°C (67°F).

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How to get around Bolivia

Many transport options are available in Bolivia, so getting around is easy. La Paz is famous for the Mi Teleférico cable car – its “subway in the sky”! Riding the cable car is a fabulous way to bypass the city traffic and enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Used by locals and tourists alike, it connects La Paz to the next city, El Alto. Get your ticket at the stations (about 15 minutes apart) or load up a smart card.

Bus rides are convenient and affordable whether you’re travelling short or long distances. There are terminals scattered across the country and that’s where you buy your tickets. A heads-up that delays are possible during the rainy season because of poor road conditions. You’ll also spot “micros” in the cities – colourful, hop-on-hop-off buses that travel along set routes.

While taxis are a bit more expensive, you’ll get to your destination faster and comfortably. Fares are usually fixed in each city or town. You can also travel by train and see so much more of the country. If you’re a daring solo traveller, then the moto-taxi (motorcycle taxi) could be for you. Download the app and order one like an Uber. And yes, there are Ubers in the bigger cities if you prefer.

Travelling to more than one of the major cities? Then it makes sense to fly. La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba are all connected via daily flights.

Renting a car is another way to explore Bolivia. Note that small toll fees are charged on most roads.

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

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Bolivia Frequently asked questions

It's South America, so pack for every climate but make sure you pack mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a filtered water bottle & at least two pairs of shoes (if you are heading off the beaten track).


Authentic, adventurous, and largely untouched by tourists you can't miss La Paz. Want to get off the beaten track? Take a three-day boat ride to Madidi National Park - an eco-tourism project that's part of the Bolivian Rainforest.


Life happens - we get it! Read more here


The peak summer season (November to February) is the perfect time to visit Bolivia. Take advantage of the sunny days to explore the outdoor highlights that it's known for!


Be mesmerized by the Uyuni salt flats, make pals with the local llamas and spend sun-drenched days exploring the aptly named Isla del Sol, and is said to be the birthplace of the ancient Inca civilisation!


The current requirements for travelling to Bolivia

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