Bolivia Travel Guide

Bolivia Travel Guide

Southern America


Current information

The national emergency declared on November 21, 2016 due to the persistent drought and water scarcity continues to apply. Travelers are advised to contact the hotels about the water supply before arrival in order to be able to reschedule in good time. Private households should ensure that they have drinking water available for a reasonable period of time.

Country-specific safety instructions

The effects of earthquakes, most of which have their epicenter in Chile or Peru, can occasionally be felt with varying degrees of intensity in the various parts of Bolivia.

Land / road travel

As a country located in South America according to militarynous, Bolivia has little traffic. There are paved country roads only on main traffic routes. All other connecting routes (gravel roads, scree and dirt roads; few bridges) are often inaccessible for days during the rainy season (December to March). Travelers are advised to find out about the current situation on site.

Serious bus accidents occur regularly in Bolivia, most of which cause many deaths. Bus accidents occur almost every day in all parts of the country, especially in the rainy season. When traveling overland by bus, it is advisable to only travel with well-known bus companies. Night trips by bus are strongly discouraged. Due to the particular risk situation, the German embassy in La Paz also advises against driving overland by car in the dark. The streets are usually not lit and many of them are in poor condition. Many road users, often including buses, drive without lights or with insufficient lighting. When renting a car for cross-country trips, it is advisable to rent a car with a driver, also with regard to the procedure in the event of traffic accidents (see special criminal law regulations).

There is a legal regulation according to which vehicles with foreign license plates have to pay higher petrol prices than vehicles with Bolivian license plates. In practice, this means that many petrol stations do not know how to bill these prices and therefore some refuse to sell petrol to foreign vehicles.

The railway network, which covers only a small part of the country, is only conditionally suitable for traveling over longer distances.


Crime in Bolivia has increased in recent years. There have been more incidents with foreign tourists traveling alone who, on arrival at the bus station in La Paz or at the airport in El Alto, were driven by fake taxi drivers to remote parts of the city and there, with the help of fake police officers in uniform with the pretext, one Wanting to carry out anti-drug controls, robbed and forced to surrender credit cards and PIN numbers under threat of violence (so-called “express kidnappings”). There were cases in which people were detained for this even for a few days. Similar cases emerged from others major Bolivian cities reported.

It happens again and again that fake police officers who work with other people (who pretend to be South American tourists) want to check ID cards or allegedly want to take tourists to police stations. In these cases you should by no means get into unknown cars and make sure that they are real police IDs. In general, there are no identity checks on the street / squares.

It is strongly advised to only use well-known radio taxi and bus companies and not to wave taxis on the street, especially not at night. As a rule, restaurants, hotels, pubs etc. request a radio taxi (radio taxi) at the guest’s request. In addition, you shouldn’t carry large sums of cash with you in public, ID documents and money should be kept well hidden, real jewelry, expensive watches, etc. should not be worn at all.

It is also reported repeatedly that visitors to bars and discos are given knockout drops, which cause fainting and memory loss. This time is used to rob the person concerned. Cases of rape while the victims were unconscious were also reported.

Open drinks or food offered by strangers should never be accepted. A German tourist was offered pastries soaked with drugs on an overland trip by bus, whereupon the tourist was unconscious for two days and was robbed.

Drug crime is widespread in Bolivia. The acquisition, possession, consumption, trafficking and export of drugs and drug products of all kinds are strongly discouraged. In this context, it is strongly advised against participating in shamanic ceremonies (e.g. ayahuasca ceremony) in which hallucinogenic plants are used, particularly because of the unpredictable health risk.

Bolivia Travel Guide



1 boliviano = 100 centavos. Currency abbreviations: Bs, BOB (ISO code). The boliviano is pegged to the US dollar. Banknotes are in circulation to the denomination of 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 Bs; Coins in denominations of 5, 2 and 1 Bs as well as 50, 20 and 10 centavos.

Credit cards

Major credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club are accepted in the largest hotels, restaurants and shopping centers in the larger cities. Credit cards are rarely accepted in smaller shops and in remote, smaller towns. Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.


EC / Maestro card / Sparcard
At many ATMs, you can withdraw cash in local currency with an EC card (provided they have the Maestro or Cirrus symbol) (cards must be activated for foreign countries). ATMs are mainly available in larger cities. Further information from banks and credit institutes.

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank customer card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the options for using their card from their bank prior to departure.

Bank opening times

Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-6 p.m.

Foreign exchange regulations

No restrictions on the import of local currency and foreign currencies. Approval from the Bolivian Central Bank is required for amounts from US $ 50,000 to US $ 500,000 (or the equivalent in other foreign currencies). Unrestricted export of the local currency. Unlimited export of foreign currencies, from 50,000 – 500,000 US $ approval (see above) required.

Currency Exchange

Foreign currencies can be exchanged in the larger cities in banks, in Casas de Cambio (exchange offices) and also in hotels. The easiest way to change US dollars in smaller denominations. US dollars are also widely accepted as a means of payment.