Bolivia

Bold and brash, Bolivia lifts travellers to its dizzying heights with stunning scenery, legendary landmarks and a rich, indigenous heritage. Bolivia is an energetic, enigmatic piece of South American sorcery – alive with passion, awash with colour, connected to the past but living very much in the present. Leave Bolivia off your travel list at your own peril.

Bolivia Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Bolivia

Departing Days Price USD
29 Jul 2016 Discover Bolivia & Argentina 20 $2298

All our Bolivia trips

DAYS
15
FROM
USD $2,880
CAD $3,145
AUD $3,375
EUR €2,335
GBP £1,737
NZD $3,631
ZAR R31,113
CHF FR2,394
Discover Peru's sacred land of the Incas. Visit Lima, the Amazon, Cuzco, Puno, Lake Titicaca, trek the Inca Trail and...
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24
FROM
USD $7,025
CAD $7,768
AUD $8,316
EUR €5,650
GBP £4,266
NZD $8,943
ZAR R76,686
CHF FR5,896
Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...
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47
FROM
USD $6,375
CAD $6,980
AUD $7,470
EUR €5,175
GBP £3,840
NZD $7,875
ZAR R68,870
CHF FR5,295
Discover the lush beauty of the Amazon, the elegance of Buenos Aires and the awe-inspiring history of the Incas in...
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40
FROM
USD $5,665
CAD $6,195
AUD $6,645
EUR €4,595
GBP £3,415
NZD $7,145
ZAR R61,255
CHF FR4,695
Journey through South America, from Lima to Buenos Aires, and explore stunning landscapes, buzzing cities and ancient...
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12
FROM
USD $1,705
CAD $1,875
AUD $2,010
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,030
NZD $2,160
ZAR R18,520
CHF FR1,425
Visit South America and travel to Bolivia. Travel from La Paz to Sucre, visit the city of Potosi, tour Salar de Uyuni...
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5
FROM
USD $1,122
CAD $1,315
AUD $1,380
EUR €975
GBP £715
NZD $1,485
ZAR R12,975
CHF FR997
Venture deep into the Amazon on this exciting five-day adventure in the jungle
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63
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USD $9,035
CAD $9,890
AUD $10,585
EUR €7,335
GBP £5,435
NZD $11,385
ZAR R97,595
CHF FR7,505
Prepare yourself for the ultimate South American adventure starting in Ecuador. From the dizzying heights of the...
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56
FROM
USD $8,330
CAD $9,115
AUD $9,760
EUR €6,760
GBP £5,010
NZD $10,495
ZAR R89,980
CHF FR6,920
Explore stunning scenery, incredible natural sights and experience food, music, and culture like never before as you...
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20
FROM
USD $2,298
CAD $2,516
AUD $2,692
EUR €1,871
GBP £1,383
NZD $2,895
ZAR R24,817
CHF FR1,908
Get off the tourist trail on this extraordinary adventure through Bolivia and Argentina. Visit historic Potosi,...
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12
FROM
USD $1,790
CAD $2,309
AUD $2,308
EUR €1,621
GBP £1,180
NZD $2,479
ZAR R21,702
CHF FR1,670
Discover Incan heartlands on this Overland Bolivia and Peru tour. Travel from La Paz to Cuzco and take in Lake...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $2,835
CAD $3,478
AUD $3,649
EUR €2,556
GBP £1,873
NZD $3,923
ZAR R34,314
CHF FR2,636
Travel from La Paz to Lima and discover the vibrant heart of Inca culture. Trek an Inca trail and visit Colca Canyon,...
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21
FROM
USD $1,980
CAD $2,581
AUD $2,547
EUR €1,783
GBP £1,309
NZD $2,740
ZAR R23,863
CHF FR1,929
Travel from La Paz to Buenos Aires and discover the heart of South America. This vacation has it all, from a Salar de...
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36
FROM
USD $5,635
CAD $6,165
AUD $6,600
EUR €4,570
GBP £3,390
NZD $7,095
ZAR R60,830
CHF FR4,680
Visit South America and travel through Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Visit Potosi, Salar de Uyuni, Buenos...
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21
FROM
USD $1,990
CAD $2,600
AUD $2,553
EUR €1,788
GBP £1,316
NZD $2,751
ZAR R16,227
CHF FR1,882
Visit South America and travel through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Tour Santiago, Mendoza, Cafayate and Salta....
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21
FROM
USD $1,980
CAD $2,588
AUD $2,540
EUR €1,779
GBP £1,310
NZD $2,737
ZAR R23,861
CHF FR1,933
Visit South America and travel through Bolivia, Argentina and Chile from La Paz to Santiago. Visit Potosi, Salar de...
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112
FROM
USD $11,175
CAD $14,617
AUD $14,405
EUR €10,098
GBP £7,408
NZD $15,492
ZAR R134,276
CHF FR10,870
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...
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112
FROM
USD $8,035
CAD $10,760
AUD $10,355
EUR €7,238
GBP £5,358
NZD $11,133
ZAR R96,811
CHF FR7,995
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...
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22
FROM
USD $2,775
CAD $3,603
AUD $3,569
EUR €2,506
GBP £1,833
NZD $3,833
ZAR R33,564
CHF FR2,581
Travel from Lima to La Paz and fall in love with Incan South America. Complete the Inca Trail trek, visit Arequipa,...
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12
FROM
USD $1,790
CAD $2,309
AUD $2,308
EUR €1,621
GBP £1,180
NZD $2,479
ZAR R21,702
CHF FR1,670
Take a scenic Overland tour from Peru to Bolivia. Be wooed by the vibrant heart of Inca lands
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42
FROM
USD $4,780
CAD $6,225
AUD $6,047
EUR €4,240
GBP £3,108
NZD $6,504
ZAR R55,732
CHF FR4,496
Visit South America and travel through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina from Lima to Buenos Aires. Follow the Inca Trail,...
DAYS
60
FROM
USD $6,640
CAD $8,653
AUD $8,553
EUR €5,997
GBP £4,396
NZD $9,199
ZAR R77,737
CHF FR6,271
Go Overland from Lima to Rio with Intrepid Travel. Uncover hidden treasures from Peru to Brazil via Bolivia and...
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3
FROM
USD $1,080
CAD $1,265
AUD $1,330
EUR €940
GBP £695
NZD $1,460
ZAR R5,790
CHF FR960
Travel from picturesque La Paz to the spellbinding Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on the planet.
DAYS
207
FROM
USD $15,205
CAD $20,545
AUD $19,600
EUR €13,680
GBP £10,165
NZD $21,080
ZAR R183,070
CHF FR15,235
Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...

Bolivia trip reviews

Our Bolivia trips score an average of 4.45 out of 5 based on 151 reviews in the last year.

Bolivia Highlights , June 2016

Christine Barr

Bolivian Salt Flats , June 2016

Kate Taylor

Articles on Bolivia

Everything you need to know about Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni

Posted on Fri, 12 Feb 2016

Unless you’re an astronaut (if you are – can we be friends?), most of us will never walk on the moon. But on the Bolivian Altiplano, you can get pretty close.

Read more

Got the food blues in Bolivia

Posted on Tue, 16 Oct 2012

Jacqueline Donaldson discovered a drink made from corn that's a curious colour but a great local treat...

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Ben’s top 5 in Bolivia

Posted on Mon, 18 Jul 2011

"Besides the dust and the bouts of altitude sickness, I have been lucky to have some great experiences and see some amazing landscapes..."

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see bolivia to believe it

Posted on Wed, 2 Jun 2010

If your Top 10 includes the world’s best off-the-beaten-track destinations, then you’ll understand why Southern Adventure – La Paz to Rio has made Intrepid’s list. As Intrepid Express reader Paul […]

Read more

About Bolivia

At a glance

Capital city: Sucre (constitutional, population 225,000); La Paz (administrative, population 880,000)
Population: 9.9 million
Language: Quechua, Spanish, Aymara
Currency: BOB
Time zone: (GMT-04:00) La Paz
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code: +591

Best time to visit Bolivia

May to October (winter) is generally considered to be the best time to visit Bolivia, as days are usually dry and clear. Summer (November to April) is the rainy season, and during this time it can get hot and humid. The peak tourist season runs from late June to early September. This season holds the best weather for travel, but is Bolivia's main fiesta season and holiday period, so some disruptions can be expected at times.

bolivia weather map chart

Geography and environment

Laguna verde, Bolivia
One of only two landlocked nations on the South American continent, Bolivia is a mixture of highland plains, lush valleys, steep canyons and tropical forests. Bordering Peru and Chile in the west, Bolivia extends across the Andes ranges, cradling its capital city (La Paz) within the high plateau of the Altiplano. Over 40% of Bolivians live in this mountainous area, a landscape of volcanic flats and craggy peaks. Further west are two of Bolivia’s most contrasting features. To the southwest lies the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, while the far northwest encompasses Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake.

Top Picks

'Death road'

Top 10 Bizarre Bits of Bolivia

1. Giant Frogs

No, Lake Titicaca’s high altitude isn’t causing you to hallucinate – you may have just caught a glimpse of the world’s largest aquatic frog. Measuring in at up to 50 centimetres long (the size of an adult foot!), the extremely rare Titicaca Water Frog can weigh up to 3 kilograms.

2. Lost City of Titicaca

So you weren’t hallucinating when you thought you saw a giant frog, but surely there's nothing else hiding beneath Titicaca’s surface? Wrong again. In 1988, taking hints from a local legend, divers descended to Titicaca’s murky depths and discovered a real-life lost city. The temple complex, believed to be pre-Inca, is said to be over 1,500 years old.

3. El Tio and the Potosi Mines

A sombre experience at the best of times, the plight of the Potosi miners is one of Bolivia’s more tragic tales. In many ways emblematic of this are the ghastly effigies of El Tio, the guardian of the mines and the god of the underworld. Workers offer cigarettes and coca leaves in the hope that they will receive good fortune, paying their respects to this terrifying spirit on each descent into the darkness of the mines.

4. Macho Valley

Not known for their subtlety, Bolivians have named this valley ‘Macho’ for a reason. Meaning ‘male’ in Spanish, this collection of phallic shaped rock formations is a sight for sore eyes.

5. Bolivian Bus-Train

Looking for a cheaper way to travel from Sucre to Potosi? Look no further than the Bolivian bus-train, a transport innovation like no other. Faced with the dilemma of having a complete railway but no train, locals simply converted a bus, swapping its tires for tracks. The result? A scenic and thrilling way to ascend this 4,000 metre climb - all for the very fair price of $3.50!

6. The ‘Death Road’

If the Bolivian bus-train doesn’t get your blood pumping, the harrowing ‘Death Road’ may literally send you over the edge. Snaking its way across the Yungas toward the Amazon rainforest, this road is among the world's most dangerous. But try telling that to the locals, who insist on driving massive trucks and buses at brisk speeds along its narrow, twisting path – at least affording their terrified passengers the views of a lifetime.

7. Women’s Wrestling

Bolivia’s newest sporting phenomenon comes in the form of feisty 'cholitas' (women). These ladies compete in professional wrestling bouts around the country, much to delight of their adoring fans. Part circus, part sport, all female - these unique sportswomen are undoubtedly some of wrestling’s fiercest competitors.

8. Witches’ Market

Creepy masks and odd trinkets sold by astrologists and sorcerers - Bolivia’s famous Witches’ Market never fails to leave a lasting impression. See real-life witches selling potions, casting spells and stirring cauldrons - this madhouse market is full of wacky characters and strange souvenirs.

9. Salt Hotel

Apart from being one of Bolivia’s most famous attractions, the Salar de Uyuni salt plain offers one of the quirkiest accommodation options on the market. For 30 dollars a night, visitors to the world’s largest salt flat can stay in a hotel made entirely from salt. That’s right, salt floors, a salt roof, a salt bar and even a salt dining table. One things for sure, you won’t be asking anyone to “pass the salt” in this zany hotel.

10. The Dinosaur Wall

Discovered by Bolivian construction workers in 1994, Cal Orko (or the Dinosaur Wall) is a prehistoric oddity of epic proportions. Found on the banks of a cement quarry, this collection of over 5,000 tracks from 330 different species of dinosaurs is a rarity in the world of palaeontology. Over 68 million years old, it's thought that this quarry was previously a gigantic lake, its steep slopes once traversed by gravity-defying dinosaurs keen for a drink. Nowadays, this precious landmark is beginning to crumble - resulting in conservation efforts from the Bolivian government.

FAQs on Bolivia

BOLIVIA TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Yes - in advance

Please note: if you are required to apply for a visa to enter Bolivia, you will need the following to support it:
- a copy of the Intrepid voucher that you receive after purchasing your trip
- a copy of the Itinerary which you can obtain from the Trip Notes for your specific trip on our website.
While tipping isn't mandatory in Bolivia, it's customary to add spare change or a small amount to restaurant bills. Although most restaurants and bars may already include a 10% service charge within the bill, feel free to add more if the service was good. Taxi drivers generally don't expect tips.
Internet cafes can be found in Bolivia's large cities and towns frequented by tourists. Internet availability is less widespread in rural and remote areas, so be prepared to disconnect for a while when travelling out of the city.
You should be able to use your mobile phone in Bolivia's cities, but prepare for less coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming enabled before leaving your home country.
Bolivia has a mix of flushable toilets and squat toilets so expect both. It's a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser, as these aren't always provided.
City bus fare = 1.50 BOB
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 10 BOB
Bottle or can of beer = 10 BOB
Simple lunch = 20-25 BOB
Dinner in a restaurant = 80 BOB
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Bolivia. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water - ask your leader where filtered water can be found. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards can be used at most top-end hotels, restaurants, shops and other tourist establishments. Expect to pay cash when dealing with smaller vendors, family-run restaurants and market stalls.
ATMs can be found in most of Bolivia's major cities and tourist areas. ATMs are far less common in rural areas and small villages so have enough cash to cover purchases when travelling away from the larger cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their 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 11 Carnival
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 30 Corpus Christi
Aug 6 Independence Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/bolivia/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Bolivia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Bolivia

1. Be considerate of Bolivia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Whispering in the Giant's EarWilliam Powers
The PearlJohn Steinbeck
Devil in the Mountain: A Search for the Origin of the AndesSimon Lamb
American VisaJuan de Recacoechea
1491Charles C. Mann

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