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. Soak 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!

Top Bolivia travel deals

Departing Days From ZAR
26 Dec 2018
Bolivia Highlights
12 R20,530
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28 Dec 2018
Best of Bolivia & Argentina
15 R26,645
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28 Dec 2018
Explore Bolivia to Brazil
31 R62,135
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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Bolivia tour reviews

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At a glance

Best time to visit Bolivia

Culture and customs

Eating and drinking

Geography and environment


Festivals and events

Health and safety

Further reading

Bolivia travel FAQs

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.

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. Internet is not accessible travelling through the Uyuni desert.

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.

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. 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. Ask your leader or the hotel 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. ATMs are not accessible travelling through the Uyuni desert.

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

  • 1 Jan: New Year’s Day
  • 4 Mar: Carnival
  • 19 Apr: Good Friday
  • 1 May: Labour Day
  • 20 Jun: Corpus Christi
  • 6 Aug: Independence Day
  • 12 Oct: Columbus Day
  • 2 Nov: All Saint’s Day
  • 25 Dec: Christmas

For a current list of public holidays in Bolivia go to:


Most people can start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 m (6561 ft) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. It’s important to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your group leader at once if you feel unwell.

We recommend seeing your doctor if you have any health concerns before undertaking the trip. Particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or take any medication.

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.

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.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or ILGA before you travel.

Responsible Travel

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.

Local woman in Sucre, Bolivia

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.