3. Bo local woman

Bolivia FAQ’s


Do I need a visa?

Yes. Travelers with a US passport DO REQUIRE a visa to visit any part of Bolivia. Canadian citizens do not need a visa. Visit www.projectvisa.com for entry requirements if your passport is from another country; or the US State Department website for further details pertaining to US citizens.

Visa fee: The tourist visa for US citizens currently costs $160.00 at Bolivian consulates in the United States, or if obtained at the airport or land borders in Bolivia. You can pay the fee in cash, by deposit to the Bolivian consulate’s bank account or by money order. If you choose to apply for your visa upon your arrival to Bolivia, you must pay the $160.00 in cash to immigration authorities. Remember to bring only crisp, fresh bills with no creases or rips.

Is my passport valid?

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months following the end of your trip for entry into Bolivia. If it expires sooner, you must get a renewal.

Do I need any shots?

The only required vaccination for entry to Bolivia is Yellow Fever if you are visiting tropical areas or coming from a country with risk of yellow fever. Call the CDC Travelers’ Hot Line at 888-232-3228 or visit the website (www.cdc.gov/travel) for further information. Most travelers receive inoculations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever and Tetanus. If traveling to the Amazon region, you should also consider Malaria prophylaxis.

When can I expect more details on my trip?

You will receive two mailings: 1. Pre-departure materials once your trip is guaranteed, typically 2-4 months prior to your departure; and 2. Final Documents sent 8-14 days before you leave.

When is my balance due?

Your land balance is due 90 days prior to departure. An invoice will be sent with your pre-departure packet.

Will I be met at the airport?

Yes, if you arrive according to schedule or have arranged extra transfers through our office. Meeting instructions and local contact information will be given with your Final Documents.

How much money should I bring?

Depending on the length of your trip, plan to bring $300-600 per person for spending money, tips, airport taxes and those meals not included in the itinerary.

Should I bring cash or traveler’s checks?

Cash is the easiest to exchange and most places accept US dollars, traveler’s checks are also OK. See current exchange rates.

Are ATM machines available?

Yes. There are ATM machines in the main cities such as La Paz and Santa Cruz. We recommend using the ones located inside some hotels, stores, restaurants or banks. Be cautious as some thieves may watch these machines and target tourists and others who take out large amounts of cash. Consult with your guide for safety recommendations on ATM’s or exchanging money.

Is Bolivia safe?

We consider Bolivia a safe destination. After more than 20 years of operating trips to Bolivia, our travelers have never experienced a problem with safety, whether in the cities or traveling in rural tourist areas. You can receive an updated Consular Information Sheet from the US State Department website or call their hotline at 888-407-4747.

What about thievery?

Petty thievery in Bolivia’s cities is not higher than in any large city in the US. Common sense is important. Use the safety deposit box at your hotel for your passport and extra money (carry only as much as you might spend) and leave jewelry and expensive watches at home.

What will the weather be like?

Cool/cold in the Altiplano (Lake Titicaca, La Paz, and Uyuni) with daytime highs in the upper 60’s and nighttime lows between 28°F and 36°F. See La Paz weather.

How do I train for my trip?

If you lead an active lifestyle (walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, etc. on a regular basis) you will do fine on a Grade I or II trip. For Grade III trips you should plan to jog or stair climb for at least 45 minutes 4-5 times per week (more frequency for a Grade IV trip). View more details on Trip Ratings.

How do I adjust to the altitude?

Gradual exposure to higher elevation and time are the only sure ways to acclimate. When possible, arriving to La Paz (elevation 11,930′) a day early or starting your trip with an extension to Sucre (elevation 9,155′) or Lake Titicaca (elevation 12,500′) for 2-3 days will help. The Uyuni salt flats are at an elevation of 11,995′ and also require gradual acclimation. It is recommended to drink plenty of water, eat lightly and avoid alcoholic beverages for the first day or two. Many travelers find that drinking coca tea is also effective.

What about tourist facilities?

As one of the poorest South American nations which is infrequently visited by US and foreign travelers, Bolivia’s tourist infrastructure varies greatly from city to city. La Paz & Santa Cruz offer the full range of amenities from excellent dining and five-star hotels to local restaurants and inexpensive hostals. Outside of these main cities, hotels and other facilities differ greatly. Around Lake Titicaca and in Cochabamba, Potosi and Sucre there are several nice hotels at the tourist-class level (3 or 4-star category).

What about an emergency while traveling?

Southwind has never had a life-threatening emergency for a traveler in more than 15 years of operations. Our guides are trained in mountain/wilderness first-aid. Depending on the circumstances, a vehicle, horse or helicopter may take an injured or ill person to the nearest medical facility. English-speaking doctors and clinics are available in all major cities (La Paz, Sucre, Santa Cruz, etc).

Who will be my guide?

We work with the most respected and experienced local guides, many of whom have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, Andean culture or other specialities. All speak fluent English and are knowledgeable, patient and fun to be around. Your Final Documents will provide guide details. See a list of Southwind guides in Bolivia