BOLIVIA

Welcome to the most elevated/underrated country in South America. With its colorful market towns, sky high mountains and steamy Amazonian jungle, Bolivia is a mind-bending country.

Walk the shores of the world’s highest navigable lake or immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Bolivia’s lively mountain cities. Because it is relatively new to the tourism world, Bolivia’s essence remains refreshingly untouched.

Need another reason to convince you? Bolivia is also by far the cheapest country on the continent. Read on to see why Bolivia should be on your country short list.

Read on for our Bolivia cheap travel guide!

bolivia religious pie chart

Religions

76% Catholic
17% Protestant 
5% Non-religious
1% Other 

Map of Bolivia

Overview

Region: South America
Capitals: La Paz and Sucre
Population: 11 500 000
Languages: Spanish, Quechua

Ethnicities

Ethnicities

68% Mestizo
20% Indigenous
5% White
2% Cholo

Bolivia Highlights

Cacti and Salar de Uyuni

Gaze at the marvelous Salar de Uyuni, one of many otherwordly landscapes you may encounter in Bolivia.

Red Macaw

Bathe in the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, but watch where you step!

Dinosaur footprint Torotoro

Travel back in time at Torotoro National Park and walk alongside million years old dinosaur footprints.

La Paz and Illimani

Experience a lively blend of cultures in the the vivacious high altitude capital city of La Paz.

Cost of travel

Costs

When it comes to dirt cheap travel, the prices in Bolivia are hard to beat. You’ll be amazed at what you can afford to do on a small budget. Enjoy street food for $1 or recharge in a private room for $6. Like in many developing countries, haggling is the key to fair pricing, especially for the sunscreen-bearing tourist. Slow travelers will appreciate the low costs as they spend months exploring Bolivia’s diversity. Ever dreamed of climbing Everest? Bolivia just might be the closest you’ll get. At just over $100, Huayna Potosi is by far the cheapest 6000m+ mountain in the world. We predict that for a few years at least, Bolivia will remain a low budget traveler’s paradise.

Flights

Want to be hit straight by the high altitude and low oxygen levels of the Andes? Do like us and schedule your flight directly to La Paz’s El Alto airport (LPB). At a whopping 4000m, it is one of the world’s highest airports. You’ll be welcomed by an arid climate and the unique chance to feel like someone who’s smoked two packs of cigarettes per day all his life. Want to be welcomed by a semi-topical climate, delicious food and Bolivia’s cheapest place to see wildlife while saving money on your flight instead? Fly into Santa Cruz de la Sierra’s Viru Viru airport (VVI), Bolivia’s cosmopolitan metropolis. Regardless of your choice, flights are likely going to be the most expensive part of your trip, so be sure to choose wisely.

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Travel safety

Safety

Bolivia poses low risk for tourists traveling off the beaten path. Unlike some countries, this government isn’t interested in capturing tourists for leverage and the wilderness isn’t littered by land mines. Petty theft, however, is a thing and unattended luggage is particularly vulnerable. Surprisingly, the biggest threat to us came in the form of near constant food poisoning and altitude sickness. So much that Cass had to visit a doctor at one point. Thank goodness we had traveler’s insurance. We recommend always getting insurance when you travel especially if, like us, you enjoy a little adrenaline rush abroad. Click here to learn about the best budget travel insurance.

When to go

Bolivia has two distinct seasons : dry and rainy. Most people opt toward the dry climate between May and October, where you can traverse the country without getting soggy. The predictable weather makes overland travel simpler. This time period is Bolivia’s winter, so temperatures in the highlands will be chillier than in the summer months of November through March. In the jungle, temperatures vary from scorching hot to inferno. Prices will be lower during the rainy season, and you’ll experience fewer tourists. Our advice? Go during the shoulder season of October through November, and enjoy lower prices and fewer tourists without the daily downpours.

When to travel
Bolivia wildlife

Why we love Bolivia

One thing we agree on is our aversion to tours and, particularly, resorts. In some of the most popular countries we travel to, we are often left wondering how much of what we experience is authentic to the country’s cultural heritage, and what is staged for tourists. Bolivia, however, is definitely more raw. Withdrawn in its own time capsule, most of the country caters to the adventurous who like to be challenged. While the word might be spreading, Bolivia remains a genuine off the beaten path destination, as long as you’re willing to take the extra side step. The rich cultural heritage is humbling to behold. Add to the mix Bolivia’s often surreal landscapes and dirt cheap costs and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been yet.

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