BOLIVIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Bolivia is truly a Pandora’s box full of picturesque landscapes, treasures from the colonial days, vibrant indigenous cultures, and the legacy of ancient civilizations. The most isolated and the highest of Latin American Republics, Bolivia is a landlocked country. It is also the most Indian country in Latin America with 50% of its people holding on fiercely to their traditional cultural values. From the magnificent snow-capped Andes to the teeming banks of the Amazon, this country is sure to excite the adventurous best in you.
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BOLIVIA QUICK FACTS
Capital: La Paz (administrative & governmental); Sucre (legal capital & judicial seat)
Currency: Boliviano (BOB)
Area: 1,098,580 km²
Population: 8,989,046 (July 2006 estimate)
Language: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist)
Electricity: 220V, 50HZ (but 115V in La Paz & Viacha (A & C type plugs)
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BOLIVIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 22 January, Pluri-national State Foundation Day
- 1 May, Labour Day
- 6 August, Independence Day
- 1 November, All Saints Day
Also, Carnival (the week before Ash Wednesday), Good Friday, and Corpus Christi.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BOLIVIA
The period between November and March is summer and it also rains through most of the country at this time. La Paz and Oruro could get some snow at the end of the rainy season. In the highlands, temperatures touch sub-zero points. The Amazon Basin is forever wet though with the hot months between May and October comparatively dry. The dry season is best for travel for better road conditions and sunny skies. Travel to most regions of Bolivia is certainly possible all year round, but you must be prepared to deal with the severe seasonal changes and the subsequent effects on road conditions.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN BOLIVIA
You can enjoy outdoor activities in Bolivia from April to November, with the peak season from June to September. May and October should be your best months in terms of best weather and cheaper prices. From November to April it's monsoon season, so some parts of the country become inaccessible during this period.
BEACH OPTIONS IN BOLIVIA
If you're desperate for a beach while in Bolivia, head over to Lake Titicaca, it's the closest to a beach as you will get!
HEALTH RISKS IN BOLIVIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
BOLIVIA TRAVEL COSTS
Bolivia is one of the least expensive countries in South America, and considerably cheaper than neighbouring Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. Imported goods are expensive, but food, accommodation, and transport are all relatively cheap, and travellers on a tight budget should be able to get around on $20 USD per day, staying in basic hotels and eating set meals in local restaurants. For about $40 USD per day, you can enjoy more comfortable hotels and good food, take taxis when necessary, and go on the occasional guided tour. Spend more than $70 USD per day and you can have a very comfortable trip.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF BOLIVIA
Bolivia is a country of extremes from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the vast and dazzling salt flats and the remote Altiplano with its volcanoes and lagoons. Given the distances involved between destinations, you may not be able to see everything in one go. But even doing a partial itinerary – or mixing and matching elements from different ones – will give you a wonderful insight into Bolivia's stunning diversity.
La Paz - The world's highest de facto capital city is also one of its most compelling, a riot of indigenous colour, vertiginous markets, and street protests.
Tiwanaku - Though a mere fraction of this iconic pre-Columbian, the pre-Incan city has been excavated, its mysterious, monumental slabs of sandstone are a must-see.
Lago Titicaca - A vast, striking blue expanse standing at 3810m, the lake is dotted with sacred islands and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Salar de Uyuni and the Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa - Best visited together, the world's largest salt lake and this stunning high-altitude reserve have a desolate, otherworldly beauty.
Potosí - The highest city on earth has a tragic history, stunningly preserved colonial architecture, and a legendary silver mine.
Sucre - Bolivia's most appealing city has a welcoming atmosphere, atmospheric whitewashed buildings, leafy plazas, and a year-round spring-like climate.
The Jesuit missions of Chiquitos - These Jesuit-founded towns in remote eastern Bolivia boast a series of stunning churches and fascinating history.
Rurrenabaque and the Amazon - Perfectly sited on the Río Beni, buzzing Rurrenabaque has the biodiverse wonders of the Amazon on its doorstep.
Chacaltaya & Huayna Potosi — the world's highest ski resort and Bolivia's most popular mountain climb.
Isla del Sol — A remote island in the southern part of Titicaca Lake with astonishing landscapes and ruins from the Inca period.
Madidi National Park — Located a few miles North of Apolo, is one of the world's most extensive biodiversity reserves. Its humid tropical climate has spawned one of Bolivia’s richest woodlands.
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park — impossibly remote and even more impossibly beautiful Amazonian park, home to the stunning Cataratas Arcoiris waterfall.
Quime - Raunchy and friendly mountain village surrounded by high mountains of the Cordillera Quimsa Cruz, between La Paz & Cochabamba, with mines, waterfalls, native cloud forest and Aimara indigenous communities.
Sajama National Park — beautiful Andean landscapes and Bolivia's highest mountain, Nevada Sajama.
Sorata — Hikers' destination, close to San Pedro caves, with a beautiful lagoon.
Tiwanaku — Ancient ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Yungas region to be reached via bicycle on El Camino de Muerte, the World's Most Dangerous Road, leading through dramatic high altitude cliff-side jungle terrain or by walking on El Choro Trek through the climate zones from La Paz to Coroico.