Bolivia is one of South America’s most diverse and perplexing nations. The capital, Sucre has preserved a wealth of colonial architecture with glorious ensemble of whitewashed buildings sheltering pretty patios. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. La Paz, the administrative & governmental city, is situated at 4.058 m. altitude and is the world’s highest city. In the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, you’ll find the impressive archaeological site Tiwanaku which is one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire. The Salar de Uyuni is truly an out-of-this-world travel destination. One of the flattest places in the world and world’s largest salt flat (12.106 sq km) formed by a prehistoric lake sits at 3.653m.
The mines of the Cerro Rico in Potosí are the richest mines in all of world history and may have produced 60,000 tons of silver. The wealthy history of Potosí is still reflected in the narrow streets, colonial mansions and the many churches, which makes the city to be added on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Travel to Bolivia
When to travel Bolivia temperatures can differ dramatically between day and night. In general the best time to travel to Bolivia is the Bolivian winter, which is from May – October, especially in the hot and humid lowlands, as it is cooler and drier. In the winter the greatest chance of little rain, clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Due to the high altitude it can be chilly in the evenings. During the day it can be sunny and pleasant, with temperatures between 12°C and 20°C. But in the evenings temperatures can drop below zero! Uyuni can be visited all year round. Both summer and winter have their own charm. In the Bolivian summer months, November - April there is more rain and the salt flats become flooded. This is a beautiful spectacle, as the flats turn into a mirror of the sky above.
Time difference The official time is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4). During summer time difference between Amsterdam and La Paz is 6 hours (it is 6 hours earlier in La Paz). During winter the time difference is 5 hours.
Languages The official languages of Bolivia are Castilian and all the languages native indigenous nations. Among these the most widespread are the Aymara, Quechua and Guarani.
Travel documents A valid Dutch passport is needed upon entering Bolivia. Upon return in your home country the passport should be valid for 6 months more. No long stay visa is needed if your stay in Bolivia is no longer then three months. For all other nationalities, we advise you to contact the embassy or consulate of Bolivia. All travelers, including kids at any age need to carry their own international passport. Keep a copy of your passport and other documents in your luggage and keep a digital copy, for instance in your mail. In case you lose your original documents you still have the copies.
Security Bolivia is a safe travel destination. However, anywhere you go, use your common sense.• Take the normal precautions to guard against purse snatchers. • Carry a copy of identification documents. Keep originals and your valuables in the safety deposit box of your hotel and make sure to list down what you deposit and verify the responsibility assumed by the establishment. • Carry valuables discreetly. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Keep an eye on your bags and luggage. • Do not carry suitcases, bags or sac packs on your back. • Do not exchange money out in the street. • Do not walk around at night through areas with poor lighting or without companion.
Currency and banks The Bolivian currency is Boliviano. In every Bolivian city you'll be able to exchange U.S. Dollars and Euros for Bolivianos. There are numerous money exchange agencies and banks to withdraw Bolivianos, but in small villages it will be hard to find ATM’s. Banking Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30hrs to 12:00hrs and 14:30hrs to 18:00hrs
Transport Public transport in Bolivia, while generally safe, can be tricky and unreliable, because timetables in Bolivia aren’t available online and many bus terminal staff doesn’t speak English. Many of Bolivia’s roads are still unpaved, making traveling between cities, long, tumultuous and bumpy.• Buses are reasonably frequent and generally reliable, run everywhere throughout the country’s major towns and cities. • Flotas. Longer bus journeys are typically serviced by large double-decker buses called ‘Flotas’ which tend to be newer and more comfortable than city buses. • Micros. Shorter bus routes in Bolivia are serviced by minibuses. These buses generally travel along a predetermined route, leaving at any time when full and stopping whenever a passenger wants to get on or off. • Trufis. The trufi (taxi ruta fija or fixed route taxi) is a type of van/taxi that has a set route, is shared with other people, and only departs when full. • Taxis are the safest mode of transport in Bolivia and can usually be called upon anytime and anywhere. • Cable Car. An urban cable care system (‘teleferico’) constructed in La Paz is operating at 4000 m above sea level, the highest cable car in the world connects La Paz to neighboring El Alto. • Planes. Fly within Bolivia to cover large distances in the least amount of time possible. • Trains. Train travel is now one of the least popular modes of transport in the country.
When taking public transport, safeguard valuables by keeping them on your body at all times. Always padlock your bag as this is a huge deterrent for would-be thieves. On longer bus journeys make sure to pack enough water and snacks. Always be alert at bus terminals or bus stops for pickpockets and bag snatchers.
Electricity Most of Bolivia uses 220-230 volt. Be aware that some older buildings in La Paz still use 110 volt outlets. Most hotels plugs are adapted to our 'European' plug. However, we advise you to bring a power plug and/or voltage adapter.
Mobile phones Bolivia uses GSM 1900 frequency, so check, if your cell phone supports this one (older European phones don't).
Internet Internet is commonly available throughout Bolivia, almost all hotels provide good and free wireless internet (WIFI).
Health If you´re traveling to La Paz (at 3600 meters above sea level) or other city of the Altiplano should treat height with respect. Although it's rare to have serious health problems, it's advisable to rest for at least one day, eat light and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and avoid any physical exertion. If you suffer from heart problems or have chest pain you should consult your doctor before traveling to La Paz. Coca tea is good to avoid altitude sickness, and you can also buy acetazolamide pills in pharmacies for prevention.
We also recommend you to only consume bottled mineral water and not to drink tap water. Also, try to avoid salads and uncooked vegetables, especially those like the foods that are sold on the street or market stalls. Hepatitis, paratyphoid and diarrhea are very common sickness. Take a small first-aid kit along with you which includes iodine, plasters, sterilon and anti-fever, diarrhea, constipation, insect bites, sunburn and possibly a cure for motion sickness. Consider also a tick, thermometer (unbreakable), ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts, from dehydration) and vitamin tablets. Hygiene traveling including a bottle disinfectant gel (to wash your hands without the need for water and soap) and disinfecting wipes. If you go to a malaria area, think of anti-malaria tablets, an ointment containing DEET and an impregnated mosquito net.
Vaccines We advise you to visit your local health authorities, the Tropical Centre or your general practitioner (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. The yellow fever vaccine is mandatory to entry into Bolivia. The border authorities will request your vaccination certificate.
Clothes It is advisable to bring clothes for all weather types. Including airy and light clothing to use at the coast, T-shirts with short and long sleeves, warm clothing (fleece, possibly thermal underwear or tights, hat, gloves, thick socks and a windproof jacket) and a minimum of two to three trousers, possibly with detachable legs (jeans dries slowly and is heavy). It is best to work with different layers of clothing, so you can pull something off when it gets hot.Addresses Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia Nassauplein 2 2585 EA Den Haag The Netherlands Tel.: +3170 361 67 07 Fax: +3170 362 00 39 firstname.lastname@example.org Nederlandse Consulaat-Generaal in La Paz Av. Sanchez Lima 2061 Edificio Rosario, piso 7 - Sopocachi La Paz, Bolivia Tel: +591 2 2422542 Email: email@example.com