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 Travels in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru

 

 

Bolivia

What travel documents are mandatory for your journey in Bolivia, which climate and health precautions you have to count with, what to keep in mind with regard to safety, which currency you have to deal with, etc., you will read it here.

Brief introduction

Bolivia is about twice as large as France and is completely surrounded by five countries: Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. The borders are a total of 6,700 kilometers. Half of it is shared with Brazil. Bolivia has no seaports. Bolivia counts with almost 11 million inhabitants, almost 60% is full Indian descendant and almost 30% has a mestieze background. 36 indigenous languages are spoken among which Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní are the most numerous. All languages spoken in Bolivia have an official status.

Best travel time

Consisting of temperate valleys, semi-arid highlands, humid jungles and balmy lakeside villages, Bolivia’s weather differs greatly depending on the altitude and topography of the region.
Because most of the country is situated at a high elevation, temperatures vary from hot and humid during the day to freezing cold at night. The solar rays in the highlands are fierce and in the lower regions, the rain can be relentless. Differences in topography and climate separate Bolivia’s lowlands and highlands into distinct areas. Weather conditions vary significantly from region to region, therefore the following should be used as a guide only.

Llanos (lowlands) – Santa Cruz, Rurrenabaque, Cobija, and Trinidad

A humid tropical climate with clear-cut wet and dry seasons and an average temperature of 30 °C. One of the wettest regions in Bolivia, the rainy season extending from late September to May, sees an annual rainfall average between 1000 and 4000 mm. The heavy rainfall is caused by winds blowing in from the Amazon rainforest. From the month of May there is less rain and more blue skies due to drier winds. December and January are the hottest months of the year with humid days and warm nights.

Altiplano (highlands) – Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Oruro, Cochabamba, Sucre, Potosí and Uyuni

Climate varies from cool and humid to semi-arid. The average temperature ranges from 15 to 27°C with the coldest temperatures occurring in the south-western portion of the Altiplano during the months of June and July. The rest of the year tends to be dry and sunny, however nights can get chilly, dropping to just above 0 °C. The unrelenting rainy season occurs between December and March seeing an average rainfall of around 200 mm to the south west and more than 800 mm over Lake Titicaca. Between April and September there is a chance of snow, especially to the north, but it is not very common.

Yungas Valley (Amazonian lowlands) – Chulumani, Coroico and Sorata

Warm, humid weather and refreshing breezes. At higher altitudes temperatures are cooler with snow occurring at an elevation above 2000 meters. Rainy season is between March and April, with the southern areas experiencing a drier climate.

Travel documents

Check passport- and visa regulations with the embassy of the visiting country in your country. You are responsible to carry the right documents with the right expiration dates. Be aware that rules can change. You should note that for most nationalities the passport on leaving the visited country must have a validity of 6 months.

Time in Bolivia

Bolivia is - 4 hours GMT and does not count with summer- and wintertime. 

Finance 

The bolivian currency is the boliviano. Bring a debit- and credit card and some cash money in US dollar of Euro. Be sure the international blockade for your debit card is cancelled. Some ATM charge commission. Bring the emergency phone numbers of your cards. In Bolivia, there is a shortage of spare change. Collect it.

Healthy travelling

Take the medications you use at home and you need during your journey. Not all medications can be bought in south America. If you carry a lot of medicine, you better carry a doctor's certificate. Visit before travelling a doctor to see if you need vaccinations or prophylaxis. We advise to drink bottled water. Tap water can cause severe stomach problems. Eat food which is well cooked, better avoid red meat, salads cleaned in tap water, etc.

Altitude sickness

Traveling on high altitude can cause altitude sickness. Signs and symptoms that may indicate altitude sickness are headache, insomnia, nausea, lethargy and unusual fatigue. Usually these symptoms disappear within days. If the symptoms persist, you should consult a doctor and descend. To prevent altitude sickness, please contact your doctor to discuss the use of a prophylaxis. Show respect for altitude and altitude sickness, if symptoms are ignored, it can be deadly.

Insurance

It is highly recommendable to take out a travel insurance in combination with your public health insurance. The first is important in case of theft, and in combination with a public health insurance in case of accident and illness and can save you a lot of problems. Go Beyond Horizons cannot be held responsible for any problems caused by lack of such insurance.

Culinary

Boliva does not have a very famous kitchen, although there are some special plates worth trying. In the north, there is the famous lake Titicaca trout. Pique Macho is the traditional dish from the Cochabamba region. You will find it until Sucre and Uyuni. It is a meat lover filling plate containing steak, sausages, eggs, peppers and french fries. If it is beef hart you are looking for, try the famous anticucho.

Language and culture

Bolivia speaks spanisch. The Indian population speaks several Indian languages. The two main Indian groups are Quechua and Aymara. About 60% of the population is entirely Indian descent. 30% is mestizo. Bolivians are shy. Try to get them to laugh.

Safety

Take care of your belongings. There is a lot of quick pickpocket and bag snatching in the in the big cities, La Paz is disreputable for its great variety of scam. Someone smear a dirty gunk on you, another tries to clean it up. Don`t let him, he belongs to the scam and tries to rob you. Take 3 steps back and gane time thinking what to do. Be aware of fake police. Be aware of people pretending to get unwell on the streets. Leave your valuables in the safe at your hotel. Take with you only what you really need. Don`t hang bags on back rests. Keep your belongings close to you. Be careful in trafic. Move streetwise. Avoid unnecessary theft.