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Country Information

Bolivia

Bolivia
Plurinational State of Bolivia
Exercise normal precautions in Bolivia.

Exercise normal precautions in Bolivia.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Bolivia:

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Embassy Messages
Alerts
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

$10,000

 

ALL /
ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy La Paz

Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia
Telephone: +(591) (2) 216-8246
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(591) (2) 216-8500
Fax: +(591) (2) 216-8808
Hours: Monday to Thursday:  08:00 – 17:30 and Friday: 08:00 – 12:00 (except U.S. and local holidays)

Consulates

United States Consular Agency, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Radial Castilla S/N (In front of Santo Tomas School soccer
field). Between 3er Anillo Interno y 3er Anillo Externo
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Telephone: +(591) (3) 351-3477 / 351-3479
Emergency after-hours telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in La Paz - +(591) 2-216-8500
Facsimile: +(591) (3) 351-3478
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 08:00 – 15:00 Wednesday and
Thursday: 8:30 – 15:00, and Friday: 09:00 – 12:00  (except
U.S. and local holidays)

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bolivia for information on U.S. – Bolivia relations. 

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

You need a passport and a valid visa to travel to Bolivia. Visit the U.S. Embassy’s website for the most current visa information.

  • With a visitor visa, you may stay 30 days per trip, not to exceed 90 days per year.
  • If you plan to work, study, volunteer, or conduct business in Bolivia, you must apply for a separate visa.
  • Make sure you get entry and exit stamps from the Bolivian authorities every time you enter or leave Bolivia.
  • There are limited flights within Bolivia and to neighboring countries. Flight delays and cancellations are common.
  • If you received the Bolivian visa at a land border or at an entry port and you lose your passport, you will need to get a new visa and pay the visa fee - $160 - in order to leave the country.  Visit the U.S. Embassy’s website for more information.
  • If you obtained your Bolivian visa at a Bolivian Embassy/Consulate in the United States and you lose your passport, you will need to get an exit stamp but will not be required to pay the visa fee. Next time you travel to Bolivia, you will be required to get a new visa.
  • Minors traveling alone or with one parent who also has Bolivian citizenship or residency and have remained in Bolivia for over 90 days, need to obtain authorization from the non-traveling parent or both parents to leave Bolivia. See our website for more information.

Dual Nationality: Upon entering and/or exiting Bolivia, U.S.-Bolivian citizens may be required to show a valid Bolivian identity document, such as a Bolivian carnet de identidad

HIV Restrictions:  The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Bolivia.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Protests, strikes, roadblocks, and other civic actions are common. While protest actions generally begin peacefully, they have the potential to become violent.

When traveling or living in Bolivia, you should:

  • Avoid roadblocks or public demonstrations.
  • Take into consideration the possibility of flight disruptions.
  • Take extra food, water, and warm clothing on road trips.  Roadblocks may occur without warning and could strand you for several days.
  • Monitor Bolivian media and the U.S. Embassy website for updates.

Chapare and Yungas Regions: Organized criminal groups near Coroico and Carnavi cities in Yungas have committed carjackings, resulting in significant harm to foreign citizens. Additionally, government authorities have used force in past confrontations with residents over coca eradication, and pro-coca groups may attempt to target U.S. interests.  Contact the Embassy's Consular Section before traveling to these regions.

Crime: Pick pocketing, assaults following ATM withdrawals, and car theft are common.

  • Express kidnappings, in which tourists are robbed and then forced to withdraw money from ATMs, are common in La Paz.  Use only radio taxis and don’t travel alone, particularly if you’re under the influence of alcohol or it’s late at night.
  • Avoid Coronilla Hill in Cochabamba, next to the main bus terminal, due to high incidences of crime.
  • Use caution if you plan to travel from Copacabana to La Paz by bus. Arrive during daylight hours, verify the final destination, and buy tickets directly at the bus terminal. 
  • Be cautious of anyone introducing themselves as a policeman or even a fellow tourist. Organized criminal groups sometimes pose as police with the intent to rob foreigners.
  • Thefts of bags, wallets, and backpacks are a problem, especially in tourist areas. Thieves distract victims by spraying water on their neck or placing a disagreeable substance on the bag, and trick them into giving up the bag.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. 

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (591) (2) 216-8246. After working hours: 216-8500. The National Tourism Police provides free assistance, in English, to tourists. Contact the La Paz office at 800-14-0081. Contact the Cochabamba office at (591) (4) 450-3880.  In the city of Santa Cruz contact Interpol at (591) 3-800-14-0099.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

  • Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

In Bolivia, you may find products made with wild plants and animals. Many of these products could involve protected or endangered species, whose sale and export are illegal. Any protected species that is sold or transported, either live or transformed into food, medicinal beverages, leather, handcrafts, garments, etc., could be seized by Bolivian authorities. Some products, including live animals, require special permits when leaving Bolivia. Knowingly importing into the United States wildlife or plants that were taken from the wild or sold in violation of the laws of Bolivia (or any other country) violates U.S. law.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Under Bolivian law, suspects can be detained in prison for up to 18 months without formal charges while the investigation is conducted, and the detention period could extend beyond 18 months.
  • Legal cases often drag on for years, with numerous delays and set-backs. 

Medical Tourism: There are significant risks involved in undergoing elective cosmetic procedures in Bolivia. 

  • The regulation of doctors and medical services does not meet U.S. standards.
  • The blood supply does not meet U.S. standards in many areas.
  • Carefully research the medical tourism companies and doctors before you make a decision.

Mountain Trekking and Climbing Safety: Many popular trekking routes in the Bolivian Andes are at 16,000 feet or higher. Exercise extreme care when trekking or climbing in Bolivia.

  • Trekkers must have adequate clothing and equipment, not always available locally, and should be experienced mountain travelers.
  • Don’t trek alone. The safest option is to join an organized group and/or use a reputable firm to provide an experienced guide and porter who can communicate in both Spanish and English.
  • If you develop any of the following symptoms while climbing at altitude – severe headache, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath at rest, cough, chest tightness, unsteadiness – descend to a lower altitude immediately.
  • Trekkers and climbers should purchase insurance.

Authentication of Documents: If you plan to use U.S. documents, such as birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificates, in Bolivia you must authenticate them in the United States. Consult the Department of State Office of Authentications and the nearest Bolivian Embassy or consulate.

Marriage: See the Embassy’s website for information on getting married in Bolivia.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: The Bolivian constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Very few buildings and streets in Bolivia are accessible by wheelchair. Sidewalks and ramps are often in disrepair. Most public transportation vehicles are ill-adapted and make regular use of transportation difficult.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Bolivia has one of the highest domestic violence rates against women. A very high percentage of women in Bolivia have experienced intimate partner violence, making it one of the most violent countries for women in Latin America. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

 

 

 

Health

Medical care in large cities is adequate for most purposes but of varying quality. Medical facilities are generally not equipped to handle serious medical conditions.

  • Ambulance services are limited to non-existent.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications are widely available.
  • Much of Bolivia is 10,000 feet above sea level and higher. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations concerning medication and lifestyle tips at high altitude.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Bolivia to ensure the medication is legal in Bolivia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Malaria
  • Dengue
  • Rabies
  • Yellow fever

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions in Bolivia are hazardous. Few highways have shoulders, fencing or barriers, and highway markings are minimal.

  • Although La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba are connected by highways, most roads in Bolivia are unpaved.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for trips outside major cities.
  • Travel during the rainy season (November through March) is difficult, as most routes have potholes, and roads and bridges may be washed out.
  • Most drivers lack formal training. Yielding for pedestrians in the cities is not the norm.
  • Other dangers include poor maintenance and overloaded vehicles, lack of lights on some vehicles at night, and intoxicated or overly tired drivers, including commercial bus and truck drivers.

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, stay at the scene until local police arrive. Attempting to leave the scene violates Bolivian law.

Public Transportation: Although violent assaults on public transportation are rare, petty theft of backpacks and other personal items does occur. 

  • Avoid taking unlicensed taxis, and use radio taxis whenever possible.
  • The majority of intercity travel in Bolivia is by bus, with varying levels of safety and service. Bus accidents have caused scores of deaths and severe injuries. The old Yungas road is considered one of the most dangerous routes in the world.

    See our Road Safety page for more information. 

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bolivia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Bolivia’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

 

 

Last Updated: August 4, 2017
Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy La Paz
Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia
Telephone
+(591) (2) 216-8246
Emergency
+(591) (2) 216-8500
Fax
+(591) (2) 216-8808
Bolivia Map