Where: La Paz, Lake Titicaca & Copacabana (Isla del Sol, Isla del Luna), Potosi, Sucre, Uyuni & Colchani, Salar de Uyuni (San Cristobal).
Transport: Airlines, Bus, Taxi
When: July 2013, for thirteen days
Who: One backpacker
After making a list of all the destinations I wanted to cover in two weeks, I had a rough idea of what it may cost for accommodation, commuting between places, meals and miscellaneous. Most accommodations & activities were selected after reading reviews on various websites, while engaging friends and fellow travelers on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
A lot of countries have an option of visa-upon-arrival, but it’s best to check their website and apply for a visa well in advance as the consulate may take anything between 1 to 4 weeks. Also, the visa upon arrival may be applicable to citizens of certain countries with different rules, based on the pre-existing visas or residency levels in the country you’re living.
Visa are given typically for 30 days, but visas upon arrival can be, and usually are, given for 15 days. If you want for more days then you should ask the officer before the stamping, maybe handing over a copy of your itinerary.
Getting a visa to Bolivia is a straight-forward and simple application process – gather the documents, submit them to the consulate and after a week you get the visa stamped in the passport. Unfortunately, Bolivia doesn’t have any specific information on their website about the fees to be paid, what form and what documents are needed for visa application. So after calling the consulate, I was able to note down the requirements and apply for a visa.
Bolivianos is the official currency for Bolivia and many businesses (hotels, hostels, restaurants) accept U.S. Dollars, but not Euros or British pounds.
1 – La Paz
2 – Uyuni
3 – Salar de Uyuni
4 – Laguna Colorada
5 – San Cristobal
6 – Potosi
7 – Sucre
8 – Copacabana / Lake Titicaca
9 – Isla del Sol
10 – Isla del Luna
Here are some tips that I experienced on my trip to Bolivia:
If you are traveling on a budget then there’s no need to spend exorbitant amount on taxis from one place to another.
- It’s very easy and affordable to travel around almost everywhere with mini-bus & state-run buses between cities and towns. For example, it will cost you 15-40 BS between Sucre and La Paz. No need to pre-book anything from home because either they don’t have that option or there are a lot of buses available. Most long distance buses are coaches with a top-tier sleeping area, providing blankets and room temperatures. Note that no buses have toilets or any other services like wi-fi or snacks.
- Always make sure to check the timing of the buses. Most services run at specific times and if you miss that bus, the next one could be after a long while. For those ones that run few times, make sure to book them in advance through your hotel or the bus company office directly.
- English is hardly spoken by any bus company personnel.
- Most buses make at least one stop somewhere but the stops may not have any restrooms or any services.
- Hotels are cheap across Bolivia, and there are many options available in most of the towns or cities. But it’s always wise to book in advance, at least a day, and make sure to ask for the facilities provided – mainly hot showers and breakfast.
- Most hotels have hot water available, although some may have for a few hours a day. For example, the hotel in Uyuni stop hot showers after 10pm and start only at 6am.
- Hotels may or may not have wi-fi and some of the power sockets don’t work!
- There are ATMs all over the country.
- Bolivianos notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and coins come in 10, 20, 50 centavos, 1 Bs, 2Bs, 5Bs. Most businesses will accept as high as 100 Bs notes.
- Utilities & others
- You can find toilets almost everywhere, just look for the sign “Baños” and costs anything between 1 Bs to 5 Bs. All toilets are western-style.
- Tap water is not safe to drink in Bolivia. One litre bottle of water from a local market will cost about 3-10 Bs.
- Power sockets across Bolivia have both European and U.S. sockets in-built. Bolivia uses 220V system.
- Temperatures are in degree Celsius. Distances are in Kilometers.
| Museums & cathedrals in Bolivia
There are a lot of museums and cathedrals across the country and one very important to remember is that they have different opening timings – for example, some cathedrals will be open only for two hours in the morning and afternoon, each, on specific days only.
Most museums are closed between 12:30pm-3pm, but these timings vary by city and museums. It’s always advisable to check the timings from your hotel before visiting museums and cathedrals.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = BOB 6.90.
|Flight from Los Angeles, USA (LAX) to La Paz, Bolivia (LPB) via Miami (MIA). Return.
Itinerary, Planning & Information
Tips, info & details of planning.
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First day in the capital city.