Bolivia

Bolivia

Use High Level of Caution

The State of Bolivia is in the central part of South America, a land-locked country that shares borders with Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. The terrain includes the Altiplano (high plain) of the Andes Mountains, plains of the Amazon Basin, hills, lowlands, and swamps. The population of Bolivia is about 10 million people. In addition to the three official languages, 34 other native languages are also spoken. The government is a democratic republic with a president as both chief of state and head of government.

Bolivia is very rich in natural resources. Even though the country remains one of the poorest in Latin America, Bolivia experienced the highest growth rate of South American countries during 2009. The present government has instituted some radical changes. In 2006, the energy industry was nationalised, and in 2009, a new constitution gave greater rights to the indigenous populations that make up about two-thirds of Bolivia’s population.

Some areas and sites that tourists are drawn to include Lake Titicaca, the Salar de Uyuni (world's largest salt flats), the semi-tropical Yungas, and the Amazon Basin.

Currency BOB: Boliviano
Language Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara
Capital Sucre, with La Paz as the administrative capital
Recent Alerts 17
Latest Alert November 15, 2019 - Five People Killed in Sacaba, Bolivia

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Bolivia. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a high level of hepatitis A virus transmission Bolivia.

Hepatitis B

There is an intermediate to high level of hepatitis B transmission throughout Bolivia.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever occurs commonly in Bolivia, especially in smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through contaminated food or water.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of transmission of yellow fever in this country in areas east of the Andes Mountains at altitudes below 2,300 meters, including the entire departments of Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz, as well as some areas of the departments of Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija.

Rabies

Rabies is a risk throughout Bolivia, especially in dogs and bats.

Malaria

There is a risk of malaria transmission in all tropical areas less than 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). The most serious strain of malaria, and hence the highest risk, is present in Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando Departments, especially in the municipalities of Guayaramerin and Riberalta. No risk in the city of La Paz or other cities and rural areas at high altitudes.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Bolivia. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever can occur in Bolivia.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Chagas Disease

American trypanosomiasis is also known as “Chagas disease” and occurs in rural areas of Bolivia.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Bolivia.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a high risk of hepatitis A in Bolivia, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is an intermediate to high risk of hepatitis B in Bolivia, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in Bolivia through consumption of contaminated food or water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age and older travelling to the at-risk areas. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers over one year of age if arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Travellers in transit through Bolivia and travellers who have transited through an airport in a country/territory at risk for yellow fever transmission are exempted. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over one year of age departing Bolivia to countries/territories at risk for yellow fever transmission. Vaccination is not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to areas at altitudes above 2300 meters and all areas where there is no risk, including the cities of La Paz and Sucre.

Rabies Vaccine

Recommended for travellers in rural areas involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for long-term travellers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travellers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Bolivia.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline and mefloquine in the departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz. In other areas, chloroquine may be recommended.

Safety and Security in Bolivia

Emergency Numbers

110
119
800-14-0081 Tourist police toll-free number
165

Operators may not speak English.

Personal Safety

Be alert to your surroundings at all times when travelling around Bolivia. Petty theft, including pick pocketing, purse snatching, assaults following ATM withdrawals, back pack theft, vehicle theft, kidnapping and hijacking are common in tourist areas, commercial areas and residential districts of large cities. Do not leave personal property unattended. Minimize your risk of theft by avoiding signs of affluence such as expensive clothing or jewelry. Do not carry large sums of money. Keep valuables, such as cameras and electronic equipment, out of sight as much as possible. Secure your valuables in a hotel safe.

Road travel may be dangerous due to poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles, debris on roadways, and reckless driving. Exercise extreme caution in rural areas where roads may be unpaved and unlit at night. Avoid travelling after dark. Road travel is made more difficult during the rainy season (November to March) when flooding and landslides make some roads impassable.

Public transportation is not safe, including buses, trains, and some taxis. Only use tour buses from reputable companies and well-known radio taxis, which are called in advance. Avoid hailing a taxi on the street.

Exercise extreme care when trekking or participating in adventure activities in Bolivia. Exercise extreme caution if trekking in areas around La Paz, near Rurrenabaque in the Bolivian Andes, in Los Yungas and on the Inca trails. Always stay with a group and choose a reputable tour provider. Ensure travel and medical insurance covers adventure activities.

If travelling by bus between Copacabana and La Paz, try to travel during daylight hours. There have been reports of robberies during evening hours. Buy tickets at the bus terminal only and not from third parties.

Be vigilant in tourist areas of La Paz.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid the Chapare area between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba and the Los Yungas region as crime and civil unrest associated with drug trafficking may present a risk to travellers.

Avoid the border area with Peru.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations, strikes and other civil unrest is common in Bolivia, with some protests turning violent. Transportation is often disrupted by these events. All border areas are particular at risk for blockades which could cause severe travel disruptions.

If you encounter a road block, do not attempt to cross, even if it appears unattended, and consider a different route.

Minimize risk by avoiding large public gatherings and demonstrations due to unpredictability of these situations and the threat of violence.

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