Bolivia

Bolivia

Use Normal Level of Caution
Use High Level of Caution when visiting the following regions: Nor Yungas, Sud Yungas, and Chapare

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 2
Latest Alert June 11, 2017 - Chikungunya infections in the Americas - update

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. In addition, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Vaccination is not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to areas at altitudes above 2300 meters and all areas not listed above, including the cities of La Paz and Sucre. For travellers over 1 year of age departing Bolivia to countries/territories at risk for yellow fever transmission, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required.

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

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.

Public transportation is not safe, including buses, trains, and some taxis. Use only tour buses from reputable companies. To avoid becoming a victim of theft by taxi scam, use only well-known radio taxis, which are called in advance. Avoid hailing a taxi on the street.

Exercise extreme care when trekking or climbing in Bolivia since many popular trekking routes cross passes as high as 16,000 feet.

Hikers have been assaulted and robbed in Rurrenabaque and on the Inca trails. Employing a reputable guide for hiking the trails will help prevent robberies.

Do not accept any type of medication or drugs from unreliable sources.

Areas To Avoid

Be vigilant in La Paz bus terminals, especially the one near the La Paz cemetery and the main bus terminal, located on Peru Avenue in Zona Norte.

In the Chapare area between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba and in the Yungas region, northeast of La Paz, violence and civil unrest, mainly associated with drug trafficking, may cause delays and risks to travellers.

Avoid the Coronilla Hill, adjacent to the main bus terminal and near several markets, hostels, and restaurants. This area has become a very dangerous place for tourists as well as local citizens.

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.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations, strikes and other civil unrest is common in Bolivia. Transportation is often disrupted by these events. Some protests have become violent and police have responded with tear gas.

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

Do not approach areas with cameras and communications devices where a demonstration is being held.

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