Saturday, January 15, 2022

How To Travel To Bolivia

South AmericaBoliviaHow To Travel To Bolivia

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By air

Flying is the most obvious way to get to Bolivia. The main airports are in La Paz in the west of the country and Santa Cruz in the east. The plan for getting there should be based primarily on the purpose of your visit to the country; you should bear in mind that La Paz receives the most visitors because of the immense culture and heritage of the Incas and other indigenous cultures of the Andean region, and therefore from La Paz it is easier to get to the ruins of Tiwanaku, the carnival in Oruro, the mines of Potosí, Uyuni, Lake Titicaca, the Yungas Valley and the Andes; As La Paz is the seat of government, all foreign embassies and organisations are based in the city, which is very useful in case of emergency. On the other hand, Santa Cruz, with its warmer climate, could be a good place for business trips to visit other tourist alternatives, such as Misiones, Noel Kempff Mercado National Park or the eastern cities. There are also some foreign consulates in Santa Cruz. But don’t forget that the southern and central cities of Bolivia, such as Cochabamba, Tarija and Sucre, also offer a rich experience. There are several ways to reach these cities from La Paz or Santa Cruz.

From Europe

Regular flights from Madrid (Barajas) to Viru Viru in Santa Cruz are offered by companies such as Boliviana de Aviación and Air Europa; costs can range from 800-1200€ to higher prices, depending on class and duration.

From Latin America

Other airlines fly to Bolivia from other Latin American countries, including LAN from Santiago via Iquique and from Lima. It is now possible to fly with Amaszonas between Cusco and La Paz, allowing round trips, entering Bolivia from Peru via Lake Titicaca and returning to Peru. TAM Mercosur operates flights from São Paulo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires via Asunción. Copa Airlines has started services to Santa Cruz from Panama City. Gol Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas also operate direct flights to Santa Cruz.

From the United States

There are departures from Miami to La Paz and Santa Cruz with American Airlines. Once you have booked your international flight, it is much easier and cheaper to arrange your domestic flights from the point of departure.

By train

In June 2014, parts of the Bolivian railway network were taken over by the Chilean company La Empresa Ferroviaria Andina S.A. (FCA). Many interrupted passenger services appear to have resumed. See the FCA timetable for more details.

  • From Brazil, a train connects the Bolivian border town of Puerto Quijarro to Santa Cruz. The fast train and the slow train take 13 and 17 hours respectively.
  • From Argentina, a train connects the Bolivian border town of Villazón (opposite La Quiaca) to Uyuni (9-12 hours). Tupiza is in the middle of the road, 4 hours from Villazón.
  • From Chile, a train runs from Calama to Uyuni (13 or 18 hours). As this is a freight train with a passenger car attached, expect a rough ride through some extraordinary scenery. (The Calama – Antofagasta section of the railway does not appear to have a passenger service.) The other transnational railway with Chile, which ends in Arica, also does not carry passengers.

By car

It is common for tourists to cross a land border in northeast Chile and southwest Bolivia.

Note that only about 5% of all roads in Bolivia are paved. However, most of the main roads between the major cities (e.g. Santa Cruz, La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre) are paved. An off-road vehicle is highly recommended if you are travelling on the flatter Altiplano. Be aware that in the mountainous regions, traffic sometimes changes sides of the road. This is to give the driver a better view of the dangerous slopes.

An International Driving Permit is required, but *most* European or American driving licences are accepted. There are frequent police checks on the road and tolls to pay for road use.

By bus

There are several ways to travel by bus from Argentina to Bolivia. There are websites where you can check timetables online [www], but as always in Bolivia, it’s a good idea to check in advance. There is also a bus from Juliaca and Puno in Peru to Copacabana.

How To Travel Around Bolivia

Transport strikes (bloqueos) are not uncommon in Bolivia, so keep an eye on local news. Strikes often affect local taxis as well as long-distance buses; airlines are not usually affected. Do not try to go around or through roadblocks (usually made of stones, burning tyres or wood). Strikers may...

Destinations in Bolivia

RegionsAltiplano (La Paz, Oruro, Potosí)Sub-Andean Bolivia (Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Tarija)Tropical lowlands (Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando)CitiesLa Paz - the administrative capital and seat of governmentCochabamba - the third largest city in the country, with a pleasant, temperate climate.Oruro - famous for its carnivalPotosí - once one of the richest cities in...

Weather & Climate in Bolivia

Bolivia's climate varies dramatically from one ecoregion to another, from the tropics in the eastern llanos to a polar climate in the western Andes. Summers are hot and humid in the east and dry in the west. Precipitation often changes temperatures, humidity, winds, air pressure and evaporation, resulting in...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Bolivia

The following nationalities do not require a visa for short stays of less than 90 days as a tourist: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,...

Food & Drinks in Bolivia

Food in BoliviaBolivian cuisine could be described as the original "meat and potatoes" - the latter (called papas by the Quechua) were first cultivated by the Incas before spreading around the world. The most common meat is beef, but chicken and llama are also readily available. Pork is relatively...

Things To See in Bolivia

Bolivia has six UNESCO World Heritage sites. In the eastern department of Santa Cruz are the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, the Inca site El Fuerte in Samaipata and the Jesuit missions of the Chiquitos. Near the capital is Tiwanaku, an archaeological site with the remains of a pre-Inca...

Things To Do in Bolivia

The Death Road: from La Cumbre to Coroico. A 64 km mountain bike tour where you can see the diversity of Bolivia. From La Cumbre at 5000mts, in a cold and windy environment, to Coroico, in a humid and tropical environment.Explore the provinces: Bolivia is a place to explore,...

Money & Shopping in Bolivia

CurrencyForeign currencyIt can be difficult to change money other than euros and US dollars, even money from neighbouring countries! You may find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but be prepared for service charges and poor exchange rates. USD notes under $100 may also be difficult to break without...

Traditions & Customs in Bolivia

In Bolivia, do not use the word "Indio" to describe indigenous people. It is considered offensive. The term they use is "campesino" which translates as "peasant" or "indigenous". A 'cholo' is a campesino who has moved to the city, and although the term was originally pejorative, it is now...

Internet & Communications in Bolivia

Bolivia has three mobile phone providers, Entel, Tigo and Viva. All three have outlets in virtually every neighbourhood of the major cities. Internet cafes are becoming rarer with the proliferation of smartphones making internet access more accessible. However, you can still find a cybercafé if you are looking, they...

Language & Phrasebook in Bolivia

Bolivia has 37 official languages, of which Spanish (often called Castellano), Quechua and Aymara are the most important. In rural areas, many people do not speak Spanish. Nevertheless, you should be able to get by with some basic knowledge of Castellano. Bolivia is one of the best places to...

Culture Of Bolivia

Bolivian culture has been strongly influenced by the Quechua, the Aymara, as well as by the popular cultures of all Latin America.The cultural development is divided into three distinct periods: Pre-Columbian, Colonial and Republican. Important archaeological ruins, gold and silver jewellery, stone monuments, ceramics and weavings are preserved from...

History Of Bolivia

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simón Bolívar, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; most of its subsequent history has been a series of nearly 200 coups and counter-coups. A relatively democratic civilian government was established in the 2000s, but the leadership faces difficult problems such as deep-rooted poverty,...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Bolivia

Stay Safe in BoliviaUse common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when choosing a guide and never accept medicine from unverifiable sources. Female tourists should be careful when travelling alone. Try to use "radio taxis" at night, as fake taxis are common and...

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