Stay Safe in Bolivia
Use 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 assaults and even rapes occur. It is a good idea to register with the consulate of the country you are living in when you enter the country. And it is also worth learning at least basic Spanish to protect yourself somewhat.
If you are taking an intercity bus (for example, from La Paz to Cochabamba), do not accept snacks or drinks from nearby passengers. Although they are probably trying to be nice, passengers can be drugged and robbed on night trips. Say “no, gracias.”
Stay Healthy in Bolivia
Some parts of Bolivia, such as La Paz (3650), Potosí (4010), Oruro (3950) and the area around Lake Titicaca, are at very high altitudes. It is therefore advisable to take adequate precautions against “sorojchi” mountain sickness.
In local pharmacies, they sell sorojchi pills that are supposed to help with altitude problems. They contain painkillers as well as natural herbs to help deal with the symptoms of “sorojchi”. In many parts of the Altiplano you can buy coca leaves which are supposed to help you fight sorojchi. Coca tea (“mate de coca”) is available in bags in many markets.
However, severe cases of altitude sickness can be treated at the HighAltitudePathologyInstituteClinicaIPPA. This clinic has the latest technology, including a hyperoxic/hypoxic adaptation chamber. In addition, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are much stronger – up to 20 times – than at sea level. A sun hat, sunglasses and skin protection (sun cream or long sleeves) are recommended.
- A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for those planning to spend time in the Bolivian Amazon. This should be done 10 days before arrival in the country if the visitor plans to visit rural areas.
- Malaria prophylaxis is recommended if the visitor plans to travel to tropical rural areas.
- As a preventive measure, the following vaccinations are recommended: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and booster vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and measles.