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Bolivia

Bolivia is a beautiful, geographically diverse, multiethnic, and democratic country in the heart of South America. It is 108px-Flag_of_Bolivia.svgsurrounded by Brazil to the northeast, Peru to the northwest, Chile to the southwest, Argentina and Paraguay to the south. It shares with Peru control of Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca), the world’s highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805m).
Sometimes referred to as the Tibet of the Americas, Bolivia is one of the most “remote” countries in the western hemisphere; except for the navigable Paraguay River stretching to the distant Atlantic, Bolivia and Paraguay are the only two landlocked nations in the Americas. It is also the most indigenous country in the Americas, with 60% of its population being of pure Native American ancestry.

bolivia

Visas

The following nationalities will not need a visa for short stays of less than 90 days as tourists: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.
Canadians do not need a visa to visit Bolivia but can only stay a maximum of 30 days without a tourist visa and 90 with a tourist visa.
Visitors from countries from Group 2 can obtain a visa on arrival for a fee of around USD50 (BOB370) payable at the border.
Alternatively, obtained at a Bolivian consulate in advance, the visa is free (photo, yellow fever vaccination, photocopies of some passport pages, etc.). It takes between five minutes and 24 hours to obtain the visa at the consulate. The visa is for 30 days. Extensions are possible at immigration offices in Bolivian cities, but not at immigration offices at border crossings. An extension for 30 more days costs BOB210. The immigration office in La Paz is pretty busy and bureaucracy and photocopies rule the day. You will need a photo of yourself and photocopies of a few things, depending on who you talk to. Then you need to come back 24 hours later to pick up your passport. Extensions in smaller cities might be less hassle. Depending on how many days more you need to stay in Bolivia, you might be better off overstaying your visa and paying a fine at the border (BOB20 per day). This way you also save a page in your passport. All prices are as of June 2013.

The following nationalities normally cannot obtain a visa on arrival: Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and those from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, under urgent and special circumstances, foreigners in this group can obtain visas at the port of entry. US citizens will normally receive a triple-entry visa valid for 3 entries per year over a 5-year period.

Holders of Indian passports can obtain a visa on arrival or advanced at any Bolivian Embassy or Consulate – the visa will not take more than 24h to be issued and most times are issued on the spot, as long as the applicant presents the following documents: passport, photos, itinerary of travels in Bolivia, photocopy of credit cards and hotel reservations. And Indians also walk away with no visa fees (gratis visa).
Note that all business travellers and persons wishing to stay longer than 90 days in a year must obtain a visa in advance.

Unless you are under the age of 1, you will need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to apply for a visa.
Arriving overland from Peru, US citizen tourist visas can be obtained at the border. Officially, they require a visa application form, a copy of the passport, a copy of yellow fever vaccination, a copy of an itinerary leaving Bolivia, evidence of economic solvency, a hotel reservation or written invitation, and a 4cm X 4cm or “passport sized” photo. A USD135 fee is also required, payable in freshly minted cash. Any old or marked bills will not be accepted. There are photocopy machines at border crossings.

How to go

By plane

Air travel is the obvious way to get to Bolivia, the main airports are located in La Paz to the western side of the country and in Santa Cruz to the east. The arrival plan must be based mostly in the purpose of your visit to the country; you have to remember that La Paz receives most of their visitors due to the immense culture and heritage from the Incas and other indigenous cultures from the Andean region, and therefore from La Paz it is easier to move to the Tiwanaku ruins, Oruro’s carnival, Potosí’s mines, Uyuni, Lake Titicaca, Los Yungas valley and the Andes Mountains; since La Paz is the seat of government all the embassies and foreign organizations have their headquarters in the city, which is useful in case of an emergency. On the other side, Santa Cruz with a warmer weather could become a good location for doing business visit other alternatives in tourism like the Misiones, the Noel Kempff Mercado national park or visit the eastern cities. There are also some foreign consulates in Santa Cruz. But don’t forget that the cities in the south and central Bolivia, like Cochabamba, Tarija and Sucre also offer a very rich experience; there are several ways to get to these cities from La Paz or Santa Cruz.

From Europe

Following on from Aerosur’s demise in September 2012, the best options from Europe to Bolivia are now with Air Europa or Boliviana de Aviacion from Madrid to Santa Cruz. Other connections can be made in neighbouring countries such as Brazil or Peru, or in the US. The cost could go from €1000-1200 to other higher prices depending on the class and duration.

From Latin America

Airlines that fly into Bolivia from other Latin American countries include LAN from Santiago via Iquique and from Lima, and TACA Perú from Lima to La Paz. Amaszonas flies from Cuzco to La Paz. Avianca flies from Bogotá to La Paz. TAM Mercosur flies from São Paulo and Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz via Asunción. Copa Airlines has begun to fly to Santa Cruz from Panama City. Gol Airlines (from São Paulo and Campo Grande, Brazil) and Aerolineas Argentinas (from Buenos Aires) also fly directly to Santa Cruz. Boliviana de Aviación flies from Buenos Aires and São Paulo to Santa Cruz.

From the USA

There are departures from Miami to La Paz and Santa Cruz on American Airlines. Connections are also possible on Latin American airlines such as LAN, Copa, Avianca, and TACA.
Once you have your international flight booked, it’s far easier and cheaper to organize your internal flights from the point of departure.

By train

There are many train lines in Bolivia, each with varying degrees of quality and efficiency. However, adequate transportation via train can be found.
The FCA timetable can be found at their website.
Watch your belongings.

By car

It is common for tourists to travel through a land border at the north-east of Chile/ South-West of Bolivia.
Keep in mind that only about 5% of all the roads in Bolivia are paved. However, most major routes between big cities such as Santa Cruz, La Paz, Cochabamba and Sucre are paved. A 4×4 is particularly required when off the flatter altiplano. Be aware that in mountainous regions traffic sometimes switches sides of the road. This is to ensure the driver has a better view of the dangerous drops.
An international Driving Permit (IDP) is required but *most* times EU or US driving licences will be accepted. There are frequent police controls on the road and tolls to be paid for road use.

By bus

There are many options for travelling from Argentina to Bolivia by bus. Check out the Bolivian Embassy’s website in Argentina for specific options. There is also a bus that runs from Juliaca and Puno in Peru to Copacabana
From Brazil there is a painful 30+ hours bus from La Paz to Guayaramerín. Be aware that the border controls are only during the day, and that if the Bolivian side is fixed schedules, the Policia federal has scarce hours on the weekend and also during schedule times they might tell you they are busy etc so plan in abundance.

By boat

It is common for tourists to arrive in Bolivia by boat, by navigating from the port city of Puno, Peru, over Lake Titicaca.

Hostels in Bolivia

Cochabamba    Concepcion    Copacabana    Coroico    La Paz    Oruro    Potosi    Rurrenabaque    Samaipata    Santa Cruz    Sucre    Tarija    Tupiza    Uyuni    Villa Tunari