Have Some Questions?
The Central Andes region is incredibly diverse and it is important to prepare for your visit. With altitudes ranging from sea level to more than 7000m above sea level, climate varies tremendously and ranges from high, dry and cold deserts to humid, lowland tropical rain forests. Travel conditions are equally diverse and you may find yourself cruising across Lake Titicaca in a public ferry or weaving along potholed roads and winding mountain footpaths.
Whether you are curious about life and travel at altitude or how to poo in the high desert or even what you might want to have on your packing list, please review our Central Andes Travel Info and Frequently Asked Questions below, and if you need to know more, just send us an email!
The visa depends on the nationality in the passport you will travel. Some visas are free and others require payment, most of them you can apply when you are in the Bolivian border but there are visas that you must get in advance.
The document required to visit Bolivia for all nationalities is the passport valid for at least 6 months.
In addition, Bolivia places each country into one of three groups, each with different requirements. It is important to know what group you belong to check if you need a visa to enter the country.
- Group I: These countries do not require visa and do not have to pay any fee to enter to Bolivia
- Group II: These countries required visa and you can apply for it in the consular office in your country or at the Bolivian border, also there is a fee for the visa that has an approximate price of USD95.-
- Group III: These countries require a visa and you only can apply for it in the consular office of your country.
Yes, we do. We are currently following a hybrid set of protocols including those provided by the World Health Organization and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. We have developed internal protocols used in our offices and among our employees and are working with our guides, drivers, hotels, and restaurants to follow and enforce common protocols.
If you have specific questions or biodiversity requirements during your travel with us, please let us know as soon as possible via email at [email protected]
While the great size and highly varied terrain of Bolivia means that there are many different local weather systems and climatic conditions, Bolivians themselves differentiate between the dry season (southern hemisphere winter, from May to November) and the humid season (southern hemisphere summer, from December to April).
While in the lowlands you can expect cool evenings, hot days, and humidity throughout the year, in the highlands the dry season is very sunny, quite cold at night, and with very little cloud cover. In the high desert-like eco-region of the altiplano, temperatures can reach 25 degrees during the day in the winter and drop below freezing at night. During the summer, temperatures will climb a bit higher and the nights will be chilly but not frigid.
The rainy season, in general, runs from November to early April, although the climate crisis is causing significant changes to rainfall onset times as well as rainfall frequency and intensity. Certain areas of the country can be difficult if not impossible to visit during the rainy season, for example when the Uyuni Salt Flats can be flooded and there can be snowfall in high mountain passes. It is important to know that during this season, visits to Incahuasi Island and the northern part of the salt flats may be impossible.
High-altitude sickness can be serious and La Paz on Foot recommends that you review the following information carefully and take the necessary precautions to ensure that your visit to the Andean highlands is enjoyable and risk-free.
Some of the first signs of high-altitude illness are headache, lightheadedness, weakness, trouble sleeping, and an upset stomach. If you have these symptoms, stop going up or go back down to a lower altitude until your symptoms go away. More severe symptoms include difficulty breathing even while you’re resting, coughing, confusion, and the inability to walk in a straight line. If you get these symptoms, go to a lower altitude right away and get help from a doctor.
Unless you are arriving in La Paz from other highland areas, such as Cusco, we recommend at least 1.5 days in La Paz to acclimatize and prepare for your activities away from the city and health care services. We also recommend that you travel with an altitude sickness medication, such as the sorrochji pill, available in most pharmacies in La Paz.
The following information is from the website Family Doctor and the organization of the Institute for High Altitude Medicine. Please consult your medical provider if you have additional questions and concerns and feel free to send us an email with your questions.
The higher you climb above sea level, the less oxygen there is in the air. The oxygen level becomes very low at altitudes above 8,000 feet. This causes problems for people who normally live at lower altitudes because their bodies aren’t used to working on so little oxygen. If you stay at a high altitude for a long time, your body gets used to the low oxygen level, and you don’t get sick from it.
The following are the 3 main types of high-altitude illness. These illnesses can be serious, but they can also be prevented:
- Acute mountain sickness
- High-altitude pulmonary edema (also called HAPE), which affects the lungs
- High-altitude cerebral edema (also called HACE), which affects the brain
You can do two important things to prevent high-altitude illness:
- Take your time traveling to higher altitudes. When you travel to a high altitude, your body will begin adjusting right away to the lower amount of oxygen in the air, but it takes several days for your body to adjust completely. If you’re healthy, you can probably safely go from sea level to an altitude of 8,000 feet in a few days. But when you reach an altitude above 8,000 feet, don’t go up faster than 1,000 feet per day. The closer you live to sea level, the more time your body will need to get used to a high altitude. Plan your trip so your body has time to get used to the high altitude before you start your physical activity.
- Sleep at an altitude that is lower than the altitude you are at during the day. For example, if you ski at an elevation of 10,000 feet during the day, sleep the night before and the night after at an elevation of 8,500 feet. The best treatment for any of the three high-altitude illnesses is to go down to a lower altitude right away. But if you only have mild symptoms, you may be able to stay at that altitude and let your body adjust. If you do this, don’t exercise at all–just rest until you feel better. If you have severe symptoms, go down 1,500 to 2,000 feet right away to see if your symptoms get better and keep going down until your symptoms go away completely.
Medicines that may be used to prevent or treat the symptoms of the severe high-altitude illness include acetazolamide (one brand name: Diamox) and nifedipine (one brand name: Procardia).
Don’t ignore signs of high-altitude illness. People can die of this if they don’t recognize the signs or if they don’t believe their illness is caused by the high altitude. When you have signs of high-altitude illness, don’t go higher until you feel better and your symptoms have gone away completely.
It’s usually safe for children to go to high altitudes, but they’re more likely to get high-altitude illnesses because their bodies have a hard time adjusting to the low oxygen level. A child may not be able to recognize the symptoms of high-altitude illness, so parents and other adults must carefully watch for any signs of high-altitude illness in children.
Our hikes and treks in the Central Andes vary in difficulty according to the destination and characteristics of the treks. Some of them do not require any special equipment or a high level of fitness, it is enough with a moderate level of fitness. If your travel program included hiking, trekking, biking, or other adventure activities, it is important to consider your fitness level, the conditions of the activities, and any training or preparation you might take up prior to arrival.
Altitude acclimatization is essential for any of the treks and hikes and while there are treks that have easy levels, there are some hikes that require a higher level of fitness and special equipment for mountain climbing. La Paz on Foot uses a simple four-level system to help our clients gain a sense of activity difficulty and as always you can ask your travel specialist for further information.
We follow Fair Trade values and pay our guides and other partners fair wages for their services. Prices for most of our hikes, walks, and treks are listed on our website and vary in cost according to the destination, characteristics such as public or private transportation, and the number of persons in your group. Custom trips, group trips, and other special requests are available and we can calculate their costs once we define the program with you. If you would like to know about ways to modify programs or reduce costs, please do not hesitate to send us an email.
Almost all of our excursions include the services of a bi-lingual guide. We currently offer guides who speak English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Please let us know your language of preference and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
If you speak Spanish or want to practice your Spanish, please request local guides only or request that your La Paz on Foot guide use Spanish during your time together.
Travel in Bolivia can be safer and more enjoyable if you follow these health and safety tips:
- Give yourself a day or two to acclimatize to the altitude.
- Drink a cup of coca tea every several hours during your first few days in the highlands.
- Drink 1-2 liters of bottled or purified water/day and wear a hat and sunblock, even on cloudy days.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before meals and carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.
- Consume alcoholic beverages conservatively and slowly.
- In restaurants, ask waiters if drinking water or water for juices has been boiled, filtered, or is bottled.
- In lowland areas, wear light, long-sleeve shirts at all times.
- In lowland areas, wear insect repellent at all times and sleep with mosquito nets if windows are not screened.
- Pay attention to your body. If you feel you need a rest, something to drink, etc. please do so and let your guide know how you are feeling!
- Ask your guide(s) about picture taking, going out alone, carrying technology in exposed ways (video cameras, iPODS, etc.).
- Ask people before taking their picture, you never know how they will react.
- Carry small change and bills to avoid being seen with large bills.
- Avoid congested areas unless your guide is close by and/or recommends visiting certain sites, such as markets.
- Use common sense–petty crime is common in Bolivia, but not frequent.
Here is a list of items we recommend you bring with you:
Half and full-day trips
- Face mask & hand sanitizer
- Water bottle (~1.5 liters)
- Sun protection
- Rain protection (December-May)
- Tissue/toilet paper
- Small change/coins
- Sturdy walking shoes
Multi-day trips (in addition to suggestions above)
- Face masks
- 2 pairs long pants (one light-weight)
- 1-2 light, long-sleeved shirt(s) or blouse(s) for hot weather
- 1-2 warm, long-sleeved shirt(s) for cold weather
- 1-2 warm sweater(s) or sweatshirt(s)
- 3-4 short-sleeved shirts or tank tops (not too tight or revealing)
- 1 pair shorts or skirt (knee length) for hot weather
- Sun & rain protection
- Bathing suit
- Comfortable sandals
- Comfortable walking/hiking shoes
- Passport/Visa, airplane tickets, money, credit cards, ATM card, etc.
- Some form of identification other than your passport and photocopy of the vital statistics page (front page) of your passport
- Plug adapters and voltage converter, if needed
- Personal medications in original containers and/or with prescriptions, and any medical documentation
- Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate or other gastro-intestinal treatments
- Insect repellent, anti-bacterial hand gel
- Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste/toothbrush)
- Refillable water bottle
- Fast-drying towel
- Bag for soiled clothes
Note: La Paz on Foot discourages giving money and sweets to children encountered on rural hikes & treks. If you would like to help a child asking for handouts, consider pencils and other school supplies or more nutritious foods such as fruit cookies and bars.
La Paz on Foot follows the principles of Leave No Trace and the recommendations of Travelers Against Plastic on all of its programs. We kindly ask all of our clients to join us in minimizing the production of waste of all sorts while traveling in Bolivia. The small, rural communities we visit with you rarely have the capacity to receive and adequately manage the waste produced by visitors to their communities.
Here are a few easy ways to help us minimize waste while traveling:
- Challenge yourself to never buy a disposable bottle while in the Andes! Travel with a refillable water bottle and a water purification system such as Grayl
- Do your best to take out what you take in, following the Leave No Trace principles
- Travel with a reusable shopping bag for market trips, it will be one less bag for wondering what to do with!
- Set an example by disposing of your unavoidable waste in the lowest impact manner possible
If you are in remote areas, you will probably not find many bathrooms for use. The article How to Pee in the Woods provides sound advice on how to manage your waste when bathrooms are not available. Remember to discuss with your guide and rural hosts on the best options for your particular setting.
Travelers Against Plastic (or TAP) is an international movement of travelers and tour operators dedicated to eliminating the use of discardable plastic bottles within the travel industry. You can visit the TAP webpage here, “Take the Pledge” and commit to try and reduce your use of disposable plastic bottles while traveling.
Travel insurance is not a requirement, but we strongly recommend you to have insurance to cover you in the event that you are unable to carry out your trip due to illness or unforeseen circumstances.
The official currency in Bolivia is Boliviano (Bs). There are coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents; 1, 2 and 5 Bolivianos. Notes are 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 bolivianos. At present, 1 US dollar is equivalent to 6.96 Bs. It is advisable to carry small change and bills when shopping
In the main cities of Bolivia, such as La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, and Santa Cruz, there are ATMs where you can get cash with Visa, Mastercard, and Amex credit cards. Many, but not all travel-related commercial establishments, such as hotels and restaurants also accept credit cards, however, in rural areas, it is nearly impossible to find ATMs and other places where cards are accepted
The official time of Bolivia is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
In Bolivia, internet coverage is highly variable depending on where you are in Bolivia. In the main cities of Bolivia, there are excellent networks, however in Uyuni, for example, while some superior lodges provide WiFi, the connection can sometimes be slow and unstable, and once out on the flats there is no coverage. We recommend that you purchase a local SIM card and purchase data while in the country. We are happy to help you with this process!
In Bolivia, current electricity is 220 volts AC 50 cycles. Plugs are American style so adapters are required. Plug types vary by hotel and accommodation, most used in Bolivia are bipolar (round and flat).