Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

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Bolivia

Bolivia
Plurinational State of Bolivia
Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Chapare region due to crime.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Yungas region due to crime.

Country Summary: Demonstrations, strikes, and roadblocks can occur at any time in Bolivia. Demonstrations can result in violence. Roadblocks and strikes may cut off traffic and restrict the flow of goods and services around the country. Domestic and international flights may be delayed or unexpectedly cancelled.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Bolivia.

If you decide to travel to Bolivia:

Chapare Region: Do Not Travel

Due to a high level of violent crime, the U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Chapare region. U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Yungas Region: Reconsider Travel

Organized criminal groups near Corioco and Carnavi in Yungas have committed carjackings and robberies. The U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Yungas area. U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months (as of entry date into the country).

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page per stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes.

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow Fever.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


$10,000.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


$10,000.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy La Paz
Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia
Telephone: + (591) (2) 216-8000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (591) (2) 216-8000
Fax: + (591) (2) 216-8111
Email: ConsularLaPazACS@state.gov

United States Consular Agency, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Edificio Empresarial Equipetrol, 4th Floor
Intersection of Av. San Martin and Av. Las Ramblas
Equipetrol Norte
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Telephone: + (591) (2) 216-8000
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(591) 2-216-8000
Email: ConsularSantaCruz@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bolivia for information on U.S.-Bolivia relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

All U.S. citizens visiting Bolivia are required to obtain a visa. Most types of visas are only available at a Bolivian Embassy or Consulate in the United States or neighboring country. Tourist visas can also be purchased at any land or air border. U.S. citizens who wish to extend their initial 30-day stay can apply for an extension through the Dirección General de Migración (National Migration Service), which has offices in most major cities. Visit the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia website for the most current visa information.

Entry Requirements:

  • Valid U.S. passport with at least six months validity remaining.
  • International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccination.
  • With a visitor visa, you may stay 30 days per trip, not to exceed 90 days per year. A Bolivian visitor visa costs $160 US and can be paid in U.S. or local currency upon arrival. 
  • Visitors must show proof of a round-trip ticket or confirmation of plans to depart Bolivia. 
  • Visitors must provide proof of lodging in Bolivia including the address of the accommodation. If you are staying with friends or family, authorities may require a letter of invitation from the host.
  • If you purchase a visa at the airport, you will be required to provide a photocopy of your passport biographic page.
  • If you plan to work, study, volunteer, or conduct business in Bolivia, you must apply for a separate visa.
  • Make sure you get entry and exit stamps from the Bolivian authorities every time you enter or leave Bolivia.
  • If you received the Bolivian visa at a land border or entry port and you lose your passport, you will need to get a new visa and pay the $160 US visa fee to leave the country.
  • If you obtained your Bolivian visa at the Bolivian Embassy/Consulate in the United States and you lose your passport, you will need to get an exit stamp but will not be required to pay the visa fee. 
  • Bolivian citizen minors traveling alone or with only one parent who have remained in Bolivia for over 90 days must obtain authorization from the non-traveling parent or parents to leave Bolivia and may be required to present the original birth certificate.  For more information, please contact the Embassy. 

Dual Nationality: Upon entering and/or exiting Bolivia, U.S.-Bolivian citizens may be required to show a valid Bolivian identity document, such as a Bolivian cedula de identidad.

HIV Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents of Bolivia. 

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Chapare and Yungas Regions: Organized criminal groups near Coroico and Carnavi in Yungas have committed carjackings and robberies. Additionally, government authorities have used force in past confrontations with residents over coca eradication, and pro-coca groups may attempt to target U.S. interests. Contact the Embassy before traveling to these regions.

Crime: Pick pocketing and petty theft are common.

  • Express kidnappings, in which tourists are robbed and forced to withdraw money from ATMs, occur infrequently in La Paz. Use only marked (radio) taxis and don’t travel alone, particularly late at night or if you’re under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Avoid Coronilla Hill in Cochabamba next to the main bus terminal, due to crime.
  • Use caution if you plan to travel from Copacabana to La Paz by bus. Arrive during daylight hours if possible, verify the final destination, and buy tickets directly at the bus terminal.
  • Be aware of impostors. Organized criminal groups sometimes pose as police with the intent to rob foreigners. It is also a common scheme for criminals to pose as a crime victim, only to rob an unsuspecting bystander.
  • Theft of bags, wallets, and backpacks are a problem, especially in tourist areas and on overnight buses. Thieves sometimes distract victims by spraying water on their necks or placing a substance on their bags, and trick them into giving up their bags. Never leave personal items unattended.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
  • Avoid roadblocks or public demonstrations.
  • Consider the possibility of flight disruptions.
  • Take extra food, water, and warm clothing on road trips. Roadblocks may occur without warning and could strand you for several days.

Messages regarding demonstrations, strikes, and weather-related events are posted on the Embassy’s website.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +591 (2) 216-8000. After working hours: +591 (2) 216-8000. The National Tourism Police provides free assistance in English to tourists. Contact the La Paz office at 800-14-0081. Contact the Cochabamba office at +591 (4) 450-3880. In the city of Santa Cruz, contact Interpol at +591 (3) 349-7720.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Bolivian authorities are generally required to press official charges within 24 hours of arrest, and to release a detainee within 48 hours if no formal charges are brought. However, investigative and pre-trial periods may drag on indefinitely.

Bolivian law allows law enforcement officials to detain any foreigner pending proof of legal status in country (i.e. passport, visa, or residency card). Though this is rarely enforced, anyone who cannot produce proof of legal status may be detained until legal status is confirmed.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

In Bolivia, you may find products made with wild plants and animals. Many of these products could involve protected or endangered species, whose sale and export are illegal. Any protected species that is sold or transported, either live or transformed into food, medicinal beverages, leather, handcrafts, garments, etc., could be seized by Bolivian authorities. Some products, including live animals, require special permits when leaving Bolivia. Knowingly importing into the United States wildlife or plants that were taken from the wild or sold in violation of the laws of Bolivia (or any other country) violates U.S. law.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Under Bolivian law, suspects can be detained for up to 18 months without formal charges during an investigation, and the detention period could be extended beyond 18 months.
  • Legal cases often drag on for years.

Mountain Trekking and Climbing Safety: Many popular trekking routes in the Bolivian Andes are at 16,000 feet or higher. Regardless of medical history or physical fitness, you may experience significant health issues due to the high altitude. Exercise extreme caution when trekking or climbing in Bolivia.

  • Trekkers must have adequate clothing and equipment, not always available locally, and should be experienced mountain travelers.
  • Don’t trek alone. Join an organized group and/or use a reputable firm to obtain an experienced guide and porter.
  • If you develop a severe headache, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath at rest, cough, chest tightness, or unsteadiness while climbing, descend to a lower altitude immediately, and consider seeking medical attention.
  • Trekkers and climbers should purchase insurance that covers emergency services such as medical evacuations.
  • Satellite communication and internet connectivity can be limited or non-existent. Inform family members of your plans and note that you may not be reachable for extended periods.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: The Bolivian constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Bolivia.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: Bolivian law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, and the law is unevenly enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility issues may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure, and common in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Bolivia has one of the highest domestic violence rates against women in South America. A very high percentage of women in Bolivia have experienced intimate partner violence. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

COVID-19 Testing: Numerous private and public clinics throughout Bolivia offer COVID-19 testing. For a comprehensive list of COVID-19 testing centers, please visit our medical assistance page

The designated government agency regulating COVID-19 testing in Bolivia is the Servicio Departamental de Salud (SEDES). There are 9 branches of SEDES in the 9 Departments of Bolivia.

  • The first step is to contact SEDES for evaluation at 800-10-2930.
  • Antigen and RT-PCR tests are both widely available. The two available tests are the Quick Test and the PCR test.
  • The tests are available at most private labs and in some hospitals.
  • The price for an Antigen test is around 150bs. The cost for a RT-PCR test is approximately 450bs.
  • COVID-19 tests results can be issued by email, text messages or physical copies.

COVID-19 Vaccines: The COVID-19 vaccine is available for U.S. citizens to receive in Bolivia. Visit the FDA's website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.  

Medical care in large cities is adequate, but of varying quality. Medical facilities are generally not equipped to handle serious medical conditions, and risk of infection is high. Emergency medical care outside of large cities, in rural areas, and inside national parks is inadequate.

For emergency services in Bolivia, dial 110.

Ambulance services are not widely available and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.

Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging along with your doctor’s prescription. 

Vaccinations: Be up to date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. 

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general:

  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.

Pharmaceuticals:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:

  • If you are considering traveling to Bolivia to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.

Water Quality:

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Altitude:

  • Many cities in Bolivia, such as La Paz, are at high altitude. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Travel to High Altitudes.

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

The following diseases are prevalent in Bolivia: 

  • Malaria
  • Dengue 
  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever
  • Chikungunya
  • Zika 
  • Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Bolivia.

 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Use extreme caution when driving on roadways. Few highways have shoulders, fencing or barriers, and lane markings are minimal. Even when lanes are marked, it is common for drivers to disregard them.

  • Although La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba are connected by highways, most roads in Bolivia are unpaved.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for trips outside major cities.
  • Travel during the rainy season (November-March) is difficult, as most routes have potholes, and roads and bridges may be washed out.
  • Other dangers include poor maintenance and overloaded vehicles, lack of lights on some vehicles, and intoxicated or overly tired drivers, including commercial bus and truck drivers.
  • Stop signs are rare, and drivers commonly disregard red lights, particularly at night.

Traffic Laws: Most drivers lack formal training. Maintain situational awareness on the roads and employ defensive driving skills.

  • Drivers do not normally yield to pedestrians.
  • If you are involved in a traffic accident, stay at the scene until local police arrive. Leaving the scene is illegal under Bolivian law. The police may assess a percentage of fault to you relative to their assessment of your responsibility for the incident.

Public Transportation: 

See our Road Safety page for more information.

  • Avoid taking unlicensed taxis, and use radio taxis whenever possible.
  • The majority of intercity travel is by minibus, with varying levels of safety and service. Bus accidents are responsible for death and severe injuries. 

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bolivia’s Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Bolivia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Bolivia.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy La Paz
Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia
Telephone
+ (591) (2) 216-8000
Emergency
+ (591) (2) 216-8000
Fax
+ (591) (2) 216-8111

Bolivia Map