Recommendations to travel to Bolivia
Traveling outside your country, it is important to consider some aspects to predict in advance and avoid last minute inconvenience.
The best season to explore the whole country is from May to October. During the rainy season which runs from December to February overland transportation it becomes difficult if not impossible in some regions, the two cities of Bolivia more with more extreme weather are Puerto Suárez (Santa Cruz), with its sweltering heat and Uyuni ( Potosi) for its icy winds and cold, but the weather could change drastically anywhere and any season.
Winter in the Altiplano means heat during the day and icy winds and freezing temperatures overnight. The high valleys have a pleasant climate all year with little rain.
The high season runs from June to September, which coincides with the summer holidays in Europe and North America.
Of course, eating local foods is a fantastic experience in Bolivia, however be careful in visiting only clean restaurants and recommended, a great attraction is the trout from Lake Titicaca, also traditional dishes like "salteñas" (pies), "fricassee" (pork soup), "chuño" (dried potatoes), "chairo" (soup of potato starch) among the most representative.
The most common disease for tourists in Bolivia is diarrhea, which is caused by contaminated food or water. Symptoms usually last a couple of days a week, but if the symptoms last longer than 7 days, with pain, then it is imperative to seek medical attention. It is important that you be careful with the food sold on the street, if possible, eat only cooked food and drink only bottled or boiled water.
Make sure you are in good health before traveling, its a good idea to get a thorough medical checkup before leaving your country, get all necessary vaccinations and get a good travel insurance that covers the costs of medical care in Bolivia, the latter only as a precaution, in case of serious health problems arise. A traveler going abroad with a pre-existing medical condition should always carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and prescription medications, including the generic names of drugs prescribed.
The eastern region of Bolivia and the Bolivian Amazon have tropical climate, so travelers visiting the area are often victims bitten mosquitoes, so it is very important to have the yellow fever vaccine, applied 10-14 days before traveling. Upon receiving this vaccine also request a certificate showing the date received (International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever) and you must carry with you when traveling in Bolivia.
It is important to use mosquito repellent on your skin and clothes, in terms of clothing to wear long sleeves and pants, tucking the ends of the pants in boots, also use mosquito netting over your bed at night and check the placement of meshes in windows and doors, and stay away from known infected areas with mosquito-borne diseases. In the rainy season (November to April) it is important to stay informed about any increase in dengue in Bolivia, transmitted by mosquito bites.
West of Bolivia lies in the Andes, and is mostly free of insects, the most important question should be altitude sickness (known locally as "sorojchi"), ultraviolet radiation is stronger due to the higher altitude, which increases the risk of sunburn, sunscreen should be used as a protective measure.The altitude of La Paz ranges from 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) to 4050 meters (13,287 feet) above sea level, the similar case in Lake Titicaca, Salar de Uyuni and Potosi.
Altitude sickness (Sorojchi)
Altitude sickness can be a problem especially for those arriving from or near sea level, you can sometimes involve serious risk of illness and hospitalization. Difficulty breathing and lack of oxygen at this altitude level is normal, some people may experience headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue and nausea. Most symptoms develop during the first 3 days and then disappear.
To avoid altitude sickness, take the following provisions:
Rest the first day, especially the first 12 hours of arrival before physical activity.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. Matt or drink some tea. coca tea is recommended.
Eat little, only what is needed, especially at night.
Medical care in big cities is good for most cases, but the quality of services decreased considerably when leaving the larger cities, and in rural areas the health service may be poor or nonexistent. There are drug stores and pharmacies in large cities and in some smaller towns, but not all are open 24 hours a day, standard medications are available, but the labels and instructions will be in Spanish.
It´s better to have insurance or travel assistance card that gets in your country and covers illnesses and eventualities that may occur locally.
If you require any medical services in Bolivia, payment is in cash, generally do not accept credit cards.
Spanish is the official language of Bolivia. 39 other languages are also spoken in different regions of the country. Half of the population is indigenous mother tongue, which makes the vocabulary and pronunciation of Spanish spoken in Bolivia depend on the region.
Hotels have English speaking staff and the tours has bilingual guides.
Most trips to Bolivia are trouble free, but there have been social unrest that may affect the main tourist areas as well as national and international travel. There is frequent risk of public protests and strikes across the country.There is a risk of being a victim of petty crime such as pickpocketing and handbags. To avoid becoming a victim, never flaunt expensive jewelry, belongings or cash in public, and avoid carrying with you large amounts of money. Leave all valuables you do not need to carry with you in the safe of your hotel. always hold on to her purse and never lose sight of your belongings. Thieves see on vulnerable tourists in crowded areas the ideal target, especially in public transport and the most popular tourist attractions. The most important recommendation is to stay alert and vigilant of their surroundings.
Bolivians living in major cities do not have social conventions that are little known to travelers from Western countries, which must comply with the usual courtesies at all times. Moreover, the Indigenous may have rituals and customs that may seem strange. It is best to adhere to everything you see, and that their cultural traditions are unique and cannot see firsthand anywhere else in the world.
It is considered an insult, and is frowned upon, referring to the Indigenous as Indians, it is better to call peasantry. The dress and the Western diet are being adopted gradually by many farmers, although many still wear traditional clothes.In formal events in the cities, men should wear a suit and tie, and women dress. At other times you can be casual clothes. Smoking is accepted unless otherwise indicated.
It is common to tip 10% of the total paid for the services received for example in a restaurant. Doormen expect to be tipped for each piece of luggage, but taxi drivers don´t.
The telephone code of Bolivia is +591. In major cities and tourist centers there is Internet access. In the main towns there are also Internet cafes.
Mobile phones are widely used in major cities and towns of Bolivia, coverage is good in big cities, but can be poor or non-existent in rural areas. If you plan to bring your own cell phone from his home to Bolivia, check with your service provider about international plans and coverage areas. Cell phones of GSM technology usually work in the largest cities of Bolivia, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. If you have a phone that uses a SIM card, you may be able to buy a compatible SIM card in Bolivia and use one of the cellular companies of Bolivia, before leaving home make sure your phone is unlocked to work with this service.
The easiest way to get online is at an Internet cafe (locally called "Internet Cafe", which can be easily found in major cities of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Sucre, smaller towns have at least one pair. most hotels have Internet access, usually in a business center with high speed connection or wi-fi connection for your laptop.
All travelers entering Bolivia must have a passport valid for at least one year from the date of arrival. Most citizens of other countries do not require visa if they show that travel for tourism. However, there are three groups of citizens who may require getting visa on arrival Bolivia and another group must obtain a visa in your country.
Check this information on the following website: http://www.bolivianisima.com/visas_bolivia.htmTourist visas are valid for 30 days but can be extended up to 90 days (depending on the nationality). Special purpose visas are valid for 30 days and can be renewed for up to 90 days at the immigration office in La Paz.
The following commodities may be imported duty free by travelers over 18 years old Bolivia: 400 cigarettes and 50 cigars or 500 grams of snuff, three liters of alcoholic beverages and personal gifts worth up to US $ mil.
The voltage in most cities in Bolivia is 220V, however, there are many areas where it is common to use 110 V. outlets for circular pin plugs are used European style and Japanese pole flat.
The national currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (Bs). Tickets are located in the following denominations: Bs 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Furthermore, the coins have denominations of Bs 5, 2 and 1, also 50, 20 and 10 cents.
The exchange rate is 1 USD = 6.96 Bs. You can change currency at major hotels and exchange houses. Credit cards American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in most major hotels and restaurants, but usually are not in smaller establishments. ATMs are available in most towns and major cities, and are a safe and convenient way to get local currency, although they are not available in rural areas. If you carry travelers checks, it is recommended that they are in US dollars as sterling checks can be a bit difficult to change.
Schedules banks in Bolivia are generally from 08:00 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 16:00 , Monday to Friday. Some branches also open on Saturdays from 9:00 to 13:00.
Most stores are open from 10:00 to 19:00. Some close at noon.