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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Bolivia Money-Saving Tips

Beware the altitude

Bolivia is one of the world’s highest countries, with air so thin you may get altitude sickness, locally known as soroche. It can cause headaches, nausea, insomnia, and shortness of breath. The cure is to rest, stay away from alcohol and heavy foods, chew coca leaves, and drink coca tea.

Exit fee

Upon leaving, you’ll have to pay $25 in departure taxes, so don’t spend all your cash.


While it’s perfectly fine to chew coca leaves and drink coca tea in Bolivia – in fact, it alleviates the symptoms of altitude sickness – don’t try to bring it back into the U.S., as it is punishable by law.

Water dangers

Water- and food-borne diseases are common in Bolivia, so stay away from tap water and ice in your drinks.

Beware the strong sun

In both the highlands and the lowlands the sun can be intensely strong, so bring a wide-rimmed hat, sunglasses, and sun block.

Stay safe

La Paz and Santa Cruz have had mugging incidents, so be reasonably cautious and alert. Watch out for fake taxi drivers, police officers, and tourist officials.

Bolivia’s markets

Bolivia is a great place to buy handicrafts made by Quechua and Aymara Indians, from weavings and ponchos to handmade bags and carpets.

Be culturally sensitive

With populist Evo Morales as president, Bolivia’s anti-U.S. sentiment is prevalent. Be discreet and respectful and you’ll be fine. And try not to scream gringo!

Stay out of trouble

As one of South America’s poorest countries, Bolivia has a long history of protests and social unrest. Demonstrations and road blockades are common, so simply get out of way if you find yourself in the midst of one.


As of December 2007, travelers must show an International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever in order to enter the country. Check with the Center for Disease Control & Prevention ( or the Department of State ( for more information. Don’t forget to take anti-malarials if going to the Amazon.

Bolivian cuisine

Bolivia has three types of regional cuisine. In the highlands, expect soups, potatoes, mutton, and llama meat. The food in the central valleys is heavy on the maize, beef, and chicken. Yucca and plantains are eaten in various forms and shapes in the tropical lowlands. Don’t miss Bolivia’s greatest snack, salteña, a spicy meat and vegetable-filled pastry.

Visa requirements

As of December 2007, all American citizens are required to apply for a visa to enter Bolivia. This can be done by mail or in person at the Bolivian Embassy in D.C. or at the Consulate in New York.

Politics & history

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales is buddies with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, which goes hand-in-hand with being anti-U.S. The previous president, the U.S.-educated Sánchez de Losada, was ousted in 2003 over his natural gas exportation scheme.

Annual events

The Carnaval in February is a great time to visit Bolivia, with celebrations taking place all around the country; the most colorful is in the mining town of Oruro, which features a diablada (devil dance). Two religious celebrations (in February and August) attract hordes of Christian pilgrims to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca to pay dues to the revered Virgen de la Candelaria. The Aymara New Year in June is a great time to be in Bolivia; it takes place during the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice and is great to witness in Tiwanaku.

Count your bolivianos

The official currency of Bolivia is peso boliviano (bs).

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