Bolivia Guide

Bolivia Guide

Country data

Location: South America

Time zone: CET – 5 (during summer time: CET – 6)

Total area: 1,098,580 km²

Land area: 1,083,300 km²

Water area: 15,280 km²

Length of the state border: 7,252 km

Argentina: 942 km
Brazil: 3,403 km
Chile: 942 km
Paraguay: 753 km
Peru: 1,212 km

Coastline: 0 km

Capital: Sucre

Regions: 9
Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija

Electric current: 110/220 V / 50 Hz

Telephone code: 00 591 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m


Population: approx. 10.6 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 1.6% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 10

Life expectancy: 66 (male), 71 (female)

Official language: Spanish, Quechua


  • 95% Roman Catholic
  • 5% other


In the Andean highlands (from approx. 3,000 meters above sea level) the mountain climate is dry and cool. The temperatures between day and night fluctuate very strongly. However, the temperature is almost constant throughout the year. From a height of over 5,200 meters there is permanent snow.

Between 1,200 and 3,000 meters there is a more moderate climate zone, in which the temperatures are a few degrees Celsius lower than in the highlands.


The regions with an altitude of up to 1,200 meters have a tropical climate with frequent summer rains. It’s almost always very warm here, with high humidity.

Note: As the Andes are very high above sea level, altitude sickness (soroche) can occur. This is caused by the decreased oxygen level in the blood. If severe discomfort occurs, you must immediately descend into deeper areas. When starting a new ascent, you should slowly get your circulation used to the altitude.

Currency / finance

Currency unit: Boliviano (BOB)

Classification: 1 boliviano = 100 centavos

ATMs: Often available in all major cities.

International credit cards: These are accepted by many shops in the larger cities.

Regulations: Foreign and national currencies can be imported and exported in unlimited amounts.

Almost all currencies can be changed very easily. However, it is most suitable to use US dollars, as this is where the exchange is cheapest (good exchange rate and low fees).

If currencies with an equivalent value of more than 50,000 US dollars are imported, approval from the Bolivian central bank is required.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 50 g tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

Travel advice

Travel to the chapare (a KoKa growing area) is not recommended. The trafficking and possession of drugs and narcotics of all kinds is a criminal offense and often leads to long prison sentences (also for foreigners).

There are frequent attacks on tourists in the outskirts and slums of the big cities and on small roads in the country.

Recently, people have been harmed by fraud more and more often. For example, fake police officers and drug investigators keep trying to take tourists for their money and valuables. You should therefore always have your ID card shown to you and check it very carefully.

Behavioral advice

Due to the high altitude above sea level, Europeans repeatedly have circulatory problems.

Since the international airport La Paz is already at an altitude of about 4,000 meters, you should bring any necessary medication against altitude sickness (Soroche) and possibly cardiovascular drugs with you when you arrive.

If severe discomfort occurs, you must immediately descend into deeper areas. When starting a new ascent, you should slowly get your circulation used to the altitude.


As a profitable but illegal export product, coca is grown in Bolivia in order to produce cocaine from the leaves of this plant. Bolivia has often made headlines in the press thanks to the organized drug mafia.

Bolivia has abundant deposits of natural resources. Silver and tin in particular can be mined efficiently.

Since the nationalization of the natural gas industry a few years ago, its export income has increased significantly. These are now used to a greater extent to finance the state budget.

Industries: mining, food, smelting, tobacco, textiles

Natural resources: iron, natural gas, gold, wood, silver, hydropower, tungsten, zinc, tin

Land use:

  • Usable land: 2%
  • Grain cultivation: 0%
  • Pasture area: 24%
  • Forests: 53%
  • other: 21%


There are very large forests in Bolivia. The tropical rainforests are represented by a large margin.

Many of these forest areas still belong to untouched nature, as they are located in sharply sloping valleys and on mountain slopes, where logging would only be very complicated and therefore not operated in such places.

From a height of 3,000 meters (Andean highlands) there are hardly any trees. Apart from various shrubs and types of grass, there are no noteworthy plant species.

There is no more vegetation above 4,500 meters as there is snow almost all year round (permanent snow limit: 5,200 meters).


A species-rich animal world was able to develop in the large forests.

Jaguars, hummingbirds, parrots, pumas, red deer, pigs, tapirs and toucans are particularly common.

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