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Safety in Bolivia
Bolivia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. There is a risk of ‘express kidnappings’. Take care when travelling around Bolivia, particularly when you first arrive. If you take a taxi, use a registered company.
Tourist visas are required for entry into Bolivia for citizens of the United States and a few other countries. More info's about visa requirement per country here. The visa for most nationalities is valid for 30 days, and extensions are possible at immigration offices in Bolivia. If arriving from Peru overland, such as at the Lake Titicaca crossing, US citizens can obtain a Bolivia tourist visa at the border. You will need to bring all the documentation listed here
For a cumulative stay of no more than 90 days. More info's here
Travel Blogger "Jessie on a journey" about safety in Bolivia
Before heading to Bolivia, I was warned about dangerous locals who were out to get tourists. This, as usual, was advice given to me by people who had never actually visited the country. In my experience, most of the locals I met were extremely friendly and excited to get to know more about my culture. A bit of Spanish may be necessary for this, as many Bolivians don’t speak English. Even so, if you need help most locals will try their best to point you in the right direction.
Of course, watch your belongings and use common sense; however, I traveled through the country as a solo female and made it through without a problem.
Source1, Source2, Source 3
The main concern in the cities is pickpocketing. Never walk around with your big DSLR swinging around your neck or your iPhone on display. Also, don’t get drunk and walk home to your hostel – this is a recipe for being mugged.
Be careful in bus stations across the country, particularly if you’re arriving late at night or twilight. Try and get buses that arrive during the day or early morning. In the latter case, grab a coffee in a café in the terminal until it’s light outside and there are other people on the street.
There are more accidents on Bolivian roads than in most other places, so always pay more to go with one of the more reputable companies (Trans Copacabana MEM, El Dorado and Bolivar) where possible. In terms of comfort, buses aren’t great in Bolivia, particularly compared to those in other Southern American countries. Don’t expect buses to leave on time or arrive on time.
When trying to book a cama (a 160° reclining seat), always ask for “cama tres filas” (three seats in a row rather than four) otherwise it’s not actually cama and you will be disappointed and uncomfortable.
In general, there are either no toilets on board the bus, or they will be locked or broken. Expect the drivers to stop once at the side of the road for a toilet break, or ask them to stop if you need to go desperately.
Don’t hail taxis on the streets, the driver takes you to an ATM and forces you to empty your bank account, have been known. Book a radio taxi through your hostel or walk; most of the main sights are located close to Plaza Mayor so unless you’re coming back at night time from a bar, you shouldn’t need a taxi to get around the city. If you have a Smartphone you can call a taxi by easytaxi.
Fly from La Paz to Rurrenabaque rather than take the 24-hour (at least) bus journey. Honestly – it’s worth the extra cost.
Other Tips for Bolivia Travelers
There are a lot of misconceptions about Bolivia and its cities, primarily being that backpacking in Bolivia is unsafe. Of course, every city in every country in the world has parts where you shouldn’t go at night; La Paz and other Bolivian cities are no exception. Seek advice from other travelers and local people about where you can venture further afield.