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Bolivia

If you’re travelling to Bolivia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security status

We advise you to avoid non-essential travel due to stringent flight restrictions and strict self-isolation arrangements on arrival.

Security Status Last Updated: 15 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish Citizens travelling abroad can be found on dfa.ie/Travel

As of 15 January 2021, the Irish Government advises against all travel to and from countries in South America including Bolivia.

Travel to Bolivia

Nationwide quarantine measures remain in Bolivia until further notice. 

As of 1 November, the following measures apply across the country:

•     A curfew will apply everyday between 12am and 5am

•     All public gatherings are prohibited, except for religious services.

•     You should practice social distancing from others in public and use facemasks including outdoors.

•     Penalties for breaching these measures include fines, public service and prison. 

Bolivia has implemented ‘dynamic quarantine’ restrictions. Towns and cities are classified to be at high, medium or moderate risk based on COVID-19 data. Different quarantine restrictions will apply depending on the designated risk level, which are re-assessed every seven days. Local authorities may impose additional restrictions, including on the movement of people, depending on the risk level of the area. Further information is available on the Bolivian Government website.

During this period, if you have been in Europe in the last 14 days and plan to travel to Bolivia, please engage directly with the Embassy of Bolivia in your country of residency for further information.

While limited commercial international and domestic flights have resumed, the frequency and routes available are reduced. The Bolivian authorities require that passengers present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate on arrival. Check specific requirements with your airline and/or the Bolivian authorities based on your circumstances.

If you need consular assistance, please contact the Honorary Consulate on consulbolivia@gmail.com

Further measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly. You are advised to stay informed of measures taken by authorities in the areas you are visiting. We recommend contacting your airline or tour operator and following the advice of the Bolivian Ministry of Health.

All arrivals to Bolivia should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.

General Travel advice 

Although the situation in Bolivia has returned to relative calm following a period of widespread protests and sporadic violence throughout the country, the political and security situation remains uncertain.  Elections have been held without any major incidents and a new government is now in place as of 8 November.

Demonstrations and roadblocks could happen without notice and suddenly turn violent. We advise you to monitor local media for information and follow the instructions of local authorities. You should avoid areas where these demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place.

These demonstrations can also lead to disruption to traffic and public transportation. If you are planning to travel, you should check travel plans regularly and seek advice from transport providers.

If you need urgent consular assistance, please contact the Honorary Consulate at consulbolivia@gmail.com 

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management. To report emergencies, contact the police, an ambulance, or the fire department by dialling 911 from any phoneWe suggest you learn as much as you can about Bolivia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books.

Because there is no Irish Embassy in Bolivia, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul General of Ireland in Santa Cruz, Bolivia or the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

If you phone outside of working hours, please leave a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland can be found on gov.ie 

Information on Travel within Europe (EU/EEA) can also be found on Re-open EU.

 

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

Occasional episodes of social unrest can affect main tourist areas, transportation and domestic and international travel.

There’s a continual risk of demonstrations and strikes throughout the country. These protests can affect local travel and some interdepartmental bus routes have been disrupted as a result of a dispute between operators and the government. 

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Bolivia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

Crime can be an issue in Bolivia and you should take sensible precautions.

Serious crime

There is a continuing risk of violent crimes against foreign nationals with reports of European nationals being attacked, robbed, sexually assaulted and threatened with murder. Some foreign tourists have been murdered.  

You should remain extremely vigilant and cautious about your surroundings whilst travelling around Bolivia, especially on arrival in the country. 

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Bolivia, you should be extremely careful. Some of Bolivia’s principal roads are paved, but of variable quality and most roads are unpaved rough tracks, which are graded from time to time. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Jeep safari tours

There have been a number of serious road accidents involving jeep safari tours including during visits to Uyuni and other Salt Flats areas, which have resulted in the deaths of several tourists. We recommend that you check the conditions of vehicles, to wear seatbelts at all times, and we encourage drivers to drive safely and to respect speed limits.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them.
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine. In their efforts to control the production, the government have harsh penalties for those caught trafficking or in possession. You should therefore be very careful with your luggage and belongings and avoid any contact with prohibited drugs.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Flooding

Floods and landslides, especially in mountainous areas, are a regular feature of the Bolivian rainy season, which runs from November to March. Roads are frequently impassable for days at a time.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Bolivia, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Bolivia.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of (8 weeks) travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Bolivia.

There is a risk of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

Dengue Fever

Bolivia is a risk country for dengue fever transmission. The disease is concentrated in the Departments of Pando and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The other main outbreaks were in the areas of central Cochabamba, the tropical zones of La Paz [Department], and in the city of Riberalta, in the Beni region (northeast Bolivia) and the Tarija Department.

Yellow fever

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by foreigners when entering certain high-risk areas. These areas include all of the regions of Santa Cruz, Pando and Beni, and much of Cochabamba, Tarija and northern La Paz departments. The cities of La Paz and Sucre are risk free.

Malaria

Malaria risk is present throughout the country, except in urban areas and the highlands of La Paz (above 2500m/8202ft) and the two southwestern provinces of Oruro and Potos. You should discuss anti-malarial treatment with your doctor before you travel.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Outside office hours, for genuine emergencies involving Irish citizens, which cannot wait until the next working day, please call +54 9 11 5945 7483.

Embassy of Ireland
Edificio Bluesky
6th Floor
Avenida del Libertador 1068
Recoleta
Buenos Aires
Argentina

Tel: +54 11 5787 0801
Fax: +54 11 5787 0802

Monday to Friday 09:00 to 13:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Bolivia Honorary Consul
Peter O'Toole
Honorary Consul General of Ireland
Av. San Martin y Calle Hugo Wast,
Comercial Chuubi, Planta Alta, Of 16,
Barrio Equipetrol,
Santa Cruz,
Bolivia.

Email: Email us