Were you wondering: is Bolivia Safe?
Bolivia is the most exhilarating country in South America. Whether you’re skimming stones across Lake Titicaca, taking incredible pictures at the Salar de Uyuni, or just admiring the many hiking trails.
Bolivia has a lot to offer but sometimes falls by the wayside due to its illegal drug reputation.
Not only is this untrue, but you also don’t need to be an experienced hiker or a seismologist to enjoy what Bolivia has to offer.
Is Bolivia Safe?
Most tourists, who plan on traveling to South American countries, must ask themselves; is Bolivia safe?
We’re here to tell you all about the safety of this wonderful country and if you should take any necessary precautions.
Is it Safe to Travel to Bolivia?
The simple answer is; yes. Compared with neighboring countries, Bolivia has one of the lowest crime rates.
What’s strange is that Bolivia has a similar reputation to Colombia and Venezuela, when it’s honestly just as safe as Chile and Argentina.
Unfortunately, this is a picture portrayal forced upon this great nation by the media and pop culture.
In 2018, Bolivia received half as many British National tourists as Chile. This is such a shame since their crime rates are quite similar.
The UK and other government bodies have advised against all travel to Bolivia during this transitioning period of the COVID-19 virus.
All airports and most public transport are currently at a standstill and all foreign nationals within the country have been advised by the Bolivian government to leave as soon as possible.
However, this will all be neutralized in a few months when the coronavirus issue resolves itself.
The main concern of anyone traveling to Bolivia is to stay away from public protests.
You should know your safety precautions for natural disasters, but the protests will occur in the major cities you’ll fly to or pass through.
Safety Facts about Bolivia
- Bolivia is currently under a 14-day quarantine to combat the Coronavirus.
- 40,106 British nationals visited Bolivia in 2017. Most visits are trouble-free.
- The intentional homicide rate of Bolivia is one of the lowest in South America.
- The total number of homicides in 2016 was lower than Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
- The main crime of concern to travelers in Bolivia is burglary by gunpoint or theft.
According to the US Travel Bureau:
“Most reported criminal incidents involve non-confrontational property crimes that occur in major cities, particularly in markets and commercial districts. Tourists and visitors routinely report pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft of jewelry/cell phones”
Is Bolivia Safe to Travel Alone?
Bolivia is perfectly safe to travel alone. Most of the minor crime happens within the inner city of La Paz.
So most other areas are safer than most cities in America or the UK.
You’ll need to abide by the unwritten rules of independently traveling to South America: such as don’t go out at night, don’t trust strangers, and don’t flash expensive items.
Bolivia is actually quite tame when it comes to petty crime, but you still need to keep all valuables hidden from view. A concealed travel money belt is a must.
Backpacking Bolivia Safely
Backpacking is great in this country since public transport and private transport are incredibly secure.
Compared with Colombia, the safe locations in Bolivia make for an easier trip. The taxis are quite cheap compared with American or Brazilian taxis, plus the flotas or buses are quite cheap too.
The only issue with backpacking is that criminals can target those who look like tourists.
It would be best to keep within safe areas and secure modes of transport.
Bolivia Travel Safety Tips
Bolivia can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
You could assume that since it’s quite a tame country compared to the others with a low crime rate that it’s safe.
However, there have been reports of unlawful taxi drivers taking tourists to undisclosed locations and stealing their possessions.
Here’s some top tips to help you before you make the trip out:
- Credit/debit card skimming is the biggest issue in Bolivia. Make sure to only use cards at locations recommended.
- If you are a person that suffers from typical culture shock symptoms see our tips on adapting to new surroundings on this blog.
- Due to COVID-19, most air travel has been prohibited. See GOV UK for more info.
- Keep away from crowds of people. You could be attacked or arrested if it’s an anti-government demonstration.
- Read up online how to deal with high category earthquakes. You’re likely to experience small ones but it won’t hurt to know what to do when a big one hits.
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets in the urban areas and keep your money hidden away. Bras, money belts or a PacSafe backpack will do.
- Book a taxi through your hostel or another trusted service such as the airport. Unlicensed taxis preying on tourists are a real issue in Chile, especially Santiago.
- When traveling long distances by bus in Boliva be sure to carry an adequate travel sweater as the aircon can make your journey unbearable without warm clothing.
- Don’t take too many valuables with you. If you want to take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden.
- Make sure to take sunscreen. This doesn’t depend on whether you’re in the north, because you may be surprised how hot the mid-regions of Chile can be.
Traveling Around Bolivia by Bus
Bolivia’s long-distance routes can be grueling due to the condition of the roads.
Bus-hopping, although risky at times, can ensure that you make it to your chosen destination. This is also the cheaper option if you’re looking to cut costs on travel.
You’ll get to see more of the amazing countryside, but you’ll still have to endure the roads.
We would have to recommend for all travelers making long-distance trips, however, to catch a sleeper bus.
They cost a little bit more than standard long-distance flotas but they have reclining seats for sleeping, air conditioning, and incredibly comfy seats.
If you’re traveling through South America, this is the one for you.
Travel Insurance for Bolivia
You can never be too safe, even whilst in Bolivia. Staying covered whilst traveling in Bolivia and the rest of South America means ensuring that you have the right insurance cover.
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Is Bolivia Safe?
Bolivia is an amazing country to visit and is perhaps the most overlooked area of outstanding natural beauty in the continent.
The salt plains, the mountains, and the bodies of water are magnificent. Travel by flotas and you won’t regret it.
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