A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Bolivia
From the grand icebound peaks and bleak high-altitude deserts of the Andes to the stunning rainforests and seemingly endless savannahs of the Amazon basin, Bolivia contains an vast range of landscapes and climates. This magical terrain boasts scores of breathtaking attractions including stark otherworldly salt pans, ancient Inca trails and towering volcanic peaks.
In Bolivia, as with most countries in South America it is often a good idea to travel with a combination of currencies along with your credit card. Sometimes foreign cards may not be accepted at ATMs and often cash is the only way to pay so have some local currency and some US dollars on hand as well as you can generally pay with USD everywhere. However in some cases the only ATMs that give USD are at airports and major banks. Small towns may not have ATMs at all. Make a point to check your bank account for strange withdrawals as cards get skinned fairly often. Be sure to have travel insurance when traveling in South America, you could consider choose a credit card that comes with complimentary travel insurance.
Something to keep in mind when travelling by road in Bolivia is that strikes and road closures are a significant issue for travellers in Bolivia. If and when they occur, it will be difficult to find good information but you need to be aware that they can last for days or weeks and shut down entire sections of the country’s road transport system. If you’re affected, internal flights are not unaffordable and may be necessary for you to get on to your next destination quickly.
On entry to Bolivia border agents may or may not request a yellow-fever vaccination certificate. This could be taken care of at the border but it’s definitely better to have it taken care of at home. Some bordering countries may require a certificate when coming from Bolivia also. Sometimes a small unofficial ‘fee’ may be applied, it can just be worth it to pay up to avoid complications. Also, Tap water in 99% of the country is not safe for consumption so be prepared to buy many bottles or bags of water.
All of Bolivia sits at a high altitude, even its lowest points. Hardly surprising then that climbing a flight of stairs in Bolivia can get even the fittest of us out of puff and have a significant impact on your first few days in the country. Due to the risks associated with that, it really is usually advised that you don’t travel Bolivia without insurance. Whilst many of us will only suffer from the odd headache, for some, things can get pretty serious, pretty quickly.
There are not really any supermarkets in Bolivia, hence Bolivian markets are atmospheric, photogenic places full of character. The most pleasant time to head to Bolivia is between March and October as other months can be considered rainy season. Spring time (September-November) is the best time, as it is not too cold in the salt flats and desert, with far more sunshine and very little rain.
With the exception of some nationalities (namely the US and Israel), many backpackers will simply be able to get their passport stamp/visa when crossing the border. Bolivia has however opted to give visitors only 30 days in the country – which really isn’t enough to experience all it has to offer. Therefore, it’s handy to know that you can actually get another 60 days free of charge.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Bolivian boliviano.
24 Nov 2021
09 Sep 2021
08 Dec 2020
09 Dec 2016
11 Dec 2011
13 Dec 2001