Tips, always appreciated, are subject to your choice and will never replace the wages due to the stakeholders as part of our tours.
However, and particularly in South America, tipping is customary and the amount must be representative of your satisfaction.
For information, a minimum tip would average :
The equivalent of a coffee or a beer for the baggage porter of the hotel or the airport.
It is customary in a restaurant to leave 10% of your grade for the service
During your travel in Bolivia, we support you, not only in thought!
We know exactly where you are and with whom.
Each protagonists of your trip may contact us at any time if necessary.
In addition, we provide you with a phone number where you can reach us at any time of the day.
We always make ourselves available to you, than it is for a good exchange misplaced, board, a technical problem or just want to discuss about the weather.
You will find internet connections in most cities. However, the connection’s speed is slower than that of European standards (difficult to upload pictures).
Most city hotels offers WI-FI.
The French media in Bolivia are :
To call Bolivia from France: 00 + 591 + number in Bolivia.
To call France from Bolivia: 00 + 33 + operator code + number in France without the 0.
GSM mobiles: only tri-band mobile phones allow you to make or receive calls in Bolivia.
220 volts (110 volts rarely on older installations).
Electrical outlet to US standards (flat).
Apart from hotels and major cities, it will be difficult to recharge your batteries for accommodation work most often with a generator.
So plan extra batteries.
We open a special section on security in Bolivia, not because the country is particularly dangerous, but because some incidents or offenses are repeated quite regularly on the same model.
Above all, stay safe is primarily a matter of common sense, and if you feel in some places a sense of insecurity is often a lack of familiarity with local context is the cause.
Bolivia is one of the safest countries in South America. In La Paz, however, note that false plainclothes police can approach tourists, under the pretext of an identity check on their papers and steal money. They ask them usually follow in a taxi. Know that the local police is first ever civilian and never carried out identity checks in the street. If the police approach you asking for your passport, answer them that you are close to the hotel and can accompany you on foot you go for your passport. Do not follow, do not ride with them in a car “that they are with you.”
Other recommendations are usual: avoid ostentatious signs of wealth and if you have (which should be exceptional) large sums on you, spread them in many pockets.
Leave your passport and your credit card at the hotel as far as possible.
The hotels we work with are trusted.
The evening or at night, do not hail a taxi in the street at random but ask the institution where you are (hotel or restaurant) to call a radio taxi.
Finally, we recommend that you stay away from any protests that may escalate, as any event in Europe.
Cash is the most common means of payment in Bolivia, especially when we move away from big cities.
The safest way to exchange foreign currency (euros, dollars or other) in Bolivia of using exchange houses services, “Casa de Cambio” that can easily be found in cities.
Avoid changing your arrival at the airport, the rates are much less interesting than the city center.
In La Paz and in the big cities, you can withdraw cash (in US $ or Bolivianos). Be aware that the local banking system limit withdrawals to $ 300 per day in general (some 500 US $).
Wherever you are, allow small bills and money because the exchange is a recurring problem in the country.
The difference between Europe and Bolivia is -6 hours (March to October) in summer and -5 hours (November to February).
We remind you that El Alto airport, where you land if you arrive in La Paz, is located at 4,100 meters above sea level. The city of La Paz is from 3400-3800 meters.
The Bolivian Altiplano stretches meanwhile between Royal and Western Cordilleras, around 3,800 meters. A stay in Bolivia usually implies long periods or even a whole trip above 3,500 meters.
Preparing a stay at altitude
It must be requested:
Some tips to facilitate acclimatization:
Risks related to altitude, acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a sign of incomplete acclimatization. It affects people in varying degrees and there are generally three stages:
Clinical signs, disorders occur 4-8 hours after arrival at altitude and usually from 3 500 meters, sometimes lower. They are manifested by headache (96% of cases), insomnia (70%), decreased appetite (38%) and / or nausea (35%). Are associated with these events shortness of rest and sometimes dizziness. This “bad fit” can also result in a decrease in urine volume and / or the appearance of localized edema of the eyes, hands, ankles ……
Bolivian cuisine is born of the mixture of indigenous and Spanish traditions and offers a rich diversity across different regions.
In La Paz, the day began with a crispy maraquetta near the baguette or an Api, a hot drink, thick and quite sweet of purple maize.
The salteña is the must snacks mid-morning before lunch, the main meal of the day.
Beware of portions – often very copious – at restaurants, especially at the beginning of stay aloft.
Mostly meat and potatoes, the local dishes are very spicy, for against the llajwa, made from chilli condiment, you will find available on all tables can be … pretty hot.
Indulge yourself with the words that sing: Fricasé, fritanga, picante de pollo, chairo, charquekan (dried llama meat), the Saice Tarija or the majadito, the specialty of Santa Cruz.
Allow between 6 to 12 US $ per meal per person (excluding drinks). We’ve got to report that bolivian wine and quinoa beer are excellent.
The climate in Bolivia is subtropical, and therefore mostly hot, by the location of the country relative to the equator. But of course, it’s mostly the altitude at which you’ll find, and especially the time of day (sun or not) that will determine local conditions … and your feelings.
The highlands (Altiplano) are located over 3,000 meters above sea level between the Andes and the Cordillera Occidental. In winter (June to August) temperatures are mild during the day and very cold at night. There is indeed a big temperature difference between day and night. Precipitation are extremely rare and the climate is very dry.
The inter-Andean valleys located in the center of the country east of the Cordillera are wetter and warmer (lower altitude), but winter nights can still be cool.
The Amazon Basin, representing approximately 65% of the area of the country, is a land of contrasts between hot summers and winters sometimes characterized by the arrival of a “Surazo” (Southern breeze).
The ideal time to visit Bolivia remains the dry season from May to October. It is synonymous with colder temperatures but also at this time that the majestic Andean sky blue reveals an unforgettable intensity and purity.
In Bolivia the seasons are inversed with Europe, it’s warmer in december than in july(winter)
Each season in Bolivia had his avantages : flowering of the quinoa in automn, the mirror effect of the Uyuni Salar during the rain season in summer, the perfects conditions of winter for trekking or the ascents. The question of the best period to come isn’t a problem, so only your agenda and your desires will decide of the moment to discover Bolivia !
A visa is not required for EU citizens not staying more than 90 days in Bolivia (per 12 calendar months). Bolivian authorities require that the passport presented be valid for 6 months from the date of entry into the territory of Bolivia. An entry stamp worth 30-day residence permit is affixed to the passport at the arrival in the country. This authorization may be extended freely to 90 days at the immigration services located in La Paz.
You must require the affixing of the seal as they enter Bolivian territory, even by land. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible to them to let you leave the country without having to regularize your situation and paid a fine of about $ 3 US per day of delay.
If your flight to Bolivia pass by the US, it is imperative that you are in possession of an electronic passport (recognizable symbol of the chip) or a machine-readable passport issued no later than October 25, 2005 (and valid).
In all cases, you must also obtain a travel authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorization): https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
For the EE.UU. citizens, a visa is required. The entry visa is valid for 10 years since the issuing date and allows the holder 90 lay days per year. The visa fee is 160$. You can find the list of requirements to send your application here :
There are obviously many ways to reach Bolivia
From Peru by the borders of Desaguadero or to Kasani by bus or private vehicle
From Chile: the border Hito Cajon / San Pedro de Atacama (extreme south of Bolivia) or the border post Tambo Quemado / Chungará (which connects to the Sajama Park located in the West of Bolivia)
From Argentina by the borders of Villazon / La Quiaca (which connects to the town of Tupiza)
American Airlines with a stopover in the US (note the passport and the travel authorization required by the US.)
Lan Chile and Iberia via Madrid and Lima.
Air France via Lima, Buenos Aires and Santiago
Iberia via Madrid and Sao Paulo
Air Europa from Paris to Santa Cruz de la Sierra via Madrid
KLM via Amsterdam and Lima – Recommended from Brussels or Geneva.
Whichever company you choose, you will travel probably a part of your journey on a South American company, usually Taca and Lan.
Because of the many stops involved in a flight to Bolivia, we strongly advise you to take out a baggage insurance and to provide needed for the first few days on site in a cabin baggage.
NB. Airport tax charged USD 25 from Bolivia is now built into the price of plane ticket.
The vaccine against the yellow fever is strongly recommended for travelers to the Amazon region (Beni, Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz or the Bolivian Pantanal).
Provide 1 injection at least 10 days prior to departure in an official vaccination center.
It compulsory to exit from Bolivia to Brazil (even in transit).
The update of vaccination diphtheria-tetanus-polio is required. Other recommended vaccinations (according to hygienic conditions and length of stay): typhoid fever, viral hepatitis A and B.
Local authorities may change these requirements at any time (especially in case of increase in cases of infection in the country itself or in neighboring countries), it is always advisable to check with the Embassy of Bolivia in France and / or read the “Travel” site of the french Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAE) before departure.
In the 1990s, the rail network was privatized and dramatically reduces the use this means of transportation.
The train is rarely used by Bolivian who prefer the bus.
To the west, the railway network is operated by the company Ferroviaria Andina (www.fca.com.bo). It offers the ride from d’Oruro up Villazón (border with Argentina), stopping at Uyuni and Tupiza. This line runs only 4 days a week.
To the east, the company Ferroviaria Oriental (www.fo.com.bo) manages the line Santa Cruz – Quijarro (border with Brazil).
The plane is the most convenient way to make long distances. It takes 18h bus trip between La Paz and Tarija City (town at the extreme south of the country) against 1 hour flight.
Flight connections are regularly ensured between the major cities of the country such as Santa Cruz, Sucre, Cochabamba. Recently, a new link La Paz-Uyuni was opened to be able to get there quickly.
The airports of La Paz and Santa Cruz are the only two international airports.
It represents the most economical and most widespread in Bolivia.
There are different categories of buses (with or without berth), it is possible according to the vehicle to put luggage on the roof or in the hold, opt for checked baggage for safety.
Buses run generally at night. They are very comfortable and are not heated.
Take his sickness patiently because punctuality is not the strong point of this means of transport!
The road network is not in good condition. The paved axes are rare, the tracks are bad and actually require experience in driving and mechanics (to reach the large cities, a domestic flight is faster but more expensive). To get in villages away from main roads, opt for private transport or a taxi.
You should know that the road network in Bolivia is not as developed and as good as its Argentine or Chilean neighbors. When traveling in Bolivia, so think more along the time and not corresponding time distances.
If you stay in La Paz, you can take minibuses and “micro” (old bus Dodge) whose capacity seems infinite. Even crowded, it continues to trumpet to press any passengers.
Four-Wheel drive, typically Toyota Land Cruiser used during expeditions in remote regions.
Indeed, these vehicles cashing great impact on the many trails in bad conditions present mainly in the Lipez region.
These vehicles are equipped with one oxygen bottle and a fire extinguisher.
The drivers are fully aware of these tracks and know how to handle mechanical problems.
A tour guide is provided on all of a trip to Bolivia.
He is very familiar with the different regions of the country.
Local guides are specialized of a city or a particular site.
They will have at heart to share with you their heritage.
For security reasons our trekking and mountain guides are equipped with a global positioning device. This “Spot” device sends data in real time with the GPS position and also warning messages if something goes wrong.
Oximeter and Oxygen bottles
All our guides feature a oximeter or pulse oximeter. This allows you to control the level of hematocrit. Bottles of oxygen are also provided for all the groups in the mountains (trekking and / or climbing).
For trekking we provide the following equipment:
A Spanish-speaking trekking guide and a cook are provided to a group of up to 5 people.
From 6 people a guide and assistant cook assistant support the team edgings.
If you wish you can request an english speaking guide who will add to trek guide.
In the long term treks, a mule team will portage during the entire circuit.
These teams are renewed every 3 days to work the different valleys traversed.
We take great care in selecting and offering a varied diet during your adventures in the mountains.
Before starting the trek of the day the team will provide you fruit, cereal bars, chocolate and yogurt to alleviate the munchies during the day.
Lunch alternate between cold lunch (ham, avocado, mixed salad, or a sandwich) and hot dish (pasta, rice, meat, trout …).
We provide the bottled water as well as boiled water. If you wish you can bring with you water purification tablets.
Pit stops are also planned to ensure the freshness of the food.
PS: The IFMGA guide will take with him a rope, snow stakes, ice screws, etc ….
A jumar handle is not necessary. It is not customary in Bolivia using fixed ropes.
It is possible to rent in La Paz from specific equipment to getaways in the mountains at the shop Andean Base Camp (Calle Illampu 863 – Tel: 246 37 82 – firstname.lastname@example.org).
We offer up to 2 guests roped party with a certified guide for the normal channels.
An IFMGA guide only take one person on the rope for technical ways and engaged as the west face of Huayna Potosi, Illimani crossing or the north peak of the Illampu. For a single person, additional IFMGA guide is scheduled for security.
These highly technical climbs are for experienced climbers, it is highly recommended to have already previously performed several classic climbs with the same guide.
Indeed, this will allow him to identify the strengths and weaknesses of his companion.
You will find all the details of Bolivian guides and aspiring guides certified UIAGM www.agmtb.org on site. These guides are humble and discreet: they do not try to impress you. They are also and above all very professional and passionate: they will accompany you in the right mood and safely to the highest peaks of the Cordillera. With them, you will be in excellent hands…
Vous trouverez toutes les coordonnées des guides et aspirant-guides boliviens certifi és UIAGM sur le site www.agmtb.org. Ces guides sont humbles et discrets : ils ne chercheront pas à vous en mettre plein la vue. Ils sont aussi et surtout très professionnels et passionnés : ils sauront vous accompagner dans la bonne humeur et en toute sécurité jusqu’aux plus hauts sommets de la cordillère Royale. Avec eux, vous serez entre d’excellentes mains…
En cas de problèmes, vous ne pourrez certainement pas communiquer avec vos téléphones portables. Si vous arriviez à émettre un signal, priez pour que votre contact soit le bon car il n’existe aucune structure officielle de secours en montagne en Bolivie. Seuls les guides de haute montagne certifiés UIAGM disponibles à ce moment-là et présents dans votre zone pourraient vous venir en aide rapidement. Mieux vaut donc partir avec des agences sérieuses capables de rester en communication avec vous.
Nous vous rappelons que beaucoup d´agences présentes dans la Sagarnaga ne proposent pas forcément de guides certifiés et ne respectent pas toujours les conditions de sécurité en trekking ou en haute montagne.
Si vous décidez de partir avec l´une d´entre elles, assurez-vous du matériel et des conditions proposées.
Les grands sommets de la cordillère Royale sont placardés dans toutes les vitrines des agences de trekking de La Paz, sur les rues Sagarnaga et Illampu. La forte concurrence oblige ces agences à « tirer sur les prix ».
Leur attractivité ne doit pas vous faire oublier quelques règles élémentaires de prudence, alors n’hésitez pas à vérifier les points suivants :
The vaccine against yellow fever is strongly recommended for travelers to the Amazon region (Beni, Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz or the Bolivian Pantanal).
Provide 1 injection at least 10 days prior to departure in an official vaccination center.
It compulsory to exit from Bolivia to Brazil (even in transit).
A foray into the jungle to discover the rainforest with lush vegetation located in the Madidi Park. You will see more plants than animals.
The Pampa is contrary to the jungle a plant formation, consists mainly of grasses with some trees and shrubs. Motor pirogue is moved there to watch the local wildlife with piranhas, caimans, toucans, parrots, monkeys or pink dolphins.
The wildest Bolivian Amazon, much less touristy than its Brazilian neighbor, has not stopped to attract naturalists and anthropologists because of its exceptional biodiversity and its fascinating indigenous cultures. The town of Rurrenabaque, a 45-minute flight from La Paz is the starting point to explore the rainforest of Madidi National Park in the western and the eastern Pampa located on the banks of the river Yacuma.
In the Lipez region, there are two kinds of accommodations : “refuges” and “ecolodges“. They differ mainly by a comfort level.
Refuges, the most economical solution for housing in the Lipez region or in the Sajama Park. The comfort is very basic and it’s better to have a good sleeping bag because the nights can be chilly, the outside temperatures can drop to -20 degrees in the winter. These accommodations do not have heating and it is not uncommon to dinner with his jacket and hat.
The ecolodges offer accommodation that respects the environment, usually located in ecological natural places. These accommodations rely on systems that reduce energy consumption and improve waste management. In addition to relying on social integration programs with surrounding communities, these accommodations offer a comfortable alternative.
NB: In Bolivia, there is no or very rarely nights in homestay accomodation.
Of course, there are different categories of hotels in Bolivia.
You should know that these categories are sometimes not equivalent with those proposed in Europe.