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Travel guide to Bolivia

Passports
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return date and have one blank page for an entry stamp. Soiled, damaged or defaced passports will not be accepted
Visas
UK and most European passport holders do not require a visa for holidays < 30 days. US citizens will need a visa
Health
There are no compulsory health requirements, but you should be up to date with your primary courses and boosters. Malaria tablets are recommended for Santa Cruz and the Amazon region. A yellow fever vaccination is also recommended for these regions. As dengue fever is present, a good insect repellent and anti-histamine are recommended. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. At high altitude in the Andes, take precautions against altitude sickness (i.e. avoid alcohol, walk slowly and drink plenty of water). Always check with your doctor at least 8 weeks before travel for any other inoculations recommended (eg Hepatitis A+B, Cholera, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Polio, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies and TB).
Currency
Bolivian Boliviano (BOB) - remember to ask for small denominations, especially useful for tipping
Language
Spanish
Time Zone
GMT - 4 hours
Travel Tips
To ensure that you have the best possible holiday experience, we ask you to read the following information carefully. If you have any questions, please discuss them with us before you depart. 
 
Hand Luggage – pack essential items for a day or two in your hand luggage, in case your bags go astray and take a few days to catch up with you, especially if you have any tight connecting flights. 
 
Documents – take a copy of your travel insurance policy with you, and leave a copy of your passport with a reliable contact at home, in case the originals are lost or stolen. 
 
Electronic Devices – ensure these are all fully charge before travel, as you may be required to switch them on at airport security. Any device that does not switch on cannot be checked in and must be surrendered. 
 
Mobile Phones – make sure they are set up for international calls and turn off data roaming to avoid nasty bills. Be aware that some rural areas may not have cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi. 
 
Credit Cards – remember to inform your bank when travelling abroad. Ensure you have cash when travelling in the countryside, as some places may not accept credit cards. 
 
Clothing – as it gets cold at high altitude in the Andes, pack in layers according to the season. Pack a fleece, T-shirts, shorts, jeans, sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you are visiting the hot and humid Amazon, pack lightweight but long sleeved shirts and long trousers to protect against mosquitos (safari clothing is ideal for this – at least 2 sets). Take proper walking shoes, a day pack, good head lamp and long socks (so you can tuck in your trouser legs and keep the insects out). Take a generous supply of insect repellent to spray on your neck, wrists and ankles and avoid using perfume, as this attracts mosquitos. Also rain gear in the wet season, including both a rain jacket and lightweight waterproof trousers. Sanitising hand cleaner/wet wipes and eye drops can be handy, especially if you wear contact lenses. 
 
Accessories – pack your phone (with charger and a spare battery pack), camera (with spare memory cards and batteries – a 200 mm zoom lens is good for wildlife photography) and binoculars (large 8x40 is best). If you are a keen birder we suggest one pair per person, as it can be frustrating to share. 
 
Plugs – mainly Type A (two flat blades as in USA). A few type C too, so a universal adaptor is recommended. 
 
Books – pack a good travel guide and a Spanish phrase book. Knowing a few simple greetings will go down well. Also pack a generous supply of English reading material for quiet evenings and when waiting for flights, as these will be hard to come by. 
 
Water – use only bottled water, as tap water is not safe to use (not even to brush your teeth). 
 
Food – the staple foods of Bolivia are corn, potatoes and beans. These ingredients have been combined with food brought by the Spanish, such as rice, wheat and meat (beef, pork, and chicken). 
 
Respect the Local Culture – always take into account the wishes of the local people, some of whom do not wish to be photographed. 
 
Taxis – in La Paz and Santa Cruz use only regulated radio taxis, taking note of their registration and phone number. 
 
Self-Drive – driving is on the right, although we do not recommend self-driving in Bolivia. 
 
Safety – as this is a third-world country, take all sensible precautions. Leave valuable jewellery/watches at home, wear a money belt and be alert when outside your hotel. In particular, avoid taking out large wads of cash in public view and keep your spare cash in your hotel safe. 
 
Tipping – this is voluntary and should depend on the level of service received. We suggest the local currency equivalent of the following USD per couple, but this can be reduced for longer stays: 
- city guide & driver: $8/$2 per day ($4/$1 for half day) 
- overland guide & driver: $10/$5 per day 
- tipping box for hotel staff $2 per day 
- waiters: 10% if not already added to your bill 
- porters $1 per bag.
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