Best time to visit Bolivia

Best time to visit Bolivia

temperature & rainfall

Location: La Paz | Sucre | The Amazon
In most opinions, May-Oct is the best time to visit Bolivia, as the dry weather brings sapphire skies and less travel disruption. This is the Bolivian winter, though, so the highlands will be cold – and well below freezing in the desert at night, particularly in June-July. The humid jungle, however, benefits from the cooler temperatures. The start of the dry season, from April-May, has lower prices and fewer crowds, but still feels fresh from the recent rains. Oct-Nov are also dry but warmer, as spring approaches and crowds disperse.

When not to visit Bolivia

What to avoid, & when

  • June-July are dry and sunny but bitterly cold in the highlands. This is a good time to travel – as long as you have packed well. While the days are still warm, nighttime temperatures can drop to -20°C, and some tours have pre-dawn starts. Brrr!
  • August is also chilly, as well as being the busiest month. This means early booking is essential, and prices are also likely to be higher.
  • The Amazon is pleasantly fresh in the dry winter months, as the humidity drops along with the temperatures. While it is still warm – frequently reaching 30°C – cold spells called surazos blow in periodically from the south, meaning the temperature can drop to 12°C overnight, and remain cool for a few days.
  • November to March is the rainy season. This disrupts both road and air travel, particularly from January onwards, as roads can flood, landslides are common and fog and cloud can make driving or hiking in the mountains dangerous. January to March is not the best time to visit Bolivia if you plan to do outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling. However, the dusty landscape does make a wonderful transition to green, and wildflowers bloom on the mountain slopes.
  • The lowlands bear the brunt of the flooding (though river travel does become easier, for intrepid adventurers) – and biting insects increase.
  • Flights are also frequently disrupted by poor weather (and strikes, and protests…) – so if you have to be in a particular place at a particular time (ie. returning to La Paz for an international flight home) – it is strongly advised to arrive the day before and call ahead to confirm departure.
  • You may have seen magical, mirror-like photographs of the flooded Salt Flats – a beautiful optical illusion during the rainy season. However, while you can still visit the edge of the Salar when it is flooded, you will not be able to cross it or visit the island in the middle.
  • The majority of festivals fall from February to April, such as Carnival and Easter (Holy Week). These could form a key part or your trip, or be an inconvenient disruption to travel if roads or attractions are closed. So check with your operator before you go!
If you'd like to chat about Bolivia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Best time to visit Bolivia

responsible travel recommends

Kat Dougal, from our supplier Andean Adventures, shares her best time to visit Bolivia: “I went in September, but next time I would go in May or into June, simply because I prefer things to be a little greener. September is a really good time to go as there’s hardly any rain, but at the end of the dry season a lot of areas are really quite brown in the highlands. Towards the beginning of the dry season everything is still lush and green from the wet season. It’s the shoulder months as well – by July and August it’s busier. In May you get the benefits of the wet season that’s just passed but you are still travelling in the dry season.”
Bibiana Tellez-Garside, from our supplier High Lives, is from La Paz: “I’m not saying the winter is not the best time to visit Bolivia, sometimes there are more birds, but it’s very cold. So if you are prepared to travel in very cold weather where you don’t have central heating, if you have very good thermals and all the gear there’s no problem. You are guaranteed sunshine most of the time.”

Festivals & events in Bolivia

Our cultural pick from the Bolivia calendar

Did you know about...?

Oruro Carnival, February
This festival dates back 2,000 years, and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Heritage of Humanity. Over 30,000 dancers and musicians join a 4km-long procession in honour of the Virgin of the Candle Mass. Performances reenact battles between Good and Evil, referencing Catholic and traditional Aymara beliefs – as well as the arrival of the conquistadores. It all ends two days later with a giant water fight.
Photo credits: [Chart background & RT recommends box: Vicki Brown] [Oruro carnival: bjaglin] [La Paz: Senorhorst Jahnsen]
Written by Vicki Brown
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