In general, Bolivia is a safe country to travel in
. Exercise the usual precautions, particularly in cities, busy tourist areas and on public transport – keep passports, credit cards and cash in a concealed money belt, and don’t keep valuables on display. Carry photocopies of your passport as ID when walking around; leave the original in a safe place.
If using a taxi, book one through your hotel
or choose a radio taxi which has the company name and number on the roof – not an unmarked minicab.
Buy comprehensive health insurance before departure
which covers any activities you may be planning to do in Bolivia.
Protests, roadblocks and demonstrations are just a way of life in Bolivia
– the way that everyone from farmers and miners to milk producers and ethnic minorities express their demands to the government. These are unlikely to be of danger to tourists, and your tour company should be following the news in order to keep you away, but if you do come across any protests it’s advisable to keep a distance.
The biggest issue is with disrupted travel
– blocking roads, burning piles of tyres and withholding fuel can all cause chaos. Again, any reputable tour company working in Bolivia should be prepared for this and able to organize alternative transportation if necessary.
Prison tours are illegal and dangerous
– despite what you may be told by would-be guides.
The ‘Death Road’ historically refers to the high number of lethal accidents involving buses, rather than bicycles. However, cycling accidents do still happen here, and may be caused due to poorly maintained bikes
– check everything is in working order before you set off. A hairpin bend on an Andean road is not the time to find out your brakes are dodgy. Slippery trails can also be hazardous – avoid this tour after rain.
If travelling by boat on Lake Titicaca or in the Amazon region, be sure to wear a lifejacket
. Boats may not be well maintained.
Cocaine is the third biggest producer of cocaine in the world, and it may be easily available – but it is still illegal, with harsh prison sentences for possession.
Check the FCO website for safety and travel updates.