Solo Travel in Bolivia

Solo Travel in Bolivia

Types of Girl about the Globe – Cultural GatG, Nature GatG, Budget GatG

Below is our Bolivia travel guide on how to travel solo in Bolivia including best places to visit in Bolivia, things to do in Bolivia, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place.

All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article to help you plan your Bolivia travel itinerary. 

N.b. By booking through this page when planning your Bolivia vacation, you are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable girls about the globe. Thanks for helping.

Contents

Solo Travel in Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Solo Travel in Bolivia

Travelling solo in Bolivia can be a culture shock, firstly due to its poverty and second because of its altitude. That's why we've given it 3 out of 5 stars. Is Bolivia is safe to travel alone? Although the Bolivia crime rate is increasing, it is still one of the safest places in South America and being the cheapest, it’s popular with other travellers especially Israelis. Foreign women are free to do as they like and they even have women’s wrestling here!

There’s mixed reports about feeling safe in La Paz but it still remains the safest capital in South America. Be careful at night and on any border crossings and Steer clear of El Alto Bolivia, as it is not the safest place for tourists with robbery and pickpocketing. Be careful in Oruro too.

If you are backpacking in Bolivia, Bolivia is on the South America backpacking route so you can meet others here either travelling to or from Peru. One of the best cities in Bolivia to meet others backpacking Bolivia is in Sucre where travellers come to study Spanish. You’re also guaranteed to find others on one of the 4×4 tours to the salt flats and the other tourist sites in Bolivia too.

Bolivia is a fascinating country to explore independently but if you're unsure where to go in Bolivia, or what to visit in Bolivia, you may feel more comfortable in one of the group tours of Bolivia.

Laguna Colorada (the Red Lagoon by Clodagh Collier)

About Bolivia

Bolivia will surprise you with its mind-blowing scenery; snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes and moon-like valley. It’s got the world’s most dangerous road, a bright green lake and enough potions in the Witches Market to turn you into a frog.

This country isn’t the destination to come to for a suntan, the only Bolivia beaches are around Lake Titicaca but it is generally cold and rainy especially being at a high altitude so wrap up warm. The best way to explore this country is by 4×4 so team up with others or join a tour and cruise through the dirt roads of this diverse landscape.

* Click here to discover all activities and things to do in Bolivia

Solo travel in Bolivia

The Great Train Graveyard (photo by by Clodagh Collier)

Things To Do in Bolivia South America

La Paz

It may surprise you to know that Bolivia actually has two capitals; La Paz the administrative capital city in Bolivia, and Sucre for judicial. La Paz Bolivia, is the highest capital city of Bolivia and the highest in the world (3632 metres) and its honking traffic will either enthral you or leave you running for the Coca Museum, one of the Bolivia points of interest, (be careful when crossing the roads).

Poverty is rife here and unemployed painters and craftsmen regularly sit in the main square with homemade signs waiting for someone to give them a few hours work. Bullet holes in the walls of the main square are a reminder of the 33 protesters who were shot dead during the 2003 demonstrations over tax increases which left another 200 injured.

The biggest attraction in the capital has to be the Witches Market, a spooky little place with potions, skulls and dead frogs, that is one of the weird Bolivia attractions to visit. But if you want even spookier, there’s an old colonial cobbled street where locals won’t venture out at dark in fear of seeing the resident ghosts.

One of the best Bolivia tourist attractions is the cable car in La Paz. It’s the world’s longest and highest urban cable car and takes approximately 30 minutes to ride the route. It’s cheap to use and you can just hop aboard to witness the panoramic view of the city from El Alto.

Other things to do in La Paz Bolivia are: visit the San Francisco Church, one of the city’s historical landmarks, see the colourful cobbled street of Jaen Street and explore its museums, see the political buildings at Plaza Murillo, shop at Sagarnaga Street or admire the view of this Bolivia city from Parque Mirador Laikakota.

For adrenalin Girls about the Globe, you can take a tour from here to the famous Death Road Bolivia, where you can cycle the sheer cliffs that have taken many lives.

Solo travel in Bolivia

Geiser Solo de la Manana (photo by Clodagh Collier)

Valley of the Moon

Only ten miles outside the city in Mallasa is the spectacular Valle de la Luna, meaning Valley of the Moon with unusual eroded rock pinnacles. If you’re lucky, you may hear the sounds of a flute echoing through the valley adding to the magic of this lunar landscape.

Sucre

The colonial city of Sucre has a more relaxed feel and the ‘White City’ has the largest collection of dinosaur prints in the world. Hire a bike and cycle to the nearby waterfalls. Sucre is very much a locals place so you may prefer company here and bear in mind that they have siesta so restaurants close for the afternoon.

Things to do in Sucre include: see dinosaur footprints in a giant wall at Parque Cretacico (one of the places of interest in Bolivia that will blow your mind), watch a cultural dance performance at Espacio Cultural Origenes, see the General Cemetery (it isn't as morbid as it sounds), spend time in the citys' museums and learn about the country's independence and traditional art, admire the view at La Recoleta, or just enjoy a coffee and some Bolivia food in one of the cafes. It's a very cool city that you may want to stay in for a while. 

Solo travel in Bolivia

The city of Sucre (photo by Clodagh Collier)

Potosi

Close to Sucre is the mining town of Potosi which differs to the other towns and feels very remote. Here you can take a tour into the silver mines after a pit stop to the miners market to buy coca leaves (the plant of the Incas), biscuits and dynamite for the miners! The conditions here are very poor and the average age of a miner is only fifty years old.

The locals here speak Quechua, a language that has been used since the Inca times. Over two thirds of the population are indigenous and work in agriculture but spirituality is an important part of the local culture and they still worship Pachamama (Mother Earth) as they did back in the times of the Incas.

Uyuni Salt Flats

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Bolivia are the Uyuni Salt Flats Bolivia. These blinding white surfaces are the world’s largest salt flats and are literally are a sight for sore eyes (you’ll definitely need your sunglasses here). They are off the beaten track and can only be explored on a 4×4 but as one of the most beautiful places in Bolivia, they are well worth the 14 hour journey from La Paz (shorter from Potosi). 

It’s a spectacular sight of salt lakes and lagoons and there’s even a nearby salt house made entirely out of – salt! Uyuni also has a large train cemetery which is worth a look if you’re into your history.

Solo travel in Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flats (photo by Clodagh Collier)

Bolivian Altiplano

Most of Bolivia’s treasures are within its national parks. Laguna Colorada National Park is one of the most stunning areas in the country, with a red tinged lake surrounded by volcanoes and flamingos.

The Bolivian Altiplano is a photographers dream, and an area that you simply need to visit when touring Bolivia. Taking a 4×4 is the best way to see the pink flamingos, bubbling geysers, red lakes and volcanic rocks as well as the Condor Rock, one of the natural rock formations in Bolivia and famous places in Bolivia, all with a breath-taking backdrop of volcanoes and snow-capped mountains.

The scenery even appears to change colour from orange to green at Laguna Verde (the green lake Bolivia). You even get to drive through the ash of an erupted volcano as you cruise to the hot springs before descending back to normal altitude.

Solo travel in Bolivia

The Bolivian Altiplano (photo by Clodagh Collier)

Bolivia also shares the ‘Sacred Lake of the Incas’ with Peru. Lake Titicaca is more of an ocean than a lake and is home to the colourful Uros people who live on floating islands made out of reeds. They accept visitors onto their islands and you can help sustain their way of living by buying handmade tapestries.

Visit the beautiful Sun Island for the labyrinth of the Chinkana Ruins, Moon Island for the mystical ruins of the Sun Virgin’s Temple or the stone necropolis on Kalauta IslandCopacabana Bolivia, the main island on this magnificent lake is the most religious shrine in the country but there’s not really much to see here. If you only visit one island make it the islands of the Uros people.

Being part of South America we can’t forget the Amazon jungle, and the East of Bolivia is teaming with wildlife and some areas of the rainforest are virtually unexplored. Beni is in the lowlands of Bolivia country and covered in dense rainforest with numerous lakes and savannahs. Pando was once the rubber capital of Bolivia and is completely covered in jungle.

Taking a boat trip to Chalalan is a must do and is reachable from the River Beni (ride takes 5.5 hours). Here you can see the Madidi rainforest and monkeys and bats.

Solo travel in Bolivia

The iconic Stone Tree (photo by Clodagh Collier)

Other Places To Go in Bolivia

Other places to go in Bolivia are the garden city of Cochabamba Bolivia where you can see El Cristo de la Concordia, one of the popular monuments in Bolivia. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Tiwanaku is an ancient archaeological site named after one of the most important civilizations prior to the Inca Empire. Or visit Tarija for its laid-back vibe and nearby wineries.

Traveling to Bolivia is the perfect country for the intrepid explorer. Go to Bolivia for Inca heritage, Amazon rainforest and scenery amongst the best in the world and because is so cheap, you can afford to stay longer than you thought…

starBolivia travel tips – Visit Salar de Uyuni between April to October. This is the best time to visit Bolivia salt flats when they aren’t flooded.

cautionWhen you travel to Bolivia, be careful of altitude sickness. Coca tea can help alleviate the dizziness.

 
Solo travel in Bolivia

(photo by Clodagh Collier)

Bolivia Tours

If you feel more comfortable in a group in Bolivia for either part of your trip or the whole duration, here are our best Bolivia tours for solos. 

G Adventures Bolivia 

G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most small group tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.

Their Bolivia adventure range from a 5 day Bolivia G Adventures Express exploring the salt flats and desert landscapes, an 8 day Highlights of Bolivia tour exploring the best of Bolivia, or the 15 day Inca Empire travelling through Bolivia and Peru. There are several to choose from whether you are just planning on visiting Bolivia or travelling through more countries in South America. They even have a G Adventures Bolivia to Brazil tour that takes 31 days from La Paz to Rio de Janeiro. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company. 

Click here for the full itineraries, prices, and start dates

Intrepid Travel Bolivia

Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each group tour. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation so their trips to Bolivia can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. They offer Intrepid Bolivia tours such as a 3 day Bolivian salt flats adventure, a 5 day Amazon jungle short break, or an epic 26 day Peru, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile tour. Read our Intrepid Travel Reviews

With both tour companies you share a room on their tours to Bolivia, with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.

* Click here for the full itineraries, prices, and start dates

Responsible Tours – Eco Tours with San Miguel del Bala 

Get Your Guide Day Tours – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in Bolivia destinations. Choose from a half-day walking tour in La Paz, a tour to Salar de Uyuni including lunch, or a 3-day salt flats and coloured lagoons tour. There are several day trips and tours in Bolivia to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability for the tourist spots in Bolivia that you want to see then book online. * Check all tours and prices here

Solo travel in Bolivia

(photo by Clodagh Collier)

Getting Around Bolivia 

Transportation in Bolivia is very basic. The road conditions in Bolivia aren’t the best so driving in Bolivia is only for the adventurous as getting around can be an experience.

Travelling Bolivia by public transport is an adventure. The buses are old and rickety and you’ll need to be comfortable on mountain roads. Bus travel Bolivia is bumpy and there aren’t usually toilet stops. When choosing your transport use established companies and when travelling from Copacabana to La Paz try to use direct buses.

Fly between towns and cities in Bolivia, for ease with a TAM South America Airpass. There is a Bolivia bus-train that will take you from Sucre to Potosi. It’s a converted bus that runs along the railway which is quicker (the actual bus will take 4 hours) and cheaper.

From The Airport

To feel more comfortable on your Bolivia trips, Hoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you from the airport to the city centre or your hotel.

La Paz – It’s 8 miles to the city centre and takes 20 minutes in a taxi for £5. The bus is cheaper at only £1 and takes 45 minutes into the city stopping at Prado.

Cochabamba – It’s only 2 miles to the city and will cost £2 by taxi or less by bus.

How Long Do You Need? 

When you are travelling to Bolivia, you'll need at least two weeks to see all the best places in Bolivia such as La Paz, Moon Valley, Sucre and Potosi and Uyuni.

Where can I go from here?

planelistBrazil 2 hrs

planelistChile 2.5 hrs

planelistArgentina 3 hrs

Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel) 

Bolivia to Chile – Overland is definitely the best way. San Pedro de Atacama is the closest Chilean town in the Atacama Desert and you can get to this border by train from Uyuni or bus with Green Toad Bus or through your tour company. (Be prepared to have your bags checked here).

Bolivia to Peru – Copacabana is 5 miles from the Yunguyo border town and is a relaxed crossing. Or Desaguadero to Puno in Peru (will take two hours).

Bolivia to Paraguay – The easiest way to cross here is to fly with TAM Mercosur or Argentinian Airlines. The land border is from Santa Cruz Bolivia, to Asuncion in Paraguay. You can take a bus from the bus terminal to the border but it is a lengthy journey and can be known to take from 7 hours not including road closures or bus breakdowns.

Bolivia to Brazil – Corumba is the most popular crossing or use San Matias, accessible by bus from Caceres (a 2 hour journey). Take the boat from Guayaramerin to Rio Mamore in Brazil (from La Paz and other towns by bus) or reach Rio Branco through Cobija, also by bus from La Paz.

Bolivia to Argentina – The main border crossing is from Villazon to La Quican in Argentina. Buses run from various Bolivian towns to Villazon and there’s an express train from La Paz. Or try the lesser known crossing from Aguas Blancas to Salta in Argentina (in 5 hours).

FAQs

  • Can I drink the water? No.
  • Is tipping expected? Yes 10-15% in restaurants, not for taxis.
  • Fixed price or barter? Barter only at open markets or with taxis.
  • Any ATMs? Only in the bigger cities. Take US$ to change.
  • Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
  • Good for vegetarians? Not great.
  • Any seven wonders of the world? No.

*This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks. 

Plan a Trip To Bolivia

If you are ready to solo travel Bolivia here are some useful links to help you plan your Bolivia trip, including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required and events and festivals.

Bolivia Facts

Budget – £20 a day

Capital – Sucre / La Paz

Bolivia Population – 9.7 million

Bolivia Language – Spanish, Quechua, Aymara

Bolivia Currency – Boliviano 

Do I Need a Visa? 

Vaccinations Required 

Flying Time to Bolivia – 13 hrs 

Useful Info

Airlines to Bolivia 

Best Time To Visit Bolivia – Oct and Nov  Bolivia has a rainy season which usually runs between November to March. 

What Plugs Do I Need? 

UNESCO Sites in Bolivia 

Events and Festivals in Bolivia 

Local Cost Guide 

Driving Distances

Bolivia Culture, Customs & Etiquette 

Sacred Places

Lingo – Useful Spanish phrases

 

postit
Did you know? Over two thirds of Bolivians are indigenous

ecoStay Eco

Stay in a Salt Hotel! 

Chalalan Ecolodge 

San Miguel del Bala Eco Lodge

Volunteering

Find various volunteering opportunities on Go Overseas.

Local Issues

San Pedro Prison

There is much controversy about the prison where children live with their imprisoned parents. Many tourists take this tour which is said to be illegal.

Where to Stay

hotelicon

Book your Hostels

Book your Hotels

Treat Yourself at Inca Utama

Mind Body & Soul

Stay At a Yoga Retreat 

Volunteer in a Eco Yoga Ashram 

Stay At a Meditation Retreat 

Enjoy Spa Treatments in Sucre

Weather in Bolivia – Below is an annual weather chart for the Bolivia climate from January to December.

Bolivia weather

Map of Bolivia

 

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9 thoughts on “Solo Travel in Bolivia

  1. Jasmine

    Hi Lisa,
    I recently discovered your blog and I absolutely love it!! Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is right on top of my bucket list but the flights over here from Malaysia costs a bomb to South America… 🙁 guess it will have to wait for a while. I wanted to ask you, when you visited Uyuni, was there a particular tour group/company that you joined? Any recommended ones? At least I can put that into my list of research for Bolivia 🙂
    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Jasmine

    Reply
  2. julia

    hi!
    how was your experience with green toad?
    i am planning to pay for their service from rio de janeiro to ilha grande, however , been reading a lot of bad comments in the internet

    thanks!

    Reply
  3. Mei

    Hi,

    I came across your blog looking for experiences on solo traveling in south america. I also found out about gadventures from another solo blogger. I checked their prices and went a little apprehensive about it. Would you be able to recommend cheaper options than those you mentioned for solo travelers?

    Reply
  4. Bob Oceans

    Hey, loved seing the info, other article got me so hesitant from how much dangerous stuff they wrote about bolivia! Im going in a week, is there any “required” vaccinations that i must have ? And i really wanted to do the lake, death road and the salt flats, do G adventures do them all ? And where do you think i should land first in order to go for those activities! Im solo traveler too and i do some blogging, is it ok having my cameras with me while touring or should i be worried! Thanks a lottttt!

    Reply

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