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Safety in Bolivia

Before continuing

We highly recommend reading the State Department’s Country Specific Information about Bolivia, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler program before leaving.

Below, we have a brief summary of their report, and contact information for the U.S. Embassy. Please also feel free to contact us directly with any safety questions or concerns:

Important Phone Numbers

  • Ambulancia / Ambulance: 118
  • Bomberos / Fire Department: 119
  • Carabineros / Police Department:  110
  • US Embassy: (591) 2-216-8000

The U.S. State Department on Safety in Bolivia

Civil Unrest: Protests, roadblocks, and strikes are common across the country. While they start peacefully, they have a tendency to turn violent.

Road Safety: Driving is dangerous, as few roads are paved and lack barriers, shoulders, and highway markings. The country’s rainy season (November-March) is particularly dangerous, with many roads having potholes and roads and bridges getting washed out. Roads can also be unsafe for pedestrians. Yielding for pedestrians is not a common practice and vehicles often drive without working lights.

Health: While medical care is sufficient throughout Bolivia, it is more difficult to find treatment for serious conditions. Ambulance services are unreliable, as they are limited. Also, a large portion of Bolivia sits at over 10,000 feet above sea level, meaning altitude sickness is common.

Areas to Avoid:

Crime: The most common crimes in Bolivia are pickpocketing, car theft, and assaults after ATM withdrawals. If you avoid using ATMs after dark, it is unlikely you will be the victim of violent crime in Bolivia.

Especially in the bigger cities, scams are common and include:

The bus route between La Paz and Copacabana is notoriously dangerous, only to be used during the day after having verified the final destination and buying tickets directly from the bus company. This route is home to the highest risk of express kidnappings, which when a victim is taken until their captors completely drain their bank account from ATMs. This practice can also happen in larger cities, usually through taxis. Because of this it is highly advised to call for a radio taxi as opposed to hailing one in the street.

Embassy Information