Quick Guide to 5 Days in Bolivia

Quick Guide to 5 Days in Bolivia

I purchased a last-minute fare to Bolivia which cost me an arm and a leg. I had some paid time off that I needed to use before the end of the year so I decided, why not go to South America? It has been a few years since I have traveled down south and I wanted to go to a place fairly cheap. That’s when I settled on Bolivia. Bolivia is known for its salt flats in Uyuni and also has access to the Amazon Rainforest. Unfortunately, those two attractions are on two polar sides of the country. I decided to spend my time at the Salt Flats. 


Must Know Before You Go

When to Visit: The best time to visit Bolivia is during the dry season, from May to October. They receive the most tourism during July and August. November to March is their rainy season. I visited Bolivia in February. It rained mostly at night in La Paz; however, other regions received heavy rain daily. Towns such as Uyuni are often flooded and the deserts are closed off due to road conditions.

Visas: US citizens must pay $160 for a visa and it is valid for 10 years. More information is below. 

Language: Spanish

Currency: Bolivian Boliviano (BoB). Exchange Rate as of April 2024. 

  • $1USD=b6.90
  • $1CAN=b5.08
  • $1AUS=b4.49
  • €1=b7.49
  • £1=b8.77
  • ¥100=b4.61

Credit Card vs. Cash: Cash is widely used and it is recommended to have cash at all times. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants in La Paz. 

ATMs: ATMs are located in the cities. Make sure to have cash when traveling to remote regions like Uyuni because there will not be any ATMs and only cash is acceptable.

Tipping: 5-10% tip is appreciated in restaurants. Taxi drivers do not expect tips unless hired for the day. In that case, 10% is appropriate. 

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Tiwanaku, Sucre, Potosi, Fort Samaipata

National Parks: An extensive list of Bolivia National Parks can be found here



A visa to Bolivia for US citizens is quite complex. Most developed countries are visa-free, however, Bolivia charges US citizens $160. While it is recommended to get a visa at the embassy, a visitor can apply for a visa upon arrival. To apply for the visa upon arrival, there is a list of criteria that must be fulfilled. This includes a printed copy of the following:

  1. passport with 6 months of validity
  2. proof of departing Bolivia
  3. Accommodations for every night in Bolivia
  4. Copy of the photo page of the passport
  5. Passport Photos
  6. Financial Statements
  7. Yellow fever vaccination

I flew Avianca and the agent reviewed all of my documents which had to be signed off by the supervisor to be allowed boarding. 

When I arrived at immigration in Bolivia, there was no signage for a visa on arrival. There is an officer who walks around and directs passengers to the appropriate line. Thankfully the gentlemen spoke English and asked if I had my documents. He escorted me to the National line. There was a long line of people waiting for visas. I was behind an entire dance crew. The line took about 2 hours. 

Once I arrived at the front of the line, I had to fill out the SIGEMIG paperwork. It asked basic questions about your flight, passport information, and reason for stay. In addition to this, the officer only asked for the following documents: accommodation, exit documents, and a copy of my passport picture page. They did not look at any of the other documents and kept the required documents. As the officer was processing my documents, a man came by and charged my credit card $160. The visa is valid for 10 years. After the officer printed out my visa, I moved on to the next booth where another officer stamped my entry stamp. She inputted the amount of time I would be in Bolivia. It is important to ensure that there is an entry and exit stamp when going through Bolivia immigration.

For those of you who did not print out documents, do not fret. There was a passenger in line who had all her documents on her phone. The officer will need to take photos of all vital documents that are on the phone. To save all the headaches, I recommend making photocopies of everything!

Customs Form:

There is a custom form that needs to be filled out when entering and exiting Bolivia. I did not find any information about this online. The agent just looked at my passport and allowed me to pass through. When I exited Bolivia, there is a QR code by ticketing. They told me to fill it out. You can find the custom form here. Once completed, it generates a QR code for the agent to see.

Getting Around:

Bolivia is a large country. The best way to get around is by public transit or by a tour. I do not advise driving as traffic is insane. Further, only qualified people can drive through the salt flats. In La Paz, cable cars are a terrific option to to get around. 


I wish I could say that I stayed at luxurious hotels, but I did not. Due to the accommodation requirements for US citizens, I only booked a room that is affordable for me. I had no intentions of staying in the room the entire week due to my 5-day tour; however, my tour was cancelled and I had to stay in the accomodations for the week. It sucked, but I am glad that I booked it as a backup.

I stayed at the Selina La Paz for $35.50 a night for a private room. The room had no air conditioning. Music can be heard on the top floor even when it is coming from the basement. The hostel is about a 15-minute walk to the city center. 



Day Date Location To Do To Eat


Feb 13, 2024


Cost of tour: 277BoB

1. Copacabana

  • Visited the church
  • Carnival celebration

2. Lake Titicaca

Must take a 1 hr 20 min boat ride to get to Isla del Sol.  

3. Isla del sol

For great views, hike to the temple with an elevation of 4000 above sea level

Locals selling altitude sickness for 5BoB

End with a natural spring

Lunch in Copacabana: Taipi Uta

→ O511, Copacabana, Bolivia

Cute spot in front of the lake. 5% charge when paying with a card

  • Ordered: Chicken sandwich, coke (30BoB)

Dinner at Terrace next to Taipi Uta

  • Ordered: Mix tacos (45BoB), Pisco sour (35BoB)

Feb 14-15, 2024

Uyuni Salt Flats

Cost of Tour: $190

1. Take a 9-hour overnight bus ride to Uyuni

2. Explore Uyuni

3. Train Graveyard

4. Colchani (small settlement)

5. Salt Flats

Breakfast and Dinner: Due to the long drive from La Paz to Uyuni, the bus company provides breakfast and dinner. Breakfast includes a cheese and ham sandwich and apple juice. Dinner includes chicken, rice, and mixed veggies. The bus company also provides water, tea, and chocolate. 

Lunch: The tour company provided lunch. Lunch included steak, quinoa, salad, and a banana. Soda and water were also provided. 

4 Feb 16, 2024

La Paz

1. Red Cap Walking Tour

There’s no such thing as a free tour in Bolivia. The workers have to pay taxes for doing tours. The cheapest tours cover the taxes to run the tour.

  • Cost: $3
  • Visited: San Pedro Plaza, Rodriguez Market, Witches Market, San Francisco Plaza, Plaza Murillo

2. La Paz Food and Beer Tour

  • Cost: $32
  • 6 dishes. They are not sample sizes!

Lunch: Yati Restaurant Cafe Bar

→ Calle Tarija #229, La Paz, Bolivia

Very hip bar near several hostels. 

  • Ordered: hamburger (36BoB), beer (20BoB)

Snack: Alexander Coffee

→ Potosi 1091, La Paz, Bolivia

Chain cafe in Bolivia. Has great food and drinks. I just ordered a smoothie and sampled their tres leches. 

Dinner: Food Tour

  • Food hall in Mirador Del Mercado Lanza to try the fried cheese empanadas sprinkled with powdered sugar accompanied by a traditional spiced purple and white corn “api” warm beverage. 
  • Anticuchos with potatoes (grilled beef heart) was my favorite dish. 
  • Had dried meat, eggs, potato, cheese, and corn
  • Assorted stew. and so many other dishes. 
5 Feb 17, 2024

La Paz

1. Valle de La Luna

Hiking trail located just outside of La Paz center. The rock formations make it feel like you are out of this world. 

2. Cholita Wrestling

  • Cost: $13


Lunch in La Paz: La Cueva

Calle Tarija Esquina 4 Corners,, Murillo, La Paz, Bolivia

Located right near Yati Restaurant. Mexican restaurant but it is not authentic. 

  • Ordered: Nachos (38BoB), Margharita (30BoB)

Dinner in La Paz: The Carrot Tree

Guachalla 453, La Paz, Bolivia

Delicious food and drinks; however, I got food poisoning from here. 

  • Ordered: Cajan chicken pasta (55BoB), chilcanos (30BoB).


Expenses for 5 Days:

Type Cost (BoB) Cost (USD) Conversion
Visa   160 160
Hotels   248.50 248.50
Tours 277+ 190 278
Uber 113+ 67 83
Food 319   46
Snacks   10 10
  Total 825.50