How Much does it Cost to Travel Bolivia

Bolivia has long been a favourite among backpackers and adventure travellers due to the simple fact that it is very affordable to travel.  The costs of things like eating out at a nice restaurant, sleeping at a budget hotel, and going for a night drinking on the town often seem too good to be true.  The beauty of Bolivia is there really is something for every budget.  If you’re seeking comfort, although it might not be up to “Western” standards, it is available.  If you’re looking to save your pennies, though, this may be the best place in South America.  The true beauty of Bolivia is that travelling on a budget doesn’t mean that you’ll have to compromise any of your travel ambitions because you can’t afford it.

Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia

Accommodation

Bolivia

The famous Uyuni Salt Hotel

You’ll find basically all kinds of accommodation in Bolivia.  From run down hotels that offer very little more than a box with a bed and a toilet in the corner all the way to the big hotel chains like the Radisson in La Paz.  The best value in the country are family run hotels which are often called Hostals or Alojamientos.  There are very limited camping opportunities in the country but you may find a few in the altiplano.  Backpacker hostels are abundant, they are cheap although you can often find a hotel for the same price.

Hotels

The range of hotels and prices from 4 and 5 star hotels all the way down to family run Alojamientos.

  • Radisson Hotel in La Paz (four star) = 80$ for a room
  • Hotel Rosario in La Paz (three star) = 65$ for a single, 70$ for a double
  • Hotel Estrella Andina (two star) = 15$ for a single, 25$ for a single
  • One star hotel = 8$ for a single, 12$ for a double
  • A night at the famous salt hotel = 25US$

Hostels

Backpacker hostels are just about everywhere you need to go in Bolivia.  You’ll find them from the capital to the salt flats all the way back to Lake Titicaca.  The prices are generally quite low, but maybe not as low as you might expect in comparison to the hotels.  However, hostels have a few advantages such as kitchens, free wifi, and a number of other travellers to join forces with on the road.  Below is a chart provided by Hotel Bookers that gives you an indication of the prices of each hostel.  Look to pay somewhere between 6US$ and 12US$ for a hostel dorm bed and between 15US$ and 25US$ for a private room.

 

Camping

Bolivia is a country that would be great for camping, but it’s not something that’s overly popular outside of the hiking trails. I guess the reason that it’s not popular is because it is so cheap to crash in a hotel or hostel it doesn’t make sense to struggle over a camp. There are some camping areas near the National Parks and on the Alitplano although they are scarce. Look to pay about 2US$ to camp somewhere if you find it.

 Food

In Bolivia it is as cheap to eat out as is it is to cook at the hostel so there really is no point to cook. Traditional Bolivian food is generally fairly bland, in my opinion, but you will find international style cuisine across the country.

Restaurants

  • Steak dinner at a nice restaurant = 15US$
  • Traditional Guinea Pig = 10US$
  • Pasta at a mid-level restaurant = 6US$
  • Set lunch at a local restaurant (soup, main and a juice) = 2-3US$
  • A bottle of Paceña (beer) in a restraurant = 2US$
  • Grocery Stores

    There aren’t all too many grocery stores in Bolivia, you’re more likely to find corner stores, but they do exist, especially in cities like Sucre and Santa Cruz. Grocery store prices won’t blow you away in terms of being cheap, but they are still a better value than in the “western world”

  • Loaf of Bread = 0.50 Cents US$
  • 200 grams of Chicken breast = 3US$
  • A dozen eggs = 2US$
  • Six pack of Paceña beer = 4US$
  • Snickers Chocolate Bar = 1US$
  • Transportation

    Public transport in Bolivia is readily available. In fact, if public transportation doesn’t find you you may be lost. In the cities old school buses decked out in colourful paint and tassles rip through the streets picking up people along the way, taxis are just about everywhere, and the bus system will take you anywhere your heart desires. The quality of transport in Bolivia is still far behind, but it will get you where you’re trying to go.

  • 5 minute taxi ride in Bolivia = 1US$
  • 1st class public bus ride = 2US$ per hour
  • The public bus in La Paz = 0.20 cents US per ride
  • Communications

    You won’t find lightning fast internet here but it isn’t by any means bad. There are internet and phone cafe’s just about on every street so finding one is never an issue. Don’t be surprised if a black out happens as is sometimes the case. The reality is, however, you won’t struggle with communication in Bolivia as much as you might think.

  • Internet cafe = 1US$ an hour
  • 10 minute phone call to North America or Europe = 3US$
  • Printing 10 pages from the computer = 1.50US$
  • Sending a 2 page fax to Canada = 2US$
  • Local call via phone box = 0.20 cents a minute
  • Tourist Activities

    Bolivia

    Bolivia

    Tourist activities vary greatly depending not only on what you want to see but how you want to do them. You can have a private taxi take you to all the sights in town or you can join a public tour or, if you’re more adventurous, you can do it by public transport. These are some prices of tours and activities I’ve done in Bolivia:

  • Death Road Mountain Biking with Downhill Madness = 45-50US$
  • City tour of La Paz as a part of an organized tour = 8US$
  • An organized tour of the Uyuni Salt flats = 25-30USD$
  • Entrance to a museum/church in La Paz = 3US$
  • A full day guided hike near Sucre = 20USD$
  • A tour of the Potosi mines = 11US$
  • A round of golf at the world’s highest course including a caddie and rentals = 80US$
  • Questions? Imput?

    If you have any questions or have noticed a price change from what is listed above you can make your comments in the comment box below. Also, if you have the price of something that you would like to see added to list you can do that as well. Happy travels


34 Comments

  1. Bolivia is super cheap, and also pretty cool to travel around. If you don’t mind me asking.. what was your budget for the trip and how long were you there for?

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    • Hey Kelly – I’ve actually been through Bolivia about 7 different times both as an adventure guide and as a writer. You can easily travel Bolivia, while still seeing the major attractions and enjoying everything, for about 35$ a day. I’ve heard of people doing it as low as 20-25$ a day, but I have to think that those people miss out on a lot in order to cut it so thin… and then is it really worth it?

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    • HEY KELLY,I AM FROM NEPAL AND I SPEAK SPANISH BUT NOT GOOD AS THEIR NATIVES.HOW MUCH DOES TWO WAY AIR TICKET COST FROM NEPAL TO BOLIVIA.AND I AM LOOKING FOR CHEAP AND LOWEST AIR FARES. AND WHICH PLACE OF BOLIVIA IS THE MOST CHEAPEST PALCE. I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO ABROAD BEFORE SO I AM PLANNING TO GO TO BOLIVIA FOR VACATION SO PLEASE DROP YOUR COMMENTS. LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR RESPONSE. THANKS.

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  2. Nice breakdown! The only thing I disagree with is the claim that the food is bland. We had some really tasty set dinners. Thanks to the recommendation from our mine tour guide in Potosi, we found the greatest $1.50 set lunch of a huge quinoa soup (so nice to load up on some green veggies after the steak-and-nothing-but-steak of Argentina!), llama steak, fruity dessert and cup of tea. Very satisfying, and the soup particularly was a standout and we looked for it everywhere else in the country. As is the case in loads of places, the western-style food was where we made the biggest mistakes whilst in Bolivia. The pasta and pizza sucked! Go local when you can. 🙂

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    • Lindsey – You’re right, the soups in Bolivia is really nice… I’m just not a big soup person. I do love Saltenas though 😀

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  3. Wow! That is one of the most detailed cost outlines i’ve seen. thanks!

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  4. THanks for the info Brendan. Good to know! cheers, lash

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  5. This is really great advice Brandon. I’m seriously considering going here as part of an organized tour but based on your advice, it looks like the tour would be such a rip off compared to the costs listed. And once you’re in town, you find other travellers to do things with anyways.

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  6. How much does it cost to fly to Bolivia for a 14 day trip

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  7. I’m really impressed! this is the best guide/tips about Bolivia summarized in one page I’ve ever seen!. I think you are a very smart traveler and I’m agree with 99.9% of the information 🙂
    Internet cafe = 0.50US$ an hour
    A full day guided hike near Sucre = 20USD$? Where did you go?
    I recently moved to Canada and a Six pack of Paceña beer = 4US$ brought back memories to me

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  8. Super helpful! I’m going to spend about 6 weeks in Bolivia this winter and I have a much better idea of how to budget now. Thanks for posting!

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  9. im a high school student and im working on a project about bolivia. i was woundering if you could answer a question for me. the question is:

    how much does it cost to get to bolivia and back U.S.A?

    Post a Reply
    • Ashley, a roundtrip flight is about $800 or so.

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  10. Hi brendan

    You are right – Bolivia is a great place to camp and there are more and more great sites opening up.
    I have been helping build a new camping site in a beautiful valley near La Paz. It’s got spectacular views across the Valley of Flowers to the Devil’s Molar and is all built using recycled materials.
    hopefully you or some of your readers will fancy checking it out.
    http://www.colibricamping.com

    Jeremy

    Post a Reply
  11. Hi there,
    Great info! I was looking for a 2 day salt flat tour in uyuni for February, but seems must are either 1 or 3 days due to rainy season? Do you have any insights?

    Thanks!
    Dna

    Post a Reply
    • Anything is possible. The reason for the 1 or 3 days is because 1 days do just the flats. 3 days go to Laguna Colorada and other places. It takes 2 nights and 3 days for that one. You can do a 2 day thing, though. Search for Tonito Tours or Tonito Hotel and they’ll definitely be able to sort you out.

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  12. Great info here Brendan! I lived in Sucre, Bolivia with my husband for 5 months and we were able to live quite comfortably on under $600 US a month. I loved that it was often just as cheap to eat out as it was to cook at home! We also did about a month worth of travel around Bolivia and loved that you really didn’t have to keep thinking about money…with the cheap prices we always managed to keep under our daily budget. Bolivia really is the perfect backpacker destination!

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  13. Very proud of my country and I strongly recommend to you guys to visit us now a trip that you can’t loose is to the salt flats in Uyuni that’s really unique experience. So if anyone would like information or a planning trip I have a family business in tourist. You can contact to my email eapm6@live.com

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  14. Hmm Bolivia, seems cool to try visiting next. I’ve been backpack traveling since 2005. However, my usual destinations are Asian countries. A dollar can go a long way. It’s nice to know there are places in South America that are backpacker friendly. 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Jackie, personally, I think South America is far more backpacker friendly than Asia. There are no scammers there, and your dollar does go a really long way just about everywhere. All the countries cater to the backpackers as much, if not more, than all other sectors.

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      • I have to agree on scammers and thieves though. I lost a phone the last time I traveled to Indonesia. And every time they see a tourist, they are expecting to earn tips.

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  15. Thank you for the information! I’ll be headed there very soon and wanted to get an idea of how much my money can stretch. This was really helpful!

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  16. hallo,, anybody want to go Bolivia nest year ?
    i start from singapore

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  17. Hi Brendan:

    Thanks for the information.

    I am thinking of retiring to South America in 3 years. From your personal experience, where would you choose to retire/live in Bolivia and why?

    Thanks

    Post a Reply
    • Is Bolivia the only option? Or are you considering other countries too? If I had to settle somewhere in Bolivia it would be either Sucre or Santa Cruz. Both are warmer and don’t deal with the issues of Altitude like La Paz. I think Sucre is a nice city, lots of nature nearby too. And, the prices are extremely cheap. Not sure I personally would retire to Bolivia though. I love travelling there, though.

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      • Brendan, thank you for the informative post. As well as your reply to Nelson re: possible retirement destinations. To further extend the topic, you inquired if Bolivia was the only consideration.. Let’s say one were open to retirement anywhere in So. America, then, where might you recommend, based on your extensive travel experience. Appreciate your insights. And all the best for the New Year 2016.

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        • I’d say Ecuador or Colombia. Both have great health care systems (which are cheap), and each have fairly high standards of living. I know Cuenca, Ecuador is becoming a massive spot for retirees from the US and Canada, and Medellin, Colombia is also drawing in lots. Other places that are also drawing in lots of retired people are Boquete, Panama, and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

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  18. Hi Brandon, I am currently trying to work on a research project that i will be doing in Bolivia. By any chance, do you know approximately how much it would cost to say in a place for about three months? Also, how much is the flight from here to there and vice-versa?

    Post a Reply
    • Depends on where you’d like to stay and what city. It could range from $100 a month to $500 a month. Again, I don’t know where you live, so I can’t really tell you the cost of flights. Check skyscanner.com for the best prices.

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  19. Hi Brendan, thank you for your wonderful article on traveling around Bolivia!

    Just wondering, would you consider Bolivia a safe place for a lone young female traveler to visit, and is racism a problem? I’m hoping to travel to Bolivia soon for a university project, but am concerned about safety issues since I will be going alone and am a petit Asian in my early twenties (i.e. unable to slug a punch and make it count!). If safety is a problem, would hiring a local private guide be a better option?

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    • You’ll be fine. Bolivians are kind people, and there are plenty of Asian tourists these days, especially in areas like the Salt Flats.

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  20. Hey Brendan, great article! I am planning to vsit Bolivia in about a week and would like to know If the price range is still similar to what you have in this article? I want to do the Worlds most dangerous road tour. Do you suggest signing up for that in advance? I have also already booked my hostile, would that be the best place to exchange money? I plan to be there for about 10 days. What route should I take to view the best places. if I wanna see lake T,The salt flat, and Sucre, along with other sights? sorry to splurge you with questions! I appreciate the help!

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    • I was in Bolivia about a year ago and the prices have mostly stayed the same. I’d say though that the death road bike trip is more expensive now, but the quality is better too. You need to sign up the day before, and you’re good. Lots of money exchanges in the old town of La Paz, no stress. They are called Casa de Cambios. Also lots of ATM. In 10 days you probably have time to go La Paz – Uyuni – Salt flats tour – Potosi – Sucre – La Paz. Have fun!

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  21. Hello sir brendon, i came from Philippines and I wanna visit Bolivia, but I cant find a consulate here and ask all the information what I need and also the requirements to travel .is it possible to buy tickets and travel their only passport and plane ticket?.

    Post a Reply

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