Advice and tips

ADVICE AND TIPS

greentick Plan your trip in advance; due the Carnival season demand it is almost impossible get accommodation upon arrival in Oruro city.

greentick Consider that the lodging rates escalate tremendously in Oruro city for the Carnival season.

greentick Once you arrive in Oruro, locate the emergency, aid and help services.

greentick Make a research about the recommended places to stay or eat.

greentick Choose the recommended and legally established places (restaurants, hotels, residenciales, alojamientos among others).

greentick Keep in contact with friends and family back home and give them a copy of your travel itinerary so they know where you are.

greentick Distribute your money, credit cards and your documents into different pockets.

greentick Take good care of your camera or video camera or any device that could catch a thief's attention.

greentick If you are travelling by car, be sure that you close the vehicle doors and windows when you park even though you go away only for a moment.

greentick Try to walk in groups and on well lighted streets.

Chola Oruro

WHAT TO BRING

orangetick Raincoat. Thist is very important due the tradition of playing with water balloons and something similar to the shaving foam, so you are going to get wet.

orangetick Sun Block

orangetick Moisturizing cream, due the dry and cold climate is important to use it.

orangetick Sunglasses

orangetick Warm clothes

orangetick Camera to take spectacular pictures of the Oruro Carnival Parade.

Oruro Carnival dancers

Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency Phone Numbers:

  • Emergencies 911
  • Red cross 5275948
  • General Hospital 5277408
  • PAC 118 or 5251933
  • SAR BOLIVIA 132
  • Police 110
  • Fire fighters 119
  • Bus Terminal 5279535
  • Train station 5274605
  • Obrero Hospital 5240920
  • Public assitance 5251404
  • Telephone numbers information 104

Tourist Information

Casa Municipal de Cultura
Address: 1st of November St. and Tejerina St. Telephone: 591 – 2 - 5279364

Unidad de Turismo y Cultura
Address: 10 de Febrero St. Teather Palaís Concert Telephone: 591 – 2 – 5250144

Tourist Information Stand
Address: Velasco Galvarro St. In front of the Train station Telephone: 591- 2 – 5257881

Tourist Police
Address: Oruro Bus Terminal (South door) Telephone: 591 – 2 – 5287774, 5282987

Land transportation

Oruro Train station
Address: Velasco Galvarro St. and Aldana St. Telephone: 591-2-25274605

Oruro Bus station
Address: Backovic St, in the corner of Aroma St and Villarroel St. Telephone: 591 – 2 – 5279535

Caporales dancer

Safety

Safety while traveling in Bolivia

Located in the hearth of South America, Bolivia is a unique destination for travelers looking for an authentic cultural experience. Even though Bolivia is one of the least-developed countries in South America criminal statistics are quite low.

Travelers can enjoy a pleasant and safe stay in most of the tourist spots in Bolivia.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Most major cities in Bolivia have "Medium" threat ratings for crime, while Santa Cruz de la Sierra remains as the most dangerous city in Bolivia. Violent crimes such as assault and robberies against foreigners are statistically low but do occur. In general, if tourists take basic security precautions, they may walk the streets in most areas of major cities without becoming victims of crime.

Airport transfers inside Bolivia

We strongly advise against taking unplanned taxi rides from El Alto International Airport to La Paz city if your flight arrives early in the morning (1a.m. to 7 a.m.). It is best to schedule private transportation from trusted providers. We recommend you to travel directly from El Alto Airport to La Paz city and do not stop in El Alto for any reason. El Alto city is dangerous at night, ask your driver to go straight to La Paz city without any stops.

The same recommendations apply to Viru Viru International Airport.

Other airports in Bolivia handle mostly domestic flights and the arrival and departure times are during the day, so travelers do not have to worry about their safety.

Pickpockets and Purse-slashers

Tourists are easy targets for pickpockets in Bolivia and criminals are becoming bolder and more cunning, using some very creative ways to separate you from your money. Here are some of the ways you could lose your money in Bolivia:

Purse snatching. If you carry a purse, handbag or backpack strapped over just one shoulder, hang it on your chair at a restaurant, or set it down on the ground near your feet for any reason, you could become the victim of a purse snatcher. No matter how safe an area seems to be, and no matter how friendly the people around you seem to be, don't do this. Instead:

orangetick Strap your purse or handbag diagonally across your chest

orangetick Walk on the inside of the sidewalk, not the curb - thieves occasionally do drive by and snatch a purse simply by stretching their arms out of a car window or motorcycle

orangetick At restaurants hold it on your lap (or between your feet under the table - wrap the strap around your ankle or leg one or more times and place the bag between your feet)

orangetick Carry your backpack or satchel in front of you, not on your back

orangetick If your bag or backpack is too large or heavy, consider bringing along a smaller backpack or shoulder bag for daily use and leave your large travel backpack at your hotel

When you are in busy areas such as malls, movie theaters, markets, buses and busy streets always carry your money, wallet or purse in front of you or safely inside your clothing (money belt, satchel around your neck and under your shirt). This makes it difficult for pickpockets to get to it. In addition, in Bolivia thieves often carry small razor blades or knives which they use very deftly and silently to slash your purse or bag. Although they may attempt to reach in to steal your belongings, often they'll simply follow you picking up your belongings as they slip out.

Road Safety

Outside the major cities, road conditions are hazardous. Many roads are not paved, and the remainder is topped with gravel or dirt. The majority of roads can be quite dangerous during the rainy season (December-March), when rock slides and road and bridge washouts are common. Many winding stretches of road travel through insufficiently lighted mountainous areas, without the benefit of guard rails, traffic signs, and designated traffic lanes. The mountainous areas pose even greater challenges to road travel, with weather conditions varying from blizzards to heavy rain storms, and narrow, unpaved roads, which are frequently blocked by rock and mud slides.

The general disregard for traffic laws makes driving particularly dangerous. Pedestrians also pose a hazard, with a general inattentiveness to traffic. Accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles are common in both urban and rural areas.

The North Yungas road, which runs from La Paz northeast toward Coroico and Caranavi, has earned the dubious designation of "The World's Most Dangerous Road" and has become a hub for thrill-seeking mountain cyclists. Press reports are filed weekly concerning accidents along the road, usually involving buses and multiple fatalities. The better alternative, "Carretera Cotapata - Santa Barbara", better known as "Carretera nueva a Coroico" should be used.

Many of the roads north of La Paz that pass through Guanay, Mapiri, Consata, Apolo, and Sorata are extremely dangerous due to landslides and narrow roadways traversing sheer cliffs. Compounding this, these roads are lightly traveled, and motorists involved in accidents or encountering mechanical problems often find themselves miles from the nearest village, with little hope of assistance from infrequently passing motorists.

Many of the roads in the province of Beni have fast moving streams and rivers that cross roadways.

Travel along less-utilized routes is considered dangerous due to poor roads, reckless drivers, and poorly maintained buses and trucks. Added dangers are the lack of formal training for most drivers, lack of lights on vehicles at night, and drunk or overly tired drivers, including commercial bus drivers. Most roads are rarely patrolled by police and have many isolated stretches between villages. Consequently, traffic accidents and vehicle breakdowns are particularly hazardous.

Interdepartmental public transportation is poor, except along the more frequently traveled routes where roads have been upgraded and maintained (i.e. La Paz to Cochabamba, Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, and La Paz to Oruro). Bus service along these routes is generally safe, although accidents, with fatalities, occur from time to time.

Urban bus transportation, with frequent incidents of theft and robbery reported, is considered risky for foreigners. Similarly, taxis are generally poorly maintained and operated by drivers working part-time. Radio taxis are recommended in larger cities.

Thefts from vehicles are a significant and pervasive problem. Unattended vehicles are broken into and computers, spare tires, stereos, headsets, and other items of value are often stolen. Such crimes are no longer exclusive to business and shopping districts; they occur in residential areas as well. Carjacking and vehicle theft remain the most common crimes in Santa Cruz.

The rainy season is from November to March. Landslides, impassable roads and flooding are a regular occurrence and can make road travel extremely difficult. In the event of severe flooding and landslides, transport may be disrupted for longer periods and airports can be closed. If you plan to travel to an affected area, you should monitor local media, confirm your transport arrangements and follow the advice of local authorities.

Travelers vs. Bolivian demonstrations

Student, labor union, and indigenous protests against government policies are a regular feature of political life. Demonstrations, road blocks, protests, and other forms of civil unrest are common in Bolivia, especially in the main cities of La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba. While disruptive, especially to transportation, violence is usually limited and localized. Protesters often block city streets and highways, and public transportation tends to be disrupted.

Protesters also occasionally burn tires, throw Molotov cocktails, engage in destruction of property, and detonate full or half sticks of dynamite during demonstrations, but fatalities as a result of protests have been rare. Some communities have used protests and strikes successfully to obtain promises of increased government spending on social benefits and infrastructure. Travelers are normally only affected indirectly by having to contend with traffic disturbances and transportation stoppages.

Travelers should avoid roadblocks and demonstrations. Demonstrations, violent protests and strikes can occur at any time and may seriously affect domestic and international travel plans without notice.

Roadblocks: Roadblocks are common in Bolivia. If you find yourself at a roadblock, you should not attempt to run through it, as this may aggravate the situation and lead to physical harm. Instead, you should consider taking alternative, safe routes, or returning to where the travel started. If you plan to take a road trip, be sure to monitor news reports and contact us for updates on the situation.

Travelers are advised to excercise a high degree of caution due to continuing political and social tensions in Bolivia.

You should organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy.

Bolivia is known as a country where tourism involves a lot of outdoor activities in high mountains and valleys, and the country's numerous national parks are among the top tourist attractions. Suffice it to say that ecotourism, adventure tourism and hiking are big in Bolivia. If you're planning to spend some time in Bolivia's wild remote regions, read these safety tips for hikers.

PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS:

Express kidnappings: this has taken place numerous times in La Paz and is very dangerous. Small groups of criminals will approach a tourist or foreigner and force them into a car. (Sometimes they'll enter a taxi you've entered). They then drive the tourist to an ATM and force them to withdraw from their account. The tourist is then dumped somewhere and they leave. However, on some occasions, express kidnappings have resulted in deaths. Resisting or fighting can result in serious injury at the very least. Give them your money if it will save your life.

If you have just entered a taxi and someone else begins to enter it, get out immediately! Taxi sharing is not common in Bolivia. Don't share! If you're already driving along and your taxi driver wants to pick up someone else along your route, say no! If he/she insists, get out immediately. Don't hesitate to look for money to pay for the partial ride you already got. The taxi driver has no right to pick up anyone if you've said no and being insistent is NOT normal.

General recommendations

Bolivia is a safe country with low occurrence of violent crimes. However there are some important things to pay attention to:

Leave valuables in a safe place in your hotel. It is not recommended to be carrying your passport or large sums of money, only what you need for the day. Don't carry with you credit or debit cards or credentials unless you wish to use them. Carrying a photocopy of your passport is usually acceptable.

Bolivian police will never approach you. Also, they almost never work alone. If a policeman approaches you, he is almost certainly a criminal with a fake uniform. Never follow or get into a taxi with him unless you can be absolutely certain that he is indeed a policeman.

Be vary of purse snatchers especially near markets and tourist areas. Don't keep valuables in your purse, pockets or external compartments of your bag. If someone tries to distract you in a crowded place, get out of there.

Don't try to resist armed criminals. Give them your money and leave.

Always use a radiotaxi from a reliable company. Don't take normal taxies at night, especially if you have been drinking. La Paz is notorious for its fake taxies that look for drunk tourists.

Don't appoach protests. These are common in Bolivia and should be avoided even if they are usually not violent. Protestors often throw fireworks and sometimes explosives. Some may not like being photographed.

Be careful at bus terminals, as there are many pickpockets. Take care when meeting people at the terminal. Criminals may pose as travellers and try to convince you to get into a taxi with them.

Unfortunately there are some travelers who use drugs in Bolivia. Doings so not only undermines the civil order in Bolivia by helping criminal groups, but also exposes you to robberies. Bolivian law carries very severe sentences for the use and trafficking of drugs. Foreign citizenship will not protect you from the bolivian justice system.

It is best not to walk alone at night, especially near bus terminals or dark places.

HEALTH TRAVEL TIPS

Bolivia Travelling Tips For Health

It is always important to take care of your health, but there are additional concerns to keep in mind when you're traveling. Whether you're taking a quick trip with your family or studying abroad for several months, it's easier to get sick when you're in a new place because your body hasn't had a chance to adjust to the food, water, and air in a new environment. Traveling can bring you in contact with things that your body isn't used to.

Three of the most common health problems that you may experience when traveling are jet lag, altitude sickness, and diarrhea. When you fly across time zones, the differing amounts of light can change your internal body clock, resulting in a condition known as jet lag. Jet lag may cause symptoms like an upset stomach, insomnia, and tiredness.

In this article we will deal with how travelling to Bolivia might affect your health. We will discuss the famous "altitude sickness", what causes it and how to prevent and endure it. We will also include stomach problems and yellow fever vaccination.

1. Altitude sickness

  • What causes it, symptoms
  • Sorojchi pills
  • Prevention
  • Andinism and trekking

2. Safe food and drinks

3. Basic safety

Devil face

Altitude sickness

Some areas of Bolivia reach extremely high altitudes, like La Paz, which ranges from 3,400 to 4,000 meters above sea level. Western Bolivia, including the Salar de Uyuni, Lake Titicaca and the cities of Potosi and Oruro, is also at a high level. High altitude can cause a number of health concerns, even for those in excellent health.

Altitude sickness is caused by dry air, a decrease in oxygen, and low barometric pressure when you travel to a higher altitude than you're used to. As a result, you may have problems, such as headaches, dehydration, and shortness of breath. Some people are affected at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), but others aren't affected until they reach altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) or more. When traveling to La Paz, Oruro, Potosi, Sucre or Cochabamba, altitude sickness can be a problem.

Symptoms of altitude sickness include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pins and needles
  • Persistent rapid pulse
  • Drowsiness
  • Swelling of hands, feet, and face

Drink plenty of water, get adequate rest and listen to your body. If you have any of these symptoms and suspect you may have altitude sickness, you should seek medical treatment.

The best prevention for altitude sickness is to gradually increase your altitude every day to get used to it. If that isn't possible, a drug known as acetazolamide (locally known as Sorojchi pills) can help relieve and even prevent symptoms of altitude sickness. If you think that you might get altitude sickness, talk with your doctor before you leave home.

Safe Food and Drinks

Traveler's diarrhea, known as turista, can be a serious problem. It often occurs when a foreign type of bacteria enters your digestive tract, usually when you eat contaminated food or water. The best way to prevent turista is to be very careful of the food you eat and the water you drink on the road.

So what foods are safe to eat? Any foods that have been boiled are generally safe, as well as fruits and vegetables that have to be peeled before eating. Avoid eating uncooked or undercooked meat or meat that is not cooked just prior to serving.

You Can Take With You

When you're packing, you'll want to include any medications and other medical supplies you use on a daily basis because they may be hard to find in another country if you run out. Even if you can find them, there's a good chance the formulations will be stronger or weaker than the ones you're used to. These may include any prescriptions you already take, such as inhalers, allergy medication, and insulin, as well as contact lens cleaners and vitamins.

Basic Safety

It's easy to let your guard down when you travel. After all, you're more relaxed and there are so many new sights to focus on. In addition to paying attention to your personal safety (avoiding secluded places and not walking alone after dark), you'll need to reset your thinking when it comes to traffic safety, too.

Extreme Weather

In addition to the medical issues, you must dress appropriately for the conditions. Especially consider the temperature fluctuations that occur in mountainous areas, particularly during the day compared to night.

Disease and Illness

There is an ongoing problem with Dengue Fever in the eastern section of the country, including the city of Santa Cruz and the areas of Pando, Beni, Yacuiba and Paracari have all seen outbreaks of Malaria.

Dengue and Malaria are insect-borne illnesses so protect yourself by using a good quality insect repellant (preferably one containing DEET) and wear clothing that covers exposed skin of your arms, legs and feet.

The subtropical areas of Bolivia carry a risk of yellow fever. You're advised to get vaccinated for this at least a month prior to traveling.

Some airlines even require that you show proof of this vaccine, and the certificate is necessary if you are planning on applying for a visa.

Rabies is a growing problem. If you plan on spending time in more rural areas (although, most of the country could be considered "rural"), you should consider getting a rabies vaccine prior to travel. If you happen to be bitten or even scratched by an animal, even if it's a domestic dog, you should seek medical attention.

Coca Problems

Coca is a commodity in Bolivia that has been grown and used for a variety of ways for centuries. Coca- leaf tea is considered a remedy to cure altitude sickness, so don't be surprised if it's offered to you at some point.

Additionally, soroche pills, another form of coca medicine meant to treat altitude sickness, also contain high levels of caffeine and could make you very ill.

Chewing Coca leaves is common and often done as a way to curb appetite. If you do so, be sure to only chew the leaf. Swallowing it can make you very sick.

Contraindications for trekking or andinism

  • Vascular insufficiency
  • Chronic respiratory insufficiency
  • History of epilepsy and neurosurgery
  • Diseases that require the application of frequent injections such as insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Unstabilized heart disease
  • Certain blood diseases
  • Acute mountain sickness, cerebral or pulmonary edema during a previous stay

Prevention

In your country:

It is advisable to consult a physician to detect potential health problems.

Practice some sports before your trip to Bolivia, especially if you plan to do trekking or andinism.

Walking (if possible at a higher altitude) or swimming is good preparation.

In Bolivia:

A period of acclimatization is indispensible before attempting to climb the Andean peaks.

As a suggestion, you can stay a few days in La Paz or Lake Titicaca (trekking in the Isla del Sol) and take some short walks.

It is equally important to drink frequently, especially coca leaf infusion.

We strongly advise you against the preventive use of DIAMOX.