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Bolivia

If you’re travelling to Bolivia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

We advise you to avoid non-essential travel due to stringent flight restrictions and strict self-isolation arrangements on arrival.

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in many countries worldwide including in Bolivia.

The Bolivian Government has announced that all flights to and from Europe will be suspended from 00.00 hrs on Saturday 14 March due to concerns about the spread of Coronavirus.

In addition, on 17 March, the Bolivian Government announced that it will close the country’s border for all entering except Bolivian citizens and residents from 00.00 hours on 20 March. International flights to and from, as well as those that transit through Bolivia, will be suspended from 00.00 hours on 21 March as will domestic flights. 

Measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend contacting your airline or tour operator and following the advice of the Bolivian Ministry of Health.

If you are in Bolivia, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

Bolivian Ministry of Health 

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Latest Travel Alert

Although the situation in Bolivia has returned to relative calm following a period of widespread protests and sporadic violence throughout the country, the political and security situation remains uncertain. An interim government is now in place ahead of fresh elections in May 2020.

Demonstrations and roadblocks could happen without notice and suddenly turn violent. We advise you to monitor local media for information and follow the instructions of local authorities. You should avoid areas where these demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place.

These demonstrations can also lead to disruption to traffic and public transportation. If you are planning to travel, you should check travel plans regularly and seek advice from transport providers.

If you need urgent consular assistance, please contact the Honorary Consulate on + 591 3 3438844/3438855 or consulbolivia@gmail.com 

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management. To report emergencies, contact the police, an ambulance, or the fire department by dialling 911 from any phoneWe suggest you learn as much as you can about Bolivia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books.

Because there is no Irish Embassy in Bolivia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact Honorary Consul General of Ireland in La Paz, Bolivia or the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

Occasional episodes of social unrest can affect main tourist areas, transportation and domestic and international travel.

There’s a continual risk of demonstrations and strikes throughout the country. These protests can affect local travel and some interdepartmental bus routes have been disrupted as a result of a dispute between operators and the government. 

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Bolivia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

Crime can be an issue in Bolivia and you should take sensible precautions.

Serious crime

There is a continuing risk of violent crimes against foreign nationals with reports of European nationals being attacked, robbed, sexually assaulted and threatened with murder. Some foreign tourists have been murdered.  

You should remain extremely vigilant and cautious about your surroundings whilst travelling around Bolivia, especially on arrival in the country. 

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Bolivia, you should be extremely careful. Some of Bolivia’s principal roads are paved, but of variable quality and most roads are unpaved rough tracks, which are graded from time to time. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Jeep safari tours

There have been a number of serious road accidents involving jeep safari tours including during visits to Uyuni and other Salt Flats areas, which have resulted in the deaths of several tourists. We recommend that you check the conditions of vehicles, to wear seatbelts at all times, and we encourage drivers to drive safely and to respect speed limits.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them.
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine. In their efforts to control the production, the government have harsh penalties for those caught trafficking or in possession. You should therefore be very careful with your luggage and belongings and avoid any contact with prohibited drugs.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Flooding

Floods and landslides, especially in mountainous areas, are a regular feature of the Bolivian rainy season, which runs from November to March. Roads are frequently impassable for days at a time.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Bolivia, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Bolivia.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of (8 weeks) travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Bolivia.

There is a risk of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

Dengue Fever

Bolivia is a risk country for dengue fever transmission. The disease is concentrated in the Departments of Pando and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The other main outbreaks were in the areas of central Cochabamba, the tropical zones of La Paz [Department], and in the city of Riberalta, in the Beni region (northeast Bolivia) and the Tarija Department.

Yellow fever

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by foreigners when entering certain high-risk areas. These areas include all of the regions of Santa Cruz, Pando and Beni, and much of Cochabamba, Tarija and northern La Paz departments. The cities of La Paz and Sucre are risk free.

Malaria

Malaria risk is present throughout the country, except in urban areas and the highlands of La Paz (above 2500m/8202ft) and the two southwestern provinces of Oruro and Potos. You should discuss anti-malarial treatment with your doctor before you travel.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Outside office hours, for genuine emergencies involving Irish citizens, which cannot wait until the next working day, please call +54 9 11 5945 7483.

Embassy of Ireland
Edificio Bluesky
6th Floor
Avenida del Libertador 1068
Recoleta
Buenos Aires
Argentina

Tel: +54 11 5787 0801
Fax: +54 11 5787 0802

Monday to Friday 09:00 to 13:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Peter O'Toole
Honorary Consul General of Ireland
Calle 3 No 11
Barrio Las Palmas
Santa Cruz
Bolivia

Tel: + 591 3 3438844/3438855
Fax: +591 2 2411873

Email: Email us