How to get to Bolivia

By | May 4, 2022


Bolivia, a landlocked country in the Latin American Andes and a tourist hotspot, was called “Upper Peru” until Simon Bolívar led the country to independence in 1825 and it was named in his honor. Today in Bolivia you get a more authentic insight into Latin American culture than in neighboring Peru, which is heavily influenced by tourism. There are luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants, but far more typical are long bus journeys on remote mountain roads, rustic jeep tours through deserted landscapes, and cold nights in humble hotels under llama wool blankets. Around two thirds of the population are indigenous people, whose culture has survived to this day. Indigenous religions, dialects, clothing, music and medicine are part of everyday life. Although strong Spanish influences can be seen in the colonial architectural style, particularly in Sucre, Bolivia is firmly rooted in its origins. See other countries in South America on computerannals.

Getting there

Arriving by plane

Boliviana de Aviación (OB), is the national airline of Bolivia, which, in addition to domestic cities, also flies to Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Miami, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, among others. There are no direct flights to Bolivia from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Flying to Santa Cruz de la Sierra with one or more stopovers: – Air Europa (UX) from Frankfurt/M. via Madrid and Lufthansa (LH) in cooperation with Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) via Buenos Aires; – Air Europa (UX) from Zurich via Madrid and Swiss (LX) in cooperation with American Airlines (AA) via London and Miami; – Austrian Airlines (OS) in cooperation with Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) via Frankfurt/M. and Buenos Aires. Fly to La Paz: – Lufthansa (LH) from Frankfurt/M. in cooperation with Avianca (AV) via Bogotá (Colombia); – Swiss (LX) from Zurich in cooperation with Latam (JJ) via Barcelona and Lima (Peru) or with Avianca (AV) via Barcelona and Bogotá. – Austrian Airlines (OS) from Vienna in cooperation with Avianca (AV) via Washington DC and Bogotá and Iberia (IB) in cooperation with Avianca (AV) via Madrid and Bogotá.

Flight times

Frankfurt/M. – Santa Cruz de la Sierra: 14 hours 20 minutes; Zurich – Santa Cruz de la Sierra: 14 hrs 05 mins; Vienna – Santa Cruz de la Sierra: 14 hours 35 minutes Frankfurt/M. – La Paz: 15 hrs 25 mins; Zurich – La Paz: 17 hrs 10 mins; Vienna – La Paz: 16 hours 50 minutes (each purely as a flight time; stopover times vary).

Departure fee

Airport fee: domestic flights approx. €1.50; International flights €21. Exceptions are transit travelers who stay in the country for no longer than 8 hours and children under the age of two. Departure tax: approx. €24 (190 BOB); is only due for travelers staying in Bolivia for more than 3 months; children under the age of 2 are excluded.

Arrival by car

The Panamericana connects Argentina with Peru, passing through Bolivia from south to north-west. Thanks to the road connection from La Paz to Ilo (Peru), the Pacific can be reached in 5 hours. The Andean Road connects Peru, Chile and Bolivia and runs from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile through Bolivia to Arequipa in Peru. Driving is not recommended during the rainy season. However, the main connecting roads are in good condition.

Arrival by train

There is a connection with the Tren Internacional from Uyuni to Calama in Chile.

Arrival by ship

Bolivia is a landlocked country. The nearest port is Arica (Chile). The main port on Lake Titicaca is Guaqui, which is served from Puno (Peru). Guaqui is 90 km from La Paz and can be reached by train or bus.


Traveling by plane

Boliviana de Aviación (OB), Amas Bolivia (Z8) and EcoJet (8J) operate domestic air services.

Traveling by car/bus

In terms of transport, Bolivia is still poorly developed. The road network covers around 62,500 km, of which only around 3,700 km are paved. Most of the roads are in the Altiplano region and in the Andes. Tolls: Better developed main roads are often subject to tolls; payment is made directly at the toll stations. Gas stations: Gas stations in Bolivia may only sell fuel to foreign travelers at three times the price. Special blocks of receipts are provided for this purpose, which petrol station owners often find too much work to fill out. Therefore, refueling can be problematic, and it is advisable to refuel early.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

Only about 6% of the road network is asphalted. The roads away from the main roads are often in an adventurous condition and can practically only be driven on with off-road vehicles. During the rainy season, such gravel roads, scree or field paths are often impassable for days.

Car rental

In La Paz, car rentals are available at the airport and in the city from both well-known rental companies and local companies; in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra local companies are more likely to be found.


For taxi rides, the fare should be requested in advance. Taxis are often shared with other passengers; a tip is not customary.


Both bicycles and scooters can be rented in the cities.


All larger towns can be reached by bus, Bolivia’s No. 1 means of transport. Buses only run irregularly on secondary routes.


Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰. – Traffic in the country is on the right; however, left-hand traffic is required for safety reasons on the approximately 80 km long Yungas Road in the Andes, which connects La Paz with Caranavi in ​​the northeast. Speed ​​limits: – in built-up areas: 40 km/h, around schools 10 km/h; – extra-urban: 80 km/h.

Roadside Assistance

The Bolivian ADAC partner club is Automovil Club Boliviano (ACB) in San Jorge, La Paz, Tel. (800) 16 33 16 (toll free within Bolivia). The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (89) 76 76 76.


In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license must be carried.

Traveling in the city

The regular buses in La Paz are operated by private bus companies. There are also taxis (Trufi) and shared taxis (Trufibus). A cable car connects La Paz to El Alto; an impressive view of La Paz included. All major cities usually have a central bus station (terminal terrestre).

Locally on the way by train

The Bolivian railway network consists of two separate rail networks in the east and west of the country. The western railway network is operated by Ferroviaria Andina, with stations in Oruro, Uyuni, Tupiza and Villazón. The Eastern rail network operates the Ferroviaria Oriental between Yacuiba, Villa Montes, Santa Cruz, San Jose de Chiquitos, Roboré and Quijarro. Bolivia and Brazil are planning to jointly build a new route between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.

Traveling by ship

In Bolivia there are more than 14,000 km of navigable rivers connecting Bolivia to the Amazon Basin. Hydrofoils and catamarans operate on Lake Titicaca; Cruises can be booked at Rumbo Explora, among others.

How to get to Bolivia