Bolivia

From Halal Explorer

Salar de Uyuni Décembre 2007 - Panorama 1 edit

Bolivia is a beautiful, geographically rich in diversity and multiethnic country in the heart of South America. It is surrounded by Brazil to the northeast, Peru to the northwest, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina and Chile to the south. It shares with Peru control of Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca) and the world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,821 m).

An Introduction to the Region of Bolivia

Bolivia is structured into the following regions and their departments.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Bolivia

  • La Paz — The administrative capital and seat of the government.
  • Cochabamba — The country's third-largest city, with a pleasant, moderate climate.
  • Oruro — Famous for its carnival.
  • Potosí — Once one of the wealthiest city's in the world due to its silver mines.
  • Quime — Raunchy and friendly but sleepy mountain village surrounded by high mountains of the Cordillera Quimsa Cruz, with mines, waterfalls, native cloud forest and 31 Aimara indigenous communities.
  • Santa Cruz — The second-largest and most affluent city of Bolivia.
  • Sorata — Similar to Quime but more vibrant and alive with vast hiking opportunities, ranging from 1-day Laguna to 12-day villages hikes.
  • Sucre — The constitutional capital and seat of judiciary.
  • Tarija — The Festival of Wine is held annually in Tarija.

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Bolivia

  • Chacaltaya & Huayna Potosi — the world's highest ski resort and Bolivia's most popular mountain climb
  • Isla del Sol — In the south part of Lake Titicaca. A remote island in the middle of the lake. Astonishing landscapes and very old ruins from Inca period make this location a good place to find peace.
  • Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos — six remote towns of the Gran Chaco founded by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries. The region the towns are in is called Chiquitania and is well worth a visit not just for the Missions, but for the exquisite nature as well.

Vista Posterior de la Puerta del Sol

  • Madidi National Park — Located a few miles North of Apolo, is one of the world's most extensive biodiversity reserves. Its humid tropical climate has spawned one of Bolivia’s richest woodlands.
  • Noel Kempff Mercado National Park — impossibly remote and even more impossibly beautiful Amazonian park, home to the stunning Cataratas Arcoiris waterfall
  • Sajama National Park — beautiful Andean landscapes and Bolivia's highest mountain, Nevada Sajama
  • Salar de Uyuni — the spectacular landscapes along the largest salt flats in the world
  • Tiwanaku — Ancient ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Yungas region to be reached via bicycle on El Camino de Muerte and the World's Most Dangerous Road, leading through dramatic high altitude cliffside jungle terrain or by walking on El Choro Trek through the climate zones from La Paz to Coroico

Demonstration for Palestine and Gaza in Bolivia

Dear Supporters of the Palestinian Cause in Bolivia,

We are excited to announce a peaceful demonstration in support of the People of Palestine, set to take place in Bolivia over the next three days. This event is an opportunity for us to come together and raise our voices and the Palestinian Flag for a just and peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict.

We want to emphasize that this demonstration is intended to be a peaceful and respectful gathering. Our goal is to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and call for a peaceful solution to the conflict. It is crucial that we maintain a peaceful and respectful atmosphere throughout the event.

Important Guidelines:

To ensure the success of our demonstration and to maintain a peaceful environment, we kindly ask all participants to adhere to the following guidelines:

Peaceful Protest: This is a non-violent demonstration. We do not condone any form of violence or vandalism.

Respect for Law Enforcement: Please treat law enforcement officers in Bolivia with respect and follow their instructions. Do not engage in confrontations with them.

Leave No Trace: Dispose of any trash responsibly and leave the demonstration area clean.

Thank you for your commitment to our peaceful demonstration in Bolivia, and let us stand together for a better future for all.

In solidarity, eHalal Bolivia

Bolivia Halal Travel Guide

Sometimes referred to as the Tibet of South America, Bolivia is one of the most "remote" countries in the Gulf countriesern Hemisphere; except for the navigable Paraguay River stretching to the distant Atlantic, Bolivia and Paraguay are the only two landlocked nations in the Americas. It is also the most indigenous country in the Americas, with 60% of its population being of pure Native American ancestry.

Bolivia's geographical composition can be easily divided in three major terrains or regions: Lowlands; valleys; and high plateau or altiplano. Because of this country´s history, from the times when the first humans arrived up until today, population distribution and land surface is inversely proportional in these three regions. The altiplano is the smallest and has the biggest portion of the population and the lowlands occupy more than 1/2 of the nation and have about 1/3 of its population. Original natives in all three areas are also of different ethnic origins. All this is explained simply because since colonial times, Bolivia was a mining country in which the economy was based in the mines that were high in the mountains and the valleys fed them. The rest was the frontier.

History of Bolivia

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simón Bolívar, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and counter-coups. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in the 2000s, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest and drug use. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the hygiene system and waging an anti-corruption campaign on poor citizens.

Culture & Tradition of Bolivia

Niños ejecutando una tarkeada

Bolivia has a greater percentage of Native people than any other country in the Americas. They are mostly Quechua and Aymara people (the Spaniards wiped out the Incan aristocracy when they conquered the Andes). You may have seen Quechua people in your city selling colorful shawls and sweaters or heard a Quechua ensemble playing traditional music. But while many Andeans have to go abroad to seek a better life, more of them are still here and their culture continues to live.

Weather in Bolivia

Bolivia's climate remains relatively similar from one climatic zone to another. It ranges from humid and tropical to slightly humid and tropical. In most parts of the nation winters are dry and summers are somewhat wet. Despite its tropical latitude and the altitude of city's like La Paz keeps things cool and warm clothing is advised during the months of April and May. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October and the winter months, are typically colder and drier.

National holidays

  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • January 22 - Founding of the Plurinational State Day
  • May 1 - Labor Day
  • June 21 - Willkakuti (official holiday)
  • August 6 - Independence Day
  • November 2 - All Soul's Day
  • December 25 - Christmas

When the holiday falls on a Sunday, sometimes the holiday is moved to the following Monday. There are also departmental holidays.

Beyond these holidays, election days in Bolivia are a big deal. Most places will be closed on election day and there are very few cars on the road, but you can find lively street festivals selling food and fruit drinks. Especially relevant for some travellers, alcohol cannot be sold on election day or the day before.

How to travel to Bolivia

Visa policy of Bolivia

The following nationalities will not need a visa for short stays of less than 90 days as tourists: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.

Most people who do need tourist visas can obtain them on arrival, except for the following nationalities:

All business travellers and persons wishing to stay longer than 90 days in a year must obtain a visa in advance.

Unless you are under the age of 1, you will need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to apply for a visa.

US Muslims sometimes have success getting a tourist visa on arrival, but if you attempt this, make sure you have all the necessary documents, especially if arriving by land: a visa application form, a color copy of your passport, a copy of yellow fever vaccination (apparently only necessary if you are planning to visit yellow fever endemic zones), a copy of an itinerary leaving Bolivia, evidence of economic solvency, a hotel reservation or written invitation and a 4cm X 4cm or "passport sized" photo. A US$160 fee is also required, payable in crisp, undamaged US dollars. Any old, marked, or damaged bills will not be accepted. If you're a dual citizen, don't count on being able to change passports at the border to avoid the visa fee.

What is the best way to fly to Bolivia

The main airports are in La Paz to the Western side of the nation and in Santa Cruz to the east.

The arrival plan must be based mostly in the purpose of your visit to the nation; you have to remember that La Paz receives most of their visitors due to the immense culture and legacy from the Incas and other indigenous cultures from the Andean region and therefore from La Paz it is easier to move to the Tiwanaku ruins, Oruro’s carnival, Potosí’s mines, Uyuni, Lake Titicaca, Coroico|Los Yungas valley and the Andes Mountains; since La Paz is the seat of government all the embassies and foreign organizations have their headquarters in the city, which is useful in case of an emergency.

On the other side, Santa Cruz with a warmer weather could become a good location for doing business visit other alternatives in tourism like the Misiones and the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park or visit the eastern city's. There are also some foreign consulates in Santa Cruz.

The city's in the south and central Bolivia, like Cochabamba, Tarija and Sucre also offer a very rich experience; there are several ways to get to these city's from La Paz or Santa Cruz.

From Europe

VVI 2011

Regular flights are booked from Madrid (Barajas) to Viru Viru in Santa Cruz service provided by companies like Boliviana de Aviación and Air Europa; the cost could go from €800-1200 to other higher prices depending on the class and duration.

From Latin America

Other airlines that fly into Bolivia from other Latin American countries include LATAM from Santiago via Iquique and from Lima. It is also now feasible to fly between Cusco and La Paz with Amaszonas and Peruvian Airlines, making circular itineraries feasible where you enter Bolivia from Peru across Lake Titicaca and then fly back into Peru. LATAM flies to Lima and Santiago, often via Iquique. Copa Airlines has begun to fly to Santa Cruz from Panama City. Avianca also flies to Lima and Bogotá. Gol Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas also fly directly to Santa Cruz.

From the USA

There are departures from Miami to Santa Cruz on American Airlines. Once you have your international flight booked - it's far easier and affordableer to organize your internal Flights from the point of departure.

Travel by train to Bolivia

In 2014, portions of the Bolivian train network were acquired by a Chilean company called La Empresa Ferroviaria Andina S. A. (FCA). Many discontinued passenger services appear to have been restarted.

  • From Brazil, a train connects the Bolivian border town of Puerto Quijarro with Santa Cruz. The fast and slow train takes 13 hours and 17 hours respectively.
  • From Argentina, a train connects the Bolivian border town of Villazón (across from La Quiaca) to Uyuni (9-12 hr). Tupiza is at the midpoint 4 hours from Villazón. The train passes beautiful mountain scenery on the way. As of February 2018 and the route between Uyuni and Villazon is closed due to flooding. It was expected to reopen in October 2022.
  • From Chile, a train connects Calama with Uyuni (13 or 18 hr). Since this is a cargo train with passenger carriage attached, expect rough ride through exceptional scenery. (Calama - Antofagasta segment of the railway appears to not have passenger service) The other trans-national railway with Chile terminating at Arica also does not carry passengers.

How to travel to Bolivia by car

It is common for tourists to travel through a land border at the north-east of Chile and South-West of Bolivia.

Only about 5% of all the roads in Bolivia are paved. However, most major routes between major city's (e.g., Santa Cruz, La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre) are paved. A 4x4 is strongly encouraged when traveling off the flatter altiplano. Be aware that in mountainous regions traffic sometimes switches sides of the road. This is to ensure the driver has a better view of the dangerous drops.

An international driver's license is required but most times EU or US driver's licenses will be accepted. There are frequent police controls on the road and tolls to be paid for road use.

Travel by Bus to Bolivia

There are many options for traveling from Argentina to Bolivia by bus. There are sites to check times online but as always in Bolivia, it pays to check on the ground in advance as well.

There is a bus that runs from Juliaca and Puno in Peru to Copacabana. Also, more commercial tourist Peruvian bus services connect from Peru to La Paz.

Travel by boat to Bolivia

Passenger ferries on Lake Titicaca no longer exist.

How to get around in Bolivia

Blockades and transportation strikes (bloqueos) are a common occurrence in Bolivia, so try to keep tuned to local news. Strikes often affect local taxis as well as long-distance buses; airlines are generally unaffected. Do not try to go around or through blockades (usually of stones, burning tires, or lumber). Strikers may throw rocks at your vehicle if you try to pass the blockade. Violence has sometimes been reported. Many strikes only last a day or two.

Travel by Bus to Bolivia

Cruzando el río Beni, Bolivia

Bus transportation in Bolivia is a nice affordable way to get to see the beautiful scenery while traveling to your destination. Unfortunately the buses often travel solely at night. Keep in mind that roads are occasionally blocked due to protests, often for several days. So ask several companies at the terminal if you hear about blockades, unless you are willing to spend a few days sleeping on the bus.

Bus travel is usually pretty cheap. Estimate that it will cost you about US$1 for every hour of travel (it's easier to find travel durations online than actual price quotes). Prices do change based on supply and demand. Buses generally do not need to be booked ahead, especially for common distances served by many companies. There are great bargains in it for you the shorter you book ahead. Just arriving at the station two hours before the buses leave can often give you a 30-40% discount over bookings several days before. However, as always, shop around and do not go with the first vendor that intercepts you when you arrive at the bus terminal. Hawkers are constantly crying out destinations in the bigger bus stations cajoling potential riders to take their bus line.

Note, that by bus travel anything of the following is meant, which falls into the same category but obviously differs in price and duration: bus (national), shuttle van (regional), servis (regional van), micro (city bus), trufi (city micro bus with fixed route) and colectivo (city taxis with fixed route and price). Servis' are often 50-100% more expensive than shuttle vanes or buses, but go more often than buses. Buses should be a little cheaper than shuttle vanes, but buses usually cover larger distances.

Contrary to Asia where buses go when full and schedules are unreliable, buses in Bolivia are forced by law to go at the times they publish, even if not full. So, whenever times are posted or available somewhere, even if just by word of mouth, you can be pretty sure that the buses really leaves within 5 min of that time. The good thing though is that even if the bus has just 5 passengers, you still pay the same price as if the bus where completely filled.

What is the best way to fly to Bolivia

Flying within Bolivia is quick and fairly economical. BoA connects most major city's.

  • Amaszonas Av. Saavedra Nº 1649, Miraflores, La Paz - ☎ +591 2 222-0848 Most famous for their La Paz to Rurrenabaque route but also fly to Uyuni, Trinidad, Guayaramerin, Riberalta, Cobija, San Borja, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Fares are listed under "tarifas" on their website, listed below. Their office in Santa Cruz is in El Trompillo airport.
  • Boliviana de Aviación - BoA - the national airline of Bolivia. Provides economical travel between the main city's of Bolivia. You can book your tickets online or at BoA-offices in Santa Cruz, La Paz or Cochabamba. Main office in Cochabamba, Calle Jordán #202 esq. Nataniel Aguirre. Phone: +591 901 10 50 10 fax: +591 4 4116477
  • Ecojet flies the usual major city routes, but it also has Flights to Riberalta and Guayaramerin in Bení. Call Center can be visited at phone: +591 901 10 50 55 (not a toll-free call)

Travel by train to Bolivia

Passenger trains in Bolivia

On some routes and the roads are in such a dire condition that the train becomes the alternative of choice. Trains are more comfortable than one would expect, having for example reclinable seats. The trip from Oruro to Uyuni is especially beautiful, with the train going literally through an Andean lake on the way. The train is especially good for trips to the Salar de Uyuni and the Pantanal.

Coming from La Paz, you need to take a three-hour bus ride to Oruro to catch the train. It's best to book your tickets a few days before your trip. In La Paz booking office is at Fernando Guachalla No. 494, at the junction with Sánchez Lima (between the Plaza del Estudiante and Plaza Abaroa). Main stops are Uyuni, Tupiza and Villazon, on the Argentine border.

Between Santa Cruz and the Pantanal it is more straightfoward to organize a trip. Just go to the Terminal Bimodal in Santa Cruz (see the Santa Cruz (city, Bolivia) | Santa Cruz page for details), or the train station on the border in Puerto Quijarro. The train is also convenient for trips to the Jesuit Missions. Check the website ] for timetables.

Best way to travel in Bolivia by a Taxi

For longer trips between towns and city's that aren't served by bus, shared taxis are common. Shared taxis are not safe for tourists, especially if you are solo female traveller.

On foot and navigation

Bolivia is an excellent place for hiking and trekking, both in the mountains, altiplanicas and the lush jungles, providing many interesting trails. However, due to the often remote nature of these trails, it is important that you are well prepared and have a proper and reliable map with you. In addition, using GPS adds an extra layer of safety, both in city's as well as the nationside. For reliable (offline) maps and comprehensive trails and map information, consult OpenStreetMap, which is also used by this travel guide and by many mobile Apps like OsmAnd (complex with many add-ons) and MAPS.ME (easy but limited).

Local Language in Bolivia

Bolivia has 37 official languages, of which Spanish (often called Castellano), Quechua and Aymara phrasebook|Aymara are the main ones. In rural areas, many Muslim do not speak Spanish. Nevertheless, you should be able to get by with some basic Castellano. Bolivia is one of the best places in which to learn or training your Spanish because of their very clean, deliberate accent. There are many options for studying Spanish in Bolivia and they are usually very good (often and the program includes a very good homestay component).

What to see in Bolivia

Bolivia has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the eastern department of Santa Cruz there are the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park and the Inca site El Fuerte in Samaipata and the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos. Near the capital there is Tiwanaku, an archeological site with the remains of an pre-Incan city. Finally there are Sucre and Potosí, two city's founded by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Furthermore Bolivia has the world's largest salt flat Salar de Uyuni, a portion of Lake Titicaca with Isla del Sol and being located in the middle of the Andes — mountain peaks higher than 6,000m.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for Bolivia

  • Yungas Road aka Death Road – From La Cumbre to Coroico. A mountain bike tour of 64 kilometers where you'll be able to see the diversity of Bolivia. Leave from La Cumbre at 5,000 m, in a cold and windy environment and get to Coroico, in a wet and tropical environment. Parts of the trail can also be hiked, or try the parallel and picturesque 3 day El Choro Trek to Coroico.
  • Explore the Provinces – Bolivia is a place to explore, it is mostly still untouched. The people are friendly in the nationside. There are hundreds of places off the map, mostly out-of-the-guide places to go in Bolivia and far more exciting than what the tour agencies and guide Books offer. In the La Paz department for example you can easily catch transport to places like Pelechuco, Charazani and the east side of Lake Titicaca, Isla del Sol, or Quime, not to mention scores of other villages and small towns. The free government tour agencies at the Plaza Estudiantes or Prado can help you find transport anywhere and tell you about it.

Off the beaten track

Many travellers head to Bolivia ticking off the main and popular todos and sights (like the Salar de Uyuni, chilling in Sucre and the mining tours in Potosí and the Death Road by bicycle, rain forest trekking near Rurrenabaque and Lake Titicaca) and often leave after only two weeks. However, Bolivia offers much more, often remote and beautiful authentic places with friendly people and you can easily spend one month or more here between the high altitude mountains and the lowland rainforests. Especially the fact that Bolivia is a great trekking and hiking destination is often neglegted when pointing out the attractions of this country, but indeed there are numerous 1-12 day trails all over the nation, many do not require a guide, while others are challenging mountain climbs. In the following and the most important destination off the beaten track that you should not miss, or even simply swap for the over-commercialised places mentioned before—except for maybe the Salar de Uyuni tour:

  • Sajama National Park – If you ever just wanted to hike into the Altiplano planes while you where on the Salar de Uyuni tour, this is the place to go. It features the highest Bolivian mountain, mountain climbing, high altitude trekking, geysers and hot-pools, soundless plains, as well as numerous animal species, like viscachas, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, (few) flamingos, horned coots.
  • Sorata – While often Quime is emphasised for authentic and laid-back village life, it might be a little too sleepy too be interesting to the sophisticated traveller. While the mine in Quime is definitely worth a visit while being there, Sorata provides a much more interesting experience with numerous 1-12 day treks (between villages, lagoons or high into the snowy mountains), many able to be done without a guide. The town is much more alive, offers more lodging options (including real hostels), has a lively Sunday market and can easily be reached from La Paz Cemetario.
  • Tropical Lowlands – Beyond Rurrenabaque and the Beni (Bolivia) | Beni department and Santa_Cruz_(department,_Bolivia) | Santa Cruz department offer many remote, uncrowded and beautiful national parks for relaxing rainforest walks, animal safaris or just huge dunes in the middle of the rainforest. Some parks are private and more expensive, but there are government run and affordable alternatives, like Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve, Reserva del Biosfera del Beni, Lomas de Arena and Amboró National Park.
  • Beni (Bolivia)#Do|Cargo Ferry on Río Mamoré – If you really want to hit the dust and feel the authentic but sometimes burdensome life of the local people, spend some days in a hammock (or cabin) on a busy cargo ferry towards the Brazilian border or just between Santa_Cruz_(city,_Bolivia) | Santa Cruz and Trinidad_(Bolivia) | Trinidad.
  • Torotoro National Park – Even though not that untourist as claimed above, many Muslim do not know about this destination. It is a remote mountain village with a large cave nearby that can be climbed into and many dinosaur footprints in the surrounding rock formations. The latter two attractions can only be done by village organised tour, but the region itself might just provide some interesting and remote trekking opportunities if you are keen exploring them.
  • Sucre#Do|Maragua (crater and village) – While many travellers take there time hanging around in Sucre not doing much and enjoying the atmosphere and they often forget about the interesting and beautiful surround mountains that offer many trekking opportunities, as the 2-3 day Maragua Trail.
  • Yungas Road – To most people the Death Road is an overpriced one day mountain bike tour. But actually the region offers much more: laid-back Coroico and Chulumani, high waterfalls (like La Jalancha), zip-lining, an interesting Afro-Bolivian community and the historic El Choro Trek, true Chocolates, canyoning and many remote lodging options.
  • Cochabamba (department) | Villa Tunari – A hotspot among well informed travellers due to its popular nearby national parks, like Parque Machía and Carrasco National Park, many of which are popular for being supported by international volunteers. Besides that and the region is well known for its pleasant tropical weather.

Shopping in Bolivia

Money Matters & ATM's in Bolivia

  • 1/4 Chicken: Bs. 15
  • Empanada / saltena: Bs. 2-5 (depending on filling)
  • Bun / small pastry: Bs. 0.50
  • Papaya: Bs. 5-8, sometimes 3 (medium) for Bs. 5
  • Bananas: 25 small for Bs. 8
  • Large avocado: Bs. 6
  • Refreshment drink along the street: Bs. 1-2
  • Large fresh coconut / maize drink: Bs. 3
  • Large shake (with ice): Bs. 5-10
  • Large fresh grapefruit / orange / tangerine juice: Bs. 8-10
  • Api (drink): Bs. 3.50-4.50
  • Water 2 l: Bs. 6
  • Soft drink 2 l: Bs. 10
  • Fruit Juices 0.355 l: Bs. 6-7
  • Simple hotel room/bed: Bs. 30-60
  • Haircut: Bs. 15
  • Shoe repair: Bs. 5-10}}

The national currency is the Boliviano (ISO code: BOB), denoted Bs. (with dot). uses the notation Bs. 100 (with a space).

Bills come in denominations of Bs. 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10; coins are in Bs. 5, 2 and 1 and 50, 20 and sometimes 10 centavos (1/10 of a Boliviano). Bills larger than Bs. 50 can be hard to break with smaller stores or vendors, other electronic stores or such dealing with larger amounts will be able to change it for you.

Money exchange

Bolivianos can be exchanged for US dollars, euros and most South American currencies at Casa De Cambio agencies or street vendors. However, it can be difficult to change money other than euros and US dollars for a good rate. Expect to negotiate for a favorable exchange rate, as most vendors will try to make money off tourists.

Nevertheless, street agencies (at least in La Paz) have very competitive US dollar (and even euro) exchanges rates with often less then 1% fee included in the rate. Sometimes US dollar rates are actually better than interbank rates, either due to the need of dollars or because the rate lags behind. Either way, check the rates before exchanging money.

Banks are a little less favorable, but of course more secure. Otherwise US dollars are accepted in hotels, tourist shops and for large purchases, but the rates are generally less favorable then.

ATMs

Using ATMs is the most convenient and effective way to get cash in Bolivia. High fees like in Argentina#Money|Argentina do not exist.

Banco de Credito (BCP) is a good bank to get cash from without fees and it had been so for some time. Mercantil Santa Cruz and Banco Fie do not charge any fee either. Banco Union charged an unmentioned 5% extra charge in 2012, but does not do so anymore. Banco Sol charges Bs. 17.

Tipping

Service charges are included with the bill. Still, a small Tipping|tip, around 5% or so, is sometimes given and is considered polite. No tipping necessary for taxi drivers.

Bargaining

Bargaining is not very common when it comes to day to day things. Generally, even as a tourist you will get the fair price. A few might add Bs. 1 here or there, especially in tourist hotspots, but the rip-off that is common in countries like Egypt or Vietnam does not happen in Bolivia. People are generally very fair to each other here. And 90% of the time asking for a lower price at the market or ho(s)tel, you will be out of luck or cause confused faces. However, you are never forced to buy anything and after a while you will know the common prices and be able to spot the odd outliers. This bargaining situation obviously does not apply to packaged tours—bargain as hard as you can with these.

Stevia

Bolivia is popular for its food and produces, like Quinoa, Manioc, Avocado, etc. But it also produces considerably high quality and natural Stevia. If you want to buy some to take home with you, head for a local drug store or pharmacy. They are selling proper quality for around Bs. 40 per 80 g. The Stevia sold on tourist markets like the Witch Market in La Paz is crystalline and of poor quality, do not waste your money on it. The latter is only half price (if you are good at bargaining) compared to the one sold in drug stores, but you need more of it to get the same sweetness.

Repairs

Bolivia is a great place to get stuff repaired, because there are many handymen around and they do a very good job and it is dirt cheap. So, if you have a pair of your favorite (hiking) boots, broken headphones or just cloths you love that you always wanted to have repaired, renewed (e.g. shoe sole) or resized (pants) for a fraction of Western costs, Bolivia is the place for it. Especially when travelling for longer, things that need repair can add up. At home it is often cheaper to buy new things instead of repairing, here it is not—take your the chance!

Halal Restaurants & Food in Bolivia

The cuisine of Bolivia might be called the original "meat and potatoes" -- the latter (locally called papas from the Quechua) were first cultivated by the Inca before spreading throughout the world. The most common Meat is beef, though Chicken and llama are also easily found. Pork is relatively common. Deep frying (chicharron) is a common method of cooking all sorts of Meat and fried Chicken is a very popular quick dish; at times the smell permeates the streets of Bolivian city's. Guinea pigs (cuy) and rabbits (conejo) are eaten in rural areas, though you can sometimes find them in urban restaurants as well. A common condiment served with Bolivian meals is ll'ajwa, a spicy Sauce similar to Mexican salsa.

Almuerzo is very popular during the mid-day meal and usually consists of an appetizer (entrada), soup, main dish (segundo) and dessert. Walk around many streets around Bolivian city's and you'll see the day's menu for that restaurant. Most have at least 2 main dish options to choose from. Almuerzos run anywhere between Bs. 15-25 depending on the restaurant or 'pension'.

Vegetarians will find decent to very good options in Gringo-places around the nation. But also at market places and there are good Vegetarian options on offer (usually potatoes, Rice, fried egg and salad for about 7Bs.) In bigger city's and there are some (decent to good) fully Vegetarian restaurants.

Coca leaves

Coca has been part of Andean culture for centuries and chewing is still very common (and perfectly legal) in Bolivia. You should be able to buy a big bag of dried leaves at the local market. Coca is a stimulant and it also suppresses hunger. Chewing a wad of leaves for a few minutes should bring slight numbness to your lips and throat. Remember the slogan (printed on souvenir T-shirts): Coca no es Cocaina ("The coca leaf is not cocaine"). But cocaine most definitely is an illegal drug. Remember this, only chew the leaf; if you eat the coca leaf you will get a very sick stomach.

Juice bars appear at most markets. Shakes (either with water or milk) are 2 Bs. 2-3. Locals can be seen to drink Vitaminico an egg, organic juice and sugar concoction or "Vitima" which includes coca leaves.

  • Licuado - Water or milk blended with your favorite fruit combination. A big spoonful of sugar will be added unless you specifically ask them not to. Try the milk and papaya licuado. You should probably ask whether the water added is from botella (bottle) or from the tap (not recommended).
  • Vitaminico - Don't ask what's in here. Many fruits, milk, sugar, a shot of and, if you wish, a whole egg (with shell).
  • Mocochinchi - A drink made by brewing peaches and spices together in water. Very good but some people are turned off by the shriveled peach which is typically served with each glass.
  • Api - A traditional corn-based drink usually found in the open-air markets. If you didn't know it was corn you'd never guess it though because this stuff is good.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Bolivia

Bolivia - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Bolivia, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Bolivia. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Bolivia and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Bolivia. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Bolivia. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Bolivia: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Bolivia.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Bolivia: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Bolivia, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Bolivia.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Bolivia, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Bolivia, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Bolivia and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Bolivia, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Bolivia, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Bolivia without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Bolivia is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Bolivia.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Bolivia is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Bolivia, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Bolivia Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Bolivia

eHalal Group Bolivia is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Bolivia. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Bolivia.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Bolivia ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Bolivia. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Bolivia, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Bolivia are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at info@ehalal.io

Ramadan 2024 Celebrations in Bolivia

Ramadan 2025 in Bolivia

Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

The next Ramadan shall be from Friday, 28 February 2025 to Saturday, 29 March 2025

The next Eid al-Adha shall be on Friday, 6 June 2025

The next day of Raʾs al-Sana shall be on Monday, 19 July 2024

The next day for Mawlid al-Nabī shall be on Monday, 16 September 2024

Muslim Friendly Hotels in Bolivia

Offering a favorable exchange for Muslim tourists, lodging can be found at very reasonable prices throughout the nation, from hostels to luxury hotels.

There are not many hostels in the common sense around, except for the typical tourist spots. But even in normal and basic places (often called hostal, hospedaje or alojamientos) you only pay per person (Bs. 30-60) and not per room. So, you might end up paying Bs. 40 for a room with 4 beds, one taken by you.

Outside of large city's, hotels prices are considerably cheaper when walking-in than online. In large city's however, you will find it hard to find a bargain and it is better to reserve online.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Bolivia

  • Apply common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when selecting a travel guide and never accept medication from unverifiable sources.
  • At night try to use radio taxis, as fake cabs are common and robbings and even rapes do occur.
  • When taking an interdepartmental bus (say from La Paz to Cochabamba), do not accept Snacks or drinks from nearby passengers. Even though most likely they may just want to be nice and there have been instances that passengers being drugged and robbed during nighttime trips. Say "no, gracias".
  • Always remain cautious and suspicious when approached by someone or get befriended by a stranger in the street. Bolivians are very closed towards foreigners. Even when you do business with them, e.g. buying something and they will rather prefer not to do so. Ask yourself, why would anyone even start a conversation with a tourist when their general mood is often far from friendly and open. There must be something wrong if it is not the owner of your hostel or another Westerner. You are better off to instantly walk away from such a situtation, saying Lo siento. There are certainly better ways to find friends in Bolivia.
  • In general, if you travel less tourist routes, you will mostly be save, apart from general dangers like traffic. Criminals targeting tourist will mostly always be where they can expect a high supply. Waiting in the middle of nowhere for one tourist a month is not what they are looking for. Hence, if you enjoy authentic travel and experience, you will be safe at the same time.
  • There are a lot of dogs in Bolivia on the streets, especially in smaller towns and villages. The dogs are generally friendly and they walk around, "sunbathe" near houses.

The plain-clothed police officer scam

This seems to be rampant (but seldom) in this region and especially in city's like La Paz, Cochabamba and Sucre, basically everywhere where to expect larger amounts of tourists, but especially near plazas and in the center. In remote regions of Bolivia you should be safe from it, because the frequency of tourists to target is too low and travellers to such remote regions are generally more aware and firm with a country and travelling in general.

The scam: Generally, travelers — alone or in pairs — are being targeted for robberies in the centre of town or on a bus. Typically, a young man (an accomplice) will try to start up a conversation about hotels or hostels and claim to be staying at the same one as the target. Alternatively, he might ask you for directions (to simple destinations), or start any conversation to befriend you. Then an "undercover police officer" (aka plain-clothed police officer) will arrive on the scene because of "passport difficulties" or "drug searches". Then the accomplice will often claim that the same thing happened to them and that it is best to just cooperate with them. If you hand out your passport and the "officer" will use it as ransom to get you into a car/taxi (part of the setup) to do a search at the "police station". At the fake station your luggage will be search and money will mysteriously disappear from it, which you will only notice after the incident when being back on the street. Some people have had all of there possessions stolen this way—including rings off of fingers. Even worse, if if turns out that no money or valuable are in your luggage and the situation might turn even uglier—an Austrian couple was found murdered in 2006 after following false police into a taxi.

Advice:

  • Never show any valuables or give your passport, or anything for that matter that can be used as ransom (e.g. for you to get into a car), to anyone. Always carry a copy and hand the copy out if necessary, even with ho(s)tels. If anyone objects, make a stand and explain that the region is too dangerous to give out your passport and people have been killed doing it. Alternatively, think of a stupid story, you lost it and now have to get a new one.
  • Never get into a taxi with them or someone you do not know for that matter, even if that someone has your passport. This is South America, where taxis are not to be trusted and gun violence exists! If you get into a taxi the guy will not just hold your passport but your life in his hands. Note, a passport can always be replaced at the next embassy, a life cannot.
  • Never bring large amounts of foreign money to countries like Bolivia (Peru, Ecuador or Colombia). Bolivia is very easy with a credit card and ATMs and there is always Western Union, just in case.

Stay healthy

Choro-Trail-Bolivien-Ausblick

Some parts of Bolivia like La Paz (3,650 m), Potosí (4,010 m), Oruro (3,950 m) and the Lake Titicaca region (3,400 m) are high altitude, so adequate precautions against "sorojchi" altitude sickness should be taken.

At local pharmacies they sell sorojchi pills, that are supposed to help with altitude problems. It has painkillers as well as natural herbs to help cope with the symptoms of "sorojchi". In many parts of the Altiplano you can purchase coca leaves, which are reputed to be useful against soroche. Coca tea ("mate de coca") is available in tea bags in many markets.

However, severe cases of high altitude disease can be treated at the High Altitude Pathology Institute at Clinica IPPA. This clinic has the most advanced technology including a hyperoxic/hypoxic adaptation chamber. In addition and the sun's ultraviolet rays are much stronger -- up to 20 times -- than at sea level. A sun hat, sunglasses and skin protection (sunblock or long sleeves) are advised.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for those who plan on spending time in the Bolivian Amazon. It must be taken 10 days prior to the your arrival in the nation if you plan to visit rural areas.

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended if the visitor plans to visit tropical-rural areas.

As a preventive measure, taking the following vaccines is recommended: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Tetanus, Diphtheria and Measles Booster-Vaccines.

One should not drink tap water. Buy bottled water or boil tap water first.

Petrol may contain lead. The sort that contains lead (it also stinks on the streets) is called "standard". If you plan a long term visit in Bolivia, you may want to investigate.

Local Customs in Bolivia

Do not use the word "indio" in Bolivia to describe indigenous people. It is considered offensive. The term they use is "campesino" which translates to peasant or "indígena". A "cholo" is a campesino who moved to the city and though originally derogatory, has become more of a symbol of indigenous power. Nevertheless, some local residents still use the word cholo as a derogatory term.

Bolivian culture is very warm and friendly; it is rude not to say buen día or buenos días to passersby in the streets. It also customary to give up your seat on a city bus for someone older than you and for men to give their seats up for women. In turn, others will give their seats up for you if you look a little bit older than they are.


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