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Here are our top travel questions. If you need more information, please contact us here or write to us at sales@intensebolivia.com.

For a list of  Bolivia Travel Tours  click here.

Altitude Sickness

What is altitude sickness?

Reduced atmospheric pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes cause altitude sickness – known as “soroche” in Bolivia. It can affect anyone who normally lives at low altitude and ascends above 2500m, and thus is a reality across much of Bolivia, including most major cities. You’re most likely to be affected if you fly into La Paz from near sea level – the airport is at over 4000m, and almost everyone feels at least a touch of breathlessness.

Mild symptoms can include headache, insomnia, breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, tiredness, rapid heartbeat and vomiting. The best way to avoid this is to ascend slowly, if at all possible, and allow yourself time to acclimatize. Avoiding alcohol and physical exertion and drinking plenty of liquid also help. Bolivians swear by coca tea (mate de coca) as a remedy, and this is available throughout the country; the prescription drug acetazolamide (Diamox) can also help with acclimatization. Normal advice is to ascend no more than 300m a day once over 3000m, so far as possible.

The symptoms of serious altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness, are usually experienced only over 4000m. In this condition, fluid can build up in the lungs or brain, causing high-altitude pulmonary or cerebral oedema; left untreated, severely affected sufferers can lapse into unconsciousness and die within hours. Symptoms include loss of balance, confusion, intense headache, difficulty breathing and coughing up frothy, bloodstained sputum. Prompt and rapid descent is the only treatment, and you should seek immediate medical help.

Source: Rough Guides

How do I prepare for the high altitudes of Bolivia?
  • We recommend that you rest for at least 3 hours upon arrival to your hotel; do not eat much, as digesting food might be a bit slow during your first day due to the altitude.
  • Also you can drink coca tea (except those who suffer from high blood pressure and heart problems).
  • Wear comfortable footwear and clothes.
  • Drink water, wear sunglasses, sunscreen and suncap.
  • Moisturizing cream, a little backpack for excursions, and photo camera.
  • Bring abundant contact lens solution or an additional pair of glasses.

Booking your Tour

How do I book a Tour with Intense Bolivia?

First please look through our website to see what kind of Tour you would like to participate in or what destinations you are interested in exploring.

The website has the tours listed and organized into the following sections so that they are easy to find according to what interests you:

Featured Tours
This section in the home page lists our top tours. These are our most popular and complete pre-arranged travel itineraries with optional excursions and the possibility to customize or request as a private service.
Bolivia Tours
This sub-section of the Tours top menu lists our complete pre-arranged tours for Bolivia.

If you want an itinerary more catered to your needs, please select the Design Your Trip page from our top menu and fill out the form:

What is the difference between a Private Tour and a Shared Service Tour?

What is the difference between a Private Tour and a Shared Service Tour?

Both types of tours are open-dated and can be organized to adapt to your needs and expectations. The difference between them is that tailor-made Private Tours include Optional Private Excursions throughout your trip. Shared Service Tours include Optional Small Group Excursions. Please note that all Tours are fully adaptable and if you want to choose between some Optional Private Excursions and some Optional Small Group Excursions there is no problem at all. Your travel advisor can answer all your questions.

How do I book a Tour?

How do I book a Tour?

Please contact us at sales@intensebolivia.com and we will take care of everything. If you know of and are interested in excursion opportunities in Bolivia that are not listed in our website, please inform your travel advisor and we will work to arrange things for you.

I am a single traveler. Are these tours suited for me?

Yes. Our Shared Service Tours are a great opportunity to travel with friendly and interesting companions, and you can add Optional Private Excursions should you desire to branch out once in a while. Your satisfaction, comfort and safety are our top concerns. We want you to have the best experience possible and will work with you towards that goal.

Is there a booking deadline?

We must have received full payment as well as all relevant information and documentation regarding your Tour at least 10 business days before you begin your program. A late booking fee will be applied otherwise.

How do I make payment?

Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, wire transfers, or direct deposits are all valid forms of payment. We use VeriSign Secured to ensure the safety of all credit card transactions.

What is the best time of the year to visit Bolivia?

Winter runs between May and October in Bolivia and it is actually a great time to visit because it is the dry season.  For the highlands, it is colder at night, but usually sunny with crystal-clear skies during the day.  Perfect for trekking and climbing.  It is also a great time to visit the hot and humid lowlands, which usually run slightly cooler temperatures, but rain is still a possibility.

The summer runs from November through March and it is the rainy season. Despite this, it is still a beautiful time to travel because the Altiplano and mountainsides are briefly transformed into lush grasslands with colorful wild flowers.

Five Surprising Facts About Bolivia

Flights and Transportation

Is international airfare included in the cost of a Tour?

International flights are not included in the price of Intense Bolivia Tours. Normally we do not make international flight arrangements for our clients.  Many of our clients have preferred arranging their international flights online.

Are domestic airfare and transportation included in the Tour’s general price?

All of our Tours include domestic airfare and transportation. Intense Bolivia offers only the most comfortable domestic transport services available. Whether a Tour offers flights, private vehicles, buses or train transportation, we provide only the best service.

Are airport taxes included? If not, how much should I expect to pay?

Airport taxes are now included in the price of the domestic and international flights.

How do I get around town?

On the occassions you venture out on your own you can move around town using several different modes of transportation.

The majority of Bolivia’s road network is unpaved, and most main roads are in a poor condition. However, travelling through the country’s varied and stunning landscapes is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of a visit to Bolivia, and the pleasure of many places lies as much in the getting there as in the destination itself.

Buses

Bolivia’s buses (also known as flotas) are run by a variety of private companies and ply all the main routes in the country, moving passengers at low cost over great distances despite often appalling road conditions. Cities and larger towns have bus terminals – known as terminales terrestres or terminales de buses – from which buses to most (but often not all) destinations leave. Departing passengers usually have to pay a small fee (Bs1–3) for the use of the terminal.

Taxis

Taxis can be found anywhere at any time in almost any town and offer a cheap and safe way to get around.  There are also radio-taxis, which are marked as such and can be called by phone; they tend to cost a little more and are a safer way to travel.

Fares tend to be fixed in each city or town. A trip within any city centre will rarely cost more than Bs15, though there’s a tendency to overcharge foreigners, so it’s best to agree a price before you set off. Often, fares are charged per passenger rather than for the vehicle as a whole, and it’s not unusual to share a taxi with strangers heading in the same general direction.

Moto-Taxis

Moto-taxis are motorcycles used as taxis, and are most frequently found in remote cities and towns in the lowlands. In cities like Trinidad, they’re by far the most common form of transport. Travelling this way is cheap, fast and only slightly frightening.

Source:  Rough Guides

Documents and Insurance

Do I need a visa to travel to Bolivia?

Most visitors to Bolivia do not need a visa, although the situation does change periodically, so always check with your local embassy or consulate a few weeks before travelling. US citizens require a visa (Bs945/$135); this is available on entry, where it must be paid for in cash, or from a Bolivian embassy or consulate.

On arrival, all travellers are issued with a tourist card (tarjeta de turismo) valid for up to ninety days’ stay for citizens of most EU countries, and up to thirty days for citizens of Australia, Canada and New Zealand; your passport will also be stamped. Make sure you ask for the full ninety days if you need it and are eligible, as border officials sometimes give only thirty days, particularly at remote border crossings. A thirty-day tourist card can be extended to ninety days at the migraciones (immigration offices) in La Paz, Santa Cruz and other major cities; this is free for most nationalities, but costs extra (around Bs175) for Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders; the process usually takes 24 hours.

Source: Rough Guides

Do you offer any travel insurance?

We do not provide travel insurance. As such, we strongly recommend you obtain traveler’s insurance coverage for your trip.

Start by asking your insurance provider at home if you are already covered by their company. Also check with your credit card provider. Some credit cards come with traveler’s insurance programs as part of their service. Some organizations such as the AAA (Automobile Association) also offer insurance services for travelers. There are many well-established insurance companies that specialize in traveler’s insurance services. You can find many of them through the Internet.

Explore your options. Make sure that at least you have good emergency medical coverage, especially if you will be participating in extreme sports activities. Other kinds of coverage to look out for areTrip cancellation, interruptions and delays insurance

  • Trip cancellation insurance is mostly purchased to recuperate your money if you have to cancel your trip or leave before it is completed. Trip cancellation reasons may include sickness, natural disasters and State Department warnings about the safety of the place to which you are travelling.
  • Lost luggage insurance
    Domestic U.S. flights cover checked luggage up to US$ 2,500 per passenger. International flights (including U.S. legs of international flights) cover around US$ 9 per pound, up to around US$ 635 per checked bag. If you will be checking valuables not covered under the standard liability, check with your homeowner’s insurance company for coverage or get additional luggage insurance. Many companies offer comprehensive travel insurance packages.

Travel insurance costs vary greatly: which company you contact, cost and length of the trip, your age and health, kind of trip you are going on, amount of coverage you want, deductibles, etc. http://InsureMyTrip.com helps you get estimates from various providers.

Ask your insurance agent what other kinds of coverage they offer, what the rules are for making use of the coverage, and the amount limits of your coverage plan.

Money

How much money should I bring?

We recommend that you bring as much money as you feel comfortable carrying. Intense Bolivia Tours are usually fully inclusive, and extra money is only needed for an occasional meal – where the Intense Bolivia Tour has left this out of the itinerary to give you more flexibility – and for purchasing souvenirs. Tips are not included in the overall price of the Tour. If you wish to give tips it is recommended that you bring along extra cash.

The Bolivian currency is the boliviano (Bs), referred to as both the peso and (more commonly) the boliviano.  Notes come in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 bolivianos; coins in denominations of 1 and 2 bolivianos (these look very similar), and of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos.  The exchange rate at the time of this publication was $1/Bs6.86, however be sure to check the most recent exchange rate prior to your trip at.

Should I bring cash or debit/credit cards?

The best way to carry money in Bolivia is to have your funds in several different formats – a credit/debit card (or cards), some travellers’ cheques and some cash dollars – so that if one lets you down you can turn to another. The easiest way to access funds is using plastic. Banks in all major cities and larger towns are connected to the nationwide Enlace network of ATMs, from which you can withdraw cash in US dollars or bolivianos using a credit or debit card – Enlace machines accept both Visa and Mastercard.

Other than in the most expensive shops and restaurants (and in some hotels and tour agencies), credit and debit cards can rarely be used to pay for services directly – where they are, Visa is the most widely accepted, followed by Mastercard; American Express cards are rarely used.

Source: Rough Guides

Are U.S. dollars or traveler’s checks accepted?

Outside cities and larger towns, debit/credit cards and travellers’ cheques are pretty much useless, so it’s important to carry plenty of cash with you when you head to rural areas. US dollars can be changed into bolivianos at banks and by street money-changers almost everywhere in the country, and are a good way of carrying emergency back-up funds.

Source: Rough Guides

What about tips?

Tipping is not included in the Tours. Restaurants in Bolivia never add a service charge. It’s expected that you will add a 10% to 15% gratuity to the total bill. Taxi drivers don’t expect tips. It’s common to tip hotel porters about Bs4 to Bs8 per bag.

Source: Frommers

Are there taxes or fees? How much should I expect to pay?

Sales tax in Bolivia is 13%.

Health

What vaccinations do I need?

We recommend that you consult with a doctor that specializes in travel medicine. They will be able to judge, given your personal health and vaccination history, what vaccines you may need.

It is also a good idea to start this process early as some vaccines need to be administered over a period of time. If you can, start at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip starts. If you are traveling sooner than that, still consult with your physician to find out what they recommend.

What about the food or water?

The meals we provide with our Tours are safe. On those occasions when you decide to venture beyond the Tour’s itinerary and try something new and unique on your own we suggest you exercise common sense precautions. Drink bottled or boiled water. Try to avoid eating from street vendors who clearly do not practice sanitary precautions. Whenever you travel to a new part of the world, microorganisms living in that part of the world will invariably be different from the ones back home and so you will need to let your body adjust to the new conditions. If you are concerned about this ask your doctor about vaccinations against hepatitis, typhoid or cholera, even though these may be extreme measures since a little caution will protect you just as well.

Aside from microorganisms there are other things that will be different from back home: spices, ingredients, salts and mineral content in the water, etc. Some people’s bodies reject the new kinds of foods until they have had a chance to adjust. Never fear, this is not dangerous to you, but it could ruin your enjoyment of your trip. Decide whether your system is able to handle new foods beforehand so that you can exercise caution in your choice of foods.

Safety

What should I do in case there’s a problem during my Tour?

We assemble and organize our tours as smoothly and efficiently as possible. However, we provide our customers with a 24-hour emergency hotline number prior to the trip. Should any problems arise, please contact us 24 hours a day.

What safety guidelines do you recommend?

Safety is key to the success of your journey. Stay alert and do not take unnecessary risks in order to prevent unwanted situations. Always carry some form of official ID, like your passport, or at least a photocopy of your passport, when walking around in a city or town.

Common sense and the same precautions that apply back home apply when traveling.

In the cities:

Be alert and take normal precautions to protect yourself from purse-snatchers and pickpockets.
Keep a photocopy of your documents on you. Keep the original documents and valuables in the safety deposit box of your hotel.
Be discreet with your valuables. Do not flash around large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry. Keep an eye, or even better, keep a hand on your luggage or camera.
Do NOT exchange money in the street. Use the banks or exchange bureaus.
It is a good idea to hire taxicabs that belong to a company or consortium (you have to call them by phone), or those that have their permits in order.

What to bring

What kind of luggage should I bring?

It is best to bring the luggage you feel most comfortable carrying, but you can travel with a suitcase if you prefer. Choose one with sturdy wheels if possible. Pack a small daypack in which to carry your valuables. We recommend a money belt so that you can keep your money, credit cards and passport on you at all times.

What should I pack?

What you bring in your luggage will depend on where you are going and the kind of vacation you are planning. Altitude has a marked effect on climate. Normally, the higher you go, the colder it gets. Seasons also determine what kind of gear you need. Remember that there is a seasonal inversion between the northern and the southern hemispheres. That is, when it is summer in the north it is winter in the south.

Carry your valuables, water bottle and documents in a small foldable pouch, duffle bag, daypack or backpack. Bring a light coat to be prepared for temperature changes.

Services and Facilities

Are there services for disabled travelers in Bolivia?

Very little provision is made in Bolivia for the disabled. Public transportation, hotels and public places, such as museums are seldom equipped with ramps, widened doorways or toilets for the disabled. Pavements, where they exist at all, are often narrow and covered with dangerous potholes and other obstructions.

Source: Rough Guides

Will I be able to connect to the Internet? Talk to the folks back home?

Like almost everywhere else in the world, Bolivia has seen a huge growth in internet use in recent years and, because few Bolivians have their own computers, this has meant an explosion of internet cafés, especially in places where there are large student populations. Internet cafés tend to charge about Bs3–5 an hour, and sometimes more in remote areas where competition is thin on the ground. The speed of machines and servers usually isn’t very fast, especially outside the main cities.

Increasing numbers of hotels, cafés, restaurants and bars in the more touristy areas offer free wi-fi access.

Source: Rough Guides

What about electricity?

The electricity supply in most of Bolivia is 220V/50Hz; in La Paz, however, there are both 110V and 220V supplies, often in the same house, so check carefully before plugging in equipment. Plugs are two-pronged with round pins, but US-style flat-pinned plugs can also usually be used.

Source: Rough Guides

Lodging and Food & Beverages

What category of hotel will I be staying in?

All of our hotels meet international standards according to their category. We ensure that the hotels we work with provide the highest levels of service and comfort at the best values. Select the hotel you feel best suits your needs and expectations for the trip. If you know of a hotel in the vicinity that you prefer but it is not listed in our website please Contact Us and we will make arrangements for you to stay there

Are meals included in Tours? Can Intense Bolivia recommend restaurants?

For the most part, the hotels we work with offer breakfast every day. We indicate whether lunch or dinner  is provided in the detailed itineraries. We carefully screen restaurants included in our tours  in order to give our customers the best dining experience possible. Nevertheless, we feel that your trip should have some flexibility and that dining out is a way for you to experience Bolivia’s wonders firsthand. We are more than happy to provide you with a list of all of our favorite restaurants in the different locations you will be travelling in if you so desire.

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