Health and Safety in Bolivia - The Traveller


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Health and Safety in Bolivia

An extra precaution on hygiene in Bolivia: a number of diseases are transmitted by pork (tapeworms, trichinosis, etc.).. Avoid what is fricassees, sandwiches and chola chicharrones, and Chuletas pork meat if you do not seem undercooked. Pork said chancho, cerdo or cuchi.

Dangers and annoy

Despite its reputation as a "land of coups," Bolivia, which also displays 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, can boast of being one of the safest countries on the continent. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in petty crime, with situations and methods that are reminiscent of those of Peru.

Travellers should be well informed to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on traffic conditions in Bolivia.


This is because it is very easy to become isolated or in endless stretches of virgin forests that one must be careful because the backup in case of accidents are rare. The first recommendation is elementary: do not go alone. Hiring the services of a travel agency. If you go in the Salar, South Lipez, Amazonian national parks or in places very remote, better check that the agency is also equipped with a radio.

The second recommendation is the same ilk: it is advisable for backpackers traveling in more remote areas (Beni, South Lipez ...), with communication restricted to phone the embassy before departure, to communicate its route and leave the details of the persons to contact in case of problems.

The mountain deserves special attention: trekking the Inca Trail (in the Yungas), let alone the mountaineering, require a minimum of experience, good physical condition, an adaptation to altitude (more than 3000 m) at least 1 week and of course good equipment. Do not underestimate the peaks and Bolivian remembers that the dry season (May-October) is the only recommended if you go for the first time. From the forest also requires special precautions.


Various schemes and scams have unfortunately developed. The places where we must be vigilant: Copacabana, La Paz, the borders with Peru and Brazil. Beware of pickpockets in the bus terminals and railway stations (woe to him who gives up her bag, if only a few seconds) and false Interpol agents in civilian clothes who ask papers and vaccination certificates, then searching your bags and pockets. Always ask them to present their books and do not hesitate to call a policeman in uniform.
Backpackers who are not accustomed to travel in Latin America avoid venturing into the villages where there is the "gold fever" Tipuani, Mapiri and other located between the departments of La Paz and Beni.

Socio-economic instability

From time to time, bloqueos (roadblocks), paros indefinidos (work stoppages) and other huelgas (strikes) paralyze a city or an entire region of the country. In recent years it has become more common, especially during election periods, to the point of disturbing affect on tourism. For 2 or 3 days or more, the whole economy of the region which may be suspended.

These social movements are often advertised at least one week in advance. But with the rise of tensions since the election of Evo Morales in December 2005, the disturbances become unpredictable and significantly worse than normal children. If you ever find yourself stuck, you should just take it out or your courage to walk to bus or taxi a few miles of blocked entries cities. Or try to catch a plane (air travel are often spared).

Note also that the region of Chapare (Cochabamba) is set to become a permanent source of violence between coca growers and the armed forces, due to excess plantations of coca leaves, as well as Santa Cruz and Tajira, rich cities plains that are home to most protest movements for regional autonomy.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very good post. I'm glad you're also highlighting some of the things visitors and expats must look out for while in Bolivia. I haven't been there but no matter which country you visit you have to be careful of improperly cooked meat. Pork is one of the worst but even the innocent seaming chicken can also pose serious health risks. Very good insight included in your blog!


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