Staying Healthy in Bolivia
Those traveling to Bolivia from a country known to have yellow fever need to show a vaccination certificate upon entry into Bolivia. If traveling to Brazil from Bolivia, Brazil’s entry requirements also require a yellow fever vaccination. For all others traveling to Bolivia, there is no requirement to get a yellow fever vaccination, but it is recommended for those visiting the Bolivian Amazon Basin. The vaccination must be taken at least 10 days prior to the departure date in order to be effective.
It’s common for travelers to experience altitude sickness due to the elevation of certain regions of Bolivia. Often, tourists are prone to altitude sickness in La Paz, the highest capital in the world at 3300 to 4000 meters (10,600 to over 13,000 feet), as well as in Oruro, Potosi, Uyuni, and Lake Titicaca. Avoid alcohol and strenuous exercise on the first day or two that you arrive in these places, and drink plenty of water. You can purchase altitude sickness pills at local pharmacies, as well as mate de coca tea. In addition to altitude sickness, keep in mind that the sunshine can be very strong in these places, so be prepared with sunblock, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing.
It’s a good idea to avoid drinking tap water. Instead, order bottled water in restaurants and ask for no ice (“sin hielo”) in your drink. It shouldn’t be a problem finding bottled water in the city, as it is cheap and plentiful.
Dengue fever may also be present in the jungle regions. Prevent infection by bringing 100% DEET mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeve clothing. The malaria prophylaxis is also recommended, and if you choose to get it, it must be given a few weeks before travel.
Always consult your doctor or the World Health Association website about vaccinations and other travel-related medical recommendations. Please note that our travel consultants cannot give medical advice.