Border Crossing Information
- Vaccination Card
- Vehicle Title
- Several copies of each
- Vehicle import permit is free
- US Citizens pay $135/person for a Bolivian Visa (paid at border)
Head to the aduana with your title, passport, and several copies of each. The officer working in the aduana will fill out the necessary paperwork and give you your temporary vehicle import papers. They may try to make it for 30 days - ask nicely and they will give it to you for 90 days. Then go to migracion. Everyone will need to fill out a tourist card application, and US citizens will also need to fill out a visa application. They may ask for copies of your passport as well as your yellow WHO vaccination card. Warning to US Citizens If you enter Bolivia from Peru near Copacabana, there are NO ATMs at the border. There are now ATMs in the town of Copacabana, so bring plenty of cash to pay the hefty visa fee.
- Vehicle Import Permit
There shouldn't be any costs.
To leave Bolivia you will need to cancel you car permit by handing the original into aduana when you leave the country. After this you are required to get an exit stamp in your passport. There is no cost.
Individual experiences may vary depending on date, specific border location, and the whims of the gods. Read more about people's individual experiences crossing the Bolivian border with a car.
Roads and Driving
The Bolivian Administration of Highways (Administradora Boliviana de Carreteras) has a frequently updated map of roads that are closed due to weather, constructions, or blockades. Worth checking out when you're planning your trip.
Roads in Bolivia are not that good. Be advised that as of August 2009 these routes are under construction or in poor condition:
- Huari to Uyuni – new highway is in the works, but to date the road in use is poor, unpaved and poorly signed
- Uyuni to Potosi – As of Oct 2012, new beautiful paved road the whole way
- Santa Cruz to San Jose de Chiquitos – horrible conditions, 4x4 recommended, no gas stations until San Jose
- San Jose de Chiquitos to Quijarro (Brazilian border) - paved all the way
- Tupiza to the Argentinian border at Villazon - As of the end of September 2009, the road outside of Tupiza heading south is under construction. The detour goes through a river bed which can have varying levels of water - proceed with caution.
- Highway 6 (the Pan American Highway route to Paraguay) is unpaved from about 70 km south of Sucre to Camiri, very rough, and where it climbs over the mountain is single lane in many places. There are no signs, it is very easy to get lost taking the wrong road when exiting the towns along the way.
Check out this nice distance calculator and table for figuring out the distances between major cities in Bolivia.
International price: 9.22 Bolivianos/liter
Local price: about 4 Bolivianos/liter
Amount you can expect to pay on average with simple negotiating skills: 6 Bolivianos/Liter
More information on how to buy gas on this page.
Gas above 87 octane may be difficult to find in Bolivia, and rumor has it that gas can be as low as 70 octane even when marked otherwise. If your car starts to 'ping' when driving, we recommend adding some octane booster to the fuel, which should help prevent damage to your car's engine.
Camping and Hotels
La Cupula is a charming hostel with a great view of Lake Titicaca. Hot water showers (24hrs), heaters in rooms, a DVD room, international library, laundry facilities and cosy rooms are just a part of this hostel's charms. Hammocks in lovely gardens with a great view of the lake really top it off. Parking available as well.
Altai Oasis is a great place northeast of Copacabana. Great base if you want to go treking in the Cordilleras. Best grassy areas for tent campers since Colombia. Plenty of parking too. Road in is a bit narrow, very tricky if you are in a big rig. They have hot showers, very intermitent wifi, and a restaurant. Bs20 per person. Photos on our site.
Hotel Oberland is the place to stay. A nice hotel, with a big secure parking area for overlanders. Not great for tent campers, but adequate if you sleep in your vehicle. Nice hot showers, bathrooms and wifi. Bs50 per person. Photos on our site.
Sol y Luna is a great hostal on a huge property with a nice grassy camping area if you are in a tent. There is a good parking lot, but it would be tight if you were in a big unimog. Bs50 per person for camping. Hot showers, good internet, electicity, and a restauant. Much warmer than La Paz. A good place to stay if you want to drive the famous death road. Photos and details on our site.
Pachamama Hostal is located about a 5 minute walk outside the main plaza (on Aniceto Arce 450). This hostel really has it all parking, a kitchen for use, wifi (which works in the rooms), a lovely courtyard to hang out in and hot showers. Owners are very friendly. They can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can try 64-53673.
Camping Alberto and Felicidad is an unmarked grassy area very close to Pachamama hostel. The owners live just around the corner at 416 Arcento Arce, if no one answers at the camping area, go there. The camping area is at GPS: S19 02.580 W65 15.303. The owners are very friendly, their kids speak german and english. Hot showers, common area inside, internet, and a small kitchen. Four block from the center. Bs60 per car, or Bs50 per tent. Highly recommended! Photos and details on our site.
Parking is scarce in Uyuni. You can sleep in your car outside of the Hotel Toñita (on Ferrovaria where the road ends at the military base, also home to delicious Minuteman Pizza) as it is safe according to the owners and also right next to a military base. Hostal la Magia de Uyuni also has parking, as do Jardines de Uyuni (Potosi 133 between Camacho and Sucre) and Joya Andina (Cabrera 473 at Sucre), but these are pricier places to stay. You may be able to talk your car in to their parking lots even if you're not staying there, but don't be surprised if they say no. Seems to depend who you talk to at the front desk.
Hostal Marith has a parking area for 3 or 4 vehicles. Cost is about Bs75 per person per night for a room with a private bathroom. Showers are hot certain times of the day and breakfast is included. Not a bad deal for Uyuni!
Habitacion El Refugio (associated with Hotel Mitru) has wonderful simple rooms with shared baths and a kitchen for a steal at 70 Bs (for 2 people) with gated parking. You can also sleep in your car in their parking lot for 30-40 Bs if you prefer to go even cheaper)
If you visit Copacabana, you can have your car blessed by both a priest and a shaman - it's very cool. Check out this Youtube video to learn more.