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Travel insurance for Bolivia
Compare the best Bolivia travel insurance for 2021.
Bolivia hosts some of South America’s most popular tourist attractions, including the world’s largest salt lake, the oldest ruins in the Americas and diverse rainforests that dip into sections of the Amazon. Like many countries in Central and South America, there are specific risks to be aware of when traveling in Bolivia. And a comprehensive travel insurance policy can help make sure you come home safe — with your wallet.
What's changed in 2021?The US government has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for Bolivia as of February 2021. Read the fine print of your travel insurance policy to learn whether it covers emergencies, evacuations, interruptions or cancellations for your Bolivia trip during the pandemic. Learn more about restrictions and requirements for US travelers by country.
*Be aware that most travel insurance policies don’t offer COVID-19 coverage. To find one that does, have a look at travel insurance policies that cover the coronavirus.*
How to compare travel insurance for Bolivia
While coverage varies from policy to policy, consider your itinerary to help you decide what to look for in a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
- Medical coverage. If you’re injured in a foreign country, you can rack up major medical debts — or be denied care altogether if you aren’t insured. A good travel insurance policy will take care of you if you get sick or injured.
- Lost or stolen belongings. If your luggage is lost at the airport or your camera is stolen while you’re exploring the ruins, travel insurance can reimburse you. Some policies will even pay you if your luggage is delayed.
- Culture and nightlife. The pulsing nightlife of Bolivia’s cities can bring some unique color to your trip, but it can also put your passport at risk — beware of scams where someone in a bar asks for your ID and then doesn’t give it back. Consider purchasing vital document insurance if you plan to be bar hopping.
- Adventure sports. If you plan to go bungee jumping, skydiving, or participate in other extreme activities, check with your insurance company before you leave to see if you need to purchase additional coverage.
- Ecotours. Some of the most diverse regions of the Amazon, including wild waterfalls and even ancient dinosaur trails, are in Bolivia. Checking them out might take you to some isolated areas, so make sure your policy covers you before you leave.
- Trip delays or cancellations. If your trip is canceled or delayed, your insurer can refund you for your flight or get you on a new one, plus cover any lost deposits or last-minute changes to your accommodations as a result of the delay.
- Mountain climbing. Bolivia has peaks that appeal to a wide variety of skill levels. If you plan to hike or climb, look for a policy with medical evacuation and repatriation coverage in case you get injured while on a mountain, or even if you’re staying in more remote parts of the country.
Compare travel insurance plans for Bolivia
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
Always check the fine print on your policy for any exclusions before you leave home. While exclusions vary, there are a few things that are rarely covered:
- Reckless or irresponsible behavior. Claims for cliff diving off a 100-foot waterfall, leaving your luggage on the street while you shop inside or running across a busy road instead of walking to the crosswalk will likely be denied. You’re expected to use common sense and behave responsibly.
- Inebriation. Claims for incidents that happened while you were drunk or on drugs not prescribed by a doctor will likely be denied.
- Traveling to unsafe areas. If you travel to somewhere that the US Department of State has issued an advisory against, your claim can be denied.
How to stay safe in Bolivia
When traveling to Bolivia, there are multiple issues to consider during your visit. Here are some vital things to keep in mind.
- Disease. Mosquito-borne diseases including Zika, malaria and dengue fever occur in Bolivia, as well as other food- and water-borne and infectious diseases. Stick to boiled or bottled water and see a doctor immediately if you start to feel ill.
- Civil unrest. Protests and demonstrations may occur with little warning in Bolivia. While visitors are generally not the intended target of civil unrest, travelers are still advised to avoid trying to pass through protester roadblocks. Strikes can also cause severe delays, making travel potentially unpredictable.
- Crime. Watch out for pickpockets and thieves in Bolivia, particularly on public transportation or at popular tourist destinations. Thieves have been known to work in teams and to utilize distractions, decoys and drugs, as well as pose as police officers. When determining whether or not an officer is legitimate, be aware that police in Bolivia require a written warrant to detain or search a suspect.
- Travel hazards. Use only taxis from well-known companies, identified by the phone number prominently displayed on the vehicle’s roof. If you’re driving, be aware that roads and vehicles in rural areas are often poorly maintained and can lack adequate lighting and signage.
- Weather events. The rainy season in Bolivia is from November to March. Flooding, landslides, road closures and essential service disruptions are more likely to occur at this time of year. Remain alert to local weather reporting and be aware that flights are frequently canceled or delayed.
What happens if I have a medical emergency in Bolivia?
The standard of care in private hospitals and clinics in Bolivia’s major cities is reasonable, but potentially expensive. Medical facilities in rural areas may be lacking.
Hospitals and medical professionals may require upfront payment, even for emergencies. Having a travel insurance policy that pays out beforehand is recommended if you lack the cash to cover any medical costs.
Who do I contact in the event of an emergency?
- Emergency services. These can vary from city to city, so get the local emergency numbers from your hotel when you check in.
- Your insurer. Your insurer should have a 24/7 helpline you can call.
- A US embassy. In the event of legal trouble, a lost passport, or a countrywide disaster, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate.
From vibrant nightlife to stunning natural wonders, a Bolivian vacation offers something for everyone. But before you pack your bags, pick up a travel insurance policy so you can relax knowing that your policy has your back for any misadventures on your Central American journey.
Frequently asked questions
When should I buy a travel insurance policy?
It’s a good idea to buy your policy when you buy your plane ticket so you’re protected if your trip is canceled.
What are the entry requirements for Bolivia?
US citizens visiting Bolivia for tourism purposes are are required to purchase an entry visa at the border or at the Bolivian embassy for $160. To qualify, you must have:
- A passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.
- Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.
- Travel documents for your next destination, such as a return or onward ticket.
- Proof of vaccination for Yellow Fever if there’s currently an endemic risk.
- A printed itinerary of your trip.
- A printed copy of your hotel reservations.
- A color passport photo.
- A sworn statement form.
When is the best time of year to visit Bolivia?
It depends on where you’ll be going. From May to October, the weather is pleasant and less humid in the Amazon and lowlands, but very cold in the mountains. The country tends to be busy with tourists.
From November to April, the country is warm all over, with fewer crowds and a lot more local festivals. Heavy rain can disrupt travel plans.
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