i also heard columbia is mostly built up to be extremly dangerous but if you keep your head up you'll do fine. im planning on going from peru to boliva and down to chili and argentina can anyone tell me how difficult it is to get through boliva with little spanish and is it that dangerous?
The easy way is to either look for a travel companion on these forums or one down in Cusco, Peru (lots of places with bulletin boards)preferably one who speaks some Spanish, you can share expenses..double hotel rooms are usually not much more costly and more common than single rooms in Latin america (You never want to share a room with a stranger unless the place has a safe for valuables)..and have some company enroute.
when are you going? I am now in Colombia and traveling to peru I am there the 27th of May and will go to Bolivia Chili Argentina...
I have nothing but pleasurable experiences with Bolivia and its inhabitants; only once did I get pickpocketed, and that was my own stupid mistake.
The ground rules for safe and pleasant travel are always the same:
- leave everything of value that you don't absolutely need at home
- make local friends, but never in a bus terminal :-)
- be polite, smile until overcome by cramps
- approach men for information rather than women, since the latter may be taken aback by such rudeness
- don't encourage begging by handing out your money
- accept to share drinks and food (I know this is controversial, but if you look like someone not worth mugging, it will get you a long way with any locals in any culture)
- avoid talking politics and valued judgements about local culture (yes, there are people blunt enough to actually do that!)
- preferably, don't go out at night alone
- steer clear of large demonstrations, etc
- go to see local sports matches and cheer on the public's favourite
- when travelling by bus, make sure that all your valuables are safely stored away below
- don't get off the beaten track alone if you don't speak the language
I must have forgotten one or two, and may not even have answered your question... well, this list of tips may be come in handy anyway :-)
sweet thanks for the info
I've only been to La Paz, but did not once feel threatened or in danger while in Bolivia. I will caution you though, and I'm not exactly sure how to find old threads, but backpackers have been taken in by a taxi scam in La Paz. If you take the bus into La Paz, I think you're better off walking to your accomodation, which isn't difficult.
Apparently the scam involves you getting into a fake taxi, with another fake backpacker. The fake backpacker has drugs on him and you get stopped by fake police. They then take somewhere that they tell you is a police station where they hold you captive while they take the daily maximum out of your bank account. Two Austrians were recently killed after their bank accounts had been emptied.
Not trying to scare you, like I said, I absolutely loved La Paz. Just don't get in a cab if it seems at all out of sorts.
I think Bolivia and Columbia goes for all countries that still 3rd world country. U def have to just be careful, whereever you go.
MAke sure you take certified cabs,etc.
Bolivia is a hidden treasure. It truly is.. It was the hilight of my trip, so .. Enjoy it.. and just go!!!!
Arriving in a city the size of La Paz and walking to your lodging place (unless you know it is within 15 blocks or so)..you'll require a good map of the city..it usually not very feasible..especially if you arrive at night..ask others on the bus about registered taxis and fares. Don't get into any unmarked taxi with any other passengers in it.
i have been to Bolivia four times for about one month each time and i LOVE it. absolutely amazing country, fantastic culture, warm people. i have spent the majority of my time in Cochabamba but I have also been to Sucre, Potosi, Trinidad and into the Chapare. Here are some key tips (from the point of view of a single, white, female in her 20s):
- use common sense - there is not much tourism in Bolivia compared to other countries, so foreigners stand out in a crowd & can be an easy target.
- leave valuables at home & be careful with your cash (eg. in the markets)
- avoid carrying large bags/purses which can be grabbed easily. I always keep my money spread out in different pockets and only take small amounts of cash.
- be careful of police or people pretending to be policemen, ask for ID and NEVER get in a "police car" by yourself - tell them you will take a seperate cab to follow them for example.
- at night stay on the main streets where there are plenty of people & shops/restaurants, avoid dark empty streets
In the end, I find normal common sense keeps me safe in Bolivia. I certainly feel just as safe/unsafe here as in any other place I have lived or travelled.
I will add that this is a gorgeous country with a rich indigenous history that is alive and well. From the jungles to the mountains, the untouched scenery is fantastic. Always chat with the locals (if you can) because Bolivians are very friendly and always happy to speak with visitors and tell stories about their country. They are a very patriotic and proud nation.
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any more questions, I love to talk about my 'home away from home.'