Many of you have heard me say how affordable Bolivia is. So you may be asking yourself, “well, what did your Bolivia trip cost really?”
And today, I’m here with some answers!
If I’ve piqued your interest in visiting the country (which I hope I have!), now you can get an idea of what you may need to budget to make it happen.
HOW MANY PEOPLE?
WHERE DID WE GO?
Copacabana — La Paz — Oruro — Tupiza — Southern Bolivia Jeep Tour — Uyuni
FOR HOW LONG?
WHAT DID IT COST?
$2,159.93 total / $120.00 per day / $60 per person, per day
MY TRAVEL STYLE
A big factor that influences the cost of any trip is your personal travel style.
You may be the budget backpacker type who wants to spend as little as possible. Or you may treat vacations as your opportunity to put on your pearls and live in the lap of luxury for a hot minute.
My own personal travel style is somewhere in the middle.
I’m (well) into my 30s now, so I won’t be going for a $10/night hostel dorm bed any more, at least not on the regular. I much prefer my own space. Without worrying about sharing a bathroom and the whole hostel hearing me throw up from food poisoning (it happened in Ireland).
However, I very much value unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. So I will gladly splurge and stretch my budget for those. I also fancy an amazing meal and a cocktail (or seven) frequently in life. Which we all know can add up costs quickly!
Keep this in mind as I recap my key expenses below. Depending on your own travel style, you may wind up spending something similar to mine, or drastically different. But this should give you some ideas for what to expect in Bolivia!
MY BOLIVIA TRIP COSTS
When looking at my trip costs, I think it makes the most sense to break things up into two groups: essential and flexible.
Essential expenses are those that everyone will have on this trip. The cost may fluctuate, but at the end of the day, everyone will need to eat, sleep somewhere, and transport themselves from point A to point B.
The flexible expenses are everything else. And as the name suggests, are totally flexible depending on the person. You may not want to take a single tour to save some money. Or you may have a serious shopping habit that increases your costs drastically.
It all comes back to that personal travel style I discussed above, and what you value during your vacations.
ESSENTIAL BOLIVIA TRIP COSTS
FOOD AND BEVERAGE (27%)
$571.22 total / $31.73 per day / $15.87 per person, per day
Anything we ingest, gets tallied up here (booze included…which there’s plenty of).
We try to grocery shop and cook for ourselves whenever possible. First, because it’s budget friendly. But more importantly, it makes us feel healthier and more “normal” as we cook at lot when home in Denver.
Luckily F&B is incredibly affordable in Bolivia.
We had dinner with a lovely couple from New Zealand that we met on our bus one night in Copacabana. At a more “upscale” Italian place, where we each had and entrée and shared a bottle of wine, and it was only $9.00 per person.
You can also buy solid bottles (yes, bottles) of Bolivian wine for the equivalent of $5.00.
So we certainly felt better about eating out vs. cooking at home when we did it.
$376.67 total / $20.93 per day / $10.46 per person, per day
A big contributor to the low number here is that we were in Peru prior to coming to Bolivia. So we didn’t have a big flight expense coming in from the US (our home). Instead, we took a bus to cross the border from Peru into Bolivia on the cheap.
Additionally, ground transportation is incredibly inexpensive in Bolivia. Our average Uber/taxi cost was only $3.80 per ride. We walked whenever we could, but the elevation and hills of La Paz certainly got to us! Cheap transportation to the rescue.
$353.04 total / $19.61 per day / $9.81 per person, per day
Lodging in Bolivia is somewhere you can really save some dough. We stayed in a variety of Airbnb, hostels and hotels, and I’m incredibly proud we were still able to keep it below $20 per night on average.
Part of this was due to some unfortunate mishaps. We went SUPER cheap on our Airbnb in La Paz, and it flooded in the middle of the night. We also received one free night in Tupiza because our tour operator cancelled on us the morning of and left us stranded after traveling 18+ hours to get there.
But we survived, and our budget reaped the benefits!
VISA FEES (15%)
$320.00 total / $160.00 per person
Wait, I spent almost as much in visa fees just to enter the country as I did in transportation getting around the country?!
Yes, that is correct.
As I’ve written about previously, the visa fees for US citizens are high. $160 per person high (so $320 total for our trip).
It stings a little at first, but after completing my amazing trip in Bolivia, I feel it’s 100% worth it.
As of January 2020, US citizens no longer require a special visa to visit Bolivia! Which means you can save even more. Lucky you! Signed, a bitter person who just barely missed the mark.
FLEXIBLE BOLIVIA TRIP COSTS
$503.00 total / $27.95 per day / $13.96 per person, per day
86% of these costs are related to our 4×4 Jeep tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats. It was absolutely the best tour I’ve ever taken in my life, so I don’t mind that cost at all!
We also did a fair amount of unique experiences throughout the country. Including a boat tour of Isla del Sol in Copacabana, exploring Valle de la Luna in La Paz, and seeing Cholita wrestling in La Paz (a must!).
EVERYTHING ELSE (2%)
$36.00 total (no sense in breaking that out)
Since we visited Bolivia in their winter (June), we needed to purchase some items to make sure we didn’t freeze to death during our Jeep tour. This included fleece lined gloves and hats.
We purchased them in central La Paz, from the cutest Bolivian woman. She hand made the items herself…and you could tell they were of solid quality!
Which is great, because they really came in handy. Especially considering our accommodations on our tour had no heat, and we slept in our hats and gloves at night!
$120.00 per day barely gets you a hotel room for one night in many cities the US.
Therefore, overall I’m incredibly happy with what we spent in Bolivia! Our trip was very affordable, yet we didn’t skimp on the experiences we wanted to have.
We covered a lot of ground, and really came to love a country that we weren’t quite sure about when we started planning our trip.
And given it’s affordability, you can too!
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