Unsure of what to pack for your trip to Bolivia? We’re here to help!
Bolivia is a country of diverse landscapes and unpredictable weather. In the Amazonian jungle region, the weather is often hot and humid. High in the Andes Mountains the weather is extremely harsh and cold. The capital city of La Paz has varying weather depending on the time of day and season- or even where you are in the city!
People in Bolivia generally wear casual but conservative clothing. Women wear blouses or sweaters and jeans. The men wear slacks or jeans and polos or dress shirts. Wearing trendy clothes with holes is not common in Bolivia.
Women sometimes have a more difficult time packing for Latin America than men. Whether you are traveling for a week or a year this list should get you through your trip.
What Clothing to Pack for Bolivia
- One pair of jeans: a pair of jeans that is comfortable and can be worn for a short hike or dressed up for a nice evening out
- One pair of leggings: leggings are great to layer under jeans for cold climates, to sleep in, to get comfortable on a long bus ride, or just to wear on their own
- One pair of shorts or capris: great for activities in warmer climates
- Three t-shirts / tank tops: for wearing around town on warm days, to sleep in, or as base layers
- One long sleeve t-shirt: to wear on colder days or layer under a sweater
- One cardigan: a versatile cardigan that can be worn around town or to a nice dinner
- One fleece: a warm fleece for cold nights or an insulating layer in cold climates
- One shell: a thin waterproof/windproof shell is great for outdoor activities and unpredictable weather that can be layered over your fleece jacket
- One dress: a versatile dress that can be worn in tropical climates or out to dinner
- One swimsuit: there a variety of places where swimsuit will come in handy (Copacabana, Salar de Uyuni hot springs, etc). Note that in Bolivia, women tend to wear modest bathing suits
- Five pairs of underwear: enough to get you through a few days without needing laundry
- Four pair of socks: 1 pair of socks should be durable and warm for hiking
- Two bras: 1 comfortable but versatile bra and 1 sports bra for activities
Shoes to Wear in Bolivia
One pair of trail running shoes: a perfect compromise of form and function, trail runners will do you well in most situations in Bolivia. Pack a decent pair of trail running shoes for everyday wear that is durable enough for hiking (some trail running shoes are also waterproof)
One pair of comfortable sandals: 1 pair of comfortable sandals (functional vs fashionable depending on your itinerary)
Accessories for Bolivia
If you’re missing anything from the list, consider buying one from a market in as a souvenir.
- One scarf: purchase a colorful souvenir scarf to dress up your outfits
- One sarong: acts as a blanket, towel, scarf
- One cross body purse: small but versatile purse for daily use that can hold a camera and bottle of water
- One backpack: a versatile bag that can be used for day tours or small weekend hiking trips
- One hat: warm hat for cold nights or trekking
- One pair of gloves if you’re visiting in the winter or plan to spend any time in the high elevations
- One pair of sunglasses
Toiletries for Bolivia
Assume you can pick up anything you forgot in La Paz or other major cities, but it may be tough to find cosmetics and toiletries in rural areas.
- Shampoo / Conditioner: It is difficult to find travel size toiletries in Bolivia
- Face wipes: to remove makeup or freshen up after flights and buses
- Face wash: to remove grime from the cities
- SPF moisturizer: for daily moisture and sun protection from the harsh elements
- Toothpaste / toothbrush
- Tampons: very hard to find and surprisingly expensive
- SPF lip balm: the climate tends to dry out lips
Note that you may not find toilet paper in many public restrooms, so it’s a good idea to have half a roll stashed away in your backpack.
Don’t Forget the Electronics
Smartphone: your iPhone will helpnavigate the city, keep track of itineraries, keep in touch with friends and family, take notes about destinations and people
Camera: bring a camera with multiple batteries and memory cards! You won’t want to miss all of the amazing scenery and activity in Bolivia. If you’re nervous about traveling with an expensive smartphone, a cheapo point-and-shoot camera is a good way to be sure to capture your memories without flashing your iPhone to strangers on the street– or exposing it to bad weather.
Chargers for both of above
Other Tips for Packing for Bolivia
It’s a good idea to leave the jewelry at home. You are more likely to be the target of pickpockets or theft if you wear flashy jewelry. There are, however, numerous jewelry vendors where you can purchase a nice souvenir pendant or earrings for a reasonable price to take home with you.
Souvenirs in Bolivia are beautiful and cheap. You can pick up hand-crafted hats, scarves, gloves and sweaters at many street markets here. Street vendors and markets throughout the cities and countryside offer reasonably priced items.
People often recommend a money belt due to pick pocketing. I never had an issues with pick pocketing but keep your valuables inside inner pockets or inside of front facing purses. Never leave a camera or phone in the pocket of your pants.
Bolivia is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes. Goods are cheap and plentiful down here. Don’t worry about bringing the perfect items because you can always purchase what you need. Bring only the essentials and your sense of adventure for an unforgettable trip to Bolivia!