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Travel Guide > South America > Bolivia

Bolivia Health & Safety

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Some parts of Bolivia like La Paz (3650), Potosí (4010), Oruro (3950) and the Lake Titicaca region are high altitude, so adequate precautions against "soroche" altitude sickness should be taken.

At local pharmacies they sell soroche pills, that are supposed to help with altitude problems. In many parts of the Altiplano you can purchase coca leaves, which are reputed to be useful against soroche. Coca tea ("mate de coca") is available in tea bags in many markets.

However, severe cases of high altitude disease can be treated at the High Altitude Pathology Institute at Clinica IPPA This Clinic has the most advanced technology including a hyperoxic/hypoxic adaptation chamber. In addition, the sun's ultraviolet rays are much stronger -- up to 20 times -- than at sea level. A sun hat, sunglasses, and skin protection (sunblock or long sleeves) are advised.

  • Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for those who plan on spending time in the Bolivian Amazon. It must be taken 10 days prior to the person’s arrival into the country if the visitor plans to visit rural areas.

  • Malaria prophylaxis is recommended if the visitor plans to visit tropical-rural areas.

  • As a preventive measure, taking the following vaccines is recommended: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Tetanus, Diphtheria and Measles Booster-Vaccines.


In August 2010 in north east Bolivia suspicious plague incidents were recorded, resulting in a young man's death. Before going to Bolivia, check carefully the status of the disease and consult your experts to avoid possible exposure.

Apply common sense and take precautions that apply elsewhere. All tourists should be careful when selecting a travel guide and never accept medication from unverifiable sources. Women tourists should be cautious when traveling alone. If possible try to take "radio taxis" private cabs by calling them since there have been some incidents at night of fake cabs taken from the streets that are used to steal their occupants and raping women tourists. Women tourist never take a unregistered taxi or fake cab even if they offer you cheaper price. It is a good idea to register with the consulate of your country of residence upon entry into the country.

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