When is the best time to visit Bolivia?
Although Bolivia lies directly on the equator, the climate is by no means uniformly tropical. Most of the Andean region is set more than 1500 meters above sea level, with some peaks as tall as 6000 meters! Naturally, the fresh mountain air dominates the higher altitudes where, instead of rainfall, you will see snow in November. The Altiplano region (La Paz, Uyuni) remains moderately cool throughout the year. On the other hand, the lowlands experience distinctly tropical weather with temperatures above 86°F.
The best time for travel to Bolivia is between the months of May to October when the weather is dry. Bolivia receives the most amount of tourists in July and August. Traveling in the rainy season can be challenging as many of the roads are difficult to navigate. Some parts of Bolivia can be visited throughout the year.
January is the wettest month of the year with rain across most parts of the country. Temperature-wise, it’s summer! La Paz and Lake Titicaca sit at a pleasant 60°F while the Santa Cruz region show readings in the mid to high 80s.
- Gift Ekeko, the god of abundance, at the Feria de Alasitas in La Paz
- Discover the colonial history of Sucre, the capital city
It is still wet and humid though rain levels fall significantly. Temperatures are similar to those in January. Sucre and the Southern Altiplano show day time readings in the range of 68°F – 72°F.
- Revel in the festivities at the Carnaval de Oruro
- Head to Copacabana for the colorful Fiesta de La Virgen de Candelaria
It is the last month of the rainy season in Bolivia. Humidity levels continue to be high during the month. Thermometer readings range from the low 60s in La Paz to high 60s in the Sucre region and high 80s in the Santa Cruz area.
- Experience the largest mirror on earth – the Salar de Uyuni
April is considered a shoulder month to visit Bolivia. The rains start to subside leaving behind a lush, green countryside. Temperatures in Santa Cruz drop slightly to the mid 80s.
- Discover the dark past of the Cerro Rico mines in Potosi
May marks the beginning of winter and the dry season. With the rains gone, hiking and trekking trails open up making May one of the best times to visit Bolivia. Temperatures in La Paz and Lake Titicaca stay at a pleasant 60°F while daytime highs in Santa Cruz drop below 80°F.
- Appreciate the untouched natural wonders of Sajama
June is considered to be one of the best months to travel to Bolivia. It’s dry throughout the country with plenty of sunshine during the day time. While daytime highs in La Paz hover around 60°F, nighttime lows are near freezing. The Uyuni salt flats are a popular destination during this time of the year even though average maximum temperatures are only in the upper 50s and average minimum temperatures are below freezing.
- Explore the ruins of Isla del Sol
- Watch dancers flaunt their colorful costumes at the Fiesta del Gran Poder in La Paz
With dry conditions and clear blue skies, tourists pour in during the month of July. Even though it is one of the coldest months, it’s a popular time to visit the highest capital in the world, La Paz. It is not uncommon for temperatures to dip below freezing.
- It’s party time at the Fiesta de Moxos in Beni
August is one of the busiest times of the year in Bolivia. Temperatures in the Salar de Uyuni start to inch up into the upper 50s. Day time readings for La Paz, Lake Titicaca and Potsoi are around 60°F. Temperatures in Sucre are a pleasant 73°F.
- Be part of the celebrations surrounding Bolivia’s Independence Day
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Santa Cruz
Rainfall levels increase a little and the crowds start to leave but it’s still a good month to visit the country. Temperatures show an upward trend across the country with the Southern Altiplano region at a comfortable 65°F.
- Experience the Bolivian Amazon at Parque Nacional Madidi
Increased rainfall levels mark the start of the rainy season and summer! Except for the Southern Altiplano region, most other regions experience more rainfall compared to the previous month. This trend is likely to continue until April.
- See RED at Laguna Colorado
The month is characterized by wet evenings and foggy mornings. Rainfall levels increase significantly compared to previous months. It is, however, one of the warmest months of the year.
- Take a boat ride to the Uros Floating Islands In Lake Titicaca
December is one of the wettest times of the year in Bolivia. It’s hot and humid with temperatures in Santa Cruz around 88°F. Sucre temperatures are in the low to mid-70s, La Paz and Lake Titicaca in the low 60s and the Southern Altiplano around 70°F.
- Surreal sunsets await at the Valle de La Luna
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Best Time to Visit Bolivia by Season
- In the dry season: May to October
- Rainy season: November to April
Altitude in Bolivia and Tips to Prevent Altitude Sickness
Upon reaching heights of 3000 meters or greater, some people can experience altitude sickness (otherwise known as Soroche), in response to the lack of oxygen in the air. To prevent altitude sickness, we recommend that you take it slow so your body can adapt. In the first hours after your arrival, we recommend that you lie down and drink plenty of water. Acclimatization will generally take you one to two days.
Soroche symptoms include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance, and usually develop within the first day or two at altitude. It’s difficult to determine who may be affected since there are no specific factors (age, sex or physical condition) correlated with susceptibility. The main cause of Soroche is ascending too rapidly.
High-altitude destinations in Bolivia:
- Sajama, Bolivia: 4,250 m (13,944 ft)
- Potosí, Bolivia: 4,090 m (13,420 ft)
- Puno, Titicaca Lake, Copacabana, Bolivia & Peru: 3,827 m (12,628 ft)
- Uyuni, Bolivia: 3,656 m (11,995 ft)
- La Paz, Bolivia: 3,650 m (11,975 ft)
- Sucre, Bolivia: 2,750 m (9,022 ft)”
What to Pack
What you pack for your Bolivia trip will depend on the time of year you are visiting, but in general here are few essentials you should include: Waterproof clothing, hiking and/or trekking boots, winter clothes such as gloves, hat, scarf, thermal layers, warm windproof and waterproof jacket, sunglasses, insect repellent, swimming gear, sandals, light clothing for the summer. Do note that 100% UV sunglasses are a must as is sunscreen (SPF 30+) especially when visiting the salt flats!
We are happy to advise your further on the best time to visit Bolivia and help you plan your personalized private Bolivia tour.
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Far away from everything, utterly off the beaten path and just about as authentic and rugged as it gets lies Sajama, Bolivia's tallest peak (6542m), and its namesake National Park.
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