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Expat guide to living and the way of life in Bolivia

Expat guide to living and the way of life in Bolivia

Living in Bolivia

Is it even possible that a land like Bolivia exists? There are no golden arches, and you won’t be lured into starbucks either as the coffee house does not exist – and why would you crave it when you have Bolivian coffee to fill your nostrils. Expats here experience a very different culture to what they are used to. Most plugs will spark when you plug something in – don’t worry it’s the norm, and the internet may blow up in some regions. Being an expat in the land of bs (that’s what everyone calls the currency) is pretty great and we’ve got all the info to get you started. 

Bolivia La Paz

Expat Clubs

There are no expat meet up clubs as such in Albania and most expats communicate online through websites such as ExpatWoman.com.

There is a Bolivian community with a huge online presence ...
Bolivia Web
The Largest Bolivian Community on the Web
Email:  inform@boliviaweb.com
Website: www.boliviaweb.com

International Schools 

American International School of Bolivia – Cochabamba
The American International School of Bolivia stands out as one of the most innovative schools in areas related to education, incorporating into its curriculum subjects that aim to train students in a comprehensive manner. The AISB gives students the opportunity to earn three high school diplomas; this means that the student can obtain the Bolivian High School Diploma, The American High School Diploma and The International Baccalaureate (IB).

Curriculum: Bolivian, American, International Baccalaureate
Address: Casilla 5309, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Tel:  +591 4 428 8577
Fax: +591 4 428 8576
E-mail: administracion@aisb.edu.bo
FB: www.facebook.com/pages/THE-AMERICAN-INTERNATIONAL-SCHOOL-OF-BOLIVIA-AISB/218094724914232
Website: www.aisb.edu.bo

American Cooperative School
They offer an excellent college preparatory North American education that enables our graduates to enter the best universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America
Curriculum: American
Address: Calle 10 y Pasaje Kantutas, Calacoto, La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: +1 591 2 279 2302
Fax: +591 2 279 7218
Email: acs@acslp.org
Website: www.acslp.org

Cochabamba Cooperative School (CCS)
A non-denominational college-preparatory school for American, Bolivian, and international students
Curriculum: American
Address: Av. Circunvalación s/n, Zona Mesadilla, Bolivia
Tel: +591 4 4490 605
Fax: +591 4 4490 609
Email: ccs.calvert@yahoo.com
Website: www.ccs.edu.bo

Highlands International School, La Paz, Bolivia
Highlands International School offers an American diploma and follows an American-style curriculum. The curriculum of HIS is based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and can be found at
Curriculum: American
Address: Valle Del Sol, Mallasilla, La Paz
Tel: +591 2 2745113
Email: his@nics.org
Website: www.highlandsinternational.org/wordpress

Santa Cruz Cooperative School
Santa Cruz Cooperative School is a private American Overseas Day School offering English instruction by licensed and experienced English-speaking teachers to students between Pre-Kindergarten and 12th Grade.
Address: Barrio Las Palmas, Calle Barcelona #1, Casilla 753, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 3 353 0808
Fax: +591 3 352 6993
Email: info@sccs.edu.bo
Website: www.sccs.edu.bo

Santa Cruz International School
SCIS uses an international curriculum leading towards examinations at secondary level specifically designed for schools throughout the world by an organization known as Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).
Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
Website: www.scis-bo.com

Local News in English

Bolivia Times
This is an English-language news site and aggregator publishing stories from within the region and the world.
Website: www.boliviatimes.com

Bolivia Weekly
Bolivia Weekly is a news agency founded in 2010 dedicated to providing news on Bolivia. They bring rarely-heard news from Bolivia to the rest of the world and publish a weekly podcast so that listeners can catch up on Bolivian news on the go from mobile devices.
Website: www.boliviaweekly.com

Country Information 

Location: South America
Capital City: Sucre
Other Important Cities: La Paz, Santa Cruz
Currency: Boliviano (B$)
Language: Spanish and Aymara
Calling Code: +591
Internet TLD: .bo

Electricity: Bolivia runs on 220V 50Hz. Coverage is still improving especially in rural areas. Much of its electricity is drawn from thermal generation and hydro power. Rental homes and apartments are usually already connected to electricity services which has been done by the landlord. Electricity in Bolivia is inexpensive.

Emergency Numbers: 
Ambulance: 118
Fire: 119
Police: 110

Country Information

Country Study

Embassy Information

Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Certain countries are allowed to enter Bolivia visa-free. This includes most of South American countries, Central America, Western Europe, Australia, and some Asian countries. Other countries, such as the US can get a visa on arrival. The rest will have to obtain a tourist visa via Bolivian Embassy or consulate.
If you intend to reside in Bolivia for work, study or retirement, you will need to acquire a Specific Purpose Visa or Visa de Objeto Determinado. This type of visa lasts for 30 days, during which you must submit your residency application and fulfill its requirements. A document will be given to you that will say your application is being processed as you await the approval or rejection of your application by the Bolivian government.
Expats in Bolivia on tourist visa may not apply for a specific purpose visa, heavy fines and delay will be incurred.
For more information on tourist and specific purpose visas to Bolivia, please visit this site: www.boliviawdc.com/visas-en


Most expats are located at Sucre, the capital. It enjoys cool temperatures all year long due to its high elevation at 2800m. Sucre is the center of tourism; many government, historical and religious landmarks are located in this city. Expats also flock to other major cities like Santa Cruz, La Paz and Cochabamba.
Choices of accommodations like hostels, guesthouses and apartments are plentiful in the larger cities. It will be easier to secure housing through real estate agents or Inmobiliarios who has a database of listings.

Driving License

An international driving license and insurance is required to drive legally in Bolivia. Please visit this site for more information on driving in Bolivia: www.adcidl.com/Driving-in-Bolivia.html


Public healthcare in Bolivia is very limited however are adequate and up to standard. Hospitals and medical centers are generally in the major cities like La Paz and Santa Cruz. However as you move away to the rural areas, facilities become even scarcer. There are English-speaking doctors, but they are mostly in the city. Vaccination for yellow fever is required before travelling to Bolivia. Dengue fever and malaria is prevalent in this part of the world, so make sure you seek immunizations from these diseases.
Areas in Bolivia are on a very high altitude which may lead to altitude sickness and relevant symptoms. Expats are advised to secure health insurances to cover any medical expenses that might be incurred.

Insurance Companies

Nacional Vida Seguros de Personas

Comprehensive insurance is designed to provide the best coverage at the national level for hospital, outpatient and emergency.
Address: Av. Monseñor Rivero No. 223 esq. Asunción, Santa Cruz
Tel: +591 3371 6262
Email: nacionalvida@nacionalvida.com.bo

Cardinal Assistance
Assisting anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. A highly qualified team, trained to assist is available to understand and to solve your needs, in your own language. Providing a suitable solution when faced with any unforeseen event.
Tel (United States): +1 866 430 9268
Website: www.cardinalassistance.com 

Cigna Global Health Options
Cigna provides international insurance coverage for expats. International medical evacuation is also available in cases where emergency treatment must be sought outside of the host country.
Website: www.cignaglobal.com


Clinica Foianini

Address: Av. Irala 468, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 3 336 2211
Fax: +591 3 336 5577
Website (Spanish): www.clinicafoianini.com/home.php

Centro Medico Especializado (CEMES)
Address: Avenida 6 de Agosto #2881 San Jorge, La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 2 2430350
Fax: +591 2 2431793
Website (Spanish): http://cemesbolivia.com/
Clinica Nino Jesus S.A.
Clinica Nino Jesus 1: Av. Cañoto Esq. Rafael Peña, Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Clinica Nino Jesus 2: C/ Ballivián # 747, Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Tel (Jesus 1): +591 3 336 6969
Tel (Jesus 2): +591 3 334 2883
Fax (Jesus 1): +591 3 336 6969
Fax (Jesus 2): + 591 3 334 2883
Website: www.clinicaninojesus.com 

Clinico Sirani
Address: 667 Rene Moreno, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: 591 3 3375800
Website: clinicasirani.org

Clinica Del Sur
Address: Obrajes, Avenida Hernando Siles Esq. Calle 7 Nro. 3539, La Paz-Bolivia
Tel: +591 2 2784003, +591 2 2784750
Fax: +591 2 2784753
Email: contacto@clinicadelsur.com.bo
Website: www.clinicadelsur.com.bo

Clinica Alemana
Address: Av. 6 de Agosto 2821, La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 2 24 32 155, +591 2 24 33 676
Fax: +591 2 24 33 023

Clinica Boston
Address: Av Jaime Freyre esq Ricardo, La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 2 422 342

Hospital Ubari
Address: Calle Igmiri # 555, Barrio Urbari, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 3 353 4000
Fax: +591 3 353 7882

Prosalud Clinic
Address: Avenue Isabel la Catolica 810, PO Box 1231, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: +591 3 533 820
Fax: +591 3 526 823

Centro Medico Quirurgico Boliviano Belga
Address: Calle Antezana Nro 455, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Tel: +591 44 22 9407
Fax: +591 44 11 7215


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