Expat guide to living and the way of life 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:  [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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