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Living in Bolivia

Bolivia has a growing ex-pat population and there are plenty of foreign owned bars, restaurants and tour operators throughout the country, as well as a large number of NGO (non-governmental organisation) workers. Most of this community is spread around Bolivia’s major cities, but there are also a number of smaller settlements that have a large ex-pat presence, including Samaipata in the Santa Cruz Department and Coroico in the semi-tropical Yungas near La Paz.

In La Paz, expect to pay around $100 for a room in a furnished apartment in the centre, although you can find unfurnished rooms on the outskirts of town for considerably less than this. If you want to rent your own apartment, you will normally be required to sign a year contract and leave a deposit of at least one month’s rent. Rental costs vary greatly, from around $150 for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment, to $1000 for a four-bedroom furnished penthouse. You could also consider living with a Bolivian family - a good option if you’re learning Spanish. Many language schools and volunteer organisations can help you find a homestay.

The cost of living can be expensive in relation to local wages. Basic food items, such as bread and rice are relatively cheap, but imported foods are expensive. Toiletries such as shampoo are considered luxuries and are pricey, as are imported medicines, which can cost you as much as they do in Europe or the US.

If you plan to stay on in Bolivia for more than a few months, you will have to apply for temporary residency, which requires a work contract or proof of how you finance yourself during your time in the country. See work visas for more details.



Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Bolivia: Tours, Accommodation Overview, Huaca Huañusca, When to go, Bolivian Dress, Useful Addresses, Spanish Schools in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Highlights (Salt Flats Tour Highlights), Tips for High-End Travelers in Bolivia and Bolivia-Language.

17 Feb 2010

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