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Tips for Budget Travelers

Budget travelers brace yourselves... Bolivia is where it’s at. Decent hostels for under $3 (20 Bs.) per night, a train throughout the entire length of the country just $10 (70 Bs.), and less than $0.50 (2 Bs.) for a crunchy chocolate treat called a BonBon! You’ll be hard-pressed to find Bolivia’s prices disappointing if you’re on a budget and playing it smart. Not only will you be living it up cheap and happy, you may have some extra cash to spend on a futbol match or extra souvenir scarf. In order to stay within your means, consider the ways places you want to save and those which are worth the splurge.



Almost anywhere you travel, with the exception of the remotest of the remote, you will likely have a range (even if limited) of accommodation choices. The lowest prices will probably get you a single bed with sheets and (if your in the cold altiplano) wool blanket. Don’t count on a window, breakfast included, or private (or clean) bath. While this option at under $3 looks appealing, consider adding a couple of Bolivianos for a prepared breakfast, as it should end up cheaper than eating out in the morning. Another option is to camp——if you’re prepared and willing. Many locations in Bolivia drop below freezing at night, with harsh winds and even rain against you, so make sure you have the proper equipment, and attitude, if you want to save money this way.



Street and market food can get a bad rep with traveler’s stomachs, but it’s undoubtedly the cheapest way to eat. It’s hard to go wrong with a breakfast in the local market, as it’s usually just api (a warm purple corn flour drink) and an airy pastry. Lunch and dinner start to get tricky, but a good rule (if you can handle it), is to stick with vegetarian options such as grilled corn, rice, potatoes or yucca. Don’t eat anything uncooked and steer clear of fruit and veggies washed in unpurified water. Basically, it’s up to you to decide whether your stomach or pocket will suffer on this one...



While Bolivia boasts the World’s Most Dangerous Road, boat rides on Titicaca and the epic Salar de Uyuni, they all cost traveler prices. If you truly are on a budget, you realistically won’t get to do them all, but you may be able to pick and choose what fits with you funds. It can help to go in the off-peak season (though note that their winter is really wet), travel in groups for good rates and use public buses verses tour buses when possible. An alternative is the free fun walking, hiking, climbing, biking and camping can bring, if you come equipped pre-trip. Bolivia’s scenery is astounding and it’s unlikely you will be disappointed with self-guided tours.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Bolivia: When To Go, When to Go - Jesuit Missions, Ecotourism in Bolivia, When to go, Etiquette in Bolivia, Tips for Mid-Range Travelers in Bolivia, Safety, Getting Around Chulumani, Traveling with Children in Bolivia and Chulumani When To Go.

24 Sep 2009

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