We spent a total of about $1441 in our 34 days in Bolivia. That breaks down to $42.38 per day, or $21.19 per person per day. A little bit over our budget of $15 per person per day, and there are two big reasons for that: 1. $135 per person visas to enter Bolivia 2. The Southwest Circuit tour totaled $206 apiece with the tour price, national park entrance fees, and tips.
We were kind of surprised to realize that we were over budget by this much, because actually, most things Bolivia are REALLY cheap. If you subtract the visa fees, however, we would have been almost exactly on our budget of $15 per person day. That’s pretty good considering the tour to the salt flats was so expensive. We also stayed on the move the whole time we were in Bolivia, not stopping anywhere to volunteer. This is the first country where we didn’t spend a significant chunk of time in one spot volunteering so the fact that we stayed only a little over budget is pretty good.
Some more notes:
Visas: The $135 visas made up a whole 19% of our spending. It’s worth noting that the U.S.A. is the only country we know of whose citizens have to pay for a visa to enter Bolivia. The visa is good for 90 total days with unlimited reentry for five years. (So we need to come back to Bolivia for 60 more days to really get our money’s worth!) The reason we have to pay so much is that Bolivia decided to charge us the same high amount we charge Bolivians to visit the U.S.A. Although it sucks, we agree that it’s a fair policy. So thank you, U.S. government, for costing us money with your awesome foreign policy!
Transportation: We saw almost all of Bolivia and our bus and boat costs were only equal to our visa fees.
Food: Food is super cheap in Bolivia so we ate a lot! In Perú we probably ate half of our meals for free while volunteering, but despite paying for all of our food in Bolivia we only spent 3% more of our budget on it than we did in Perú.
Lodging: We stayed in free hostels only three times (total of seven nights), spent five nights in buses, three nights on the boat, and payed for cheapies the rest of the time. Still only 10% of our spending.
Also, $1=6.8 Bolivianos. This country has to charge me a visa AND make me do math? Dividing by 7 in my head every time I wanted to figure out the price of something was not so fun.
Basically, Bolivia is super cheap, especially if you’re NOT from the U.S.A. and don’t have to pay for a visa!