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  Bolivia : Handbook : Security

SECURITY  

Security

In the city

You can rest assured that Bolivia is one of the most peaceful, safe, and hospitable countries in Latin America. Fortunately, the guerillas don't belong to this society and extreme crimes do not regulate the city, rather, they are rare exceptions. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't still be cautious; although serious crimes may occur, you are more likely to be perpetrated by another foreigner, however, there is always your typical robber who takes advantage of every opportunity. Because of this, it is a good idea to carry only what you need; avoid wearing jewelry or other valuable objects such as watches and excess money. Furthermore, try not to call attention to yourself by exposing your camera too much. In general, the thousands of tourists that have visited the country over the years have experienced the hospitality of the people and Bolivian citizens can surely consider themselves courteous and hospitable, always willing to welcome visitors.

Hotels

If you consider the hotel in which you are staying reliable, you should consider leaving objects of value in the hotel safe; be sure to double check what you are leaving and sign a receipt that confirms the good condition of your belongings so that nothing is taken or replaced. Make sure that the doors and windows to your room remain closed and secure, and if you leave things behind in the hotel and take only what you need, remember not to leave valuables in plain sight or reach of the housekeeper. In Bolivia there is a division of the national police force called Policia del Turismo (Tourist Police), that help and protect all the tourists that visit the country.

Women traveling alone

Although Bolivia has had a female president, Lidia Gueiller Tejada (1979-1980) and a female mayor in La Paz from 1993-1995, Mónica Medina de Palenque; the male mentality has not changed very much. The Bolivian, in general, does not look fondly upon females that are traveling by themselves, especially from the northern hemisphere, such as the United States or Europe. They may look at you suspiciously and have the preconceived notion that these "type of women" are just like the females that appear in the foreign magazines and movies, which can become frustrating. It is okay, perhaps, to remember that this type of behavior can be attributed to a simple case of ignorance. In any case, it is always best to walk with somebody at night in quieter, more remote areas.

Emergency telephone numbers

Area Code
La Paz (2)
Ambulance
118

Fire Department

119
Radio Patrol
110
Nationwide Search Service
138
Bolivian Red Cross
222-7818, 222-6936
Airport
281-0122, 281-0123

Precautions

This is a list of suggestions to follow in order to ensure a safe, hassle-free trip.

  • Take a photocopy of your passport, a copy of both sides of your credit cards and travelers checks. Carry these copies in another pocket or bag.
  • Have your passport, air ticket, credit cards, etc. in a safe place.
  • Don't leave valuables in your hotel room. Bring these objects to the reception so they can store them in the hotel safe.
  • Go to the ATM's in the morning or afternoon and try to go with another person. If you don't have somebody to go with, find one with a policeman close by.
  • Ask somebody working at the hotel if it is safe to walk in the area around the hotel and what areas are dangerous that you should avoid.
  • If you travel with expensive equipment, it is best to obtain extra insurance for it ahead of time.
  • Be alert, especially in crowded places.
 
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