Moving to Bolivia

Bolivia is diverse in every sense and expats relocating to this landlocked country will find that Bolivian culture draws strongly from its deep multi-ethnic indigenous roots, centuries of Spanish occupation and the influence of its five neighbouring countries. Landscapes are varied in Bolivia and range from the soaring peaks of the Cordillera Real to the stunning salt flats of Uyuni and the tropical rainforest environment of the Amazon Basin. 

Bolivia has a small expat population, and the majority of foreigners can be found in either the capital, Sucre, or other major cities like Santa Cruz, La Paz and Cochabamba. Most expats are employed by NGOs or are volunteering for a short period. The Bolivian government has also implemented a number of policies to encourage foreigners to set up businesses in the country. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America but thanks to the country’s oil, natural gas and mineral resources, the country is experiencing some economic growth.

While expats will find that public transport is affordable, it is not up to the standards of more developed parts of the world. Driving in Bolivia is not for the faint-hearted. Those brave enough to get behind the wheel should be aware that road infrastructure and signage are of a poor standard and that driving conditions are chaotic.

Since the 1980s, Bolivia has become an increasingly stable and peaceful country but safety and security are still concerns for expats here. Expats should take precautions to keep valuable items out of sight.

While there are some good private hospitals in Bolivia, the general standards of medical facilities are poor. Often hospitals are under-funded and waiting times are long. It is important for expats to ensure that they have a full health insurance policy that covers them for treatment outside Bolivia.

Ultimately, those planning on moving to Bolivia will need to make adjustments to accommodate a slower pace of life. Expats need to be prepared to overcome bureaucratic barriers, but those with a sense of adventure will really enjoy expat life in this land of unparalleled natural beauty.

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