Foreign travel advice

Bolivia

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

UK health authorities have classified Bolivia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Yellow fever vaccine should be given to travellers 9 months of age and older travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the entire departments of Beni, Pando, and Santa Cruz, and some areas in the Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija departments. Yellow fever vaccine may not be suitable for some individuals so you should seek further advice from your GP, practice nurse or private travel clinic.

Certain medications prescribed for personal use in the UK are treated as narcotics in Bolivia, with severe penalties for import or export without a valid prescription from a doctor. You should refer to the list of controlled substances that are considered narcotics in Bolivia. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from a doctor describing the medical condition and any prescribed drugs. If you bring medicines with you, make sure they are in their original containers and clearly labelled.

Foreign nationals aren’t entitled to free medical treatment in Bolivian public hospitals. Public hospitals tend to be crowded and often don’t meet UK standards. Private healthcare facilities that work with international insurance companies are available in major cities. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from a doctor describing the medical condition and any prescribed drugs. If you bring medicines with you, make sure they are in their original containers and clearly labelled.

Dengue Fever is common to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. Rain and flooding can lead to an increase in dengue carrying mosquitoes, leaving affected areas more vulnerable to dengue breakouts. Malaria is also common in lowland tropical areas (Beni and Pando) and the area known as Chaco in the south (Yacuiba, Paracari).

Some areas have been designated as ‘high risk’ for yellow fever. When outbreaks occur, the government sets up vaccination points at police checkpoints. At each of these, you may be vaccinated if you do not hold a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Local authorities have declared a health alert in the department of Santa Cruz due to a number of confirmed cases of Chikungunya virus. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Parts of Bolivia, including La Paz are at high altitude. This factsheet includes advice on how to reduce the risk of altitude sickness and what to do if you develop symptoms.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.