Bolivia is an underdog when it comes to digital nomad destinations in South America. Not as popular as Brazil or Colombia, the landlocked country scores points with natural beauty and authenticity. On this basis, here is a complete Bolivia digital nomad guide.
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Welcome to Bolivia: a Fascinating South American Destination
Home to the towering Andes in the West and the Amazon lowlands in the East, Bolivia is a diverse country, both in terms of nature and population.
In this context, Bolivia has the highest proportion of indigenous people in South America, and it’s also the only country with a high prevalence of indigenous languages in everyday life. As such, many people in Bolivia are native Quechua or Aymara speakers.
For digital nomads, Bolivia has the advantage that it’s authentic and affordable. Better still, it has lots of stunning nature sites to explore.
Here is a complete Bolivia digital nomad guide covering all the bases.
The Best Cities in Bolivia for Digital Nomads
If you’re thinking about working remotely in Bolivia, you’ll want to base yourself in one of the main cities. The smaller towns simply don’t have enough infrastructure to function as nomad bases. Here are some of the best cities in Bolivia to live as a digital nomad.
Sucre: Bolivia’s Underrated Capital
Sucre is arguably the prettiest city in Bolivia. It’s the country’s constitutional capital (La Paz is the seat of government) and has some of Bolivia’s best-preserved colonial architecture.
Apart from that, there are lots of cozy bars and restaurants in the center. In terms of tourist attractions, the world’s biggest dinosaur footprints are in Sucre.
All in all, Sucre is the most pleasant and relaxing city to base yourself as a remote worker in Bolivia. Due to its small size, however, it might become a bit boring over time.
Santa Cruz: the Most Developed City
For tourists, there isn’t much to see in Santa Cruz. Because Santa Cruz has the country’s busiest international airport, most people only land here and head straight to another city.
For nomads, on the other hand, Santa Cruz is one of the best cities in Bolivia.
First, it’s the country’s largest and most developed city. If you want Western-style infrastructure, Santa Cruz (specifically, Equipetrol, the upscale district) is your best bet in Bolivia.
The city also has great nightlife and a charming historic core. To conclude, if you want a modern and well-developed city – with few tourists, Santa Cruz is a top choice.
Cochabamba and Potosi: the Lesser-Known Cities
Cochabamba is the fourth-largest city in Bolivia and is home to some stunning colonial architecture and also a modern district. It’s known as a “city of eternal spring” – thanks to its pleasant temperatures year-round.
Potosi is another large city between Sucre and Uyuni. It’s a bit like La Paz (high altitude and lots of interconnected neighborhoods), but with fewer tourist attractions.
Both cities have enough infrastructure for nomads, but they cannot compete with La Paz or Santa Cruz. The main argument in choosing Cochabamba or Potosi concerns their authenticity and cultural offer.
La Paz: the Gateway to Peru and Many Famous Attractions
La Paz is the most-visited city in Bolivia, thanks to its proximity to many famous attractions.
It’s also located close to the border with Peru and Lake Titicaca, making it a popular stopover destination for backpackers.
When it comes to digital nomads, La Paz is chaotic and a bit gritty, but it does have advantages. The area of Sopocachi is one of the most developed neighborhoods in Bolivia and is home to lots of cozy coffee shops, coworking spaces, and Airbnbs.
Be aware that La Paz sits at an altitude of 3,640m (11,942 ft). The neighboring city of El Alto is officially the highest big city in the world at 4,150 m (13,620 ft).
As such, it’s crucial to acclimatize if you want to avoid altitude sickness.
Check out my La Paz and El Alto Vlog
Cost of Living in Bolivia
Bolivia is one of the most affordable countries in South America. Food, transportation, and everyday goods are cheap. As such, you won’t break the bank here. Your highest expenses will be tourist activities.
Here is a breakdown of one month of digital nomad expenses in Sucre and La Paz:
- Airbnbs in central Sucre and Sopocachi (La Paz): 700€ per month;
- Food and drinks: 250€;
- Transport: 50€;
- Tourist activities and weekend excursions: 200€;
- Miscellaneous like gym memberships, SIM Cards, and barber appointments: 50€.
Total Bolivia digital nomad budget: 1,250€ (~1,320 USD).
You can easily get that budget down by going through a local rental agency or sharing an apartment. Likewise, you could spend less by reducing your tourist activities.
Infrastructure and Connectivity
Most Bolivian cities are well-connected via bus and domestic flights.
The easiest way to get from one city to another is by plane. BoA and Amaszonas have regular flights between Santa Cruz, La Paz, Cochabamba, Uyuni, and Sucre. A one-way flight rarely costs more than 40 USD.
Alternatively, night buses travel between all the major cities. The distances aren’t that long, but the mountainous terrain often adds several hours to the trip. The night buses generally cost between 10 and 20 USD for a 12 to 14-hour journey.
Bolivia’s average internet speed is only around 15 MBps, but that doesn’t say much.
Some coffee shops, coworking spaces, Airbnbs, and hotels have excellent Wifi, but you’ll only find those in the larger cities.
When I was in La Paz, I spent most of my time working in the Selina – as the chain is renowned for its high-speed Wifi. I also worked quite a bit at the Joyride Café in Sucre, where the internet was decent as well.
Several providers sell you data-only SIM cards. I used Tigo, and their coverage was okay all over Bolivia. The SIM was around 10 USD for 8 GB of data. You can then recharge and get another 8 GB.
Bolivia Digital Nomad Guide: Remote Working Locations
- Selina La Paz: the Selina hostel chain is renowned all over Latin America for its fast Wifi and hip atmosphere, and the La Paz version is no different.
- Link La Paz Coworking Bolivia: one of the best coworking spaces in La Paz with excellent internet and top-notch amenities.
- CoWork Sopocachi: another coworking spot in the upscale neighborhood of Sopocachi, La Paz.
- Joyride Café in Sucre: A café/bar/restaurant with decent Wifi and a lovely atmosphere.
- San Martin Coworking Bolivia in Santa Cruz: a trendy coworking center in Equipetrol, Santa Cruz.
- Central 43 Santa Cruz: another comfortable and well-equipped coworking location in Santa Cruz.
Culture and People
Bolivia is a place where indigenous cultures play a primary role in society. It is also the second poorest country in South America (behind Venezuela).
It’s a country where you’ll find a mix of indigenous traditions – like dresses, festivals, languages – and modernity.
The culture and history are rich, and it’s an excellent place to learn about the customs of Pre-Columbian South America.
Apart from that, Bolivians are generally welcoming and friendly. They are, however, not as outgoing and fun-loving as Brazilians or Colombians. Life isn’t easy in Bolivia, and you’ll see that everywhere.
Bolivia Digital Nomad Guide: FAQ
To complete our Bolivia digital nomad guide, here are some more things to know before traveling to Bolivia.
Is Bolivia Safe?
Bolivia does have some dangers, but they are easy to avoid. Always guard your belongings and don’t walk around at night, except in safe, upscale areas. Ask locals whether an area or region you want to visit is safe for foreigners or not.
There are lots of drug plantations as well as closed indigenous areas in the rural parts of Bolivia. As a consequence, it’s critical to know where you’re going.
I always use a sling bag to keep my belongings safe. My Bellroy Crossbody Bag and my Pacsafe Venturesafe have worked wonders all over South America, and I highly recommend using something similar when venturing into the hustle and bustle of Bolivian cities.
Is There a Bolivia Digital Nomad Visa?
There is no bespoke Bolivia digital nomad visa.
You can either use the tourist visa (most countries can stay visa-free for 30-90 days) or the Special Purpose Visa (Objeto Determinado Visa). The latter is valid for 30 days but can be extended or converted into a residency visa.
Find more info on Bolivia’s visa policy here.
How are English Levels in Bolivia?
In short, not that good. Even for South American standards, English levels are low in Bolivia.
If you stay in the tourist bubbles of La Paz, Lake Titicaca, and Uyuni, you can get around with English, but anywhere else, you’ll need at least basic Spanish.
I always use this resource for basic phrases in foreign languages.
Are There Many Fellow Nomads in Bolivia?
Bolivia isn’t a digital nomad hub. Most foreign visitors are either on organized tours or backpacking. As such, there are no sizable nomad communities.
The most popular cities for nomads in Bolivia are La Paz and Sucre, and to some extent, Santa Cruz. If you want to connect with fellow nomads, these three locations should be high on your list for your Bolivia itinerary.