When to go to Bolivia?

Bolivia has a very clear ‘best time to visit’: the ‘dry season’ from May to October. Within this period the months June through September are the absolute best months to travel to Bolivia, in terms of expected weather conditions and accessibility to all parts of the country.

It can be advisable to avoid traveling to Bolivia from December to March, these months are part of the ‘wet season’. Especially in the highlands of Bolivia the wet weather can cause problems with transport, accessibility and visibility. In the lowlands people face high humidity, insects and frequent downpours.

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The best time to visit Bolivia

Bolivia can be visited year-round, but timing can optimize your holiday experience significantly. Bolivia can roughly be divided in five regions (see map), below you find the ‘best time to travel’ to each of these regions.

  • Highland region (La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Oruro and Salar de Uyuni): the best time to travel to the Andes (Altiplano) and highlands in the west of Bolivia is during the ‘dry season’. The ‘dry season’ lasts from May to October and is equal to the winter in Bolivia. Within the ‘dry season’, the months June to September normally have the clearest skies and the driest weather. This results in the best view, the best accessibility and the least chance of floods. For example, the famous Salar de Uyuni salt desert can be flooded from December to March. Unfortunately, the best time to go to Bolivia also is the coldest and the most crowded time of the year. Especially when the sun goes down, temperatures can go well below freezing at these high altitudes. During the day, however it can be really hot, so there is a huge difference in temperature within 24 hours. You can escape the large crowds by traveling to the highlands in April, May, October or November (the shoulder season). In these months there is a higher chance of rain, but the minimum temperature will also be higher and the crowds will be fewer.
  • Cordillera Central (Cochabamba, Sucre, Tarija and Potosi): this is a Bolivian mountain range in the middle of the country (east of the Altiplano) that divides the three river basins in Bolivia. It also includes the second highest peak in Bolivia. The Cordillera Central region has the best climate of all Bolivian regions. The best time to go to this part of Bolivia also is from May to October.
  • The Yungas valley: this is the sub-Andean semi-tropical jungle located in the northwest of Bolivia (eastern slope of the Andes), located between the highlands and the Amazon. This highland valley region is the cloudiest, rainiest and most humid region of Bolivia. The Yungas valley region can best be visited from April to October.
  • Tropical lowlands (Trinidad, Santa Cruz de la Sierra): the best time to visit the tropical lowlands of Bolivia is during the ‘dry season’ from May to October. These tropical lowlands are covering the eastern part of Bolivia (see map below). This area is hot and wet most of the time, but during the ‘dry season’, it is comparatively dry. Between May and July however, the cold 'Surazo' wind can blow in from Argentina, making the temperature drop significantly. Since this wind often is accompanied by rain, it can feel chilly. Keep in mind when making your itinerary that flights to the Amazon region are more reliable during the ‘dry season’, than during the ‘wet season’. The 'dry season' also is the best time to observe animal life in this region, as they all gather around the lagoons that are their source of (scarce) water and food.
  • Gran Chaco (Santa Cruz): this is the south-eastern region of Bolivia, bordering Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. This region has a semi-arid climate, where there is the most rainfall between December and March. The temperature during the day ranges between 85 and 104°F, or 20 and 30°C. The nights can be significantly colder. The best time to go to the Gran Chaco region is the winter season, from April to October.

Note that during the ‘best time to visit Bolivia’ (June to September) the majority of the Bolivian festivals take place. This is nice to experience the local culture, the drawback is that together with the North American and European tourists, also the Bolivian and South American tourists hit the road. Make sure that you book your accommodation, flight and trips in advance, if you travel to the Bolivian 'hotspots' during the high season.

The famous ‘Altiplano’ (high plateau in Spanish) covers a substantial part of Bolivia, on average the height of this high plateau is 12,300 feet or 3,750m. It covers much of the west, central and south part of Bolivia, including cities like Oruro, Potosi and La Paz (capital of Bolivia). For a clear overview of the above mentioned five regions and the famous ‘Altiplano’, see this map (not exact scale):

Best time to visit bolivia map

The neutral months to visit Bolivia

The ‘shoulder season’ to travel to Bolivia is the period from April to May and the period from October to November. During these months the country is in the transition from the 'dry season' to the 'wet season', or vice versa. These months are ideal to travel to the highlands of Bolivia: you avoid the large crowds and most likely the temperature at night is more comfortable, than in the peak of the 'high season'. However, there is a larger chance of rain during the 'shoulder season'.

Better not to go to Bolivia

If you are flexible in traveling dates, it can be recommendable to avoid traveling to Bolivia from December to March: the peak of the ‘rainy season’. In the highlands this season can cause problems with transportation, visibility and accessibility. Also, the famous ‘Salar de Uyuni’ salt desert can be flooded. For the tropical lowlands this is the wettest and most humid time of the year. Expect high humidity, mud, frequent tropical downpours and annoying bugs in this region. Road transport can become impossible, but due to the rain, river transport intensifies.

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Weather and seasons of Bolivia

Bolivia only has two seasons (the opposite from the Northern Hemisphere):

  • Dry season (winter): May through October.
  • Rainy season (summer): November through April.

It is important to know that the seasons are the similar for the highlands and for the lowlands. The coldest days are, not surprisingly, during the peak of the winter: June to September. Note that during the day at high altitude the temperature can be very high though.

The temperature in the Amazon (tropical lowlands) is higher than in the highlands. In the Amazon region, the temperature ranges between 80 and 90°F (27 and 32°C) year-round. On the other hand: the capital of La Paz, located on the Altiplano, sees a yearly average temperature of only 47°F or 8°C.

The wettest days are during the peak of the rainy season: December to March. La Paz and Oruro could see some snow at the end of the rainy season.

The weather overview pictures below (both °F and °C) perfectly show that in Bolivia the least precipitation is received in the winter months May to October. They also perfectly reflect the fall of the average minimum temperature in the winter, with its peak in the months June, July and August. The most precipitation is received in the heart of the summer months.

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of Bolivia (°F) Weather of Bolivia (°C)

Map and current weather of Bolivia

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.

Best time to visit specific highlights of Bolivia

  • La Paz: the best time to visit La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, is from April to October. The weather is dry, sunny and clear during this winter season and the amount of rain is the fewest. Note that the nights can be really cold during this time of the year at this altitude.
  • Lake Titicaca (Copacabana): is one of the highest situated lakes in the world (12,500 feet / 3800 meter), located in both Bolivia and Peru. There are around 36 islands on the lake, many of them are of great importance for the ancient Incas. Many tours are organized around this lake. The main town on the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca is Copacabana. Lake Titicaca can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit Lake Titicaca is from May to October (winter). During this period there is the least chance of rain and the sky is the clearest.
  • Potosi: is the capital of the Potosi region. Potosi city is one of the world's highest cities (13,290ft or 4,050m), located 56 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Sucre. Potosi is part of the Cordillera Central region, which has the best climate of Bolivia. The best time to visit Potosi is during the 'dry season', from May to October.
  • Rurrenabaque:
  • Salar de Uyuni:
  • Sucre: is part of the Cordillera Central region. The best time to travel to Sucre is from May to October, the 'dry season'. Sucre (9220ft or 2810m) is known for its amazing colonial architecture and its relaxed atmosphere. Due to the mild climate, the historical buildings are relatively well preserved. The city center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Below you find 2 recommended travel adventures in and through Bolivia, organized by G Adventures.

Bolivia Discovery Andes to the Atlantic Experience
Bolivia Discovery Andes to the Atlantic Experience

People who want to leave shortly, can find good last minute deals here: save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages

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Skiing in Bolivia

Bolivia used to have the highest ski resort on earth, this resort is located on a glacier on the Chacaltaya mountain, 12 miles (20 km) from La Paz. Unfortunately, skiing is not possible anymore, since the glacier has melted down since 1999. However, Chacaltaya is still a popular destination for mountaineers. You can drive up by car close to the summit and hike up the final 600 feet to the almost 18,000 foot summit of the Chacaltaya.

Pay special attention to

  • Clothing: people visiting the Andes region are advised to wear several layers of clothing, to be able to coop with the extreme temperature changes during the day.
  • La Paz elevation: people flying directly to La Paz, should give themselves time to get used to the elevation (approximately 12,000ft / 3700m). Also pay attention to the fact that within the city of La Paz, the altitude difference is up to 3000ft or 910m. This has also implications to the temperature, the south side of the city normally is a bit warmer.
  • Road conditions: keep yourself informed about the condition of the roads, especially in the 'wet season' roads can become inaccessible due to the rain, landslides and rising water levels. Keep in mind when planning long distance road trips that the road conditions in Bolivia are far from perfect.
  • UV radiation: protect yourself at all times against UV radiation, especially at high elevation. Sunburns are common at these altitudes, especially in the Salar de Uyuni, where the sun is reflected by the white salt flats.
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Do you have a question about visiting Bolivia? Or do you want to share your knowledge of Bolivia with other travelers? Please, visit our Bolivia forum.

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