Bolivia is a very bio-diverse country. It’s got the Amazon jungle, immense salt flats, and the world’s highest city at 11,890 feet (3,625 meters). With such a wide variety of natural ecosystems, it should come as no surprise that the weather patterns are just as diverse.
Before booking your Bolivian adventure trip, it’s important to take into consideration the following two factors: The region you want to visit and the weather at different times of the year.
So when is the best time to visit Bolivia? Let’s find out.
Bolivia has a wet season and a dry season. The dry season coincides with the “high” tourist season from May to October while the wet season or “low season” is from December to March.
By September Bolivia gradually gets rainier and by November rainy season is at its peak. The temperature averages about 18 °C (64 °F) in the plains and about 8 °C (46 °F) in mountains.
During the rainy season, visitors are much more likely to have disrupted travel plans. By that, I mean that more rain means more cancelations, delays, and other inconveniences.
Bolivia’s infrastructure is different than what you are probably used to. The roads aren’t as resistant to mother nature and it’s not uncommon for routes to get blocked or even completely washed away.
This can cause treks and excursions to get canceled, buses to get delayed, and sometimes you might be told that you just can’t get to where you wanna go.
While I know these kinds of inconveniences can be frustrating, keep an open mind and be positive because one thing is for sure, it will be an adventure. Let’s face it, the best stories come from the times when things don’t go exactly as planned!
Most would say that May to October is the best time to visit Bolivia because there are bright blue skies, very little rainfall, and better travel conditions.
June and July are the dryest and sunniest months, but in Bolivia sun is not synonymous with warm. This is a good time to travel, but it gets cold – especially in the highlands – so pack accordingly.
I’m talking winter jackets, scarves, and gloves because at night it can drop to below freezing and most treks depart before the sun comes up.
August is still pretty cold in the mountains but August is a perfect time to visit the Amazon because it welcomes cooler weather as a reprieve from the humidity. Obviously, It’s the jungle so it’s still warm most days, but there are occasionally “surazos ” that blow through and the temperature drops significantly and it stays cool for a couple of days.
September and October are great months to visit Bolivia because it’s starting to drizzle but is mostly dry and the temperatures start to rise.
The best time to visit Bolivia also depends largely on the places you want to visit so lets take a look at some of the most popular tourist attractions in Bolivia.
Salar de Uynui Salt Flats
Arguably Bolivia’s most popular place is Salar de Uyuni. It’s 10,000 square kilometers (4000 square miles) of shimmering salt. It was formed from the drying up of vast prehistoric lakes and the salt flats stretch as far as the eye can see.
If you are hoping to visit the Uyuni Salt Flats, choose your dates carefully. There is a very small window of time in April when the Salt Flats are basically perfect – there is still water that creates the reflective mirror effects, but it’s not so deep surrounding attractions are flooded and unavailable.
In April it’s also not as cold as in winter and there is just enough rainfall. There also tend to be fewer tourists during this time.
Isla del Sol
La Isla del Sol is a beautiful island on the world’s highest freshwater lake. Lago Titicaca has incredible views and there are lots of hikes there. This island is kind of desolate, but it’s a unique island that gives you a glimpse into how the locals live and would probably be best to visit during the dry season (May to October).
La Paz is unlike any city I have ever seen before. It’s a massive city that is situated in a valley that’s at a really high altitude. It has all the typical characteristics of a city: hectic and fast-paced, but it’s also quite magical.
My favorite way of getting around was the Gondola. It gets you around the city faster and you get unbeatable views of the city. La Paz is known for its famous witch market called Jimenez where you can all kinds of artisanal goods and the famous San Pedro prison.
The best time to visit La Paz is in the dry season. It’s much more fun to walk around and explore without getting rained on.
If you haven’t heard of it before you might be wondering why in the world you would want to go to a place called Death road. While it’s much safer these days, it was once the most dangerous road in the world. It’s a switchback narrow road located high up on the cliffs.
The death road starts in the Andes and ends in the Amazon so I would steer clear of this area during the rainy season. As you can imagine, the famous death road gets muddy and therefore more dangerous than usual. If it is too rainy, the bike tour might be closed due to unsafe conditions.
- Unlike some of Bolivia’s neighboring countries i.e Peru, there are no major price increases or decreases throughout the year because – to put it simply – they just don’t get nearly as many tourists.
- Speaking from experience, I would pack a blanket for long bus rides and layer up because it gets cold. I am not exaggerating when I say I thought I was going to freeze to death – okay well maybe I’m exaggerating a little.
To Sum up
Bolivia is an amazing country that has all kinds of weather and all kinds of nature. The best time to visit weather-wise is from May to October, but don’t forget to consider where you want to go first.