The majority of travellers have no problems in Bolivia but you should take some basic precautions to help avoid having any problems during your travels. Don’t be paranoid – if you are aware of the issues you can avoid them quite easily and have a safe and enjoyable trip.
The most common crime in the large cities (La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz) is pickpocketing and/or bag slashing. Tourists can be targeted for this sort of crime as they are expected to have more valuables on them than locals. Always be aware in busy areas and areas where tourist frequent such as San Francisco church / Calle Sagarnaga in La Paz and around any busy markets areas in any city. Always be aware of your surroundings and and keep a close eye on your belongings when in any crowded area.
The following are some suggestions to help you avoid any problems during our travels:
- Only take out what you need with you for the day to minimize any loss should you fall victim.
- Carry a photo copy of your passport with you (this is sufficient for many ID purposes) and not your actual passport. Leave you passport locked in a safe place in your hotel/hostel.
- Use a money belt or neck pouch to carry cards and/or the bulk of your cash for the day . Keep a smaller amount of money in a wallet or pocket handy so you do not have to access the main pouch to often in markets etc.
- Make sure you camera is secure. Don’t leave it hanging around your neck, clipped onto your belt or in an accessible part of your bag. The best tactic is to keep your hand on it at all times or at least when other people are nearby.
- If you must wear a day pack then wear it to the side or on your front wear you can guard it and keep an eye on it. Using small padlocks, safety pins or wire ties on the zippers can help stop people getting inside.
- If you suspect thieves are targeting you, often all it takes is to stare at them to make them aware of your suspicions and they will disappear looking for another victim. It is not advisable to confront them as they often work in small gangs.