Do you wonder if traveling with a dog in Bolivia is possible ? I am happy to share my experience 🙂
After a year spent in Colombia with my dog Shark, it is time for us to go back to Europe. Though, we cannot leave South America without visiting a few countries. Peru was the second step of our Latin tour. Now it’s Bolivia’s turn. This country has been attracting me for many years. It just seems to have a glimpse of mystery, something very particular that I cannot even explain. After spending 10 days in Bolivia, I must confess that it left me in awe like few others destinations before.
LAKE TITICACA WITH A DOG
I took advantage of my trip to Peru in January 2017 to cross the border from Cusco to Copacabana, Bolivia. My dog Shark traveled in her crate in the hold of the bus by night. This town is located by the famous Titicaca lake, the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 12,507 ft. Luckily enough, we did not get altitude sickness. Copacabana is a quiet town where people are very used to welcome tourists. It is the starting point of boat expeditions to the highlights of Titicaca lake.
We visited the most famous of them, the sacred island called Isla del Sol. In fact, the Incas believed that it is the birthplace of the sun. The truth is that it felt very close to the sky. I could almost touch the clouds by day and the stars by night. There are no vehicles on the island which is inhabited by approximately 800 indigenous families all year long. The best activity one can do is hiking through Isla del Sol and discover the archeological ruins of the Inca civilization.
Luggage storage : I left my big backpack and Shark’s crate in Hostal Center for $10 during 24h. That’s an excellent solution to travel light while exploring Lake Titicaca. The Hostal is located on Avenida 6 de Agosto, in front of Plaza Sucre in Copacabana.
Vegan Restaurant in Copacabana : I recommend the restaurant of Hostal Joshua for its delicious and cheap vegan burgers and sandwiches. They are also sold in the street, near the bus agency to La Paz, at the corner of Avenida 6 de Agosto and Avenida 16 de Julio.
Note about pet transport by bus in South America : Just like in France, pets are not allowed to travel in the passengers cabin of tourism buses. In South America, most bus companies refuse to transport pets and little are those who accept them in the hold. If your dog is calm and used to travel in his crate like Shark, you may choose this option. You will need to make sure that there is ventilation in hold is ventilated. also, ask the company if they use to transport pets in the hold. Be careful, if your dog is very anxious or if he is snub-nosed (Bouledogue, Carlin, Boxer, Spaniel, Chow Chow, etc.), DON’T put them in the hold.
LA PAZ WITH A DOG
After 24 hours on Isla del Sol, we took the boat back to Copacabana, then a bus to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. The journey lasted 4 hours. As dogs were not allowed with passengers, I negociated with the driver, so he nicely let me and Shark take place on the front seat of the bus, right next to him. Therefore, we enjoyed the most beautiful view the whole way.
When we arrived at San Pedro de Tiquina, I watched one of the most unbelivable shows I have ever seen. We needed to cross the 2,790-feet straight of Tiquina with the bus but there was no bridge. So local people conceived large wooden barges to transport each vehicle, even trucks and buses, from one shore to the other. Passengers, though, had to cross the straight on a motor boat.
The arrival to La Paz from the snowy mountains of El Alto at 13,000 ft. was quite stunning too. After letting our luggage in a dog friendly hostel, we explored the historical centre of the city on foot. I bought a soft Alpaca wool sweater with typical Andean patterns and a colorful collar for Shark. Another must-do activity in La Paz is the Cholitas wrestling. It is actually a show where traditionally-dressed women fight other wrestlers. A lot of Bolivian families come to watch it on Sundays. Shark enjoyed the show too, even though she barked every time people applauded.
Accommodation in La Paz :
- Hotel LP Columbus***(pets allowed with an extra fee of $20/night and you need to bring the crate).
- More dog friendly hotel options in La Paz on Booking.
SALAR DE UYUNI WITH A DOG
After this city break, it was time for us to make one of my travel dreams come true : discover the unique landscape of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt desert at an elevation of 11,995 ft. above sea level. As I obviously didn’t want to put Shark in the hold of a bus during 12 hours, I choose to travel to Uyuni by air. I found a cheap ticket on Easyvoyage and flew the next day with the local airline Amaszonas. The trip to Southern Bolivia lasted less than an hour.
As soon as we landed, we went to the city centre by taxi. We booked a 3-day tour with an off-road 4×4 to explore the Salar and the region of South Lipez until the border with Chile. I have never seen such breathtaking landscapes before. A train cemetery, a salt desert, a rock desert, a giant cactus island, volcanoes, lagoons, geysers, animals like fox, flamingos, vicunas and lamas. It felt very special to be so close to nature and get the chance to admire wild beauty in its purest expression.
Watching my dog Shark running free through spectacular scenery was amazing. She looked so happy to smell countless new odors, meet new people and share new experiences with me. She proved me once again that her adventurous spirit has no limits.
Our travel agency in Uyuni : Sunrise – Sol de Mañana (the other passengers must agree to travel with your dog. No extra fee for pets).
VIDEO OF MY TRIP TO BOLIVIA WITH MY DOG
TRAVELING WITH A DOG IN BOLIVIA: REGULATIONS
To be admitted in Bolivia, dogs and cats must be accompanied by an official health certificate for export of pets, issued by the official entity of country of origin. No fee will be charged at the border, unlike in Peru. Check out the IATA’s website for updated information about pet import regulations for Bolivia.
- Policies about traveling with a pet on the main South American airlines: AVIANCA & LATAM.
- Read my post about “how to travel with a dog by air”
Our journey in Bolivia will remain among our most cherished memories. We are now heading by bus to Chile, another country we are thrilled to explore. To be continued soon on the blog!
Ready to explore Bolivia wity your dog? Already been there? If you have a question, leave me a comment below.