Bolivia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Bolivia Road Rules
Bolivia drives on the right and you can use the photo licence of any country to drive here for up to 90 days, providing it’s written in Roman alphabet. Drivers from other countries should bring their own licence plus an international driving permit. Speed limits are 80kmh on highways, 70km on rural roads and 50kmh in urban areas.
Roads in Bolivia
Bolivia has 63,000km of roads, but less than 10% are paved. Nevertheless, it has a reasonably well maintained highway system linking major urban areas, though some roads have deteriorated, especially in mountainous areas, so you should expect some pot holes. Gravel and dirt roads will invariably be in a poor state of repair and will require a 4X4 to negotiate them. Main highways in Bolivia are-
RN1 Desaguadero, Peru border – La Paz – Oruro – Potosí – Tarija – Bermejo, Argentina border
RN2 Copacabana, Peru border – La Paz.
RN3 La Paz – San Borja – Trinidad.
RN4 Tambo Quemado, Chile border – Cochabamba – Montero – Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Puerto Suárez, Brazil border
RN5 La Palizada – Sucre – Potosí – Chile Border
RN6 Oruro – Sucre – Chaco, Paraguay border.
RN7 Cochabamba – Samaipata – Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
RN8 Yucumo – Riberalta – Guayaramerín, Brazil border.
RN9 Guayaramerín, Brazil border – Trinidad – Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Yacuíba, Argentina border
RN10 Montero – San Matías, Brazil border.
RN 14 Potosí – Villazón, Argentina border.
At present, the only multi-lane sections of road in Bolivia are as follows-
On RN1 – Oruro – Patacamaya -La Paz for 114 km.
On RN4 – Cochabamba – Quillacollo. Length: 14 km.
On RN4- Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Montero. 48 km.
Bolivia’s Death Road
Driving abroad in Bolivia is famous for having some of the most alarming roads in the world. Roads that intrepid self drivers will just love to show off to friends via photos and videos when they get home. The most famous is the Yungas Road. Known as the ‘Bolivia Death Road’ it winds its way for 69kms from La Paz to Coroico, and connects the Amazonian rain-forest to the capital city. The road climbs to around 4,650 meters at La Cumbre pass, before gradually descending to 1,200 meters at the town of Coroico. As the only route between La Paz and the Yungas region, crowded buses and overloaded trucks were forced to overtake each other on the precipitous, 3 metre wide hairpin bends. Not surprisingly, many didn’t make it, giving the road its nickname. Around 200 drivers were killed annually along Yungas Road, so not surprisingly the authorities took steps to make it safer and the road has now been improved with an overtaking lane and asphalt replacing the dirt surface in places and guardrails. In 2009 a new road was opened linking La Paz to Coroico, leaving the old road for thrill seeking travellers. It’s still possible to drive the road for a fee of around a $1 but you’re now more likely to come across mountain bikers than crowded trucks on the mountain bends- it’s a popular day trip destination for tour companies running bike tours for backpackers. The road still earns its nickname though, as a number of cyclists have died while driving down it in recent years. As the road is no longer a main route it is starting to fall into disrepair and I have heard of occasions in recent years where it has been blocked and only passable on a motorcycle. It’s advisable to check the road’s condition before you attempt to drive it, especially after rain.
Driving in Bolivia
Travel during the rainy season (November to March) is difficult, as most routes are potholed, and some roads and bridges are washed out. High altitude trips can be very cold, especially in the winter (June-August).Some routes along the Andes are single lane, dirt roads with breathtaking dropoffs. Low altitude trips in the tropics can be hot, dusty and humid. Added dangers are the absence of formal training for most drivers, poor maintenance and overloaded vehicles, lack of lights on some vehicles at night, and intoxicated or overly tired drivers, including commercial bus and truck drivers who may be driving a double shift with a mouth full of Coca leaves. Expect the usual congestion, one way systems and navigational challenges in large cities.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Bolivia Car Rental-
Avis and Dollar have branches in Bolivia as do the large South American company Localiza.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Bolivia. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com