Bolivia
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Travel and accommodation costs for cosmetic surgery in Bolivia

The main international airport in Bolivia is La Paz (El Alto) International Airport, but Santa Cruz (Viru Viru) is also a popular entry point from Europe.  There are several other international airports:  Santa Cruz (El Trompillo and Salvador Ogaya airports), Tarija (Oriel Lea Plaza), Pando and Cochabamba.  La Paz International Airport is located 14km south west of the city.  There are regular coach services (as well as minibuses and taxis) into the city centre with a journey time of around 20 minutes.  The services from the city to the airport leave from Plaza Isabel La Católica.  Santa Cruz (Viru Viru) is located 16km from the city centre and there are taxis available at arrivals.

You can enter Bolivia from any of the neighbouring countries by road (the best routes are from Argentina or Peru as routes from Brazil and Chile are poor and those from Paraguay would need a 4WD).  Drivers require a 'hoja de ruta' (circulation card) from the Servicio Nacional de Tránsito at the frontier.  You can also travel by train from neighbouring countries as there are rail connections to La Paz from La Quiaca and Pocitos in Argentina, from Arica in Chile, and from Coroba in Brazil.

Travelling within the country

Long distance journeys in Bolivia are generally done by air - or bus – with the faster option obviously being by air, but be aware that delays, cancellations and general unreliability do still occur.  Domestic flights are served by La Paz (El Alto) and Santa Cruz (Viru Viru) airports and airlines operating internal flights are AeroXpress, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (LAB) and TAM Airlines. Bolivia's national airline is AeroSur.

If you are planning on travelling around the country and flying to several locations then the 'Visit South America Pass' is a good option and is valid within Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile (except Easter Island), Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.  Participating airlines include Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN and Qantas.  The pass must be bought outside South America and allows unlimited travel to 34 cities with a minimum of three flights with no maximum amount of flights.  The cost depends on the amount of flight zones you book, talk to your flight consultant for more information when buying your international ticket.

Major cities have inter-country train stations but train travel is not advisable as there are reduced services since privatisation and those that do run are slow and unreliable.  Equally, cross country bus journeys connecting all of the country's 'department's are long and mostly involve overnight trips.  You need to arrive half an hour earlier than departure to ensure a seat and fares vary according to distance and destination. 

Driving

There are the usual car rental companies at the airport and in major cities and driving is on the right.  To hire a car you will need to have an International Driving Permit which can be obtained either from the Federación Inter-Americana de Touring y Automóvil (on production of a national licence) or better still before departure from your own country.  The Pan-American Highway which links the Argentine Republic with Peru crosses Bolivian territory from the south to the northwest but driving in the rainy season is dangerous.  During recent years, new roads have been developed and the principal highways are now well-maintained but the general road network in Bolivia is poor.

There are fixed rates for taxis and you may find yourself sharing a taxi with other passengers!  Fixed route taxis are the ‘Trufi’ and ‘Trufibus’ - look out for the coloured flags depicting the different routes.  The 'truck' is usually half the price of a bus, and usually more reliable, though slightly less comfortable.  You can hire a taxi driver for a whole day for a remarkably low price.

Accommodation and vaccinations

Hotels in Santa Cruz are very affordable.  You can expect to pay around €20 to €30 for a room in a four star hotel and around €10 to €25 for a three star.  If you fancy a bit of luxury then a room in a five star hotel is still affordable, at around €40 a night. 

Some vaccinations should be taken before departure:  The Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended if you are planning on visiting tropical areas, check with your doctor or a travel clinic for detailed medical advice and while in the country remember to only drink the bottled water.

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