Bolivia Frequently Asked Questions
What is the climbing like?
IMG guide Greg Vernovage describes the climbing in Bolivia:
"Huayna Potosi (HP) and Illimani (Illi) are certainly a notch or two up from Rainier. In my experience, quite a few people head to the peaks of South America to see what they're capable of on larger mountains. HP and Illi are both steep and heavily glaciated peaks. The nature of the climbing differs from that on Rainier in a couple of ways. HP and Illi do have massive glaciers yet, we spend little time on terrain that typifies glacier travel (crossing crevasses, dealing with ice falls, seracs... etc.). Much of the climbing sticks to ridge lines comprised of snow and ice. Never is the climbing so steep as to necessitate two ice tools but, on occasion there will be fixed line in place or running belays being used on the climbs. In terms of objective hazards (rock fall, ice fall... etc.) yes, these mountains do have them but, they are pretty user friendly compared to some other peaks I've guided (sticking predominately to ridges really helps). So, to summarize the route conditions... some steeper snow and ice, generally on ridge lines, at altitude, climbing in rope teams of three to five people, and using fixed lines and running belays when the exposure to a fall is unmanageable with a team arrest/self-arrest."
How do I get there?
Is a visa required?
A visa is needed and can be obtained on arrival at the LaPaz airport. The cost is US $160 (cash) and the visa is good for the life of your passport. The visa applications forms are usually handed out on board your flight to LaPaz. You will need to have your passport handy to present to immigration officials in LaPaz upon landing, a 2" x 2" passport photo, the visa fee, and the visa application form. We will also provide you a letter before the trip begins confirming your reservations (sometimes you need to present this when getting the visa on arrival in LaPaz).
What kind of insurance do I need?
We invest in insurance coverage for commercial liability and medical and disability insurance for our employees while participating on our programs. We cannot insure you for your personal needs, but we do expect you to be as fiscally responsible as we are. We require that you insure yourself against potentially expensive difficulties that may arise. First, Trip Cancellation Insurance may provide financial relief should you be forced to withdraw from the program before it even happens. Next, make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip. Medical care and evacuation in remote locations can be expensive. For more information, please see our page on Trip Cancellation and Travel Insurance.
What immunizations will I need?
- Tetanus-Diphtheria - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- Polio - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- MMR - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- Meningitis - Recommended. Consult your physician.
- Hepatitis A - Recommended. Consult your physician.
- Hepatitis B - Not a bad idea. Ask your physician.
- Cholera - Ask your physician. Not usually recommended any more.
- Typhoid - Not a bad idea to be safe. The tablet form, Vivotif Berna, is good for five years.
- Rabies - The new vaccine is easy. Rabid animals are occasionally encountered in Bolivia.
- Malaria - Not necessary unless you plan on traveling, for example, to certain areas near sea level before/after the trip... then malaria chemoprophylaxis is recommended (we suggest Malarone)
- Yellow Fever - Not necessary unless you are coming to Bolivia from an endemic country.
Please consult your physician or local health department for their recommendations.
You should also ask your physician for a prescription for a course of the antibiotic azithromycin ("Z-Pak"). Please consider this to be part of your required equipment.
We recommend that you visit the travel clinic at a major University Hospital or your local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at www.cdc.gov.
What's included in the trip cost?
Guides @ 2:1 ratio, including IMG senior guide along with our IMG Bolivian guides, cooks, drivers, porters/mules, group equipment (kitchen, tents, etc.), climbing permit fees/park fees/museum/boat to Sun Island, airport transfers, ground transportation, lodging starting with your arrival in La Paz until our return to La Paz (3 nights in La Paz Hotel included: 2 before, 1 after climb. We can make the reservation for you if you wish to come early or stay on after the trip ends). Welcome dinner on first night and continental breakfasts in La Paz, and all food after departing La Paz are included.
Cost Does Not Include
International airfare to/from Bolivia, Bolivia visa on arrival ($160), taxis, food and lodging should you arrive in La Paz early or stay longer than itinerary (Please let us know if you arrive in the middle of the night and would like a day room reserved upon arrival), alcoholic beverages during the trip, personal shopping and snacks. Lunch and dinner in La Paz not included (except for Welcome Dinner). Please bring $300 for the tip pool. We will collect this at the Hotel, for distribution to all the Bolivian staff (drivers, porters, cooks, guides, etc). If you would like to provide some additional tip money to your IMG guide, this is up to you! We suggest 5% as a good starting point.