Photo Equipment: A lightweight tripod is essential. How else will your friends and family know you visited such a cool place if you're never in the picture? But also, I found it was crucial to have a tripod when photographing the sunrise on the salar. Other uses might be for shooting star trails. It was way to cold for me to photograph star trails, but the skies were absolutely brilliant and clear in SW bolivia.
Luggage and bags:
Read with interest kim83_50158's travel tips.
My family and I just returned from visiting her relatives. We made the mistake of traveling with two suitcases of presents for them plus 3 suitcases of our own -- not counting carry on bags. What a mistake. Besides keeping track of so many bags, the thin air hit us and wore us out with so much "lug"age that first day. We've vowed to give her relatives local stuff next time. Our stuff we'll put in two suitcases and our carry ons.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: One thing we learned from our first trip is how to dress for the weather: We came in Bolivia's winter, so assuming everywhere we went would be cold, we brought no shorts or tee shirts.
Our packing requirements for our next trip is simple: light clothing and shorts for the warmer areas (daytime 60+F), hiking or trail shoes, non-slip street shoes (too much painted cement and polished tile that's slick) - try to avoid wearing leather shoes outside unless you like being asked if you want your shoes shined every 5 minutes. At least one pair of jeans is a must. Don't worry about dressing up unless you are on business. A hat that shields you from the sun is essential. Long sleeves on most days help your arms feel cooler. Breathable clothing is recommended. One fleece pullover is good. Also a light jacket on those nippy evenings. For an idea of what you'll look like, see the accompanying picture of three sensibly-dressed hikers on a day outing near Cochabamba.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: We took a small vial of Tea tree oil. Useful for the few mosquito bites we received. Some Band-Aids. Off bug spray. If you eat uncooked and unwashed fruits and vegetables your first week there the local bacteria will give you diarrhea. Pack Immodium (you can buy it at a Farmacia down there, but if you're not close to an open one...). Introduce these foods into your system slowly until your immune system builds. Toothbrush & paste. Listerine strips, toothpicks, 45 SPF sunscrren. A portable water filter, for when you forget bottled water (we packed extra water containers to carry with us in a fanny pack, which was also useful to carry some of these supplies when we were on an outing, civilization being pretty far away without a lot of travel).
Photo Equipment: We went down there with a 35mm Kodak, 2 digital cameras and a digital camcoder. The camcorder turned out to be the most versatile, but it did not take as good a still shot as one of the digital cameras. The next trip we take the better digital camera, the camcorder, two sets each of memory cards, a four hour battery that works for the camcorder (the one I had as a back up died and I was left taking less footage than I wanted per day), rechargeable batteries with recharger, a good tripod, and dust wipes for the lenses. If you have telephoto lenses bring them. Bolivia's a big country and you want to see it all.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I've read some horror stories about camping in remote areas in Bolivia. Stay in a hostel. If you want to go hiking, bring a day pack but don't try to look like a tourista (read "hippie") - most Bolivians dispise them.
Miscellaneous: The areas near the Yungas (jungle) and on certain days or activities in Cochabamba can become quite hot. Also, even in La Paz or at Lago Titikaka, the sun is a scorcher. Again, the thin air is a contributer to the sun's rays being more intense. As like the desert, though, when the sun goes down, so does the temperature - as much as 20 to 30 degrees.
If you need winter outerwear, buy it there: leather jackets, coats & shoes (cow, lamb, llama), sweaters, gloves & knit caps made from alpaca. Most at one-fifth the price you'd pay here. Much of it hand made. You need to trust these artisans to know how to make clothing to keep themselves warm!
Luggage and bags:
strong Backpack is a good choice, should be lookable
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 4 season a day....so be prepared, that has not changed since the 70's
Miscellaneous: wet weather gear..and warm clothing, hiking boot's, personally I was very happy to have bought some Gloves on the Market in Santa Cruz
Luggage and bags:
If you are a backpacker, there´s one tip I can give you:
Go to a market and buy a sack for potatoes or something similar and put your backpack inside. If there´s any risk, these are the thiefs that try to open your backpack. Inside of the potato-sack they can´t see very well where to cut it.
Besides it cares your backpack very well while travelling with busses and as well in planes.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring warm clothes, especially for the nights in the "altiplano". The streets are not that good at all, so better use sport shoes or good walking shoes ( I think should be normal when travelling around)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: nothing special you can´t find in Bolivia as well
Photo Equipment: already too much foto shops in Bolivia, quality is already good
Luggage and bags: Travel as light as possible, especially if going by bus. And one of the most important things every traveler should have in the third world : gifts for the children. You don't need anything fancy. All I carried was a stack of Disneyworld cards and postcards from New Orleans. Some adults will like them also and it makes for a great way to break the ice in remote locations.
What to take with you depends very much of the season. We ourselves went July, in the winter, the dry season in Bolivia. By day the temperature is comfortable, when walking in the sun (about 20 Celsius). When in the shadow it is immedetiately 4 or 5 degrees colder! We were all day busy putting clothes on and taking them of again. At night temperatures can drop to 10 to 15 degrees below zero (Celsius). So you should bring warm clothing as well as clothing for somewhat warmer weather. Take clothes you can put on in layers.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring something to protect your lips, and your skin if you have a sensitive skin. The atmosfeer is generally very dry.
Luggage and bags:
We couldn't pack too much as we were going trekking later..but clothing is very cheap in Bolivia, so buy when you are here..it also helps the local economy !!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: most items seemed available in the many pharmacies
Photo Equipment: all formats of film/batteries were on sale everywhere
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Tupisa: Bring good comfortable walking shoes/boots as the best way to explore these canyons is by foot. Tours are available but it's not a big distance from the town and as you'll likely have a few days before your transport outta here, why not take your time and enjoy the scenery!
Luggage and bags:
Most airlines traveling to Bolivia only allow you 2 bags of less than 35 Kilos. American Airlines has a policy of not accepting boxes during the summer and the winter seasons.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you are going to Santa Cruz get your summer clothes and your bathing wear. Bring hicking shoes and something semmidressy to wear when you go out at night.
La Paz is cold all year round, so bring winter clothes. There are wonderful wool clothes to buy in La Paz.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: In the country side around Santa Cruz there are mosquitos, so bring your repelent. You can find very good mosquito repelents in any supermarket in Santa Cruz if you don't feel like traveling with it.
Luggage and bags:
to go into the Yungas zone and the Beni amazonian forest you MUST have very good insect repellers. Don't forget to put on your back jacket, into your hat or cap, on your socks and everywhere exposed body zones.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Beni zone is very warm and hot. Your usually clothes are shorts, sport jacket, I recommend to use adecuate shoes for muddy land tracks.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Put good water provisions on your boat for daily cruises
Luggage and bags:
Well, on LAB(Lloyd Aero Boliviano Airline), you can only bring 2 bags that are not more than 70 pounds. On my team, each of us had two bags that were atleast 40 or 50 pounds per bag. That was because we had supplies to bring. But as a tourist, you won't need that much!
This didn't happen to me, personally, but airlines sometimes lose luggage, which happened to one of our sponsors on a previous trip. It would be wise to bring a carryon with all your essentials. You can buy toiletries there, so you don't have to bring everything with you when you leave home. Just be careful of that.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: My team went in their winter which is in the months of May, June, July, & August basically. In the city, it was cool temperatures. At the camp, it was much, much cooler. We had to wear several layers to bed and every morning, we could see our breath when we woke up. And the difference in temperatures between Cochabamba and the camp was also due to a difference in altitude. Bolivia is in the Andes. Santa Cruz is at about 8500 ft above sea level, while Cochabamba is more than 10 000 ft above sea level, and camp was even higher. Bolivia has mild winters and cool summers. So, it would probably be wise to bring warmer clothes no matter what part of the year you'll be there, especially if you're going to be in the higher parts of the country. La Paz is at 12 000 ft, so definitely bring your warm clothes if you go there. Also bring atleast 2 pairs of good walking shoes. Probably some hiking boots would be a good idea if you're going to be outside the urban areas.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Well, when we went, we brought water bottles, simply because the water is very dirty there, so be sure to drink only filtered water. And also, I had an allergic reaction to something(no one knows why still), so bring Benadryl or some type of allergy medicine, especially if you're prone to allergies. And it's very dusty there, because it's an arid climate. They get rain maybe once a year.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We brought warm sleeping bags when my team went. If you're going in the winter, bringing a blanket atleast, might not be such a bad idea. It only rains once a year, so chances are you won't need a raincoat. And if you layer your clothing, all you'll need is a jacket. Bring gloves. It gets nippy!
Photo Equipment: You can never bring too much film to Bolivia. A polarizer will help you deal with the intense sunlight you will encounter too.
Bolivia can be very cold at night, bring warm clothes.
Bolivia puede ser muy fría por la noche, hay que llevar ropa abrigada.
More Regions in Bolivia