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Bolivia

Weather

Note that for La Paz, the airport (where temperature rates are recorded) is 400m higher than the city centre, so official temperature recordings are around 40°F (5°C) cooler than that experienced on the street.

When to go

Travelers will encounter just about every climatic zone, from stifling humidity and heat to arctic cold. Summer (November to April) is the rainy season when overland transportation becomes difficult if not impossible in some areas. The most popular, and arguably most comfortable, time for exploring the whole country is during winter (May to October) with its dry, clear days.

Most of Bolivia lies as near to the equator as Tahiti or Hawaii, but its ele­vation and unprotected expanses result in unpredictable weather. Bolivia’s two poles of climatic extremes are Puerto Suárez with its overwhelming heat, and Uyuni for its icy, cold winds. But there are no absolutes; there are times when you can sunbathe in Uyuni and freeze in Puerto Suárez.

Summer (rainy season) in the lowlands can be utterly miserable, with mud, high humidity, biting insects and relentless tropical downpours. However, washed-out roads necessitate an increase in river transportation, making this the best time to hop on a cargo boat. Winter in the Altiplano means extreme heat during the day, and freezing winds and subzero temperatures at night. The highland valleys are refuges, having a comfortable climate with little rain year round.

August is the most popular month of the high tourist season, which runs from late June to early September. High season sees the most reliable weather and coincides with European and North American summer holidays. It’s when most of Bolivia’s major festivals take place, so many Bolivians and South Americans also travel at this time. This can be an advantage if you are looking for people to form a travel group, but prices are generally higher than during the rest of the year.