From towering mountains and semi-arid forests to serene salt flats, from the jungles of the Amazon to some of the highest cities in the world, Bolivia has a lot to offer – and the weather patterns to match. The climate here changes according to the region and the time of year, and there is a wet season and dry season to consider before booking any tickets.

Without the massive tourist numbers of its neighbors, Bolivia does not see major shifts in prices from one season to the next, though you'll pay slightly more during local holidays and big festivals. Even when there are hikes in rates, locals are often open to negotiating on prices.

Whether you are here for hiking in the Andes, taking selfies on the salt flats or chilling out in the world's highest capital city, here's a guide to the best times to visit Bolivia.

When to go to Bolivia

The high season (May–October) is the best time to experience nature

Bolivia’s dry season run from May to October, mostly falling during the southern hemisphere winter. This is the perfect time for hiking and other outdoor pursuits, especially in the Andean zone, though the highlands will be cold and overnight temperatures can drop below –15°C (5°F) at altitude. In the lowlands, the weather is still warm, and it's less humid than it is over the rest of the year, with a lower chance of torrential rain and all the associated travel disruption.

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The low season (December–March) is the best time for culture and salt flat views

Bolivia's wet season has its own magic. With a fresh dose of rain, the valleys shine are in all their natural splendor and travelers can swim, raft and kayak in crystal clear rivers swelled by the increased rainfall. This is a great time to head north, where the flooded Uyuni salt flats present a mirror to the sky. Just make sure you are flexible with your timings in case there is any disruption to transportation due to flooding. This is also the prime time for a cultural journey, with a packed calendar of events, including the Carnaval in Oruro and the Alasitas Festival in La Paz. 

People relax in front of the Cathedral Basilica of St Lawrence in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
While snow dusts the Andes, a tropical air hands over Santa Cruz de la Sierra and the Amazon © benedek / Getty Images

The shoulder season (April & November) sees the best traveling weather across the country

Sunny days, cool nights, and a general lack of rain make for a great combination at this perfect time to visit Bolivia. This is the ideal time of year if you plan to visit a number of different regions across Bolivia, with good sightseeing weather at either end of the dry season. In addition, November brings one of the most interesting cultural events of the year, as the Day of the Dead weaves a spell that will entice anyone with an interest in local traditions.

January is festival time, despite the rain

January is one of the rainiest months of the year so try to be flexible with your plans – road closures are common. This isn't the best time for outdoor activities, as some outdoor pursuits can be risky due to the wet ground. However, La Paz celebrates one of its biggest festivals, as locals shop for miniature items to offer as gifts to honor the Andean god, Ekeko.
Key events: Alasitas festival (La Paz)

February is carnival time in Oruro

It's still rainy in most of the country and some tourist attractions may not be accessible; always have alternate options on the back burner in case the weather puts a dampener on your plans. To make the best of February, head to the valleys to enjoy some natural splendor and take a swim in deep, clear rivers.
Key events: Carnaval (Oruro)

In March, rain gives way to sunny spells

The rains start to wind down in March and temperatures can get a bit chilly in the Andean zone and the high valleys. You'll still see some short rain showers, but the sun usually shows up before too long. This is a good time to travel through different zones in Bolivia, from the highlands to the Amazon, and it's the harvest season in Tarija, Bolivia's main wine-growing region.
Key events: Grape harvest festival (Tarija)

April sees the end of the rains

April is a good month to visit most of the country, as the rains have mostly stopped and you'll avoid extremes in temperature. There are also Easter-related events in many places around the country.
Key events: Baroque Music Festival and International Theatre Festival (Santa Cruz; every other year)

Woman in traditional dress at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The Salar de Uyuni salt flats are remarkable at any time of year © Peter Adams / Getty Images

May is the start of the hiking season

The nights get chilly in the Andes and the highland valleys as the dry season settles in, but with the lack of rain, this is the start of the high season for hiking, mountain climbing and outdoor activities in Bolivia's magnificent highlands.
Key events: Fiesta de Jesús del Gran Poder (Great Power Festival; La Paz)

June sees good travel weather, but occasional chilly spells

Most places are sunny during the day in June, but cold at night. In the lowlands and valleys, there's a chance of surazos, polar winds that come from the south and can drop the temperatures below zero for three or four days at a time. It's a good time to be in La Paz for the free nighttime openings of the Night of the Museums.
Key events: Aymara New Year, Night of the Museums (La Paz), Gay Parade (La Paz)

July feels like winter in Bolivia

Temperatures are still low, and nights in the highlands can be freezing. At tourist spots such as the Uyuni salt flats, overnight temperatures can drop below -15ºC (5ºF). Surazos are frequent in low-lying regions.
Key events: University Student’s Folkloric Parade (La Paz)

August brings the biggest crowds

This is the most crowded month of the year in Bolivia, so expect to see heavy demand for hotels and tourist services, and a small hike in prices. The weather is still cold but there is a smaller chance of sudden drops in temperature or rain. The lowlands can get windy too. The La Paz International Book Fair and the parade for the Virgin of Urkupiña in Cochabamba are highlights of the cultural calendar.
Key events: Bolivia’s Independence Day (6 August), Virgin of Urkupiña folkloric parade (Cochabamba), La Paz International Book Fair

A hiker in a poncho in front of Condoriri Peak in the Bolivian Andes
The dry season is the best time for Andean adventures in Bolivia © Anton Petrus / Getty Images

September is the time to hit the Amazon

This is the perfect time to travel around the Amazon and the cities of the lowlands. The weather is not as hot and humid as in the Bolivian summer, and the lack of mosquitos is a plus for outdoor activities. The first signs of spring show up as trees burst into bloom.
Key events: Chunchos parade (Tarija), The Virgin of Guadalupe folkloric parade (Sucre), Jazz Festival (La Paz)

October sees the crowds dissipate

Tourism slows down in October, and visitors have a good chance of negotiating prices and getting better deals. Temperatures go up all over the country and trees begin to bloom even in highland areas.
Key events: Orchid Festival (Concepción)

November welcomes the Day of the Dead

The celebration of Day of the Dead is one of Bolivia's most colorful and symbolic occasions. It's celebrated all over the country with visits to cemeteries to honor dead relatives. A week later, some regions celebrate the Ñatitas festival for all the dead who were forgotten. With warm weather in the mix, November is a great month to plan a cultural trip to Bolivia.
Key events: Day of the Dead, Ñatitas

December sees plenty of holiday cheer

The last month of the year brings vibrant nightlife to most cities as the Christmas festivities spill over into New Year celebrations. Though you may get some rain this time, you still can explore the country without too much disruption to transport. This is a great time to get out of the cities and experience the charm of the countryside and the valleys.
Key events: Christmas, New Year

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