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Work & Costs

Costs

Bolivia is one of the cheapest places in the world to travel or live, though you get what you pay for. A reasonable daily budget for a backpacker is $15 a day, including an occasional brew, a tour once in awhile and eating at cheap restaurants. A tight budget traveller staying at the cheapest places, not travelling around too much, and eating at the cheapest restaurants could live on $10 a day or less.

A decent hostel with a private room but shared bath should be around 20-25 Bolivianos, or $2.50 to $3 a night. You shouldn’t expect hot water for that price, though which means that you will freeze your ass off in the mountains. Of course you could always go native and just take one shower a month… More expensive hotels running closer to $5 a night should have hot water and private showers. Dormitories are virtually nonexistent in Bolivia.

Meals in restaurants can be had for 4 or 5 Bolivianos, but expect something barely edible. For a couple of dollars (15 Bolivianos) a good meal can be bought in a restaurant. The beer in Bolivia is good and very reasonably priced (around 6 Bolivianos for a 600 ml bottle in a cheap restaurant). Marijuana and other drugs are very cheap and often of very good quality for the region. A big handful of good bud (about 50-60 grams) costs about $15, lower quality should be much cheaper.

The average wage of a Bolivian is around $500 a year, meaning that if you live like the average Bolivian you can survive on that amount of money. A small hut in the mountains is virtually free and basic food is ridiculously cheap if you cook for yourself. Living in the city is more expensive.

Work in Bolivia

Work in Bolivia is thin on the ground.

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English teaching is a possibility in the cities, but as the majority of Bolivians don’t have much education, learning English isn’t exactly top priority. There are some language schools and Universities in cities like La Paz where you could look for work. Private classes theoretically are a possibility but good luck getting students to come to classes.

Volunteering is possible, but you won’t make any money. Your best bet might be working for beers at a tourist bar or else helping the backpackers score weed.

Fortunately, if you save a few grand in a rich country, it goes a long way in Bolivia.

M.J. Lloyd

James Tramplefoot has been, and will continue to be on the road indefinitely, for years and probably decades.