El Alto presents some challenges for solo female travelers. The city is known for its high crime rates, especially theft and opportunistic petty crimes, which are reported often. Like many other large cities, certain neighborhoods are more dangerous, particularly at night. It is recommended to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times, and avoid going out late without company. Chatting with locals can give a better understanding of which areas are safer than others. Though many people are friendly and helpful, it's important to be cautious, use reputable transportation services, and avoid displaying valuable items in public.
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How safe is El Alto?
Safety at nightUnsafe
El Alto can be rather challenging to navigate at night, especially for a solo female traveler. Walking alone is generally not recommended due to the high crime rate and infrastructure difficulties such as poor lighting, irregular pavement, and less frequent public transportation availability. It's best to arrange secure transportation ahead of time and stick to well-known populated areas. Always stay aware of your surroundings, take local advice and consider your safety first.
Public transportation in El Alto is moderately reliable. The major modes of public transit are minibuses, trufis (shared taxis), and cable cars. Most locals use these services daily and they are generally safe during day hours. However, buses and trufis can be a bit overcrowded which can lead to opportunities for pickpockets. The most secure option is the cable car line known as Mi Teleférico, which is modern, efficient, and offers spectacular views. While for most parts you should be fine, staying alert of your surroundings, especially after dark, is advisable.
El Alto tends to have a moderate level of street harassment. Like many places, it can depend heavily on when and where you are. Travel during the day and stick to populated areas for extra safety. Instances of cat-calling or lewd comments can occur, but physical harassment is less common with due caution. Ensure you dress modestly to blend in and take standard safety precautions, such as not displaying valuables openly. Local people are often friendly, however, always remain alert and follow local cultural norms.
El Alto is a city where petty crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and cell phone theft are relatively common, especially in crowded markets and bus stations. It's important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid flashing expensive items or carrying large sums of money. Utilize hotel safes for valuables, withdraw money from ATMs situated inside banks during daylight hours, and refrain from accepting help from strangers.
It is generally advised not to drink tap water in El Alto. Even locals often prefer to drink boiled or bottled water. The tap water can contain bacteria and parasites that could cause illnesses, particularly for those not accustomed to it. When traveling, it's better to ensure safety by relying on treated or bottled water.
Is Bolivia safe right now?
All travelers planning to visit Bolivia are advised to exercise a high degree of caution due to civil unrest, political and social tensions. It is important to stay updated on local news to be aware of any illegal roadblocks. The risk of violent crime is also present, hence personal safety measures should be taken at all times. Avoid traveling to areas that pose an increased risk. Travel insurance that covers emergencies is advisable. All travelers should respect local laws and customs to prevent any unnecessary issues.
United States Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution
The United States Government advises exercising increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas pose an increased risk. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: June 6, 2023
Canada's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution
The Canadian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in Bolivia. This is due to ongoing political and social tensions, and frequent illegal roadblocks throughout the country. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: February 26, 2024
Australia's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution
The Australian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in Bolivia due to the threat of violent crime and the risk of civil unrest. Check the full travel advisory.