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La Paz Travel Guide

La Paz Travel Information

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz. US flat two-pin plugs and one with round grounding pin are used.

Language

Spanish is the official language, but only 60 to 70% of the people actually speak it, and then often only as a second language. The other main languages are Quechua and Aymar.

Tipping

A service charge is normally added to restaurant and hotel bills but it is customary to add a 5 to 10% tip. Hotel porters also expect a small tip. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped unless they are hired for a full day, in which case 10% is acceptable.

Safety Information

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Local Customs

In conversation rural Bolivians should be referred to as campesinos (subsistence farmers) rather than Indians. 'Machismo' is very much alive and husband and wife roles within the family are very traditional. Homosexuality is frowned upon, particularly in the Altiplano.

Business

Relationship building in Bolivia is important and getting down to business might take some time, so do not rush things. Negotiations are generally quite slow, and face-to-face communication is preferred over phone calls or written communications, therefore be prepared to make many trips before a deal can be made. Punctuality is expected, even if the meeting doesn't start on time, and schedules are often just a guideline and fairly unstructured; deadlines are not important. Business people are expected to wear suits. Meetings begin and end with handshakes, although wait for a woman to extend her hand first. It is important to include a person's professional title in the greeting if applicable, otherwise use Señor (Mr) or Señora (Mrs) with the surname. Business cards should also include any academic qualifications, and should have one side translated into Spanish; most business is conducted in Spanish and materials will need to be translated into Spanish. Women are considered insubordinate in the workplace and visiting businesswomen should ensure to emphasise their qualifications and work experience. Office hours are generally 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday with a long break over lunch.

Communications

The international access code for Bolivia is +591. The outgoing code depends on what network is used (e.g. 0010 for Entel, or 0013 for Boliviatel), which is followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001044 for the United Kingdom). The area code for La Paz is 2, but the access code to make a call within the country from another area also depends on what network is used (e.g. (010)2 for Entel, or (013)2 for Boliviatel). Mobile phones operate on a GSM network. Internet cafes are widely available in La Paz and other tourist areas.

Duty Free

Travellers to Bolivia over the age of 18 years can bring the following items into the country without incurring customs duty: 100 cigarettes, 25 cigars and 200 grams of tobacco, 1 bottle of alcoholic beverage and a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use. Technology such as cameras, laptops and cellphones are limited to one per person for personal use. Newly purchased goods to the value of US$1,000 per person are also duty free. Travellers departing from the country should note that it is illegal to leave with the following items without prior written permission from the appropriate local authority: pre-Colombian artefacts, historical paintings, items of Spanish colonial architecture and history and native textiles.


Travel guide by (c) Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information in this travel guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.
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