Bolivia Immersion Trip Packing List

Please check carefully our suggested list of what to pack. It is very important to pack as light as possible. Please try to limit your personal belongings to one suitcase. This will allow the group of participants to move more quickly during the traveling.

What to Pack (Passport, Passport, and also….)

No packing list is comprehensive. It may all be obvious if you have traveled before. If you pack all of these things, much of it may turn out to be superfluous. You could also pack every last thing on this list and still find, once you get there, that you need a few things not on it. With that in mind, please check carefully our suggested list of what to pack below. It is very important to pack as light as possible. Please try to limit your personal belongings to one suitcase. This will allow the group of participants to move more quickly during the traveling. It is also important to remember that you will be traveling through tropical and very warm climate.

Luggage and documents:

  • Ideally, pack all you need in one suitcase and a small carry-on bag (not to exceed 21 inches). Enough clothing for one week and underwear for the two weeks.
  • A small backpack or shoulder bag for a daypack.
  • Bring a money belt, and/or a fanny pack for money, passport, and plane ticket, make a copy to leave at home, another form of ID, immunization record, prescriptions for your prescription medication, maybe an eyeglasses prescription. (Carry these in your purse or carry-on not luggage)
  • Make 2 copies of your passport, keep a copy of the first page of your passport in your carry on, and leave a copy with your family.
  • You will probably wish to make some purchases such as souvenirs. You need not bring large sums of cash. ATM machines are readily accessible and permit withdrawals from your U.S. accounts in dollars and Bolivian currency. Please consult your financial institution about overseas ATM withdrawals and the respective charges. Some banks require previous notifications so that overseas transactions will not be automatically blocked.

Toiletries/Accessories

  • Bring what you normally use: toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, soap, deodorant, razor, prescription medications (in the original bottle). Travel sizes are great. (3oz) Full size bottles are heavy and take up a lot of space.
  • Small packet of tissues.
  • A hand towel, washcloth (if you need it) and flip-flops or plastic sandals for showers.
  • A towel for use at the Hot Springs.
  • A bandana or handkerchief is a good idea. A small mirror can be nice to have.
  • Sunglasses and a sun hat.
  • A small flashlight and a small lock for your luggage might be good to bring.
  • Sunscreen (high SPF), lip balm (if you need), and insect repellent.
  • A couple Ziploc bags to keep things dry.
  • A good quality water bottle. We will provide bottled water.

Culturally Appropriate Clothing:

Most Bolivians dress casually yet modestly – clean jeans or casual pants, nice t-shirts or polo-type shirts, but no tank tops. Men do not generally wear shorts in public and women do not wear short skirts. As Maryknollers, we take responsibility to dress in a way that facilitates our ability to have effective relationships with Bolivians. It is also important to remember that you will be traveling through three very distinct climates: the tropical region of Santa Cruz (very briefly at the airport), the temperate valleys of Cochabamba, and the high plane (altiplano) of El Alto /La Paz and the Lake Titicaca area. We suggest wearing clothes that can easily layer – a lighter shirt that can accommodate a couple more layers (sweater and/or light jacket) over it. August is the end of the winter season. This means that you will experience warm days and cool or even cold nights. It also means that you will be visiting Bolivia at the ending of the rainy season – so bring a light rain jacket just in case. Definitely bring comfortable, sturdy pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes. Make sure they’re broken in if they’re new.

  • Lightweight, cotton wash n’ wear shirts (absolutely no straps, tank tops or bare bellies!).
  • Cotton pants or nice jeans (no shorts). White pants can get dirty easily.
  • Skirts or dresses – knee length and longer.
  • Sweatshirt/sweater and a light jacket.
  • Inexpensive rain poncho or jacket or small folding umbrella.
  • A long sleeved light cotton shirt is helpful during the day for the sun. Short sleeved is fine if you bring plenty of sun block.
  • Something to sleep in; especially something warm for the altiplano.
  • Underwear and socks.
  • SHOES – good for walking, preferably close-toed. Already broken in. They will get dirty.

Extra accessories

  • Camera, film and spare batteries (and extra scan cards for storing pictures and extra batteries)
  • Photos of home and family to share with the people you will visit.
  • Our Bolivia Lay Missioners will have a small first aid kit for the group containing: pills preventing altitude sickness, some diarrhea or stomach aid, aspirin or equivalent, bandages, neosporin, etc. If you need something more than basic first aid supplies please bring them with you.
  • Reading Material for the airplanes and down time (use this booklet of information for your travel to Bolivia)
  • Journal, Pens, Addresses (for letters/postcards)
  • Snacks –Although we will provide snacks, you may wish to bring your favorite snacks such as trail mix or power bars since we cannot guarantee their availability in Bolivia.
  • Cards or other games. You may find it useful to have a set of playing cards or similar “table games” for use during free times and while in route from one location to another.

Keep in Mind

  • You will have very few opportunities to wash things in Bolivia, so don’t take clothes that you can’t wash with a bar soap by hand. Bring clothes that breathe well, dry fast, and don’t require ironing. The housing facility in Cochabamba does not have a laundry mat, yet we can arrange for washing clothes (at your expense).
  • Leave expensive watches, cell phones (they will not function in Bolivia), and jewelry at home.
  • Bring $200 – $300 for personal spending unless you plan on doing lots of shopping for gifts.
  • The fewer electrical appliances the better. Adaptors are available and generally inexpensive at the market, but we encourage you to try to get by without all of your typical appliances.

Remember, pack light, pack light!

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