Bolivia gets colder in winter, that’s not new, but this cold differs a lot among the various regions and climates the country has. In some places you will very comfortable in winter and will be able to wear light clothing, instead, in other places, you will feel very cold even during the day and will be forced to use most of the time thicker apparel.
Bolivia is colder in winter than in other seasons, particularly from June to July. The average temperature in this season is roughly 50°F in the Altiplanic West, 60°F in the Center of the country, and 70°F in the tropical East. Also, the days are sunnier and drier across the whole country.
We are citizens of Bolivia, who have spent most of their lives in the country. Here we will be talking about how cold it is in Bolivia in winter, with all the numbers, facts, and details you need to know for the different regions and climates the country has. Also, you will see all the details and key points of winter regarding each major city of Bolivia.
Table of Contents
A general overview of how cold the winter is in Bolivia
Winter in Bolivia, which happens from 21st June to 20th September, is normally colder at the beginning, or at the end of June and most of July. It gets warmer at the end of July, gaining temperature towards August and September to welcome spring. This happens all over the country in the different climate regions that exist inside.
You can expect the winter in Bolivia:
- To have quite cold temperatures in the Altiplanic west of the country, and freezing temperatures particularly at night. Also, almost no rain will be seen in this region in this season, with very sunny days but still cold, and many freezing nights. The temperature will be on average 60°F during the days and around 40°F at night in the Altiplanic west of Bolivia.
- To have somewhat cold temperatures in the hilly center of the country, where normally you have a temperate enjoyable climate, during the winter this area of Bolivia will actually be felt cold, not during the day but at night, when you’ll need to stop wearing light clothing and instead start to protect yourself against the cold nights in this region. The temperature will be on average 70°F during the days and around 50°F at night in the hilly rugged and normally mild center of Bolivia.
- To still have warm temperatures in the tropical west of Bolivia, but with some days with a serious cold, because of the “Surazo” climate phenomenon. People from the east of Bolivia call Surazos to wild dry and cold winds that come from the South Pole, these winds can last a few days and are only present in winter and part of autumn in this region. But beyond this, here you will feel that it is still tropical and warm, but drier, with less precipitation and a little bit colder temperatures. The temperature will be on average 80°F during the days and around 60°F at night in the tropical east of Bolivia.
Winter is also many times responsible for bringing us the coldest day of the year. But often, this doesn’t happen in winter, some years it happens at the end of fall, or what is the same, at the beginning of June. You’ll expect the coldest night in Bolivia to be in the 2nd to the 4th week of June.
The winter’s cold in the 3 main climates of Bolivia
As we just said in the above section, winter is colder in Bolivia throughout the country, but it differs a lot depending on which climate you are considering. In the country there are 3 different climates:
- The Altiplanic West, with an alpine drier climate. 4 main cities are in this region: La Paz, El Alto, Oruro, and Potosí. In winter, the temperature here will average 60°F during the day and 40°F at night.
- The hilly and rugged Center, with a temperate somewhere moist climate. 3 main cities are in this region Cochabamba, Sucre, and Tarija. In winter, the temperature here will average 70°F during the day and 50°F at night.
- The tropical East, with a warm humid climate. 3 main cities are in this region, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Trinidad, and Cobija. In winter, the temperature here will average 80°F during the day and 60°F at night.
As you can see, there is a jump of around 10 Fahrenheit degrees (+10°F) when you move from a colder climate to a warmer one in Bolivia, for both days and nights.
The above means that, for example, the temperature of nights in winter will reach freezing levels in the west of Bolivia but will still be temperate in the East, also that, while days will be certainly cold in Santa Cruz, they will still be considered warm if you compare them with the cold days of La Paz in winter. You can also make many other associations with this information.
The winter’s cold in the 10 principal cities of Bolivia
Now let’s talk about how winter is in the principal cities of Bolivia, we will see the most standing points that every Bolivian city has when winter comes into the scene.
La Paz is actually a cold city almost all the year, but it gets colder and drier in winter. The nights normally don’t reach freezing temperatures except for the first weeks of June, and the days become quite cold in this season as if they were nights in summer. People normally wear thick clothing on both days and nights in the city.
It rarely rains in winter in La Paz, but on some days, like 2 or 3 days during the season, it snows. Also, in the winter it’s not common to see hail falling from the sky in the city. The sunshine is very strong in this season there, so it is recommended to use a proper solar protector at this time.
La Paz’s average winter temperatures: 60°F during the day, 40°F at night.
El Alto is perhaps the coldest principal city of Bolivia and it gets really cold in winter. You can expect freezing temperatures almost every night from June to July, days during this time also are cold and dry, but not reaching freezing temperatures.
This city is near La Paz city, but it has a higher elevation of 13,323ft. This is why the temperatures in El Alto are even colder. In this city, it is normal to see a lot of days with snow in winter. During this time the sun is always there without any clouds and with a lot more radiation than normal. Make sure you use the right sunshine protector in this city.
La Paz’s average winter temperatures: 50°F during the day, 30°F at night.
Cochabamba is most of the year a city with a mild climate and somewhat moist air, but in winter the temperature goes down in a way that people living in this place can feel and notice it. In this month, particularly from June to July, and sometimes also May, nights are cold and some of them, maybe 1 to 3 nights, will reach freezing levels.
During the day winter temperatures in this city will allow you to wear light clothing, because it’s still warm enough, but at night, unlike in other seasons where you can still walk in the streets with just a T-shirt and a short, you will need to use more thick clothing, and you’ll actually feel the cold climate.
Cochabamba’s average winter temperatures: 70°F during the day, 50°F at night.
Santa Cruz De La Sierra is very warm the whole year, even in winter you will find that this city is warm enough to just go out with very light clothing, even at night. But there are some times when the climate in the city turns very cold, and this is during the “Surazo* climate phenomenon.
Surazos are caused by very cold and humid winds coming from the South Pole, these winds enter the city very fast, and sometimes suddenly, turning temperatures of those days very cold, as if you were even in La Paz or El Alto. People from this city normally describe this event as even worse than the cold in Altiplanic areas, because you feel a humid cold, which feels worse than a dried cold. But beyond this, the winter is still very warm in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz’s average winter temperatures: 75°F during the day, 65°F at night.
Oruro is a city at a very high elevation, it doesn’t also enjoy the protection of a mountain range on one or more of its sides as La Paz does. So it gets pretty cold in winter, the coldest temperatures are normally registered between June and the first weeks of August. Many nights in the city will go beyond freezing levels.
It’s also normal to experience several days of snow during the winter in Oruro, and the coldest days in this city are normally in June, with temperatures at night that can go way beyond freezing levels, reaching 10°F in some cases. Days are also quite cold and seldom gets cloudy in winter in Oruro, so you have very sunny days but still the cold is very palpable in the city in this season.
Is worth mentioning that Oruro’s carnival is not in winter, it’s actually at the end of the summer, so you won’t experience very cold temperatures during this festival.
Oruro’s average winter temperatures: 55°F during the day, 35°F at night.
Potosí is another cold city in Bolivia, its climate is pretty much the same as El Alto city, these 2 cities are almost at the same elevation, around 13,400ft. July is considered the coldest month of Potosí. This month is at the beginning of winter in Bolivia, but cold temperatures descend from May and start ascending from August in the city.
Like other Altiplanic cities of Bolivia, many freezing nights will exist in June and particularly in July in the city, with temperatures on some nights going way further than freezing levels, reaching 10°F. The days will also be very cold and almost all of them will be sunny and dry. People normally wear tight clothes on both days and nights during this season in the city.
It’s worth mentioning that Uyuni’s Salt also experiences a tough winter between June and July, reaching temperatures of between 10°F and 5°F at night, also it is very rare to see rain in this place in winter. The days are also dry and sunny in this area during this season.
Potosí’s average winter temperatures: 50°F in the day, 30°F at night.
Sucre normally is a city with mild weather and a temperate climate, but in winter particularly from June to July, the temperature can go down enough to feel it. Is very rare for the city to reach freezing levels even in winter, there are around 10 days in the last 20 years in which freezing temperatures were reached at night in this city in the winter.
So, in Sucre in winter you will still have warm temperatures during the day, enough to wear light clothes, but at night, unlike in other seasons where you can still go out with a T-shirt and shorts, you will need to wear thicker clothing. Also, the precipitation goes down during this season in the city.
Sucre’s average winter temperatures: 70°F during the day, 50°F at night.
Tarija is another city in Bolivia that enjoys a mild climate during the year, but this changes in winter. In this season temperatures go down, turning nights, particularly at the beginning of July, very cold averaging 40°F, but it’s very unlikely to see in this city temperatures reaching freezing levels.
On the other hand, in winter during the day, this city is still warm enough to feel comfortable and use light clothing. Also, there is less precipitation during the season and the majority of days will be sunny. June is the coldest month in Tarija and it corresponds to the beginning of winter.
Tarija’s average winter temperatures: 70°F during the day, 50°F at night.
Trinidad is a city that is right inside the Amazonas, and it’s very unlikely for it to get cold temperatures at any time throughout the year. Even in winter, you won’t feel this city is cold, it will still be quite warm, enough to make you feel uncomfortable if you are not used to the Amazonian climate.
Also, Surazos (which commonly happen in Santa Cruz in winter) are way less common in Trinidad, then you won’t have these events to obtain colder temperatures in the city. What will be different in winter in Trinidad is the far less precipitation that you will experience, also the days will be most of the time sunny.
Trinidad’s average winter temperatures: 80°F during the day, 70°F at night.
Cobija is another city in Bolivia that is located inside the Amazonas, so it normally gets an Amazonian tropical climate the whole year, even in winter. Also, this city is in the very north of Bolivia, so cold winds from the South Pole almost never reach this city, making it very difficult for Surazos to happen.
What this means is that Cobija enjoys a tropical climate the whole year, with slightly colder climates in winter, but not really noticeable. What is different is that in this season it rains a lot less in the city, and there are a few cloudy days, but most of them are sunny.
Cobija’s average winter temperatures: 80°F during the day, 70°F at night.
The coldest month in the winter in Bolivia
Bolivia is normal to see that either June or July will be the coldest months of the whole year. Normally it gets very cold at the end of June and at the beginning of July. This time corresponds to the beginning of winter, so, mostly in winter and sometimes at the end of fall, you will experience the coldest climate in Bolivia.
In some cities, June is the coldest month but in others, it’s July, for example in Potosí it’s July but in La Paz it’s June. What normally happens in the country is that in May temperatures start going down, reaching the lowest point in June or July, and start to rise again at the beginning of August.
In this article about how cold is Bolivia in the winter, you have learned that Bolivia actually gets colder in this season, which by the way goes from 21st Jun to 20th August, but how cold it gets depends a lot on the type of climate we are considering.
For example, you have seen that in the Altiplanic west of Bolivia, nights normally get near freezing temperatures averaging 40°F, and days are cold averaging 60°F. In the center of Bolivia, with normally a mild climate, winter turns down temperatures to 50°F at night and 70°F during the day. Finally, in the tropical west of the country, temperatures stay almost the same, with 60°F at night and 80°F on the days.
Also, you have seen that, in winter, Surazos are the climate events that turn colder in Santa Cruz, also that La Paz is a little bit warmer than Oruro, Potosí, and El Alto. Additionally, many nights in these Altiplanic cities go into freezing temperatures of around 10° F. Finally, the coldest time in Bolivia is at the end of June and at the beginning of July, both months belonging to winter.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know every detail about the climate in Bolivia, including how cold the country is in other seasons like autumn and spring, visit our definitive guide in the following direction: How is the climate in Bolivia? A complete overview.
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