People from overseas tend to believe that in Bolivia you can find a lot cheaper cars, but this is not true and new cars in Bolivia cost almost the same as in any other countries. What is different here is that car rental costs are minimal, in the $100s mark per month, and that here people tend to buy mostly very old used cars and also Chinese cars.
Cars in Bolivia cost almost the same as in first tier countries, a new car is ~$30,000, and a 5-year-old used car is ~$18,000. But the average sale price of a car in Bolivia is at $8,000 as people in this country tend to buy very old and used cars. Renting a car will cost you from $200-$500/month.
We are citizens from Bolivia who have spent all our lives here, so we can give you all the details about the real prices of cars and transportation in our country. We’ll also share with you every cost about the most important car models and car types here, their prices and what used cars you shouldn’t buy or rent to avoid getting fooled or scammed.
The real cost of a car in Bolivia
Car prices have a wide price range in Bolivia, for both new and used vehicles, but these have almost the same prices as in first tier countries. This is because we as a country don’t produce any cars, we only import them. So, it’s very difficult to find cheaper cars here than in any other country around the world.
What is different in Bolivia is that usually traveling is done by public transportation with buses and taxis. Most Bolivian people don’t own a car. In our country, having a car is still considered a luxury for most people. When the average person wants a car, he normally gets a used one for the whole family in the range of $5,000 to $10,000. This is why the average car price in Bolivia is $8,000.
Another is the story for upper-class people, rich people and expats living in Bolivia, they normally buy more than one car for the whole family, and in some cases, for each family member. The bought cars are mostly new, in the range of $15,000 to $40,000. Very often they also buy used cars, but these are not more than 5 – 7 years old and have an average price of $20,000.
|Type of cost||Avg. spending in Bolivia (1 ppl.) per month|
|Average car price||$8,000|
|Average new car price||$30,000|
|Average really used car price||$2,000|
|Gas cost (1 gallon)||$1.80|
|Car parking (1 hour)||$0.70|
|Car monthly loan||$150|
|1 bus trip||$0.30|
|1 taxi trip||$3|
|1 Uber trip||$3|
|1 flight to other city||$70|
As we just said, most people in Bolivia just don’t own a car, they usually move by public transportation or by foot, as distances are small in Bolivia and neighborhoods are not only residencial, but also at the same time, commercial (and even industrial in some bad zones). So, often everything is within a walkable distance around where you live.
Also, here there is a wide range of prices for cars, from brand new ones that cost around $30,000, to very old and used ones from the 90s or 80s that cost around $2,000. So, don’t expect to get cheaper cars here, no matter if they are used or new, you will get them at almost the same prices as in the first world.
Something different in our country is the gas cost, which is significantly cheaper than in other countries. It has a subsidized cost from the government and doesn’t change through the time. The price is $1,80/gallon. Also, car parking can be sometimes cheap, but it also varies a lot depending on the place you want to park, with an average of $0.70 per hour.
Also, here you’ll find significantly cheaper costs for public transportation. A bus or minibus trip can cost as less as $0.30 and a taxi or Uber trip as low as $3 per ride, no matter in which city or location inside Bolivia you are. Also, flying costs within the country are cheap, around $70 per one-way ticket.
Pricing list for common car models in Bolivia
Next, we’ll show you the average cost for common car brands that are driven here. By far, the most common car brand in Bolivia is Suzuki, this company has a wide availability of support in any location and important city. Toyota is also very common in our country with a lot of models available for sale.
Other well-known and popular brands in our country are Nissan and Ford, both of which come with all the warranty and support you may expect, which is available in most urban areas. But in the last years, Bolivian people have switched a lot into Chinese cars. These are less quality than brands above, but still somewhat reliable and also 30% cheaper.
|Car model||Avg. cost (new car)||Avg. cost (used car 5 years)|
|Suzuki (SUV S-Cross GL)||$22,000||$15,000|
|Toyota (SUV Corolla Cross Mid)||$30,000||$20,000|
|Nissan (SUV Kicks Sense)||$25,000||(Juke) $16,000|
|Ford (SUV Territory)||$35,000||$25,000|
|Chinese Brand (SUV Changan CS35)||$20,000||$12,000|
Anyway, if you can afford it, we advise you against buying Chinese cars. You should go with Toyota, Nissan or other brands widely available in Bolivia (also with Imcruz and Toyosa as car dealers), because they are known for their quality, endurance and for lasting many years working in the geography of this country, which is not an easy one. Also, if you’re buying a used car here, these brands should be your first option too.
Different incomes and the cost of cars
As we say at the beginning, in Bolivia the vast majority of people don’t own a car, only around 25% of Bolivian families have one, and this car usually is for the whole family. Because cars are not cheaper here than anywhere else and the average Bolivian income is around $500 a month, it is very difficult for a citizen from Bolivia to own a car.
For this reason, almost all Bolivian people from lower to middle class normally don’t own a car, nor for them or for their families. When these people get a car, they normally buy used cars in the range of $5,000 to $10,000, with an average of $8,000. On the other hand, upper-class people normally buy new or almost new cars that cost around $25,000.
|Lower-class Bolivian||Middle-class Bolivian||Upper-class Bolivian|
|Avg. car price||$0||$8,000||$25,000|
|Avg. car expenses / Month||$0||$200||$650|
You can consider that an expat from a first tier country living here is like an upper-class Bolivian. So, he will also buy a car with this average price of $25,000. Anyway, you can easily get some good deals here as if you were in the US or Europe, for example, a 2001 car with a sale price of $6,000 or a 1992 car for $2,000. But to do this, you really need to avoid scams and know where and how to buy used cars in Bolivia.
Foreigners and the cost of a car
As we just said, expats living here in Bolivia behave like middle-upper class Bolivians, and in most cases, they’ll buy a new or used high quality car in the price range of $15,000 to $40,000. Foreigners living here that know where to buy and get good car deals will also get old used cars in good condition for an average price of $8,000.
If you’re a tourist just coming to Bolivia for a matter of days or weeks and want to rent a car, you can do it very easily in, for example, EuropCar, which is the most important rental car company in our country, where you can get a good compact car for around $200 a month and a good family car for around $350 a month. They’ll ask you to leave some money for the car as a guarantee, around $500 or $1,000 and that’s all.
Something worth mentioning is that when a taxi driver here sees that you are from overseas, he’ll instantly increase the ride price by 100% or more, making it cost $7 or even $10, while it normally costs just $3 for natives, be aware of this situation.
|Type of car expense||Average cost (1 tourist)|
|Tourist avg. car expense day||$8|
|Tourist avg. car expense / month||$250|
|Renting a common compact car (1 month)||$200|
|Renting a common familiar car (1 month)||$350|
|Buying a brand common new car (Toyota Prius)||$25,000|
|Buying a used car (Toyota 5 years old)||$18,000|
|Buying a used car (Toyota 15 years old)||$5,000|
|1 bus trip||$0.3|
|1 minibus trip||$0.4|
|1 taxi trip (often overpriced for tourists)||$7|
|1 Uber trip||$3|
If you want to buy a used car in Bolivia, you really need to know what you’re doing, scammy car sellers and dealers are all over the place, they’ll give you total garbage for a few thousand dollars or will overprice their cars disproportionately. Most of used cars in the range of $2,000 to $10,000 you’ll find in Bolivia are advertised on:
- Facebook Marketplace (really the vast majority of them).
- Newspapers (many of them).
- Car online directories.
- With a banner in the car itself.
When you want to buy used cars here, you have some legal car dealerships (very few of them), rather than this you mostly have huge car open markets like the “16 de Julio” open market, where you can get a wide availability of used cars, but there will also be a lot of scammers among legit sellers there.
The company we recommend you buy used cars from in Bolivia is Autopia, which is a recently created company that has good services in general, it acts as an intermediate between car buyers and sellers and gets a commission for the sale. Nowadays, maybe it’s the only reliable used cars’ company in Bolivia.
Remember that car open markets are pretty risky places to buy in Bolivia, where a lot, a lot of scammers and thieves will try to sell you a car, many of these will also be stolen cars, or cars that have Chinese bad parts replaced. Only buy a used car from open car markets in Bolivia if you know what you are doing.
When you are coming to visit Bolivia, we recommend you only to either:
- Rent a car from “EuropCar“ company
- Use Uber, which is widely available across our country.
- Buy a car from Toyosa, Imcruz, Nissan or Autopia car companies.
You also need to take some precautions with taxi drivers, some of them are robbers that will be happy to target tourists like you, better for you to just hire an Uber driver in Bolivia. Public transportation is not really risky for a Bolivian, but it’s certainly risky for foreigners, many thieves will see you as an easy prey when traveling in public transportation here.
Comparing the cost of cars in Bolivia versus other countries
As we said before, if you’re looking for new cars in Bolivia, you’re not going to find significant differences in prices, no matter which brand or model you are searching for. This is because Bolivia is not a car producer, so we import almost everything in relation to vehicles, and all their parts and accessories.
Then, we have the same or even higher prices for cars than other countries, including first world countries. It’s worth mentioning also that cars sent to Bolivia have less quality than cars sent or produced in countries like the US, because of high import taxes, and also, the lack of regulations here to ensure that imported cars are of good quality.
Almost the same happens with used cars, these depreciate very fast at the beginning, and after this, they depreciate at a lower rate to the point of reaching the $2,000 mark on average in their very, very final stages (90s cars are at these prices). The difference is that in Bolivia most people use quite old and used cars, which are cheap, with an average sale price of $8,000.
So, the average Bolivian normally owns a cheap used car, but it doesn’t mean that cars in Bolivia are cheaper, it only means that here there are a lot more relatively cheap used old cars than new cars.
|Avg. new car price||$20,000||$30,000||$45,000||$45,000||$38,000||$20,000|
|Avg. used car price||$8,000||$18,000||$25,000||$25,000||$26,000||$8,000|
|Avg. used car expenses / Month (with car loan)||$200||$550||$400||$400||$420||$350|
|Renting a compact car / month||$200||$300||$600||$550||$450||$150|
|Renting a family car / month||$350||$500||$1,100||$1,000||$850||$270|
Even more, if you compare the average spending on a car by an upper-middle class Bolivian, you will find that it’s very similar to what is spent in the first world. Nevertheless, in regards to cars for rent, prices are very different, being here in the $200 to $500 / month range, while in a first world country in the $500 to $1,500 / month range.
Remember also that to get a loan to buy a car in Bolivia, you need to have a source of income in our country and get the approval of a major bank here. If you have a stable job or investment in Bolivia, and you also are a Bolivian resident, you certainly can get a car loan in a Bolivian bank without any trouble.
Here, you’ve learned that cars in Bolivia have almost the same sale prices as in first tier countries. But when renting them, they are significantly cheaper. Buying a new car will cost you around $30,000, buying a used car around $20,000 and a very old used car around 8,000. Renting a car here will cost you from $200 to $500 per month.
Also, you’ve realized that you can find in Bolivia expensive cars of around $40,000 and also very cheap used cars for around $2,000, from the 90s or 80s. Additionally, the most important brands in Bolivia are Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Ford, and Chinese brands, which in the last few years have become widely used and available in our country. The most important car dealers are Toyosa, Imcruz and Autopia, this last one for buying used cars.
Finally, you now know that when buying a used car in Bolivia, you need to take many precautions, because there are a lot of scammers that even sell stolen cars in open markets, where you should never buy a used car, unless you know what you’re doing. And that to rent a car, you should hire EuropCar, a company that is the largest and most important one for car rentals here.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know how much it really costs to live in Bolivia, including how much does food, transportation, traveling, clothing, etcetera cost, visit our dedicated guide: The cost of living in Bolivia, all the details you need to know.
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