Contrary to what many people from overseas think, Bolivia is not only a country with highly elevated alpine lands, in contrast, Bolivia is mostly a tropical country that even has parts of its territory belonging to the Amazonas. This is a country with multiple climates and regions. Some of them are very cold, some of them are very hot, but also, some are mild and have very enjoyable climates to live in.
Bolivia is both a cold and a hot country, but also a temperate country. It has 3 main climates and each one of them has a different average temperature: The Altiplanic West, with 50°F on average, the tropical East, with 80°F on average, the mild Center, with 70°F on average.
Here we will be talking about whether Bolivia is a hot or cold country and the spectrum of climates and temperatures that Bolivians normally experience when being here. We will show you all the details about each region and its level of temperatures, the cold and hot cities, and more.
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Yes, Bolivia is both cold and hot
Bolivia has very different regions, one of them is very cold while another is quite hot. Also, in the center of the country, there is a mountainous corridor that has a temperate climate. In Bolivia, you will find 3 major regions, each one with its own climate and temperatures:
- The Altiplanic West (with an alpine and very cold climate, temperatures average 50°F, La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, and El Alto are located there).
- The tropical East (with a tropical Amazonian climate, temperatures average 80°F, Santa Cruz, Trinidad, and Cobija are located there).
- The tempered Center (with a mild climate, temperatures average 70°F, Cochabamba, Sucre, and Tarija are located there).
Each one of these 3 regions makes up approximately 30% of the territory of the country, and each of them contains almost the same number of principal cities of Bolivia.
Areas where Bolivia is cold
All the Bolivian West is cold because it is located in the “Altiplano” land of Bolivia, one of the most elevated habitable places in the world, with around ~13,000 ft. msl, which is very near to Los Andes Mountains, but in this region, you will find around 3 million people living without any major troubles.
Even though it can be quite cold there, the temperature only sometimes goes beyond freezing levels, this happens in part of fall and winter. In the other seasons, this region is still cold, but temperatures rarely reach freezing levels both during the day and night.
This part of Bolivia contains the departments of La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí, it also has the following major cities and tourist places:
- La Paz
- El Alto
- Uyuni’s Salt
- Red Lagoon
- The sun’s gate (Tiwanaku)
- Titicaca lake
- Illimani mountain
- Sajama mountain
- Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve
Of all these cities, Oruro, Potosí, and El Alto are the coldest ones. They have an average temperature of 40°F in fall and winter (from April to August) and 50°F in spring and summer (from September to March).
La Paz is a little bit warmer, it has an average temperature of 50°F in fall and winter and 58°F in spring and summer.
We have a complete guide about the coldest places of Bolivia, with the top ones and every detail of each of them, in the following direction: The coldest places of Bolivia, full list, and overview.
Areas where Bolivia is hot
The tropical east of Bolivia is the biggest region that has its own climate, it occupies almost 40% of the total Bolivian territory and has also the most number of habitants living inside. The major city of Bolivia is located in this region, which is Santa Cruz De La Sierra. In this tropical region of the country, you will find a hot climate that supports tropical jungles and endless forests.
Even though this region of Bolivia is tropical, and near to the Amazonas, it rarely reaches temperatures beyond 105°F at any time of the year. But there is still the risk of a heatstroke there, particularly from October to January, so take the proper precautions in these months for this possible health threat.
This part of Bolivia contains the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando, it also has the following major cities and tourist places:
- Santa Cruz De La Sierra
- Madidi National Park
All these cities and places experience almost the same temperatures throughout the year. They have an average temperature of 75°F in fall and winter (from April to August) and 85°F in spring and summer (from September to March).
From these 3 main cities, we can say that Santa Cruz is just a little bit colder, maybe 5° colder than Trinidad and Cobija.
We have a detailed guide about the hottest places of Bolivia, with all the facts and aspects about the top hottest locations in the country, in the following direction: The hottest places of Bolivia, a complete overview.
Bolivia is also a temperate country
The tempered Center of Bolivia is over the natural division created by Los Andes Mountains, between the Altiplanic West and the tropical East. In this region, endless mountains, hills, and valleys can be found, some of them at a very high elevation, but others at a lower elevation, which allow mild temperatures in these last ones.
This region gets the best of both sides of Bolivia, the cold West and the hot East, regarding temperatures.
This area of the country normally has mild weather the whole year, and even in winter, it has enough warm temperatures to still wear thin clothing when being outside. Many Bolivians like to retire in Cochabamba and Sucre, mostly because of the climate, but also there are some health dangers as we will show later. Another downside is that this region is not the economic center of Bolivia.
This part of Bolivia contains the departments of Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, and Tarija, it also has the following major cities and tourist places:
- The Death Road
- The Inca road
- Toro Toro National Park
This part of Bolivia and its cities enjoy the best climates and temperatures in the country. They have an average temperature of 60°F in fall and winter (from April to August) and 75°F in spring and summer (from September to March).
Of the 3 first cities mentioned above, Cochabamba is just a little bit colder, around 5°F, than Sucre and Tarija.
Health warning: Chagas Disease
You need to be very careful in all these places, including the 3 main cities, as you’re at risk of “Chagas disease” which is a terrible illness that damages your heart, kills you and doesn’t have a cure. It’s endemic in these cities (in Cochabamba 35% of the population carries this parasite and up to 54% in Sucre). You should always look for living spaces that are fully plastered, without any cracks, and also take other precautions. Be very cautious!
Cities with the best climate in Bolivia
- The South Zone of La Paz
As we said before, the central corridor which goes from North to South in Bolivia is the region that has the best climate to live in. In this region, you will find 4 major cities that can give you great comfort concerning climate and temperatures.
In the first place we have Cochabamba, which is the 4th largest city in Bolivia and has mild temperatures the whole year, on average between 55°F to 75°F, this is the first option for retirees to live their left years, mostly because of the peacefulness you will find, and also of the climate and weather.
In the second place is the South Zone in La Paz, we include this neighborhood of this city because it’s quite large and is located at a lower elevation than the rest of the city, around 9,000 ft msl. This part of the city enjoys a warm enough climate, of around 50°F to 70°F throughout the year. It’s also one of the most residential neighborhoods of the city, where wealthy people normally live.
In the third place we have Sucre, which is a quite smaller city than the two above, also is not the main destination for foreigners who want to live in the country, but many Bolivians move to this city, mainly because of how peaceful and beautiful it is, and also because of the temperature, which goes from 60°F to 75°F throughout the year.
The final city with a great temperature and climate to live in is Tarija, this city is also a small one and not the main destination of people coming from overseas, also it’s not the main destination for Bolivians, but this city has not increased too much its population since long ago, it’s very small and also there aren’t many wealthy people or expats living there. Anyway, it has a great climate, of around 60°F to 75°F throughout the year.
In this article about whether Bolivia is a hot or a cold place, you’ve seen that the country actually is both of them. It is very cold on its west side, but also very hot on its east side. Additionally, in the central corridor that goes from north to south and divides the country, mild temperatures are present.
You learned that in the Altiplanic west of the country, La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, and El Alto are located, having an average temperature of 40°F in winter and fall and 50°F in spring and summer. On the other hand, in the tropical east of the country Santa Cruz, Trinidad, and Cobija are located, having an average temperature of 75°F in winter and fall and 85°F in spring and summer.
But also you saw that the central part of Bolivia has mild temperatures, cause it’s the change between the cold Altiplanic west and the hot tropical east, where Cochabamba, Sucre, and Tarija are located, having an average temperature of 60°F in winter and fall and 75°F in spring and summer.
You also learned about many tourist places that are located in these regions and they have the same climates as the main cities in each region, whether it’s cold or hot. Finally, the 4 cities with the best temperature to stay or live in are Cochabamba, the South Zone of La Paz, Sucre, and Tarija, but these places also have the danger of Chagas disease, except for La Paz.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know every detail about the climate in Bolivia, including all the cold and hot different locations existing in the country, visit our definitive guide in the following direction: How is the climate in Bolivia? A complete overview.
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