The Coldest Cities in Bolivia, All the Numbers Seasons & Details

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In Bolivia, you’ll find that 3 cities are very cold, normally reaching freezing temperatures during winter and part of fall. But also 2 other cities can be categorized as cold, mostly in winter, but not as cold as the 3 first ones that we are going to show you in the next lines.

Potosí is the coldest city in Bolivia (from May to July: 50°F during the days and 30°F at night; record low: -0.4°F on Jun 1st, 2010), but is very closely followed by other 2 cities, El Alto and Oruro, which are only 3°F to 5°F warmer on average. La Paz is next, being also a quite cold city.

Here we will be talking about the top 5 coldest cities in Bolivia and all their related temperatures. We are Bolivian citizens, so we will give you all the details about how cold the principal cities of our country actually are, in both winter or fall and summer or spring. Also, you will know about other important very cold places that exist too in Bolivia.

Which is the coldest city in Bolivia?

In Bolivia, you’ll find 3 main cities that are really cold, mostly in the winter. They are also very close in cold temperature levels to each other. These cities are:

  1. Potosí
  2. El Alto
  3. Oruro

Normally these cities in part of winter and part of fall in the country (between May and July) will reach 50°F during the days and 30° at night. On the other hand, in the rest of the year (from August to March) these cities will experience around 65°F during the days and 45°F at night.

Also on the coldest days of the year, these cities will be very close in cold temperatures, reaching sometimes even 10°F at night, and 40°F during the day.

These 3 coldest cities of the country reach almost the same very low temperatures at the same time of the year because they are very similar in their climate and geography:

  • They are all almost the same elevation (~13,000 ft msl).
  • They are in the same Altiplanic region of Bolivia, in the west of the country.
  • They are next and very close to Los Andes Mountains.
  • They are over a flat Altiplanic desertic and cold land called “The Altiplano”.
Potosí (1st)El Alto (2nd)Oruro (3rd)La Paz (4th)Cochabamba (5th)
Hist. lowest temp.-0,4°F, Jun 30th, 20219.5°F, Jun 199910.4°F, Jun 24th, 201929.3°F, Jun 27th, 2021*32.7°F, May 28th, 2021*
Avg. temp. May to July
During the day50°F (10°C)50°F  (10°C)55°F (12°C)60°F (16°C)70°F (21°C)
At night30°F (-1°C)30°F (-1°C)35°F (2°C)40°F (4°C)50°F (10°C)
Avg. temp. August to March
During the day60°F (16°C)60°F (16°C)65°F (18°C)70°F (21°C)75°F (24°C)
At night40°F (4°C)40°F  (4°C)45°F (7°C)45°F (7°C)55°F (13°C)
Avg. elevation~13,419 ft. msl (4,090 m)~13,615 ft. msl (4150 m)~12,254 ft. msl (3735 m)~11,893 ft. msl (3625 m)~8,392 ft. msl (2558 m)
LocationAltiplanic WestAltiplanic WestAltiplanic WestAltiplanic WestTemperate Center
Temperatures of the coldest cities of Bolivia.

*Second historic lowest temperature.

The 4th and 5th coldest cities of Bolivia are far behind them and normally are a lot warmer. These 2 cities are La Paz and Cochabamba, which even struggle to reach freezing temperatures on their coldest days. We will talk more about all these 5 cities and regions in the next section.,

The top 5 coldest cities in Bolivia

1) Potosí

Although the 3 top coldest cities of Bolivia are very near in their temperature levels, Potosí is, for a little more, the coldest city in the country. The main reason for it is that this city is further south of Bolivia, nearer to the South Pole than the other 2 cities, which are Oruro and El Alto.

Even though El Alto city is at a higher altitude, Potosí normally gets colder winds coming from the polar south region of the world. As a result of this, Potosí gets around 5°F colder than Oruro and El Alto, having 50°F during the day and 30°F at night. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Potosí has registered the lowest temperature for any Bolivian city ever.

So, the temperatures of Potosí normally go almost all the time beyond freezing levels on nights of May to July, and you will still feel very cold in the mornings and afternoons in these months, so will need to wear the appropriate clothing to face the climate of this city during this time.

On the other hand, from August to March, you will still feel cold, but at night the city rarely is going to reach freezing temperatures. The people of this city normally wear thick clothing the whole year, with punctual exceptions around October or November, when they experience a warmer climate.

Historic lowest temperature: -0.4°F (-18°C) on Jun 1st, 2010.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 50°F (10°C) during the day and 30°F (-1°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 60°F (16°C) during the day and 40°F (16°C) at night.

2) El Alto

El Alto is the second coldest city in Bolivia, but it’s also very close to the temperatures of Potosí. These cities are so close in climate that both of them get almost the same average temperatures from May to July. Anyway, El Alto city is maybe 2°F or 3°F warmer than Potosí on average.

El Alto is very cold because: 

  • Its altitude (>13,600 ft. msl)
  • It’s very near to the Los Andes
  • It’s over a flat Altiplanic land, without any mountain or hill to stop the winds coming from everywhere, mostly from Los Andes Mountains.

Nevertheless, this city is the 3rd largest city in Bolivia, with a population of over 700,000 habitants. 

In part of the winter and fall (from May to July) on many nights, temperatures will go very easily to freezing levels, and days will be felt very cold. Even more, from August to March, you’ll still feel cold. People from this city, the same as in Potosí, normally wear thick clothing the whole year, with almost no exceptions.

Historic lowest temperature: 9.5°F (-12.5°C) in Jun 1999.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 50°F (10°C) during the day and 30°F (-1°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 60°F (10°C) during the day and 40°F (4°C) at night.

3) Oruro

Oruro, being the 3rd coldest city in Bolivia, is also not very far away in temperature levels from the two other cities mentioned above, at most, it’s only 3°F to 5°F warmer than Potosí. 

This is because Oruro is very similar to El Alto city in the way that it’s located over flat Altiplanic land, also near the Los Andes Mountains, but it is at a significantly lower altitude (~12,250 ft. msl) and this is the reason why it is just a little bit warmer.

Oruro also has 2 hills on its sides, which protect the city from winds coming from all directions, so its geography contributes to the temperature being warmer. 

Anyway, this city is very cold the whole year, it experiences the coldest months from May to July, with almost the same temperatures as El Alto and Potosí. Additionally from August to March, you will still feel the cold weather around you. Like in the other 2 cities, people almost always use thick clothing the whole year in Oruro.

Historic lowest temperature: 10.4°F (-12°C) on Jun 24th, 2019.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 55°F (12°C) during the day and 35°F (2°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 65°F (18°C) during the day and 45°F (7°C) at night.

4) La Paz

La Paz is the 4th of the coldest main cities that exist in Bolivia, but this city is way but way far behind the 3 first cities in this list. 

La Paz is essentially different from Oruro, Potosí, and El Alto. It’s located at a lower elevation (~11,900 ft. msl), but the most important difference is that it’s inside a deep cannon sculptured by a river, so it gets all the protection from cold winds by both sides of this cannon.

This protection is why the temperature in this city is significantly warmer, even though it is only at a 600 ft. or 700 ft. lower elevation than Oruro. So, even in the coldest days of the year in La Paz (again from May to July), temperatures at night will rarely reach freezing levels.

Also, temperatures during the days are pretty comfortable most of the year, except for May to July, in which both days and nights are quite cold. But for the rest of the year, people normally wear less thick clothing, and in months like October or November, they act as if they were in a temperate or even subtropical climate, wearing only T-shirts, thin pants, shorts, and dresses.

Historic 2nd lowest temperature: 29.3°F (-1.5°C) on Jun 27th, 2021.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 60°F (16°C) during the day and 40°F (4°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 70°F (21°C) during the day and 45°F (7°C) at night.

5) Cochabamba

You can’t really call Cochabamba a cold city, but of all the main cities available in our country, this is the 5th coldest one.

Cochabamba actually enjoys a temperate climate, and it has one of the best weathers to live in Bolivia. This city is also very close in temperature to Sucre and Tarija, but somewhat colder

This is the 1st and only city that is not located on the west side of Bolivia; it is at the center of the country, in the middle of a valley located inside a mountainous corridor that divides Bolivia between its tropical East and its Altiplanic West. 

So, in this city, although it’s the 5th coldest in Bolivia, you’ll seldom feel cold, no matter if you are in winter or summer. From May to July (also the coldest months of the year in Cochabamba), you’ll still experience warm nights most of the days, with some rare exceptions, and during the day, you will always be able to wear thin clothing, as people of this city normally do.

Historic 2nd lowest temperature: 32.7°F (0.4°C) on May 28th, 2021.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 70°F (21°C) during the day and 50°F (10°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 75°F (24°C) during the day and 55°F (13°C) at night.

Other very cold important places in Bolivia

Uyuni’s Salt (Potosí department)

Uyuni’s Salt is one of the most well-known tourist places that exist in Bolivia, and also the most visited one, but what many people don’t know is that in part of winter and fall, particularly from May to July, freezing temperatures are normal there.

Uyuni’s Salt can be seen as cold as Potosí City in most cases, but this place can even get colder on some days of winter. You need to be more cautious here because you will only find poor towns around this tourist place and not a city to assist you in the case of a threatening situation (like hypothermia) triggered by cold temperatures.

Here, particularly if you visit the place from May to July, always bring with you clothing for alpine climates, and be well prepared to face freezing temperatures almost every night, mixed with snow in some cases. Also, ensure that you have gotten the right tourist agency to visit this place.

On the other hand, if you visit Uyuni’s Salt from August to March, you will enjoy warm enough climates to stay comfortable (temperatures like if you were in La Paz city), but the salt terrain will be wet almost all the time, and not dry like it’s in winter, so you won’t be able to fully enjoy it.

Historic 2nd lowest temperature: -7.8°F (-22°C) on Jun 30th, 2021.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 50°F (10°C) during the day and 28°F (-2°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 65°F (18°C) during the day and 45°F (7°C) at night.

Red Lagoon (Potosí department)

The Red Lagoon has the unique element that it has registered the coldest temperature known in the modern history of Bolivia. This temperature was reached in 1996 and it was -25.6°F.

This place is another one that is well known and constantly visited by tourists. It’s located in the department of Potosí, and it’s in the very southwest of the country, next to the border with Chile. It is one of the coldest places in Bolivia because of 2 reasons:

  • This lake is at an even higher altitude (~14,030 ft. msl)
  • It’s located in the southwest of the country and Potosí, so it gets more of the cold winds coming from the South Pole.

Be sure that when going to this place, you hire the right tourist agency, and also be prepared to face freezing temperatures the whole year when visiting this area. This advice not only applies to the Red Lagoon but also to the whole southwest region of Potosí department, in which very cold temperatures are commonly registered.

Historic lowest temperature: -25.6°F (-32°C) in Jun 1996.

Avg. temp. from May to July: 40°F (4°C) during the day and 19°F (-7°C) at night.

Avg. temp. from August to March: 55°F (12°C) during the day and 36°F (2°C) at night.

We have a complete overview of the coldest places in Bolivia, with every detail about each place, including the coldest one, in the following direction: The coldest places of Bolivia, a full overview.


In this review about the coldest cities that exist in Bolivia, you have seen that Potosí is the coldest city in the country, which reaches 50°F during the days and 30°F at night, in part of winter and part of fall (from May to July). You also have seen that 2 other cities are very close to these temperatures, El Alto and Oruro, being only between 3°F to 5°F warmer.

Additionally, you have learned that 2 other cities follow in this list: La Paz and Cochabamba, the first city is pretty cold, mostly in winter, and the second one is not really a cold city, with a tempered climate the whole year, but it is still the 5th coldest city of the country.

You have realized that people in the first 4 cities normally wear thick clothing the whole year, with exceptions on some days of October or November, the time in which the summer is starting. Finally, you’ve realized there are also other very cold places, like the Uyuni’s Salt and the Red Lagoon. 

Be always sure to prepare yourself to face freezing climates in these cities and places, particularly from May to July, and avoid the risk of even hypothermia in some cases.

We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know every detail about the climate in Bolivia, including more information about the coldest cities, but also the warmest cities in the country, visit our definitive guide in the following direction: How is the climate in Bolivia? A complete overview., information about how to live, work, invest, and travel in Bolivia.

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