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The safest bus companies of Bolivia all the risks and precautions

The Safest Bus Companies in Bolivia, All the Facts and Precautions

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Traveling by bus in Bolivia is actually more risky than in other countries and way more riskier than in the first world. Thieves are always looking up for naive tourists who are traveling between cities and principal places of the country. Also, the regulation for drivers is not really good, turning many of them into bad drivers, furthermore, buses are also old in many cases. But some bus companies can be somewhat safer.

There are 3 little bit safer bus companies in Bolivia: Bolivar, Trans Copacabana S.A., and Trans Copacabana M.E.M. 1. They have better buses, better drivers, lower accident rates, and are the most chosen by both tourists and wealthy Bolivians. Anyways, they are not going to protect you from thieves.

Here we’ll be talking about the safest bus companies in Bolivia, how safer they really are, how to protect yourself when traveling on a bus in the country, applying your own precautions, and also, which are the most important dangers and threats you will face when traveling by bus in our country.

Real Fact: No bus company in Bolivia is really safe

There is not too much difference in the safety that different bus companies can provide you in Bolivia. The principal bus companies in the country don’t differ too much from each other in safety matters, and the security you can have is mostly due to your own efforts and precautions that you take.

This is because the bus industry in Bolivia has many regulations, even in the prices they can charge. So because of these restrictions, they can’t compete fairly in an open market, making it difficult for a good company to emerge and offer better services, with all the needed features, including excellence in safety.

So, in general, safety when traveling with Bolivian buses depends mostly on you and your own precautions. 

You need to take into account several aspects of security when traveling with different bus companies in Bolivia:

  • Risk of accidents. The best bus companies in Bolivia have more modern buses and a lower accident rate in general, they also have better drivers. Then, in this case, you need to choose one of the best companies in the country. From our perspective and experience, the best 3 ones are Bolivar, Trans Copacabana SA, and Trans Copacabana MEM 1.
  • Risk of being assaulted. No bus company will lower the risk of you being assaulted by a robber or grabber inside the bus, you need to take your own precautions to avoid this. (We talk more about these precautions in a later section)
  • Risk of losing your stuff. If you are carrying valuable stuff, then you should never rely on bus companies to take care of it. Anyway, the best bus companies in the country can have better reliability and security on this side of their services.
  • Risk of being poisoned. Thieves sometimes even poison their victims to grab their possessions inside Bolivian buses, so you need to be very careful of what you accept from strangers inside the bus, among other precautions.

Generally, in safety matters, the best bus companies available in Bolivia can help you with fewer accident rates, better drivers, and more modern buses, also they have a more reliable carrying system. But they can’t really stop you from being assaulted, losing your stuff, or even being poisoned, so take all the precautions to avoid these situations.

The 3 relatively safe bus companies in Bolivia

Now, we are going to show you which are the safest bus companies in Bolivia, despite that there is not too much difference between each of the companies, and why they are safer.

A) Bolivar

This is by far the best and most reliable bus company in Bolivia, it also has the following advantages regarding safety in its buses and the routes it covers:

  • It has the most modern buses of any company.
  • It has shown a significantly lower rate of accidents throughout the years.
  • It employs better and more experienced bus drivers.
  • It’s the first choice of tourists coming from first-world countries.
  • It is the first choice for high-income and wealthy Bolivian travelers.
Example of Bolivar buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia
Example of Bolivar buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia.

Despite the advantages above, as we say before, this bus company can’t help you with avoiding thieves inside the bus, who indeed can use several strategies to steal your stuff or scam you, like assaulting you while you are sleeping, poisoning you to make you sleep, replacing your luggage, etcetera.

So, to avoid these other risks, you need to take all the necessary precautions. We talk deeply about these measures in detail in the last section of this guide.

B) Trans Copacabana S.A.

This bus company also has more modern buses than the rest, it has a better accident rate and covers more routes than any other company in Bolivia. But further than that, this company is just like any other regarding safety.

Example of Trans Copacabana SA buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia
Example of Trans Copacabana S.A. buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia.

Also, in this bus company, you’ll see wealthy Bolivian people and also many tourists, both of them choose it because it’s the largest one and also has a good reputation in the country.

Beyond these little advantages concerning safety, you should always take your own precautions to avoid any risk with this or any other Bolivian bus company.

C) Trans Copacabana M.E.M. 1

Most Bolivians also choose this company because it is one of the most reliable ones and also because it has good and modern enough buses to travel with. We haven’t heard of too many tragic accidents with this company in recent years.

Example of Trans Copacabana MEM 1 buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia
Example of Trans Copacabana M.E.M. 1 buses that cover intercity routes in Bolivia.

But despite this, in other security aspects, like being assaulted inside the bus, you must always take your necessary precautions.

These 3 bus companies versus the other ones

Unlike what happens with other Bolivian bus companies, like:

  • El Dorado
  • Bolivar
  • Cosmos
  • Naser
  • Etcetera

The 3 mentioned safer companies: Bolivar, Trans Copacabana S.A., and Trans Copacabana M.E.M 1, are not commonly involved in tragic accidents, having a) a lower accident rate, b) better buses, and c) better drivers.

We have a complete guide about the best bus companies available in Bolivia, and why we consider them the best ones, not only in regards to safety but also in several other aspects of their services: Best bus companies of Bolivia, all you need to know.

How to stay safe when taking a bus in Bolivia?

So, now that you know that beyond fewer accidents, better buses, and better drivers, bus companies in Bolivia can’t really offer you great measures regarding safety, you should take this issue into your own hands when traveling within Bolivia.

Next, we’ll show you some important safety precautions you can take on your own:

  1. Travel during the day.
  2. Carry your valuable items with you
  3. Travel as part of a group.
  4. Never accept anything from anyone in the bus or bus station.
  5. Choose the best bus companies to travel with.
  6. Buy a seat on the left side in the middle of the bus.

1) Travel during the day

In Bolivia, whenever you can, just travel during the day, and don’t fall asleep when being inside the bus. Thieves will greatly take advantage of this situation in the night to steal your luggage and valuable stuff or even assault you, particularly if you are alone.

This is especially concerning when the person that is sitting next to you is a thief, he will take advantage of this situation and when you are sleeping, he will get all your stuff, without you getting aware of it.

Other people that are not sitting next to you can also take advantage of you being alone and sleeping and grab all your possessions, without you even noticing it. So whenever you can, just travel during the day

Most inter-city routes won’t last more than 10 hours, so you usually can cover a full route between 2 cities during the day in Bolivia.

2) Carry your valuable items with you

In general, Bolivian bus companies give you the choice of:

  1. Letting them manage your luggage and place it inside the trunk of the bus.
  2. Carrying your possessions with you inside the bus and place them next to your seat.

We recommend you always carry with you, inside and over bus seats, the valuable items and stuff that you have. Don’t let bus companies place these valuable items in the trunk of the bus when traveling.

So for example, if you have a laptop, expensive clothes, jewelry, a cell phone, or other expensive stuff in your luggage, don’t let bus companies in Bolivia handle it in the trunk of the bus. Most of the time, they’ll handle it pretty badly, and in some cases, it’ll get stolen or lost

Only use the trunk of the bus for items that are not too crucial for you, like normal clothing, common traveling stuff, etcetera.

3) Travel as part of a group

Whenever you can, you should travel with a group of people in Bolivian buses, along with your tourist peers, your tourist guides, friends, or family. Or in private vehicles in which you have more control of what’s going on at a given moment.

Robbers and scammers get a lot of advantages from targeting tourists who are alone in Bolivian traveling buses, you will be at a much greater risk of being assaulted by these people if you are alone.

Then, don’t make this mistake and always travel in groups. At least with one another person, or if it’s possible, with many people. You’ll take care of each other and greatly reduce the risks of being assaulted or scammed inside a bus in Bolivia.

When you are alone, you should always be cautious of the person that is sitting next to you. Some thieves even track you to sit next to you on the bus and take advantage of this situation when you are distracted or fall asleep.

4) Never accept anything from anyone in the bus or bus station

When traveling in Bolivian buses, you are at a high risk of being in the following situations:

  • Strangers may replace your luggage with their own, and place drugs or stolen things inside the replaced luggage.
  • They may ask for your help to take care of their luggage, which in some cases may contain dangerous things inside.
  • They may ask you to try some food, smell something, etc, which may be used to poison you in order to make you fall asleep, and after this happens, steal all your valuable stuff.

So, to avoid these dangerous threats and even your freedom (because if the police find that you have drugs inside your luggage, they will arrest you and put you at risk of going to jail and being in very stressful situations). Never but never accept anything from any stranger, and also, don’t help them in the bus station or bus, unless it is really necessary.

You should always look out for your luggage and your stuff when being inside a bus in Bolivia, and be especially cautious of somebody getting next to it, trying to move it, etcetera.

5) Choose the best bus companies to travel with

As we just say before, 3 bus companies:

  • Bolivar
  • Trans Copacabana S.A.
  • Trans Copacabana M.E.M. 1

Have more modern buses, lower accident rates, better bus drivers, and also a good package carrier system. So you should choose them whenever you can over the other bus companies that offer transportation services.

But also, as we just said before, these companies are going to do little to keep you out of other safety issues, like being assaulted, being scammed, etcetera.

6) Buy a seat on the left side in the middle of the bus

When buses have accidents in Bolivia, they tend to be hit very hard on their right sides, and they tend to get all the impact in the front of the bus, and to a lesser extent, in the back of the bus (when another bus hits them in their back).

So, whenever you travel on a Bolivian bus, you should always buy your ticket for a seat on the left side of the bus and in the middle of it. With this precaution, if the bus gets into an accident, you’ll have less chance of being hurt and a greater chance of surviving it.


In this note about the safest bus companies available in Bolivia, you have seen that there is not really a greatly safer bus company in the country. The safest ones have better and more modern buses, better drivers, and lower accident rates. But beyond this, they are like any other bus company that exists in the country. These 3 somewhat safer bus companies in Bolivia are Bolivar, Trans Copacabana S.A., and Trans Copacabana M.E.M. 1.

You also have seen that robbers, thieves, and scammers in Bolivia will try to assault you inside a bus when sleeping at night when you are alone when you don’t take care of your luggage, when you leave your valuable possessions in the trunk of the bus or when you accept naively something from them or accept helping them, so they give you drugs or stolen things, in some cases they will try to poison you to make you sleep in the bus.

Then, you have gotten some tips to avoid these threats to your safety or even worse, which are for example, but not limited to, traveling always during the day, traveling as part of a group of people, never accepting anything from a stranger, never accept to help anybody unless it’s really necessary, carry your valuable stuff with you, choose one of the 3 best bus companies in Bolivia, and finally buy a ticket for a seat that is in the right side and at the middle of the bus.

We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know how much it costs to travel in Bolivia, including bus tickets, airplane tickets, or traveling with your own rented car, visit our dedicated guide in the following direction: The costs of traveling in Bolivia, all the numbers and details., information about how to live, work, invest, and travel in Bolivia.

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