Cost of Living in Bolivia

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As with most places, your cost of living can really vary in Bolivia depending on how you live, eat and spend.  I will endeavour to represent the spread, but generally consider myself an average spender - I am neither a big spender nor a great saver. I'll post all of the prices in Bolivianos and you can use whatever currency best suits you - it's not an overly convenient currency for Canadians (around 7:1 most times) and it fluctuates quite a bit.

FOOD

Street food meal: 5-10Bs Restaurant meal - Bolivian: 10-35Bs Restaurant meal - Other Ethnicities: 25-65Bs Milk/1L: 6-8Bs Eggs/dozen: 10Bs Yogurt/1L: 12Bs Apples/3: 10Bs Bananas/dozen: 10Bs Potatoes/1kg: 7Bs Rice/1kg: 15Bs Bottle of water: 5Bs

9 Reasons to Love Cochabamba

TRANSPORTATION

Trufi (shared taxi) fare: 2-2.5Bs Micro (small bus) fare: 1.5-2.5 Bs Taxi: 8-25Bs

HOUSING/ACCOMMODATION

Full disclosure: I stayed in volunteer housing and paid quite a high rent.  However I hear that a person can get a room in a shared house or apartment in the central part of the city for about $150 USD per month (roughly 1000Bs), including your utilities and internet.  I can pretty well guarantee that price would decline if you were to go further from the center.

LIFESTYLE

Bottle of wine in a supermarket: 20Bs and up Local beer in a supermarket: 6-12Bs Local beer at a restaurant: 18Bs Premium beer at a restaurant: 25-30Bs Bottle of wine at a restaurant: 40Bs and up (generally around 75-100) Private Spanish lessons: 30-60Bs per hour Cellphone/Smartphone: Data and general cell costs are cheap, but I used mine for the internet a LOT.  All told, still only cost me about 150-200Bs per month.

CLOTHING

Second hand tshirt: 10Bs New tshirt: 45Bs Old Navy tshirt at American Outlet: 140Bs Leggings: 25Bs Knock-off Converse sneakers: 100Bs Obviously there's a ton of variety here and these prices are generally the starting points, but this should give you the idea that most clothing items are really cheap, and there are second hand options to be found.

All in, not including rent, I was living really very comfortably on about  $500 CDN per month (about $120 of which was just Spanish lessons).  A person could definitely do better than that if they opted out of things like the Spanish lessons, buying Halloween costumes, drinking out, and occasionally spending too much on the best pizza in town...but I didn't go crazy by any stretch and think I struck a decent balance.

Bolivia is very affordable and I highly recommend it as a place to crash for a while if you're travelling South America, or frankly, to stay for longer. Because I also happen to love it :)

Up next: my favourite things about Cochabamba! Feature photo courtesy of Stefan Krasowski on Flickr.