U.S. Embassy La Paz, Bolivia - January 18, 2013 - This message advises U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Bolivia on security precautions before and during Carnival.
Please be advised that Carnival celebrations have already begun throughout Bolivia. Travel will dramatically increase on all Bolivian roads starting from this weekend, especially to Oruro. During this period there is often an increase in petty crime. Pick pocketing, purse snatching, and thefts of cell phones and cameras are common occurrences and difficult to detect in crowds, especially in Oruro. When you are out enjoying the celebrations, it is prudent to minimize the valuables on your person and to be mindful of your possessions at all times including being mindful of your drinks. If you did not see it opened then do not drink it. Once opened, monitor it.
You should be aware that during the coming days, even outside of traditional Carnival celebrations, Bolivians often throw water balloons and spray water and foam at bystanders and passersby. This can occur on the street, from buildings, or moving vehicles. It does not matter whether you want to be a participant, everyone is fair game. Please be aware that there are many areas in La Paz and other cities in Bolivia where groups gather. Please also take extra precautions at night while driving as there is increased alcoholic consumption during these celebrations.
You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy website, found here. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, by calling the regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.
You can contact the American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 591-2-216-8246 during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 591-715-33713 after hours and on weekends. The U.S. Embassy is located at 2780 Arce Avenue in La Paz, Bolivia, and is open to the public by appointment on Monday through Thursday from 08:00 to 12:30, and Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00. You can schedule a non-emergency appointment by visiting this website http://bolivia.usembassy.gov/.
The Embassy operates two Consular Agencies in the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, Bolivia. These agencies can also provide assistance to U.S. citizens. The Santa Cruz Consular Agency is located on Roque Aguilera Avenue #146 (3rd ring). You can contact the Santa Cruz Consular Agency by telephone at 591-3-351-3477, during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). The Cochabamba Consular Agency is located on Edificio Saal, Avenida Pando 1122, 1st Floor. You can contact the Cochabamba Consular Agency by telephone at 591-4-411-6313, during regular business hours (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). If you wish to visit the Consular Agencies for a non-emergency matter, please schedule an appointment.