Expat Stories: Moving to Santa Cruz, Bolivia Seemed Like a Good Choice Given the Economic Situation in Europe

by Anonymous Male - From England, Scotland
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

Photo © BoliviaBella.com 2013

Photo © BoliviaBella.com 2013

1. How did you first hear about Bolivia and/or become interested in Bolivia as a possible place to live?

I met a Bolivian illegal immigrant in Spain and we were going to get married. This was 2005. She died in 2009. I still had good contact with her family and friends. So upon returning in 2011, and finally until now in early 2013 it seemed like good choice, given the economic situation in Europe.

2. Where are you from originally and why are/were you considering living overseas when you first took Bolivia into account as an option?

I’m half English half Scottish, British say, but I support Scottish Independence. I also owe tens of thousands in credit card debts. This will all go away in a few years as they’re unsecured debts.

3. Which languages do you speak? If you do not speak Spanish, has this made adjusting to, and living in Bolivia more difficult for you?

I speak fluent Spanish, and native English.

4. Did you come here as an individual, couple or family?


5. Are you planning to live in Bolivia short-term or long term?

Originally long term, however I find it quite an expensive place to live by what you expect to earn. Also now have a Bolivian born daughter and I would like for her to benefit from better education, health and general services in Europe. So, now we’re looking at moving to Spain, once I get my dual nationality. I think it’s going to be very useful to have both an EU and Mercosur passport.

6. Do you work or plan to work or start your own business in Bolivia?

Yes, I have two, one failed, the other hobbles along.

7. Is Bolivia the only country to which you contemplated moving, or did you consider other choices? If so, why did you ultimately choose Bolivia?

See Q.1

8. What steps did you take to research about Bolivia to prepare yourself prior to arriving?

Rabies shots and yellow fever jabs.

9. What do you miss most about your home country?

The food.

10. What do you like/love/appreciate most about Bolivia?

The people.

11. Did you relocate on your own, or do you work for a company that relocated you to Bolivia?


12. If your plan is/was to retire in Bolivia permanently, how did you prepare financially, and in other ways to make that possible?

I just bought a one way flight.

13. For those of you who have lived in Bolivia for at least 6 months, now that you are here, what have you learned about Bolivia that you did not know before?

Staple foods are as if not more expensive than in Europe. The beer is great (knew that already). It’s not as cheap as you would have thought unless your prepared to eat intestines and liver everyday. Also the healthcare is shit and the police are corrupt and almost useless in my mind.

14. Is there anything about Bolivia that turned out to be very unexpected to you?

Not very, but I’ve been made to feel very welcome in remote communities – Always knowing someone or being invited as a guest.

15. What special skills or attitudes do you think a person or family needs in order to ensure their stay in Bolivia is enjoyable/successful?

Perseverance and tenacity – but you could apply that to anywhere.

16. Is there any reason you would NOT recommend Bolivia as a place to live, work or retire?

Health, food, police, security, basically your fine if your rich, you’re fucked if not.

17. What is the most negative aspect about living in Bolivia in your opinion?

The limited choice of food, poor hospitals, lack of security, seatbelts etc., evangelical churches.

18. What are some of the most positive aspects about living in Bolivia in your opinion?

Meeting some very warm hearted people who take you for who you are at face value.

19. Have you faced any unexpected difficulties while living here? Were you able to overcome those obstacles? Are they serious enough to cause you to want to leave?

Yes, back to healthcare, I’ve had to borrow obscene amounts of money to pay for hospital bills.

20. If your children moved overseas with you, how did you prepare them for the differences in lifestyle or culture shock?


21. For future potential expatriates who are considering living in Bolivia, what advice would you give them (how to prepare, what to bring or not bring, etc.)?

Bring all your old mobile phones (cellphones) and sell them. Bring your own laptop etc, don’t buy it here. Repellant.

22. What are some of the things that were most difficult for you to accept or adjust to in Bolivia?

Price of beer – Expensive. Wine not so bad. Poor food.

23. Prior to moving here, what aspects of living in Bolivia would you have liked to know more about or have more assistance with? Is there anything anyone could have done, or informed you about that would have made your choice to move to Bolivia, the relocation process itself, or your initial adjustment period easier, less stressful, less frightening?

Wasn’t frightened at all.

24. Hindsight is 20/20. If you could go back in time to the months before you moved to Bolivia, is there were anything you would do differently to prepare for living in Bolivia?


25. Just for statistical purposes, had you heard of BoliviaBella.com or Expat Services prior to moving to Bolivia? If so, which parts of our website were most helpful to you? What information would you like to see added for future potential expats?

I found your website useful prior to moving, it contained a lot of useful information on many procedures that need to be undertaken. Still until you get here, you can’t really tell. That aside, the information is great but I’d like to see an improvement on the layout of the website so that it's easier to navigate.

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