"Where can I do my laundry while I'm traveling?" is a question we get a lot from tourists. If you aren't staying at an upscale hotel, you might be wondering. In Bolivia, laundromats are called lavanderías
and dry cleaners are called tintorerías
. (Some call dry cleaners lavaseco
). There are laundromats in the major cities of Bolivia
where you can take your clothing to be washed. Many are not coin operated machines. Instead, you pay the cashier by the wash load and/or by the dryer load. You then leave your clothing and when you return, your laundry has been washed, dried and folded neatly.
Prices vary, but are generally equivalent to about $2-3 US dollars per wash, and $2-3 US dollars per dry. Most will fold your laundry and place it neatly into large plastic bags, but won't iron it. Bolivians don't use laundromats very much. It is still common for households to have maids or laundry ladies who come to do the laundry by hand. Many Bolivians believe that washing machines don't clean your clothes as well as hand-washing. However, machine washing is becoming more common over time.
Dry cleaners, on the other hand, are all over the place. Bolivian society is still quite formal in many ways, especially in terms of what you wear when you go out. So dry cleaners are often packed with formal gowns and suits, but they also provide other services such as rug cleaning, pillow cleaning, hat cleaning, and some will even re-dye faded jeans.
Laundry service is offered at all upscale hotels. If you are staying at a small hotel or hostel, before you spend at a Laundromat, ask if they offer laundry service. Many, if not most, have agreements with laundry ladies who will wash your clothing by hand and air dry them. Unlike laundromats, it usually also includes ironing because dryers are not used. The price is usually per kilo or per piece in this case. And finally, Bolivia's version of the Yellow Pages directory has an impressively long list of laundry services and drycleaners all over Bolivia.