Like many South American countries, Bolivia is divided into several geographical zones, each of which has its own distinct climate. There is the high-altitude Andes in the west, with a climate similar to the Andean region of Peru, the lush hot and humid rainforest in the north, and the savanna region in the south and east, which is largely covered by the Gran Chaco and is predominantly semi-arid with little tree cover.
Sitting on a high plateau against a backdrop of Andean peaks, the city of La Paz gives you an idea of what the weather is like in the region as a whole. Temperatures are on the cool side in July, with a maximum of 54°F (12°C). Nights are chilly (make sure you pack extra layers), dropping as low as 28°F (-2°C). Morning mists often lift to reveal blue skies and sharp light, which is great for photography. Go higher, and it gets colder still at night, hovering around 21°F (-6°C) on Lake Titicaca and the Salar de Uyuni.
As the driest month of the year (just three days of rain on average), July is an attractive time to strike out into the heart of the Amazon—the region is far more accessible now than during the summer rainy season. Cobija, close to the Brazilian border in the north, is roughly representative of the region weather-wise. Highs peak at around 88°F (31°C), while lows hover at the 61°F (16°C) mark.
July is also one of the coolest, brightest months in Bolivia's savanna region. Take Santa Cruz as your point of reference for an idea of the weather throughout the region. Here you can expect maximum temperatures of 75°F (24°C) and lows of 59°F (15°C). There are only five days of rain on average, making this one of the driest months in the country's lowlands.
Crowds & Costs
High season has arrived in Bolivia, and everything is in full swing in outdoor meccas like the Andes and Amazon, with tours booked well in advance (plan ahead if you want to go on a guided hike or a rainforest boat trip now). You'll be sharing the trails with others during this popular month, and for good reason—drier, cooler, sunnier days show off the country at its blue-skied, wildlife-filled best.
With the influx of visitors come higher rates for rooms and tours. And prices leap even higher during festivals like 16 de Julio (July 16, La Paz) and Fiesta del Santo Patrono de Moxos (July 31, Beni region).
Where to Go
Sitting at 11,940 feet (3,640 m), La Paz is a great city to acclimate and plan your Andean adventure. The sharp light and cool, bright days make this the perfect month for hooking onto tours and ramping up the outdoor action. You could take a reed boat across Lake Titicaca to Isla del Sol, the birthplace of Andean civilization, say, or a jeep tour across the sugar-white, surreally beautiful salt flats of the Unesco World Heritage Salar de Uyuni.
With peaks soaring to 19,685 feet (6,000 m), the snow-capped Cordillera Real beckons hardcore hikers with alternative (and less crowded) Inca trails and spectacular scenery. And in July, the dry weather is right for a multi-day trek.
July is the best month if you're planning to travel to the rainforest by road, with dry conditions making the Amazon its most accessible. Come now, and you're in for a wildlife treat, with prime sightings of everything from macaws to capybaras and howler monkeys. High visitor numbers mean you might need to book digs in Rurrenabaque or Trinidad well ahead, and the same goes for ecolodges deeper in the jungle.
Bolivia's lowland plains are ripe for discovery during the cooler, drier days of July. Tropical, high-spirited Santa Cruz is a good springboard for exploring the region, with intriguing museums, music drifting across its plazas, and always a fiesta after dark. Chiquitania entices with its one-of-a-kind Jesuit mission heritage, while to the west, in the Andean foothills, relaxed Samaipata is the go-to town for a detour to the pre-Inca site of El Fuerte.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Most Andean adventures begin in sky-high La Paz, where you could spend a couple of days immersing yourself in the city's markets, buzzing street life, and an increasingly exciting food scene. July is suitable for outdoor activities, whether you pedal the hair-raising road through the Yungas down to Coroico, hike into the remoter corners of the epic Cordillera Central mountains, or devote a few days to touring indigenous villages and Inca ruins on Lake Titicaca.
A 4x4 tour is a brilliant way to see the vast, white expanse of the Salar de Uyuni and its surrounding geysers, hot springs, and flamingo-filled lakes. Culture, you say? Head to Potosí for the inside scoop on the silver mines that fuelled the Spanish empire, or capital Sucre for a mix of history and upbeat nightlife.
The Bolivian Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, and you've picked a great month to see it at its driest, wildlife-rich best. There's an easygoing vibe in Rurrenabaque, where you can kick back in a hammock, hike or boat with a guide into the jungle, explore the pampas, or stay at an ecolodge in the heart of the remote, lush Madidi National Park. The colonial city of Trinidad is another recommended gateway to the rainforest, with more culture and history in the mix.
After a short cultural sojourn in Santa Cruz, you'll want to make the most of the dry, crisp weather by venturing further into the savanna. Chiquitania is an easy and worthwhile day trip from the city. Here, you can tour the Jesuit mission circuit, taking in the reconstructed churches at the heart of communities founded by the missionaries before they were expelled from Spanish America in 1767.
Or base yourself in Vallegrande to tread in the footsteps of Che Guevara on the Che Trail. For mountain air, walks on paths heading into the world's highest vines and wine tastings, make for Valle de la Concepción.
Events in July
16 de Julio, La Paz. La Paz celebrates the anniversary of its founding with markets, fairs, and fiestas.
Fiesta del Santo Patrono de Moxos. In late July, the Beni region pulls out all the stops for this mammoth festival, with elaborately costumed parades, dancing, and wild parties.
Fiesta del Señor Santiago, Andean Foothills. This religious festival in late July brings folk parades, vibrant costumes, exploding dynamics, and processions to small towns and villages in the Andean foothills.
Traveling to Bolivia in July? Check out these great itineraries
Bolivia & Atacama, Chile - 12 Days. Take a voyage that includes the highest capital city, culturally fascinating La Paz, the surreal salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni and the weird rock formations of one of the world's driest places: the Atacama Desert.
Bolivian Cities, Cloud Forests & Salt Flats- 9 Days. This trip includes the high-altitude city of La Paz, a heart-in-mouth mountain bike ride down the camino de muerte (road of death) and the magical cloud forests of Bolivia's Yungas region.