does it snow in bolivia

Does it snow in Bolivia? Bolivia is located in South America and does not have any coastline.

Just like many countries in South America, Bolivia has a diverse climate that varies greatly depending on the region and altitude.

First-time travelers often ask, “Where does it snow in Bolivia?” Well, traveling in winter won’t always help you find snow in Bolivia. Let’s find out why.

It does snow in Bolivia, but you would not get a lot of it, especially in the major Bolivian cities.  

A Quick Look at the Climate in Bolivia

climate in bolivia

Bolivia has two primary seasons: summer and winter.

Because it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the weather flips for people accustomed to seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.

Summer lasts from November to March, bringing rain and warmth to the country. Winter lasts from April to October, bringing colder winds and an arid season.

Just bear in mind that the weather here can be different depending on the elevation.

It goes from hot and humid tropics to cold and dry.

Fact: Even though you visit in "summer," places like La Paz stay cool because of their high altitude.   

Does It Snow in Bolivia?

snow in bolivia

The simple answer is, “Yes, it does snow in Bolivia.”

However, it is not always as simple as you might think.  The reason is that the amount of snow Bolivia gets varies a lot based on the areas.

And in most regions, snowfall is rather rare.  Still, you can hope to get some snow in regions like:

  • The temperate center
  • The Altiplanic west
  • The tropical east

The higher lands above these places are where you might see snow, usually from April to September.

The best snowfall occurs way up above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters)

Places with Little Chances of Snow

bolivia places with little snow

That being said, there is almost no possibility of snow in the country’s tropical west.

This includes cities like:

  • Trinidad
  • Santa Cruz
  • Cobija

The same holds true for Bolivia’s central hilly corridor, where you will never see any snow.

The most popular cities in this zone include:

  • Sucre
  • Cochabamba
  • Tarija 

More about Snow in Bolivia

In Bolivia, temperatures can sometimes drop below freezing, but snow is still uncommon, except at the highest elevations.

Also, due to climate change, Bolivia has experienced a significant decrease in snowfall numbers over the past century.

Fact: About 20% of the tropical glaciers in the world are found in Bolivia, but these ice formations have been shrinking rapidly due to small rises in average temperatures. 

How Much Does It Snow in Bolivia?

does it snow in bolivia

It is typically a lighter event when snow falls on the land, especially in the eastern side of Bolivia with its dry alpine climate.

Even during the winter months, do not expect to see more than 5 to 15 inches of snow covering any inhabited area in this part of the country.

 Yes, the Los Andes Mountains get a whole lot of snow, but life just cannot flourish up there. 

Snow in Tourists Spots

In tourist spots such as La Paz, Potosí, or the rural Altiplanic towns, most snowfalls are pretty mild and will not dump more than 15 inches at a time.

Also, these snowy episodes usually only last for a little bit – maybe 1 to 3 hours – and they are more common at night rather than during the day. 

A Bit about the History of Snow in Bolivia

the history of snow in bolivia

Regarding the other corners of Bolivia, the likelihood of snow is quite low.

 In the past 50 years, less than 10 snow events have been reported in the central and eastern regions.

Fact: Hail is more common in Bolivia and it happens every few years, but not every year, usually between December and March in these areas. 

How Cold Does It Get in Bolivia?

how cold is bolivia

You will notice some temperature variations in different parts of Bolivia throughout the year.

The coldest places are in the Altiplano highlands. This list includes:

  • Lake Titicaca
  • La Paz
  • Oruro
  • Cochabamba
  • Sucre
  • Potosí
  • Uyuni

At night, temperatures can reach slightly above 32°F (0°C). 

Snow in the Icy Desert Areas

snow in icy desert areas

Even in the icy desert areas of Altiplano, there can be ground frosts and snow.

Over here, it is usually cool and kind of damp.

In the southwest, it can get pretty chilly, and winter temperatures might drop to around -4°F (-20°C) in June and July. But, heavy snow is more likely up in the mountains than in these areas.

Here is a bit more about what to expect.

RegionMain CitiesClimate and CharacteristicsTemperature in Winter (F)
AltiplanoLake Titicaca, La PazThe cold and semi-arid region, with dry, strong windsAround 59F
Central highland valleysTarija Potosi, Cochabamba, SucreCooler nights and pleasant daytime temperatureAround 62F
Yungas Valley & Eastern SlopesNilTropical climate, warm and humidAround 52F
Eastern LowlandsTrinidad, Santa Cruz, Beni PandoHigh humidity, wet, heavy rainfallAround 86F

Does It Snow in Principal Bolivian Cities?

principal bolivian cities snow

Does it snow in La Paz Bolivia? Or, is it possible to find some snow in major Bolivian cities?

CitySnow OccurrenceSnow Thickness
La PazWinter, usually end of fallLess than 5 inches
El AltoWinterLess than 15 inches
CochabambaOccasional in winterLess than 5 inches
Santa CruzNever reportedNil
OruroWinterLess than 15 inches
PotosiEnd of fallBetween 5 and 15 inches

Best Time to Visit Bolivia

time to visit bolivia

If you are planning a trip, the peak tourist time is from June to September when the weather is nice and there are festivals everywhere.

But if you are looking for the best time, go for the cool, dry period between May and October.

The rainy season, from November to April, can make travel more complicated.

However, it is a good idea to check the weather of your specific destination, since the weather in Bolivia can vary depending on the region. 

Things to Do In Bolivia

There is so much to see and do in Bolivia, and you can definitely engage in many winter activities. But, those looking for ski resorts would feel disappointed. 

The History of Ski Resorts in Bolivia

history of ski resorts in bolivia

Finding ski resorts in Bolivia is out of the question now, but it was not always the same.

In the past, Bolivia had the honor to have the highest ski resort in the world. Chacaltaya, located at a mind-blowing 17,100 feet (5,200 meters) above La Paz, used to have a glacier that was a whopping 18,000 years old.

The place was famous not just for its tough ski lift but also for offering some of the most amazing views found in any ski destination around the world. 

When It All Changed?

It started to change in the 1980s when the Chacaltaya Glacier began melting away. By 2009, it had completely vanished.

These days, skiing at Chacaltaya is limited to just a measly 600 feet (180 meters) area that sometimes gets enough snow to fit in a quick run. 

Other Winter Activities to Try in Bolivia

While skiing is out of the question, you can find many other winter activities in the area.

For instance: 

Huayna Potosi Hiking Trip

huayna potosi hiking trip in bolivia

Over 6,000 meters of elevation gain means that even novice hikers can give it a shot. 

This 3-day excursion allows you to acclimate to the higher altitude and learn the basics of ice climbing and mountaineering.

Visit the Illimani

visit the illimani bolivia

Located to the south of La Paz, Illimani dominates the skyline from almost any vantage point in the city.

Four of the peaks in this massive massif are higher than 6,000 meters, with the southern ‘real’ peak coming in at 6442 meters.

Fact: You need to be extremely acclimated and have mountaineering experience before attempting Illimani. 

Festivals to Attend in Bolivia

It is also a great idea to plan your visit to Bolivia based on what festivals you can attend.

For instance:

National FiestasThey have brass bands, food, alcohol, and thousands of dancers, and showcase the nation’s rich culture and history.
CarnavalBolivians celebrate water-fighting, feasting, and merrymaking in late February or early March, with Oruro holding the most famous celebrations.
Indigenous FiestasThey have a spiritual and agricultural relevance; in fact, not celebrating them may anger the gods and harm the community. They keep the community together and elevate the wealthy.  
festivals in bolivia


Does it snow in Bolivia? Yes, it does, but it is a rare occurrence in most major cities. Still, you can find some snow on higher altitudes but do not expect anything unusual.

Yet, you can take part in other winter activities, like hiking, trekking, and mountaineering to make your trip as memorable as possible.

Be sure to arrange a visit during the festival season to make it more exciting.