One decision you will have to make is whether to send to Bolivia the things you have gotten so used to having, including Grandma’s keepsakes, or whether to sell your things and buy new when you arrive. This is a very personal decision and you will have to make it, however, we will tell you the details and options that are out there. When we were moving, many gave us very bad advice in this area to both extremes! Some who have never been here, read on the Internet “just sell everything and buy new when you get there”, and gave this very poor advice to those we were working with. Would you like to spend the first two months in a strange place with a strange language shopping?
There are things worth transporting and there are things that are not. For instance, the tax on imported vehicles is 40% and like anywhere else, parts are more readily available for the makes and models that are already sold in Bolivia. Only newer vehicles will be allowed to be registered here. However, many vehicles in the Ixiamas area are not registered. Sending (or driving) your vehicle down there may be what you want to do, however, based on what was just mentioned, you might change your mind. Your shiny Volvo may not hold up as well on some of the rougher less-maintained roads and your nice fuel efficient Geo may not be able to take climbing up the mountains daily. However, you may not ever find that specific kitchen appliance antique hand tool or rare model of cellphone you need when shopping in Bolivia, and, even if you do, it may cost far more than you could have purchased it for in the U.S., including shipping and Customs fees. We can advise you
on which appliances will function with Bolivian electric and how to adapt the ones that won’t. We decided not to spend the first month or two of our time in Bolivia in the big city, shopping!
There are some things that for either practical or legal reasons are very difficult to send (e.g. cash, coins, animals, weapons and ammo), and we will instruct you about your options, but ultimately, you will have to decide how you want to do it based on the information we give you. Many Americans ship their entire household in 20’ or 40’ long containers that get trucked to the port and carried by boat to Bolivia, then trucked to your new location. Others may only want to ship necessities or things that are difficult to find anywhere anymore, such as old American-made tools and stainless and cast-iron cookware. For those who have no desire or means to ship an entire container full, there are companies that can put a small number of your things in a crate, which can be shipped in a container along with other small crates. This way, the things most important to you can follow you to Bolivia.