The Post Office in La Paz, Bolivia
I almost never write these sorts of “advice” posts, let alone location-specific ones, but I was inspired by the fact that, after sending a box to Canada the other day, word got out at the hostel that I had gone through the experience and many people asked me how it was done.
I often send boxes home while I travel as I am forever tempted to buy things at the many markets along the way. I’ve also been buying all of my Christmas presents while travelling, so I often need to unload my bag and send a few kilos home. I’ve had a good track record when it comes to packages actually being delivered, and, as I heard that Bolivia’s post is quite reliable, I decided to send some gifts home through here. Here’s how I did it.
1. Make sure you have two copies of your passport, as one will go inside the box and the other will be kept for their records. Photocopy places are all over La Paz and it should only cost you 1 Boliviano for two copies (about 15 cents).
2. The post office is located conveniently on Santa Cruz, very close to the Witches’ Market. It is about a 5 minute walk from San Francisco square or 10 minutes from Loki or Wild Rover hostels. When you enter, you’ll head to the right of the lobby and go down the stairs for international packages.
3. You should first go to the back of the room to have your belongings inspected and then packaged. The women there do a great job of wrapping your stuff up, boxing it, and then taping the box shut. You have to pay for this service, betwen 15 and 25 Bolivianos depending on the size of the box. While there you will also fill out your mailing/customs form.
4. Next, you will take your box and form to one of the counters, where you will pay. For 5 kilograms to Canada, I paid around 350 Bolivianos, which is approximately $50. The box should arrive in a few weeks, and I was given a tracking number to follow. Edit: The tracking number didn’t work, but I did receive my package.
Overall, the experience was extremely hassle-free. There were no lines, and everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. If you want to buy souvenirs in South America, do it in Bolivia – firstly, the souvenirs themselves are very cheap, and secondly, sending them home is easy!
Edit: The box indeed arrived three weeks later!
Do you ever send boxes home when you travel?