Gluten free travel in Bolivia is fairly easy for a Celiac traveler. While the products are not labeled GF like in neighboring Brazil and Argentina, the basics are easy to get by on. Expect a breakfast of fried eggs and meat, and lunch/dinner meals of grilled meats with rice, its recommended to stay away from raw veggies due to possible water contamination issues, but boiled should be fine.
The opportunities to self-cater are much more difficult in Bolivia than neighboring countries so once you find a restaurant that is willing to work with your needs, stick to it! There are a lot of “Italian” style restaurants serving cheap pizza and pasta, which are not your best choice due to the difficulties communicating about cross-contamination.
The capital of La Paz offers many more options than the smaller towns, I even found a trendy cafe with several GF items including cuñapes (cheese buns) made of manioc flour. I was able to order a dozen of them for pickup a few days later. Outside the capital, I wasn’t able to find any specialty shops, but the Bolivian staple foods seemed to work just fine. In particular, quinoa soup is delicious and typically GF, and grilled chicken with rice was available everywhere – just make sure to explain it should not be breaded.
If trekking is your main plan of action, I’d recommend buying American chocolate bars (such as snickers or mars) in substitute of granola bars and would also suggest finding corn or sweet potato chips for a carb snack. Nuts are a good option but beware of any that are dry roasted.
Gluten free goods in La Paz:
Cafe La Terraza (Prado La Paz)
#Av. 20 de Octubre #2331, La Paz, Bolivia
Many GF items available such as cuñapes and tortillas made of maiz (corn)
A good bet for someone who doesn’t speak Spanish is to get a language card that explains your food needs. Here is a link to some free printable language cards:
Useful Words to Know
Enjoy your time in this fascinating country! It is rugged and beautiful. Please feel free to message me with any new resources and I’ll add them to this list. Safe Travels!