The infamous San Pedro prison (El Penal de San Pedro) in La Paz is famous for having no security guards inside, the prisoners run it themselves. Families of the prisoners often live there too, and it's apparently possible to do 'tours' of the prison, also run by the prisoners. However it's hard to find information on this as no official tour company can be seen to endorse these, and I'm quite sure nobody would insure them either ;)

Any ideas?

  • quickmeme.com/meme/1t0m ?! Dec 19, 2011 at 3:07
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    Quite serious. I was annoyed when I was there last that I didn't have enough time to find out more about it. I've met several people since who have been.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 19, 2011 at 3:23
  • Well I've met people who have done prison tours in this part of the world. I thought it was Colombia but I could have misremembered or there could be more than one such prison. Dec 19, 2011 at 9:55
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    @hippietrail In Bolivia they don't do that. You could ask..but as there is no control in the prisons here in Bolivia you could get hurt. You can't take cellphones and electronic things inside.
    – mccjeff
    May 19, 2014 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


The tours of the prison used to be possible in the past, but with the publication of the book 'Marching Powder' they became very popular and the government finally cracked down on the whole situation in the prison.

It is no longer possible to do the tours or get into the prison (unless you are convicted to serve time there)

  • Any idea when this crackdown was? I've met people in the last year who have done it. I Just failed to find out how they did it ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 22, 2011 at 21:12
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    Last year? When I was in La Paz in November 2009 it was no longer possible to get into the prison. Dec 22, 2011 at 21:14
  • I wonder if perhaps they were talking about Palmasola then...
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 22, 2011 at 22:03

You need to be a resident in Bolivia and have a reason for going in(know someone who is convicted).

If you go in you will probably take fleas home with you.

Source: I live in Tarija, Bolivia

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