South America Living

La Paz, Bolivia Travel Guide

Skyline of Sopocachi, Located in the 1st District

As you can tell from the photo to the left, the city of La Paz (population 800,385) is a megatropolis. What you can´t see is the abundance of riches that lie in wait for the ambitious traveller.

City Map   Where To Eat   Where To Stay

The official capital city of Bolivia is Sucre – but La Paz is considered its “other capital” or administrative capital as it is home to more branches of government than Sucre. Most persons – as well as most online references and travel guides – will claim La Paz is the capital; now you know better. A detailed explanation can be found here: Does Bolivia Really Have Two Capital Cities?

A Short List of Things To Do and See in La Paz Includes:

  • Museo de Etnografía y Folklore – folklore museum with handicrafts and weavings.
  • Valley of the Moon – badlands 10 km (6.3 miles) out of town with rock formations and weird shapes formed by the Choqueyapu river canyon.
  • Monolith Reconstruction of Tiwanaku in La Paz

  • Plaza Murillo – government and legislative palaces such as the Presidential Palace (Palacio Quemado) where the president lives.
  • World’s Most Dangerous Road – travel from La Paz to the Amazon descending 3350 meters (11,000 feet) in only 40 or so miles (65km). Yikes & just don´t look down. Parts of the highway have been expanded and the road from La Paz to Coroico is now considered safe but other areas still have steep drop-offs and are used for mountain biking adventure tours; injuries including deaths do happen, make sure the tour operator has rescue & safety equipment.
  • Tiwanaku Archaeological Site – ancient pre-Inca construction with a museum on site approximately 72km (45 miles) to the west near Lake Titicaca. Travel Guide to Copacabana
  • Museo del Charango – museum with many traditional instruments used in music-making.

And last but not least… Mercado de las Brujas or “Witches Market”. Here you can buy herbs and remedies plus traditional ingredients used in Aymara healing rituals and hobnob with real-life witches; watch your back.

National Congress at the Plaza Murillo in central La Paz.

La Paz is one of the highest cities in South America – located 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level. Be prepared to acclimate slowly after arriving. More information can be found here: Travel Health – Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment of Altitude Sickness

If being above the sea has anything to do with mental status, then La Paz ranks high in that category as well. Lonely Planet included La Paz in its “Top 10 Party Cities”.

The first sentence in their Top 10 accolade says it all; “Don’t forget that liquor goes to the head quickly in the Bolivian capital, well over 3000 m above sea level.” Now you get a more complete picture. Enjoy your visit and stay safe.

Important Note About Trying Cocaine in La Paz: Want to try cocaine in La Paz? Many folks do, as it is plentiful and often snorted in clubs out in full view… but PLEASE ACCLIMATE TO THE ALTITUDE FIRST. There are too many stories of dead tourists (heart attacks after taking cocaine) as the mix of drug plus altitude was too much for their system to bear. Take it easy the first few days of a visit, and that includes when out partying.

Where to Stay in La Paz

Expensive
Name: Ritz Apart Hotel   Book Now
Address: Plaza Isabel La Catolica #2478
Website: http://www.hotel-ritzbolivia.com/   Fancy one-bedroom apartments with living area, small kitchen and balconies overlooking the city. Is located near Parque Bolivia.

Midrange
Name: Hotel Boutique El Consulado   Book Now
Address: Calle Carlos Bravo #299
Website: http://cafeelconsulado.com/   Dine in the garden before browsing the artisan shop or art gallery. Located at Student Square.

Cheap
Name: Wild Rover Hostel
Address: Calle comercio #1476 (3 blocks from Plaza Murillo)
Website: http://www.wildroverhostel.com/   Let the games begin… poker night, killer pool, dress-up fun plus an Irish bar onsite open until 2 a.m. You decide if that’s right for you 🙂

Where to Eat in La Paz

Expensive
Name: Tambo Colonial
Address: Avenida Illampu #704 (inside Hotel Rosario)
Website: www.hotelrosario.com/   Llama, beef, chicken and trout dishes (grilled or smothered in sauce) with a salad buffet to assist in your pleasure fest. Highly rated among most who give it a try.

Midrange
Name: Alexander Pub
Address: 16 de Julio #1832
Website: www.alexander-coffee.com/   andwiches, nachos, juices to mix with all the intoxicating add-ons you could wish for… nice for a late-night meal and drinks. Open until 1 a.m.

Cheap
Name: Surucachi
Address: 16 de Julio #1598
Website: None. Milanesa, fried fish, cheap menú del dia with soup, main dish and dessert. Popular with backpackers and locals alike.

Interactive Map of La Paz


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