Are you planning to visit La Paz, Bolivia in the near future? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in La Paz. These breathtaking sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.
Welcome to the vibrant city of La Paz, Bolivia! Nestled high in the Andes, at a breathtaking 3,600 meters above sea level, La Paz is a city where modern life intertwines seamlessly with ancient traditions. As you explore this captivating city, you’ll discover a wealth of things to do in La Paz. Each offers a deep dive into its unique culture and heritage.
La Paz is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered, a place where every adventure seeker, history buff, and culinary enthusiast will find their heart’s desire. From the charming cobblestone streets of Calle Jaen to the thrilling and infamous Death Road, La Paz is a city of contrasts and surprises.
Whether you’re wandering through the mysterious and enchanting El Mercado de las Brujas (Witches Market), or gazing at the city’s landscape from the heights of Mi Teleferico (Cable Cars), La Paz invites you to immerse yourself in its rich tapestry of cultures, to taste its unique flavors, and to explore its hidden gems.
So, bring your sense of adventure and get ready to dive into the experiences that La Paz has to offer! Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in La Paz, Bolivia.
Best Places to Visit in La Paz
Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in La Paz? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this fascinating vacation spot in Bolivia. So keep reading to discover all these unique La Paz places to visit.
Are you looking to immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the city by exploring its vibrant markets, where traditional crafts, textiles, and local cuisine abound? Or would you prefer to embark on thrilling adventures like trekking in the nearby mountains, biking along scenic trails, or taking part in high-altitude sports for an adrenaline rush? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in La Paz can accommodate your needs. It’s no wonder this is one of the first places travelers visit in South America. Here’s all the best attractions in La Paz that you should know about.
1. Valle de la Luna
Embark on a journey to Valle de la Luna, a mesmerizing valley that resembles the moon’s surface. It offers a glimpse into La Paz’s geological wonders, showcasing the city’s diverse landscapes. The rugged terrain and uncommon rock formations create a surreal environment. This makes it one of the La Paz attractions that should be on top of your bucket list.
Curious about where to visit in La Paz if you’re a photography enthusiast? The options are many, but Valle de Luna is outstanding. With its dramatic landscapes providing the perfect backdrop for captivating pictures, this is your dream come true. The play of light and shadow on the rocks during sunset adds a magical touch to the scenery. This gives an exceptional visual delight.
While traversing this lunar-like landscape, you’ll encounter intriguing erosion patterns and a variety of flora. It adds a touch of color to the gray and brown palette of the rocks. This is a place where nature and artistry collide, offering visitors an exceptional perspective on La Paz’s geological heritage.
For anyone wondering about what to do in La Paz, a visit to Valle de la Luna should undoubtedly be on your list. It’s not just a sightseeing spot. This is a place where you can experience the artistic nature and gain insights into the geological wonders of La Paz.
2. Death Road
For thrill-seekers looking for unique things to do in La Paz, cycling down the notorious Death Road is an exhilarating adventure not to be missed. This narrow and winding road descends from the high Andes to the lush Amazon rainforest. It offers daring cyclists a taste of La Paz’s diverse ecosystems.
The journey along Death Road is a rollercoaster of emotions, with breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and steep cliffs. It’s not just about the thrill; it’s about experiencing the raw beauty of La Paz’s landscapes. This makes it a go-to spot in La Paz for adventure enthusiasts.
As you navigate the precarious turns and steep descents, the changing scenery from cool mountain air to the humid breath of the rainforest is a vivid reminder of La Paz’s geographical diversity. It’s a place where adrenaline and awe coexist. This invites the brave to witness the contrasting beauty of La Paz.
Death Road is more than a cycling route. It’s a journey through La Paz’s varied terrains, a must for those seeking to experience the city’s adventurous side and natural splendor.
3. Mercado de las Brujas
Dive into the mystical and traditional at Mercado de las Brujas, one of the unique places in La Paz where tradition and folklore intertwine. This Witches’ Market is a labyrinth of stalls and shops, each brimming with a myriad of herbs, potions, and talismans, integral to the spiritual practices of the Aymara people.
In this market, the air is thick with the scent of burning herbs and the vibrant colors of the wares create a tapestry of tradition and culture. It offers a glimpse into the spiritual life of La Paz’s indigenous communities. This is a place where ancient beliefs and modern life coalesce – making it a fascinating spot to explore and learn.
Visitors seeking a thing to do in La Paz will find the market a treasure trove of rare items and experiences, from dried frogs used for Aymara rituals to colorful woven textiles representing the rich tapestry of Bolivian life. It’s not just a market; it’s a living, breathing embodiment of La Paz’s cultural heritage and spiritual richness.
Embarking on a journey to Tiwanaku is like stepping back in time. This unveils the remnants of a civilization lost in the annals of history. It’s one of the must-see in La Paz for anyone with a penchant for archaeology and ancient civilizations. This pre-Incan archaeological site whispers tales of a culture that thrived long before the Inca Empire.
Tiwanaku is a testament to the architectural prowess and the spiritual beliefs of its builders. The intricate carvings and colossal stone blocks are remnants of a society steeped in ritual and symbolism. It’s a place where every stone has a story to tell, every carving a secret to reveal about the people who once called this place home.
Seeking the best things to do in La Paz? Tiwanaku offers a rich tapestry of history and culture, waiting to be explored and understood. The silent stones and the whispering winds carry the echoes of a bygone era. It invites travelers to lose themselves in the mysteries of the ancient world.
5. Calle Jaén
In the heart of La Paz, Calle Jaén stands as a colorful and vibrant testament to the city’s colonial past. This cobblestone street is one of the essential destinations in La Paz for those who love to explore historical architecture and immerse themselves in the local culture.
The street is lined with brightly colored buildings, each one more charming than the last, and it’s a paradise for photography enthusiasts. Every corner, every façade seems to tell a story of times gone by, of the people who walked these streets in a different era.
Visiting Calle Jaén is like stepping into a living museum, where history and modernity coexist in a harmonious dance. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of the past while discovering the vibrant energy of present-day La Paz.
For those compiling a list of cool destinations in La Paz, Calle Jaén is a must-add. It’s a place where the city’s rich history is painted in every color of the rainbow, waiting to be explored and appreciated by those who seek the beauty in the old and the new.
6. Mirador Killi Killi
High above the bustling streets of La Paz, Mirador Killi Killi offers panoramic views that are simply breathtaking. This vantage point is a hidden gem, providing a serene escape from the city’s hustle and allowing visitors to see La Paz in all its glory.
The cityscape unfolds below, surrounded by the towering mountains, creating a picturesque scene that captivates every visitor. It’s a spot that showcases the beauty of La Paz. Witnessing it is one of the coolest things to do in La Paz for anyone wanting to capture the essence of the city.
The journey to the top is a rewarding experience, with the landscape changing at every step. It offers new perspectives and photo opportunities. Once at the summit, the expansive views make you feel on top of the world, with the city’s landmarks and natural beauty blending in a harmonious tableau.
Mirador Killi Killi is not just a place to see; it’s a place to experience, to feel the energy of La Paz and to create memories that will last a lifetime. It’s where the spirit of the city touches the sky, whispering the tales of the land to those who listen.
7. Plaza Murillo
In the heart of La Paz, Plaza Murillo showcases the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. It’s a spot where the pulse of the city is most palpable, with locals and tourists mingling amidst the grand architecture.
The plaza is surrounded by significant buildings like the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of La Paz, each telling a story of the city’s past. It’s a place where history meets the present, where every corner has a tale to tell.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the local atmosphere, observing the daily life of La Paz’s residents and enjoying the various street performances that often take place here. It’s a lively spot, filled with energy and the sounds of the city.
Taking a leisurely stroll around Plaza Murillo, one can’t help but feel the vibrancy of La Paz. It makes it one of the best places to go in La Paz to truly understand the city’s essence. This is a place where every moment is a chance to experience something new and to connect with the spirit of La Paz.
8. Museo de Etnografía y Folklore
Dive deep into Bolivia’s diverse cultures at Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits. A visit to this place is among the La Paz things to do especially for anyone with a keen interest in learning about the rich tapestry of Bolivia’s indigenous cultures and traditions.
The museum houses an extensive collection of textiles, masks, and traditional costumes, each piece narrating a story of the country’s multifaceted heritage. Visitors are welcomed into a world where every exhibit is a doorway to understanding the intricate weave of Bolivia’s cultural fabric.
The detailed displays and informative panels provide insights into the customs, beliefs, and lifestyles of Bolivia’s various ethnic groups. It offers a glimpse into the vibrant and colorful world of its people. This is not just a museum; it’s a journey through the myriad cultures that make up Bolivia.
For those seeking to enrich their knowledge of Bolivia’s cultural diversity, this museum is a fascinating place where the threads of tradition are unwound, and the richness of Bolivia’s heritage is laid bare. It makes it one of the best places in La Paz to gain profound insights into the country’s cultural mosaic.
9. Gustu Restaurant
La Paz is home to a culinary gem, Gustu Restaurant, where every dish is a symphony of Bolivian flavors. It’s a haven for food enthusiasts looking to experience the exquisite taste of Bolivian cuisine.
Gustu offers an exceptional dining experience, showcasing the richness of Bolivia’s culinary heritage through innovative and meticulously crafted dishes. Each bite is a celebration of local ingredients, sourced from the diverse landscapes of Bolivia, from the Amazon to the Andes.
The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and promoting local produce is evident in its ever-evolving menu, which is a canvas painted with vibrant flavors, textures, and aromas. It’s not just about savoring delicious food; it’s about discovering the culinary stories of Bolivia.
Visitors are treated to a gastronomic adventure, where traditional meets contemporary, creating a fusion of tastes that dance on the palate. Gustu is more than a dining destination; it’s a place where the culinary arts and Bolivian culture intertwine. It offers a taste of the country’s gastronomic treasures.
10. Laguna Alalay
For a serene escape from the bustling city life, Laguna Alalay is a haven of peace and natural beauty. It makes it one of the La Paz places to visit to unwind and rejuvenate. This tranquil lagoon is surrounded by lush greenery and offers picturesque views, providing a perfect backdrop for relaxation and reflection.
Perched in the heart of Cochabamba, this lagoon is a sanctuary for various bird species. This makes it a paradise for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. The gentle breeze whispering through the trees and the melodic chirping of birds create a harmonious symphony, enriching the soul with calmness and joy.
Visitors can indulge in leisurely walks around the lagoon, absorbing the scenic beauty and the soothing ambiance. The serene waters of the lagoon mirror the clear blue sky, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of nature’s elegance. These are just a few reasons why a visit to the lagoon is among the best things to do in La Paz.
Laguna Alalay is not just a natural retreat; it’s a place where the soul connects with nature, experiencing the purity and tranquility of the environment. It’s a hidden gem in La Paz, waiting to be discovered by those seeking solace and inspiration in the lap of nature.
11. Chacaltaya Mountain
Chacaltaya Mountain stands as a testament to the diverse and breathtaking landscapes that make La Paz a must-see destination. This former ski resort, now a sought-after trekking spot, offers an exhilarating adventure for those eager to witness panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
The journey to the summit is a thrilling experience, with winding paths and steep terrains challenging even the most seasoned trekkers. But the reward is well worth the effort; reaching the top unveils a spectacular vista of the snow-capped Andes, a sight that leaves visitors in awe of nature’s grandeur.
This mountain is more than just a trekking paradise; it’s a place where the air is crisp, the views are limitless, and the silence is golden. It’s one of the coolest activities in La Paz for those who have a penchant for high-altitude adventures and unspoiled natural beauty.
Chacaltaya Mountain is a beacon for adventurers and nature lovers. This invites them to explore its rugged terrains and discover the enchanting beauty that lies within its folds. It’s a journey that promises unforgettable memories and a deeper connection with the majestic Andean landscapes. Is hiking this mountain among the top things to do near La Paz, Bolivia? You bet!
12. Parque Urbano Central
In the heart of La Paz, Parque Urbano Central unfolds as a lush, green oasis. It offers a refreshing escape from the bustling city life. This park is a hub of relaxation and recreation, especially those seeking a serene retreat amidst nature.
Visitors can stroll along the well-maintained paths, surrounded by vibrant flora, or engage in various recreational activities available within the park. The tranquil environment and the harmonious chirping of birds create a soothing ambiance. It allows one to unwind and rejuvenate the senses.
Thinking of where to go in La Paz if you’re a fitness enthusiast? Parque Urbano Central is your go-to destination. The park provides ample space for jogging, yoga, and other exercises, while children can enjoy the playgrounds scattered throughout the area. The park also hosts various events and cultural programs, adding to the lively atmosphere and providing entertainment for all ages.
A stroll at the Parque Urbano Central is not just among the coolest things to do in La Paz; it’s a sanctuary where nature and urban life coexist. It offers a slice of tranquility and a dash of culture to everyone who steps inside. It’s a place where memories are made, and the essence of La Paz is truly felt.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in La Paz
Looking for more content on the top things to do in La Paz? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to La Paz:
Is La Paz safe for tourists?
La Paz, Bolivia, can be safe for tourists, but safety can vary by neighborhood. While the city has its share of petty crimes like pickpocketing, violent crime against tourists is relatively rare. To stay safe, exercise caution, avoid displaying valuables, and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.
What is the best time to visit La Paz?
The best time to visit La Paz, Bolivia, is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. These months offer pleasant weather with sunny days and cooler nights. This makes it ideal for exploring the city and its surroundings. Avoid the rainy season from November to March for a more comfortable experience.
How high is La Paz?
La Paz is one of the highest capital cities in the world, situated at an elevation of approximately 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) above sea level. This high altitude can affect visitors, so it’s important to acclimate slowly upon arrival to avoid altitude sickness.
What is the local cuisine like in La Paz?
La Paz, Bolivia, offers a unique local cuisine influenced by Andean and Spanish traditions. Typical dishes include salteñas (savory pastries filled with meat and vegetables), llama meat, anticuchos (grilled skewers), and various potato-based dishes like papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes). Street food and local markets showcase the flavors of Bolivian cuisine.
What currency is used in La Paz?
The official currency used in La Paz, Bolivia, is the Bolivian Boliviano (BOB). It’s advisable to exchange currency at banks or use ATMs to withdraw local currency during your visit. While some places may accept U.S. dollars, it’s best to have Bolivian Bolivianos for most transactions.
Is La Paz worth visiting Bolivia?
Absolutely! La Paz is a captivating city in Bolivia, brimming with vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning landscapes. It offers a unique blend of traditional and modern experiences, from exploring ancient ruins to savoring diverse culinary delights. This is a city that promises unforgettable adventures. It makes it well worth the visit.
What is La Paz Bolivia best known for?
La Paz is renowned for its dramatic topography, set amidst the towering Andes Mountains. It’s known for its vibrant indigenous culture, bustling markets like the Witches’ Market, and unique attractions such as the Moon Valley. The city’s rich history, diverse cuisine, and the iconic Death Road also draw travelers worldwide.
How do you spend a day in La Paz?
Spending a day in La Paz, Bolivia, promises a whirlwind of vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your 24 hours in this high-altitude city:
- Start at the Witches’ Market (Mercado de las Brujas): Dive deep into Bolivian culture and tradition. Here, you’ll find vendors selling herbs, potions, and even dried llama fetuses, which are believed to bring good luck.
- Visit San Francisco Church: A beautiful colonial-era church and convent. Climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city.
- Breakfast at a local café: Try a traditional Bolivian breakfast with salteñas (a type of empanada) and api morado (a warm, spiced purple corn drink).
- Ride the Mi Teleférico: La Paz’s cable car system is one of the most extensive in the world. It offers stunning aerial views of the sprawling city and the surrounding mountains.
- Explore the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon): This unique geological formation, located just outside the city, resembles a moonscape with its eroded rock formations.
- Head to a local eatery and savor Bolivian dishes like llajwa (a spicy tomato sauce) and saice (a type of beef stew).
- Stroll along Calle Jaén: This well-preserved colonial street is home to several museums. This includes the Museo Costumbrista, which showcases Bolivian history and culture.
- Visit Plaza Murillo: The city’s main square, surrounded by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and other important buildings.
- Dinner at a local restaurant: Try dishes like anticuchos (beef heart skewers) or pique macho (a hearty meat and vegetable dish).
- Experience Peña: If you still have energy, head to a local peña, a venue where traditional Andean music is performed. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Bolivian culture and music.
Is there a lot to do in La Paz?
Absolutely! La Paz is a city teeming with cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Its unique topography, with the city sitting in a deep valley surrounded by mountains, provides a dramatic backdrop for a range of activities. Here are some of the many things you can do in La Paz:
- Witches’ Market (Mercado de las Brujas): Dive into the city’s indigenous culture and traditions. Here, you’ll find vendors selling a variety of unique items. This includes everything from herbs and potions to talismans and dried llama fetuses, believed to bring good fortune.
- Mi Teleférico: This cable car system is one of the most extensive in the world and offers unparalleled views of the city and the surrounding Andes mountains.
- Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon): A short drive from the city, this geological wonder features a maze of canyons and giant spires, resembling a lunar landscape.
- Calle Jaén: A beautifully preserved colonial street with several museums, art galleries, and cafes.
- Plaza Murillo: The city’s main square, surrounded by significant buildings like the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral.
- Basilica of San Francisco: A stunning example of colonial architecture with a rich history.
- Cholita Wrestling: Experience a unique spectacle where indigenous women, dressed in traditional attire, engage in professional wrestling.
- Tiahuanaco Ruins: Located two hours from La Paz, these ancient ruins are a testament to a pre-Incan civilization and are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Local Cuisine: Try Bolivian dishes at local eateries, such as salteñas, anticuchos, and llajwa.
- Death Road: For the adventurous, biking down the world’s most dangerous road is a thrilling experience.
- Mountaineering and Trekking: With its proximity to the Andes, La Paz is a gateway to various trekking and mountaineering adventures, including climbing Huayna Potosí.
How many days is enough in La Paz?
For most visitors 3 to 4 days is a good amount of time to cover the main attractions of La Paz and get a feel for the city. Here’s a suggested breakdown:
- Day 1: Explore the city center. Visit the Witches’ Market, Plaza Murillo, Basilica of San Francisco, and Calle Jaén. In the evening, experience a Peña for traditional Andean music and dance.
- Day 2: Take the Mi Teleférico cable car system for panoramic views of the city. Later, head to the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) and explore its unique geological formations. If time permits, catch a Cholita Wrestling match in the evening.
- Day 3: If you’re up for an adventure, consider a day trip to bike down the Death Road. Alternatively, you could visit the Tiahuanaco Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located a couple of hours from La Paz.
- Day 4: Spend the day shopping and exploring local markets like Mercado Rodríguez and Mercado Lanza. Try local dishes and street food. If you’re into mountaineering or trekking, you might want to extend your stay to embark on treks or climbs in the surrounding Andes, such as Huayna Potosí.
Final Thoughts on Exploring La Paz
La Paz, with its vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes, is a city that promises an unforgettable adventure. From the mysterious ruins of Tiwanaku to the bustling markets of Mercado de las Brujas, every corner of this city has a story to tell, a sight to behold, and a unique thing to do. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, La Paz has something to offer that will leave you enchanted and yearning for more.
So, pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the unique places in La Paz, where every moment is a discovery, and every discovery is a treasure. And who knows, you might just find yourself falling in love with this city, where tradition and modernity dance in a timeless embrace, whispering the tales of the ages to those who listen.