Bolivia’s third biggest city, The Peace of Ayacucho – La Paz, is a ‘love it or hate it’ type of city. This city, which sits in a valley, has an unpolished, don’t give two hoots about you, kind of feel to it. With a population of 877,363, Bolivia’s capital city is bustling and here are the top 10 things to do in La Paz right now.
1. Caminar- To Walk
La Paz is easy to navigate by foot. Initially it feels big but once you’ve visited a few of the plazas you get a feel for the city. For a close to free thing to do in La Paz, check out the Red Caps Walking Tour (back by popular demand!) for $3. The tour meets at 11am and 2pm each day at Plaza San Pedro.
2. El Mercado de las Brujas
More commonly known as The Witches Market. This market swallows up the streets near Av. Illampu and suspiciously looks like a blown up version of the market on the British soap, Eastenders. Plenty of Addidas knock offs to snap up as well as fruit, vegetables and popcorn. They love their corn. I love their corn!
3. Get High: Ride the La Paz Cable Cars
For the best views of La Paz, pay 3 bs / 28p at any of My Teleférico (terminals and go arriba into the sky). The red cars are close to The Witches Market, entrance point 16 de Julio/Jach’a Qhathu – Estación Central/Taypi Uta. The green turns into the yellow and can be accessed at Mirador/Qhana Pata – Chuqui Apu/Libertador and Chuqui Apu/Libertador – Irpawi/Irpavi (notice that they are the colour of the Bolivian flag?) Look out for the massive graveyard with coffins stacked up into what can only be described as council houses. Due to the size of La Paz, more lines have been commissioned for the future. Take a picnic – make cable car hopping one of the romantic things to do in La Paz.
4. Restaurants in La Paz
There are so many food options in La Paz, which goes against the grain of what travellers say about the country’s cuisine. Too many to mention here so I wrote an entire post on it – restaurants in La Paz. In addition, Av. Illampu also has lots of other quick options such as Tia Gladdy’s for a milkshake and a sandwich or Mozzarella for a decent pizza.
5. Fun Things to do in La Paz, Bolivia at Night
La Paz is the party city – your hostel may even offer you a locally brewed beer every day! Like beer? Then The Adventure Brew Hostel is for you. You can expect comfy beds, hot showers, ping-pong, a relaxed bar, and decent food. Although, in La Paz, the party is often at your hostel (choice depending), when the hostel boozing ends, the management hook you up with transport to the after party at 1am!
6. Craft Beer Brewery in La Paz
We were mighty impressed with this gem of a visit to the Adventure Brew Microbrewery Tour. Saya beer has been produced in (and close to) La Paz for seventeen years. During winter, the Brew Master, Remo, opens the breweries doors to travellers. For 200 bs / £18.43 you can drink all of the beer physically and mentally possible while taking a cultured tour of the functioning factory. In addition to this, the price also covers a BBQ, transport and chats are included. One of things you must do if you like hops!
7. Colourful Calle Jaen
This street stands out from the red clay housing and grey tones of La Paz because of the colourful buildings. An old tale states that Calle Jaen used to be full of drunk men. In addition to this, there was a lady who roamed the street too. One night all of the intoxicated men disappeared and the mysterious woman faced the blame. There are a couple of cafes for you to dine in and an art gallery with an obsession of what us Brits know as ‘bitty’ after the comedy show Little Britain. Look it up…
8. La Paz’s Heroines – Cholita Wrestling
On a Sunday night, high up in the mountains of El Alto you can watch Bolivian women, suited and booted in their traditional wear, wrestle. I bet you didn’t expect that. For 80 bs / £7.37 (paid at pretty much any tourist operator) you will be collected from the safe streets of La Paz and driven up the winding road to El Alto (where locals tell you not to walk alone). There you can see the WWE (WWF for us oldies) style wrestling from the front seats! Popcorn provided. You do, however, need to sit through men in latex fighting also. We did not go with a tour and it was the same total price (50 bs at the door but we paid more for a taxi up). The only advantage of the non-tour option is you can leave earlier (the red cable car is behind the stadium, turn right and go through the market).
9. Death Road, Bolivia
One of the crazy things to do in La Paz, Bolivia is to cycle the 69 kilometre / 43 miles of Death Road. The World’s Most Dangerous Road also know as La Carretera de los Yungas sees tourists pedal every day – not for the fainthearted! Choose a company sensibly; there is a 4,650 metre drop so you want decent equipment. For our experience and full guide to cycling Yungas in Bolivia, read Death Road, Bolivia.
10. We Still Want More!
Have more time? Want more things to see and do in La Paz? What about a short trek through The Valle de la Luna (15 bs), scale down a 17 floor building with Urban Rush (200 bs / £18.43), or moving to the ‘burbs (Achumani) where the sun always seems to shine!
Accommodation in La Paz
La Paz hotels start from £16 per night (double room) – £184 (for a suite) so there is something to suit every budget. For the thrifty backpacker, La Paz hostels start at a tiny £3.26 (dorm) – £14.59. Airbnb operates in Bolivia, La Paz – we booked one in the Achumani area which was expensive to dine out in but has a cheap market so we cooked in. New to Airbnb? Sign up through us for money off, we receive credit to!
Bolivia uses the Bolíviano, BOB. For the most up to date exchange rate click here.
Weather in La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia, weather is warmest in October – December, average temperature are above 15 degrees. The hottest day of the year is November 4th. The cold season is June – July where the average temperature is 13 degrees. The coldest day (July 17th) can reach lots of -3 degrees. Storms are common, as is rain, there is a greater chance of rain during the cold season.
La Paz Altitude
Altitude sickness is not to be taken lightly. You may feel dizzy when you first arrive to La Paz, especially if you have not had a ‘breaking in’ period in Peru. La Paz is 3500m above sea level, El Alto (where the cholita wrestling is held and the airport is) is even higher – 4000m above sea level. Expect to be a tad out of breath on arrival and you may find walking up hills and stairs more difficult than usual. Be sensible, if symptoms develop or continue for a long period of time, seek medical help.
- DOOM! Death Road, Bolivia
- Restaurants in La Paz, Bolivia
- Hostels in La Paz, Bolivia
- Magical Salar de Uyuni, Salt Flats
- Crossing the Border with Bolivia Hop