Holding the title as Bolivia’s capital city and the highest capital in the world, La Paz is such a wild place to visit! Explore the streets and take in all the smells and sounds of a unique South American city. Aside from companies heading to the Bolivian salt flats, the tourism industry is just getting started. This gives the city of La Paz a very authentic feel which was very refreshing coming from places like Cusco.
La Paz Bolivia: Blending In
Walking around in such a big city can be intimidating when you’re the only foreigners, but that’s no excuse not to have a good time!
The key to staying out of trouble in La Paz Bolivia is to fit in with your surroundings. We usually do okay, but Brigitte’s blonde hair can stick out like a sore thumb! Here’s some tips on how to blend into big South American city.
- Learn the language: You can’t even order a coffee here without knowing a little Spanish. In most South American cities you will find plenty of English being spoken. Not the case in La Paz Bolivia!
- Style tips: There are several things people wear that make them incredibly obvious tourists. Please leave your big Nikon cameras at home when visiting Bolivia’s capital city. Don’t wear your backpack around the front of you like you’re about to get robbed, and for gods sake don’t keep the money belts on the outside of your shirt.
- Be a traveler, not a tourist: No reason to be afraid of anything. Walk the streets with pride and try as many new foods as possible. Chat it up with the locals, and step off the beaten path. This is always the key to having the best experience in new places like La Paz.
What To Do in La Paz Bolivia
San Francisco Church: Visit the famous basilica and take in one of the many entertaining street performances in the plaza. Wish we had recorded those Phil Collins covers!
La Paz Bolivia Lanza: Located right in San Francisco Square, this Bolivian style super mall holds shopping, food, and drinks all in one.
1st Floor: Books and Flowers
2nd Floor: Snacks, juice, and cafés.
3rd Floor: Full course meals for $3 USD!! Go for lunch.
Witches Market: It’s a scary feeling walking into the witches den. La Paz Bolivia’s infamous shopping street boasts weird potions, remedies, and skulls all for you to take home. Interesting place to see, but the dead baby llamas in the doorway are a bit much…
Moon Valley: Just a 20 minute drive from the center of the city, the lowest point of La Paz Bolivia holds craters and clay formations you can actually walk through. Jump on a city tour for $8 with this included, or take a cheap taxi ride for a couple bolivianos.
Getting Around La Paz Bolivia
The lack of street signs and immense traffic of La Paz can make getting around a little crazy. Here’s a short list of the easiest and safest ways to see the Bolivia’s capital city.
- Minibus: This is the cheapest, but craziest option you could choose. These are shared vans that run “not so set” routes throughout the city. We wouldn’t recommend the minibus unless you like to carpool.
- Bike: You can rent bikes anywhere for just $1 USD. However, you’ll find it difficult to ride them up hills and through La Paz Bolivia’s crazy traffic. If you’re looking for some serious mountain biking, head up to the so called “most dangerous road in the world” just outside the city.
- Taxi: Much easier and still incredibly cheap, but don’t mess around with the unmetered gypsy drivers. A licensed taxi should have numbers down the right side and a yellow sticker in the front windshield.
- Walk: With many of its biggest attractions within walking distance, it’s relatively easy getting around by foot. The only problem you may have is with the altitude! Even at 13,000 feet, walking is still the best way to see La Paz Bolivia.
La Paz gets a bad wrap from some travelers, but we had an awesome time exploring Bolivia’s capital city! Have any questions, or want to share your own experience? Leave us comment below.
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In La Paz Bolivia
Ultra Luxury (High End) – Stannum Boutique Hotel & Spa – This swanky upscale hotel sits above the city and offers stunning views of La Paz. Just a quick 5 min drive and you’ll be in the heart of the action.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) –Hotel Casa de Piedra Hotel Boutique – This colonial house with carved wooden walls is right in the heart of the city and perfect for a fun vacation. This hotel offers you the chance to be steps from the action but a safe and warm place to return to.
Hostel Life (Budget) –The Adventure Brew Downtown Hostel – Rooms are simple but location is everything at this popular La Paz hostel. Shared and private rooms available.
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