Bolivia, South America, Travel

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia

November 9, 2014

At over 3600m above sea level, it’s no surprise that La Paz is nicknamed the ‘city that touches the clouds’. Nestled within the surrounding mountain ranges, Bolivia’s defacto capital is popular stop for travellers in South America for it’s incredible size, colorful nature and indigenous culture. With a population of 835,000+, the city is incredibly hectic, with cars and people everywhere along the streets. There are plenty of things to do in La Paz; whether you’re there for a day, a week, or more – you’ll never be bored.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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People watch in Plaza Murillo

Plaza Murillo is traditionally the city’s main square, and is somewhat more hidden than the Plaza San Francisco. Named after the Bolivian freedom fighter Pedro Domingo Murillo, this Plaza is home to many of La Paz’s most famous and historical buildings – Catedral Basilica de Nuestra Señ de La Paz (Main Cathedral), Palacio de Gobierno (Presedential Palace) and the Palacio Legislativo (Congress). The plaza is a nice spot to sit, admire the Colonial architecture and watch the local Bolivians follow their daily routines and stop to feed the pigeons.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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Wander through the old Colonial streets

La Paz is full of winding alleyways and steep Colonial streets to get lost in. One of the most charming colonial streets in La Paz is Calle Jaen. The narrow cobblestone street has several colourful buildings dating back to the 18th century, and is home to many small museums, shops and restaurants. Some of the museums on Calle Jaen include: Museo del Oro, Museo de la Guerra del Pacifico, Casa de Murillo and Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas. These older areas are very steep, so don’t be surprised if you start to lose your breath, especially at such a high altitude!

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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Bike Ride the Death Road

La Paz is the perfect starting point to bike down the world’s most dangerous road, Death Road. This is a highly popular tourist activity in Bolivia for many thrill-seeking travellers, like myself. Read about my experience riding down Death Road here.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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Find a bargain at the Witches Market

The markets of La Paz are the heart and soul of the city. In the bustling streets, the Bolivian ladies sit in front of their stalls dressed in the traditional bowler hat and colorful petticoat as they try to sell you all kinds of items. You’ll find cheap eats, hand knitted alpaca items, wood carvings, silver jewelry and fake goods, amongst other things.

The Witches Market in La Paz sells some of the most interesting and unusual items. From charms and cures from Aymara rituals, to dried llama fetuses to bury under your house for good fortune, you’ll be sure to find something unique in these little stalls.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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Take a trip to the Moon (Valley)

The Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) is a unique site just a short taxi ride out of La Paz. The bizarre landscape, which has formed as a result of wind and water, resembles that of the moon. Spend an hour walking around the various trails through the many giant stalagmites and jagged rock edges – just watch your step!

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly ExploringWhat To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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Grab a bite to eat and enjoy Plaza San Francisco

Grab a coffee from the well-known Café del Mundo and head down the buzzing streets to Plaza San Francisco. This plaza is home to the San Francisco Cathedral (Iglesia de San Francisco) , which has a heavily carved façade of indigenous symbols such as native animals, snakes and tropical birds. Then grab a salteña and papa rellena from a street vendor for lunch.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

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See La Paz from above

With buildings sprawled out throughout the city and up along the mountains, La Paz looks as if it’s a never-ending city. The view over this city is absolutely incredible, and your first glimpse of the city will be something that sticks with you for a long time. There are many lookouts around the city – from the well-known Mirador Killi Killi, the top of a tall building or even just stopping along the route while making your way into the city. Just remember that the higher you go up, the more susceptible you are to the symptoms of altitude sickness.

What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia | Endlessly Exploring

 Have you been to La Paz, Bolivia? What did you get up to while you were there? 

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  • Reply Mersad November 11, 2014 at 5:46 am

    That Death Road (even though it has a not so inviting name, or maybe it does, not so sure) looks like a very cool place. Both for riding or walking and exploring. La Paz from above looks amazing, almost like a sandy beach.

    Mersad Donko Photography

    • Reply Kelly Ross November 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      I was a little frightened at first by the name but it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be! It is surrounded by some very pretty scenery! 🙂 x

  • Reply Lara // the passage November 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Wow…great overview of the city with lovely pictures to go along with it. From the architecture to the colours and the amazing and strange natural landscapes you have definitely piqued my interest in La Paz…The dried llama fetuses as a charm of good fortune make for a bit of an unsettling scene at the market place! Definitely looks like a place that I would like to visit one day…

  • Reply Lara // the passage November 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Wow…great overview of the city with lovely pictures to go along with it! From the architecture and the colours to the strange natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes, you have definitely piqued my interest in making a visit to La Paz one day. The dried llama fetuses as charms of good luck are a bit of a visual shock to see, but an interesting depiction of local culture, nonetheless…Will have to go read about your bike ride down Death Road!

    • Reply Kelly Ross November 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found this post useful! Yes, the dried llamas weren’t exactly what I was expecting to see when making my way through the market either. I must admit, they were one of those things that even though you didn’t really want to look at them, you couldn’t resist not taking a glance 😛 x

  • Reply Giulia November 14, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Thank you for following me on blogLovin’!
    I’m interested in travelling so I will follow you back!
    Hope to see from you soon.
    Giulia 🙂

    • Reply Kelly Ross November 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      No worries Giulia! Thanks for following back 🙂 x

  • Reply Raza November 15, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Biking the Death Road looks insanely thrilling! And I think I just fell in love with the old colonial streets – they look absolutely beautiful!

    • Reply Kelly Ross November 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      It was definitely an adventure – so much fun (and a little painful :P) I’m the same, absolutely love wandering through old colonial streets! 🙂 x

  • Reply Paula Wheeler @ A Travelers Postcard November 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    My friend is sponsoring an exchange student from La Paz. I have plans on going there next year, after she returns home. Now I’m more excited! Great post 🙂

    • Reply Kelly Ross November 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      That’s exciting Paula! It’s an incredibly large city, with a lot of things to do while you’re there! Hope you have a great time. Enjoy x

  • Reply The Monthly Roundup: November 2014 | Endlessly Exploring December 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

    […] My first guest post, 7 Great Things To Do In La Paz, Bolivia, was published on the Insider Secrets section of Wanderlust Travel Magazine. You can view the post on the Wanderlust Website here or on my own website. […]

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    […] Related: What To Do In La Paz & Biking Riding Death Road in Bolivia: The World’s Most Dangerous Road  […]

  • Reply Ashlea Wheeler December 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Definitely bookmarking this for my trip to Bolivia next year, thanks for the tips Kelly!

  • Reply 6 Things You Must Do In Bolivia, South America • Endlessly Exploring March 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

    […] Read: What To Do In La Paz, Bolivia  […]

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