La Paz, the city, that touches the sky, is an apt description. Located high above sea level, La Paz sits in a bowl surrounded by the high altiplano.
La Paz as it grows climbs the hills resulting in varying elevations from 3000 to 4100 m. Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, always snow covered and majestic.
La Paz is the legislative capital of Bolivia, the largest city. The legal capital, home of the Supreme Court, is in Sucre.
Not as often visited as other countries, Bolivia is the most Indian country in South America, and you'll experience the language, primarily Quechua, the culture and customs first hand.
Getting There and Getting Around
By air to El Alto Airport, 25 minutes from the center of La Paz. Take a taxi or minibus into town, or make arrangements with your hotel to send a taxi for you.
The airport is on the altiplano above the city, and planes come in fast, due to the thin air of the 4100 m elevation. Check
flights from your area. You can also browse for hotels and car rentals.
By bus to the main bus terminal on Plaza Antofagasta at Avenida Uruguay By taxi around town, although if you can manage it on the up and down streets, the center of La Paz
is very walkable. Residents of La Paz, paceños, are used to the
altitude and walk fast, but you'll probably enjoy a slower pace
The trains in Bolivia are slow but inexpensive
When to Go
April to October is recommended, though La Paz has an average year round 35-65F temperature. No matter when you go, be prepared for wind and cold nights. Buildings are not always heated
after dark. Summer is the wet season.
Be prepared to feel the altitude. Follow these tips to
Acclimatize to the Altitude.
Check the current weather.
Things to Do and See
Plaza Murillo, originally the Plaza de Armas, was after General Murillo, one of the heroes of the Bolivian independence movement. The center of La Paz, it is bordered by the cathedral whose towers were completed only in time for a papal visit in 1997, and by the Government Palace, or the Palacio Quemado for the number of times it has burned. Guarding the entrance are the guards in red uniforms in honor of the soldiers of the Pacific War (1879-84)
(background) in which Bolivia lost its seacoast to Chile. Across the plaza is the Congress building that before 1904 housed a convent, a jail, and a university. Photos
Iglesia de San Francisco - reconstruction from 1784 of the original 1548 church. Note the combination of Christian and indigenous figures and animals carved on the stone facade
Museo de Oro - objects from pre-Columbian era
Stroll narrow, cobbled-stoned Jaen Street, a walk back in time to colonial days.
Casa Murillo Museum - carved furniture, colonial paintings, coins and silver
Museo Nacional de Arqueología - items from Tiwanaku, Bolivia's premiere archaeological site. If you have the time, go to
Tiwanaku itself Feria de Alasita - celebrated in various cities on January 24, the Feria focuses on the display and sale of miniature figurines
annual Carnaval celebrations include the famed Devil's Dance, or diablada, in Oruro
Attend a peña - musical folklore show with singing and dancing. Some offer a meal as well as drinks
Casa Museo Nuñez del Prado - once a family home and now a private museum displaying the works of sculptor Marina Nuñez
del Prado, her sister Nilda, a painter, and other family members
Mirador Laikakota - lookout and children's park, offering panoramic views of La Paz. Great place to photograph
Lake Titicaca and
Valle de la Luna - Moon Valley
Play golf, go mountain biking, go skiing at Chacaltaya
Mercado de las Brujas - Witches' Market for charms, potions and herbal cures
Silver and textiles
Hand knitted Alpaca wool garments
Hand made painted wood carvings
Masks for dancers