La Paz is one of two capitals of Bolivia, and if you think that a capital city can’t be exciting we have some good news for you — it definitely can! What you’re going to need to do is think about checking out things that might not end up in Travel Destinations 101.
What do we mean by that? Well, a lot of people reach for the classic destinations that get talked about quite a bit in the travel scene. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. You might really want to do Paris in the wintertime. You might really want to think about a nice jaunt through Rome — oh, the history! The culture! But if you ask us, we think that there comes a point where you really owe it to yourself to start checking out more than just the basics. You want to really make sure that you’re always thinking about the type of vacation you really want. Of course, we’re not saying that you can’t stick with the classics. There’s so much to view on the classic destinations that you really can’t go wrong. However, there’s also a time and a place to check out new things. We think La Paz fits the description just fine, because it’s not talked about as much. Bolivia, despite assumptions to the contrary, is getting safer by the day, and there’s not really as much unrest as the media would have you believe.
Like Montevideo and Bogota, this is a city that is above sea level — actually about 13,000 feet above sea level at the highest point. The lower points are going to be about 10 thousand feet above sea level.
You might get a little bout of altitude sickness, but you can fight this and be on your merry way in no time at all. Many people actually go in and out of La Paz without any trouble at all.
So, how do you get around La Paz? Glad you asked! You will be able to choose between the bus system, the taxis, or on foot. Car hire is not something that’s really highlighted in the city, as it’s rather expensive. Taxi tends to be the best way to get around, but keep in mind that there is no meter. So you basically need to make sure that you negotiate things before you actually get in and take off. You’ll find the taxi operator will work things out with you if you really work on it.
There are plenty of things to see and do in La Paz, such as the Witches’ Market. Yes, we’re not kidding you at all — there’s a whole marketplace devoted to selling things for local folk magic rituals. There’s also hand made instruments, so you can definitely pick up some interesting things to take back home.
Sagarnaga Street is going to be where you see a lot of little shops and souvenir stores, but there are also a lot of cheap hostels there as well. Who said that you always have to spend a lot of money just have to a great time in another country? Keep in mind though that these hostels will be basic — if you want more amenities, you’re going to have to pay more for them.
There’s also a “black market” that isn’t very well hidden, but it has a lot of interesting items if you want to use them to make your stay a little more interesting. Keep in mind that you might not be able to get any of these items through customers on your way back.
If you want culture and history, there are plenty of museums to get this mission accomplished. The Calle Jaen is a section of the city that has plenty of preserved colonial buildings, and lots of interesting museums. There’s lasso the Plaza Murillo which has more neat buildings as well as the city cathedral.
One of the nice parts about this modern city is that there are a lot of activities as well. You can check out the Penas, or music clubs. The folk music is a local staple, and it definitely will appeal to tourists looking to really experience the local “flavor” of a destination.
There are also plenty of movie theaters in case you don’t want to miss a Hollywood blockbuster going on.
Shopping is also a big thing. If you’ve always wanted to support fair trade producers, this is the city to check out. There’s a big marketplace that sells plenty of handmade items that you can’t just get on the street for the same quality. You support a great cause too as the extra money you spend goes directly to improving the lives of the craftsmen’s families.
Food is going to be in good supply around the city, with different restaurants catering to not only different tastes, but also different budgets. You don’t want to find that you’re going through all of this trouble to get something that really isn’t going to satisfy you, right? If you want to set up your holiday to where you can get a cheap set of meals but save up your time and money for one fancy one, you can definitely do that. Gourmet food has to be tasted in order to be appreciated properly.
As we come to the end of this guide, we really do hope that you give Bolivia — and La Paz — a fair chance. If you’re looking for a getaway this holiday season, you really can’t go wrong with the vibrant city around you — why not check it out today?