Home Holidays & Travelling A Local’s Guide to La Paz, Bolivia • The Blonde Abroad

A Local’s Guide to La Paz, Bolivia • The Blonde Abroad

by kyngsam

Sarah Ketchum of Ketchusifyoucan is sharing her native’s information to La Paz, Bolivia!

La Paz, Bolivia is a metropolis that may take your breath away—each actually and figuratively! Sitting at 13,000 ft. (about 4,000 m) above sea degree, La Paz is a metropolis in contrast to some other.

This metropolis tucked between towering Andean peaks is the place that I used to be fortunate to name residence for 2 years, and I completely fell in love with it. After I first accepted the educating job that took me to La Paz, I wasn’t positive what to anticipate.

I actually hadn’t heard very a lot about Bolivia, and it wasn’t on the prime of my journey want checklist. I rapidly realized that it ought to have been!

Out of doors adventures, mountain views, genuine tradition, and scrumptious meals await the traveler who ventures to this unimaginable Bolivian metropolis in South America.

Right here’s an area’s information to exploring La Paz, Bolivia!

When to Go to

Bolivia has two major seasons: wet and dry.

Most individuals wish to go to throughout the dry season, which falls between Could and October. Keep in mind, since Bolivia is within the Southern Hemisphere, these are their winter months, so although you usually tend to keep dry, you could be chilly.

Throughout the coldest months of June and July, temperatures can drop beneath freezing within the metropolis. If you wish to go to throughout the hotter months, common temperatures in La Paz are nonetheless fairly delicate — you gained’t see many days over 70°F (21°C).

For those who go to between the months of November and April, be sure you pack a rain jacket and waterproof sneakers as rainstorms can blow in fairly rapidly and you might end up in a downpour.

For the perfect of each worlds, attempt to plan your go to someday within the “in-between” seasons; September or October, April or Could.

What  to See and Do

Wandering the streets of downtown La Paz there’s a lot to see! From the elaborately dressed cholitas, to glimpses of snow-capped Mount Illimani overlooking the town, La Paz is a feast for the senses.

San Francisco Basilica

Holding each historic and spiritual significance, the facade is adorned with each Catholic parts and Bolivian natural world, symbolizing the mixture of Previous and New World traditions that make up Bolivian tradition.

To the left of the church, you may stroll up and down Calle Sagarnaga the place you’ll discover loads of eating places, tour operators, and retailers promoting virtually something you might wish to be produced from alpaca wool or brightly coloured aguayo material.

The San Francisco Basilica is considered one of La Paz’s most iconic landmarks.

The Greatest-Preserved Colonial-Period Road

Proceed your wandering to Calle Jaén, the best-preserved colonial-era road within the metropolis, to go to a number of museums and artwork galleries. Be sure you take a look at the work of Mamani Mamani, considered one of Bolivia’s most well-known artists, and the Museo de Metales Preciosos which homes many Pre-Colombian, and Pre-Incan, metalworks.

Head to Plaza Murillo to get a take a look at the federal government buildings housed in La Paz, together with the La Paz Cathedral, Palacio Quemado (residence of Bolivia’s president), and Legislative Palace with its backward turning clock.

Valle de la Luna

For the Journey Seekers

For adventurous sorts, El Camino de la Muerte, or the Demise Street, has obtained to be on the highest of your checklist for must-do actions whereas in La Paz. Often called the “World’s Most Dangerous Road,” this cliff-hugging freeway will take your breath away!

Many corporations, together with Gravity, provide mountain biking excursions, taking you from mountainous La Paz down the Demise Street to the jungle city of Coroico.

For those who’re searching for a thrill, however not one for biking, take a look at the Urban Rush Experience and rappel down a 17-story constructing proper within the coronary heart of the town! You’ll be able to even put on a ridiculous costume whilst you do it so you may snigger your nerves away.

Up for a hike? Head to the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) within the Mallasa neighborhood for a comparatively quick, simple stroll among the many unusual spire-studded panorama.

For Sports activities Followers

For those who’re a sports activities fan, catch a soccer recreation on the Hernando Siles Stadium. The Bolivian nationwide crew performs there, as do a number of native golf equipment. The El Clasico matches between two of the preferred native groups draw massive, excessive power crowds.

For those who’re on the town throughout a match, you’ll be sure you hear the roar of spectators even when you don’t seize a seat for your self! Tickets are simple to acquire on the final minute from hawkers outdoors the stadium, and often don’t price greater than 140 BOB ($20 USD).

La Paz Bolivia

The place to Keep

There are a number of choices to your keep in La Paz, from fancy motels to budget-friendly hostels.

The Zona Sur

The Zona Sur (Southern Zone) is mostly thought of to be the most secure space of the town, and it’s also a spot the place you could find a number of luxurious motels. This space of the town additionally sits on the lowest altitude, so it may be an excellent place to remain in case you are nonetheless adjusting.

The Casa Grande — the lodge is gorgeous, and you’ll usually discover rooms for beneath $150 USD. Even when you’re not staying at Casa Grande, it is best to positively take a look at their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. The Casa Bar on the highest ground is a enjoyable, stylish place to seize a drink.

Atix Hotel — one other extra luxurious choice within the Zona Sur, and it’s residence to the Ona restaurant, a wonderful dinner spot. The cooks delight themselves on creating distinctive dishes that showcase conventional Bolivian delicacies in new and thrilling methods.


One other common neighborhood located between the Zona Sur and metropolis heart is Sopocachi. House to many stylish eating places, Sopocachi is a superb place to name “residence” throughout your keep in La Paz.

The Stannum Boutique Hotel — positioned in Sopocachi, it is a stylish spot that provides spa providers that can assist you chill out after a day of exploring the town.

Coronary heart of the Metropolis

If you wish to keep within the coronary heart of the town, near most of the major vacationer points of interest and tour firm places of work, there are many hostels close to the Plaza San Francisco and Calle Sagarnaga.

The Adventure Brew Hostel — fairly common with younger vacationers searching for cheaper lodgings. It provides each dormitory-style or non-public room choices.

Exterior the Metropolis

For those who want to spend your days exploring, however your evenings away from the hustle and bustle of an enormous metropolis, Colibri Camping could be the proper place for you. This eco-lodge is a extra rustic, budget-friendly choice.

It’s separated sufficient from the town so that you can take pleasure in nature and chill out, however shut sufficient so that you can simply see and do all you want to whereas visiting La Paz.

The place and What  to Eat

One Bolivian snack you must-try throughout your go to is a salteña. Like a chicken-pot-pie-to-go, salteñas are a scrumptious option to fulfill your starvation with out lacking a beat. Accessible in pollo (rooster), carne (beef), or vegetarian varieties, your journey to La Paz could be missing with out tasting a salteña.

There are many salteñerias to select from, however one of the crucial common is Paceña la Salteña, which has a number of places all through the town.

One other snack you must-try throughout your time in Bolivia is a cuñape. These tacky rolls are completely addicting! (They usually’re made with yucca flour, in order that they’re gluten-free!) My favourite locations to seize cuñapes had been Café Epico within the Calacoto neighborhood and Los Qñapes in San Miguel.

For those who go to Los Qñapes, be sure you pair your tacky delights with their superb scorching chocolate!

For a cup of espresso, you may’t beat Café Typica. This cute espresso store was my go-to after I wanted a quiet, cheerful place to grade papers. I used to be thrilled to see that it was named because the number one coffee shop in South America final yr!

With two places in La Paz, it is best to positively cease in and seize a snack at Typica.

For those who contemplate your self a foodie, it’s important to plan a go to to Gustu. This gourmand restaurant was included on the checklist of Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurants in 2017, and for good cause.

One of the simplest ways to expertise all of the flavors and creations that Gustu’s cooks have to supply is to order considered one of their rotating tasting menus. Add on the drink pairings, and also you’re in for a culinary expertise in contrast to some other! The perfect half is, you may take pleasure in a meal of this caliber for beneath $130 USD.

Get Round

La Paz could be fairly an awesome metropolis for foreigners with all its steep, winding streets. Fortunately, there are many choices for public transportation that may get you the place it is advisable go all through the town.

Most types of public transportation in La Paz are protected for vacationers to make use of, even in case you are touring alone, as a result of the truth that you’ll be surrounded by a lot of different commuters.

Pay attention to your environment so your pocket doesn’t get picked, however don’t be overly nervous. Embrace the Paceño public transportation with the following tips!

The Teleféricos

One of many first belongings you’ll possible discover whenever you arrive in La Paz are the brightly coloured cable vehicles crisscrossing the sky. These teleféricos not solely present environment friendly
public transportation, but additionally a enjoyable means for guests to see the town in its entirety.

Tickets could be bought at any teleférico station, and the route maps are very simple to grasp.

A one-way journey on one line solely prices three BOB (lower than $0.50 USD), and if you wish to journey all of the traces, it can save you money and time by buying a chargeable teleférico card.

For those who’re liable to getting automobile sick, the teleférico is a a lot better choice for getting round to keep away from the stop-and-go visitors and hairpin curves that characterize La Paz’s streets. Even when you can deal with a harrowing automobile journey, I nonetheless suggest driving the teleférico at the very least as soon as throughout your time in La Paz as there actually is not any higher option to get a chook’s eye view of the entire metropolis.

Puma Katari

One other nice choice for getting round in La Paz is to make use of the Puma Katari buses. These buses price 2 BOB per journey (lower than $0.30 USD) and run alongside set routes with set bus stops.

Pumas are an excellent choice for reasonable transportation, and so they assist you to simply plan out your route. The buses even provide free WiFi on board so you should use a maps app in your telephone to make certain you hop on and off on the proper stops.

A “Micro”

Micros, Minis, and Trufis

If you want a more local experience, hop on one of the micros (multi-colored school buses), minis (15 passenger minivans), or trufis (shared taxis).

These various forms of public transportation run along routes specified by the signs in the windows. As such, you will definitely need to know the neighborhood you are heading to so that you know which vehicle to flag down.

Rather than stopping at designated areas, these micros, minis, and trufis can be flagged down anywhere to hop on.

Simply wait by the side of the road and flag down the one going to the neighborhood you are headed toward. Similarly, you just need to use a phrase like “Aqui, por favor!” (Here, please.) or “En la esquina, por favor.” (At the corner, please.) to let the driver know that you want to get out.

Venturing through the city in one of these options can be an adventure in and of itself!

I definitely recommend using a map app on your phone if you are unfamiliar with La Paz so that you can better know which vehicles to flag down and where to tell the driver you want to get off.

Micros are the cheapest form of public transportation in La Paz, costing only 1 BOB ($0.15 USD) per ride. Minis cost 1-2 BOB depending on the distance you travel (for example, crossing from the Zona Sur neighborhoods to El Centro, or the city center neighborhoods, costs more). Trufis cost 2-3 BOB, again, depending on the distance you travel. Most people pay as they exit the vehicle.

Radio Taxis

The most expensive form of public transportation is using a taxi. Of course “most expensive” still generally means less than 20 BOB (less than $3.00 USD) depending on the distance. From the Zona Sur all the way up to the airport in El Alto, a decent rate for a taxi is 90 BOB (less than $14.00 USD), and most rides that you take will be far shorter than that.

Radio taxis are official taxis, meaning the drivers work for a taxi company and have radio contact with a dispatcher, making them a relatively safe option to use.

Sticker Taxis

In La Paz, you are sure to see many cars driving around with no other markings besides a sticker that says “Taxi” in the front window. These sticker taxis are not affiliated with any official company but are simply individuals using their personal vehicles to make some money.

Many of these sticker taxi drivers are honest, hard-working people who will get you where you need to go without a problem, and usually for a cheaper rate than a radio taxi.

There are, however, some sticker taxi drivers that are associated with more nefarious activities, such as kidnappings or worse. Since these taxis do not work for a company and therefore are not in radio contact with a dispatcher, there is no accountability for the passenger.

Please, especially if you are traveling alone, don’t risk a sticker taxi to save a few cents.

Dealing with the Altitude

One thing you may be worried about when planning your trip to one of the world’s highest cities is altitude sickness.

The number one thing you can do to combat altitude sickness is to drink tons of water! Staying hydrated is key. Even for someone who has lived in La Paz for a long time, headaches and other symptoms of mild altitude sickness can sneak up on you if you’re dehydrated.

Most locals will assure you that drinking a warm cup of coca tea will also help with the altitude. On the flip side of that, if you’re struggling with the altitude, avoid alcohol. You might be surprised how low your tolerance is this high above sea level!

Also, when planning your trip to La Paz, don’t schedule any big plans for the first day or two of your visit, just in case you need to spend some time adjusting and resting in or near your hotel room.

For me, usually, a nice long nap after I arrived at my apartment from the airport was all I needed to be ready to hit the ground running the next morning!

If La Paz, Bolivia wasn’t on your radar before, I hope you’ve been convinced that it should be!

There’s no place on earth like it, and I know that the people, culture, food, and rambunctious nature of this city in the sky will endear it to you as it did to me.

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