What To Do With 2 Days in La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia is not typically on the top of travel magazines must visit city lists, but it is a part of the world very worthy of a visit. La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, at nearly 12,000 feet (3,600 meters), doesn't have a long list of must-do sight-seeing landmarks and attractions, but it is a city rich in history and culture, delicious cafes, and art galore. And thanks to local artisans and chefs there's a feast for your senses available everywhere throughout the city. In addition, Bolivia is king to quinoa, so if you're health conscious or a vegetarian, there are plenty of nutritious and food conscious restaurants available to you. Now is the time to visit La Paz before tourism runs rampant!
10 Things to Do in La Paz
1. The Witches Market (Mercado de Las Brujas)
The Mercado de Las Brujas is a one of a kind market dedicated to all things spiritual and superstitious. If you want to protect your home, find a new job or love, bring lots of money into your life or fight off illness for you or a loved-one you can find the ingredient, potion, or relic for it here.
TIP: Use BNB or Mercantil Santa Cruz ATMs if you need to withdraw cash. Do be mindful of your surroundings when accessing an ATM.
2. Consider taking a city tour for history and overview of the city.
La Paz is a colorful, proud, bustling, diesel-spewing, parade loving city. There is a story around every corner. You will want to take your time walking around and exploring, but you may also want a local expert to share insights about the city and the local's way of life. You can find tours as cheap as $3 on sites like Viator or ask at your accommodation for recommendations.
TIP: Expect to use about 100 - 150 Bolivianos per day for food and activities.
3. Experience Valle de La Luna
There's a gold course across the street from El Valle de la Luna just outside of La Paz. As the story goes, one day Neil Armstrong was once there playing golf and during his game he noticed the clay formation and said it looked like the moon. And thus, Moon Valley stuck. It exists because of erosion that occurred to the mountain. During your visit you can explore one or two paths, the longer of the two will take you about 45 minutes.
FUN FACT: When the Spanish arrived they asked the natives about today's llama. What is this called? And it was because they asked, "come se llama?" that it became Llama. The llamas original name was called Kaura. *this hasn't been researched, but makes for a great story either way.
4. Ride on the aerial cable car system - Mi Teleferico
Imagine working hard all day in Zona Sur and then having to trek home to El Alto without a car? Basically having to ascend almost 2,000 feet to get home. This is life in the Bolivian Capital city, but with the creation of Mi Teleferico in 2014, it made transportation across the city more efficient and beautiful. There are five lines in which these gondolas pass through to transport people around the city. Like an aerial subway, the original and most popular lines for travelers are the red, green and yellow. If you want to explore, but want assistance, you are also able to sign up for tours to experience the lines with an expert. Consider doing this tour the moment you see sunshine and when it isn't commuter time; unless you want to experience life as a local, of course.
5. Visit Mirador Killi Killi
Sitting atop a steep hill in the Villa Pabon neighborhood is this impressive city lookout. You can get here by foot, but may be best to take a taxi and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
6. Walk along 17th Century Calle Jaén
This historical and well-preserved street is home to a variety of interesting museums and boutiques. It's colonial style and colorful buildings give a special feel to life in La Paz.
7. Watch life at Plaza Murillo
The Plaza Murillo is the central square of the city and also connects much of the politics of the city. Here you will find the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, the Presidential Palace, and the National Congress of Bolivia. Hang around the square and watch life unfold for its local residents. You may also have an opportunity to watch the changing of the guard of the first Bolivian president, the Colorados de Bolivia. This is done every two hours.
TIP: Note the clock on the parliament building. The clock is backward. For the rotation that is different in the Southern Hemisphere.
8. Eat at El Mundo Cafe
This is a fun and yummy cafe for two reasons. One, the owner, of Swedish descent, married a Bolivian and decided to open this cafe for travelers from around the world to meet and exchange stories. If you're an avid traveler you'll appreciate the vibe and also there are many delicious international dishes of many varieties to choose from.
9. Grab a meal at Namas 'Te
This gourmet vegetarian restaurant is a great place to dine on your first night as you adjust to the altitude. Depending on the weather you may want to opt for soup or something heartier like the burrito.
10. Eat dinner at Angelo Colonial
It will appear to be a very random cafe, but its environment enlivens the senses and the menu offers many local treats, for example, the llama steak.
TIP: A popular dish to try in La Paz is both Salteñas (a popular baked snack filled with meat and/or vegetables) and papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes the Bolivian way), oh! and chocolate.
11. Watch the Wrestling Cholitas
Only available on Sunday afternoons at the Multifuncional de la Ceja de El Alto, you won't see anything like this in the world! Layered skirts, bowler hats, women power, feisty females, and dramatics-galore are just a few of the one of a kind characteristics of this wrestling extravaganza.
Two Bonuses if you have more time in La Paz!
1. If you have time and are looking for adventure, consider bike riding on Yungas Road - AKA "Death Road"
2. Very popular is a full day tour to Tiwanaku and Titicaca Day Trip from La Paz. But do this if you have more than 2 days in La Paz, as it involves a long day and a lot of driving.
Enjoy your colorful and fun filled days in La Paz, Bolivia. And always be sure to send in your feedback and travel tales.