10 Entertaining Things To Do While Visiting la Paz, Bolivia
Looking for things to do in La Paz, Bolivia? I’ve compiled a list of fun, traditional, and unique activities to engage in in this amazing city.
Nestled in the Andes Mountains and the highest capital in the world, La Paz is home to world-class museums and majestic mountain views. The high altitude requires some adjustment and be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes!
It’s a bustling metropolis where old artisanal traditions thrive. Keep reading to get a sense of the essential activities for traveler’s to La Paz.
10 Unique Things To Do in La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia is a unique city with thousands of homes and buildings built into the side of the huge mountains right in the middle of the city. It boasts gorgeous vistas and natural wonders alongside huge, colorful markets and all the modern conveniences of a big city.
1. Shop at the Witches’ Market
The Mercado de las Brujas (witches’ market)—between Calles Jiménez and Linares, between Sagárnaga and Santa Cruz—sells local handicrafts. Despite the name, there’s no scary witchcraft to fear. The stalls sell herbal remedies, leather goods, textiles and more. Psychics are available to read your fortune.
Beware that you may encounter dead baby llamas hanging in some stalls. Bolivians consider llama fetuses to be sacred. Many llama pregnancies end in miscarriages or stillbirths. When someone buys a new home, they bury a llama fetus under the foundation, which is thought to bring good luck.
Check out some of the other markets in La Paz.
2. Hike in the Moon Valley
Far from busy downtown La Paz is the splendid Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley). This gorgeous collection of canyons and spires is reminiscent of the moon’s landscape, hence the name. This vast expanse of sandstone are craggy, space-like mountains shaped over the centuries by fierce dry winds. It’s a bizarre yet beautiful site that’s fantastically photogenic.
Visitors are allowed to walk through the site, and two paths go through Moon Valley: one that takes 20 minutes, and one that’s about 45. Dress for warm weather, as Moon Valley is much hotter than the center of La Paz. Admission is about $2 for tourists.
3. Ride On Mi Teleférico
See La Paz’s rugged topography from above by taking a ride on Mi Teleferico (my cable car). The cable car system is La Paz’s main mode of transportation, with colorful gondolas that link the city to El Alto (and Moon Valley). Each route has many stops to explore on your own, or you could book an organized tour.
Riding the La Paz cable car system gives you birds-eye views of the city, enables you to meet Bolivians from all corners of La Paz, and takes you to your destination.
Since 2012, the Teleférico has transformed the way of life for thousands of Bolivians who now have cheap and quick transport across the capital city. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination.
Hand-picked for you: Bolivia: A Country of Extraordinary Culture and Geography
4. Explore the Historic Center
One of the fun things to do in La Paz, Bolivia is to stroll around Plaza San Francisco and its 18th-century Basilica de San Francisco. Inside is a museum, the catacombs, and a bell tower with incredible views of the historic center.
Nearby Plaza Murillo features multiple Bolivian government buildings, such as the presidential palace. The “Clock of the South” on the nearby legislative building ticks backwards!
5. Museo de Textiles Andinos Bolivianos
The Museo de Textiles Andinos Bolivianos (Bolivian Andean Textile Museum) is a gold mine of textiles, clothing, and the history of production.
Traditional Bolivian textiles are woven with sheep, alpaca, vicuna, or llama wool. They carefully shear each animal and clean, dye, and weave its wool into yarn. The vibrant colors typical of Bolivian Andean fabrics are chosen with meaning.
6. Shop on Calle Sagárnaga
On the hunt for the perfect souvenirs to take home? This is one of the interesting things to do in La Paz, Bolivia! The stalls are full of Andean textiles, alpaca ponchos, and handcrafted goods, as well as magnets and keyrings.
7. Discover Bolivian History at the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore
Close to Plaza Murillo, the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore (National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore) is jam packed with textiles, masks, baskets, and typical Bolivian crafts to browse. Check out the cool folklore and nature exhibitions. Learn about the birth of Bolivia and its development through the ages.
8. Hike the Eagle’s Path
If you’re looking to get in some exercise and sightseeing in La Paz, the Sendero del Águila (Eagle’s Path) close to the city provides stunning views. The hike is relatively easy, and bouldering and mountain biking are popular options, as well. Look out for the soaring eagles!
9. See an Independent Film at Cinemateca Boliviana
This independent cinema in the heart of La Paz shows Bolivian, Latin American and avant-garde films. Expect the unusual (no Hollywood blockbusters here). Most movies are shown without subtitles. The space also features a film library and gallery space that exhibits photography and art.
10. Watch a Show at Peña Huari
Finally, a super unique thing to do in La Paz, Bolivia is to immerse yourself in traditional Bolivian culture! This high-energy peña hosts a traditional celebration of Andean song, music, and dance.
Get a table at the on-site restaurant before the show to feast on delicious traditional foods before the evening’s entertainment. The performers encourage and expect audience participation, so you may be invited on stage to join the dance.
Learn the Language of Bolivia
Now you know the fun things to do in La Paz, Bolivia! All of Latin America is a gem for travelers with not only delicious cuisine but also beaches, mountains, jungles, hikes, and more.
Breakthrough the language barrier by learning Spanish before your trip! Being bilingual empowers you to travel more easily and communicate with the 121 million people in Latin America (and another 53 million in the United States).
Homeschool Spanish Academy helps you achieve fluency through live 1-on-1 instruction with friendly native-speaking teachers, high-quality programs, and affordable payment options. Give it a try today! To get your family comfortable with conversational Spanish before your trip to Bolivia, sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
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