La Paz Travel Guide | Bolivia

Updated: Aug 24

La Paz has controversy about it! You might have heard people saying 'La Paz is the highest capital in the world. Well, although it is extremely high up - 3,650m above sea level if we want to be precise, La Paz is actually not a capital! Sucre is Bolivia's capital. Because La Paz is the biggest city in Bolivia with a population of over 766,000, people tend to assume La Paz as the capital.


Either way, La Paz is very high above sea level, and if you are flying in from lower places be ready for some altitude sickness. Trust me it is a thing, I didn't believe either. So whatever your plans are, I recommend taking the first days easy, unless you already have spent some time in Cusco, Peru or Quito, Ecuador as those are fairly high cities too.


In this article, I have summarized all the best things to see and do in La Paz. As well as, some useful tips on where best to stay in La Paz, and some amazing restaurant recommendations!


La Paz Travel Guide

  1. Things to do in La Paz

  2. The best areas to stay in La Paz

  3. The best restaurants in La Paz

  4. Important Info

  5. Video


Things to do in La Paz


Cable Car Ride

Firstly and most important I urge you to take a cable car ride around the city. The cable car system is amazing in La Paz and very easy to use. It is the same system as the subway in any other big city. Also, all the stations are very clean and well organized.


Each final station is connected with others so you do not even need to get off, just switch between lines and after 3 hours you will have managed to get around all city and see a lot.


I highly recommend doing this on your own as you will be in charge of the pace and if you want to step out at any point.


There are no day or tourist deals, you will have to buy tickets for each ride but do not worry, it is very cheap. One ride costs 1.50 BOB (~ 0.21 EUR / 0.18 GBP / 0.22 USD).


I have a whole separate guide on the cable car tour options and technical things to know, so if you are planning to add this to your itinerary, make sure to check it out!


Downtown

A must-visit is the downtown area aka the historic center of La Paz. There you will find the San Francisco Church, small busy streets, and many lovely cafes.


The most important part you need to check out downtown is the 'Witch Market'. It is a lovely decorated street selling all the local goodies, such as handcrafted musical instruments, jewelry, clothing, and local spices.


El Alto Area for the open market

El Alto area in La Paz is famous for its open market. All the streets turn into a bazaar and people selling not only goods but also services. The most popular one is a shaman ceremony where you can receive some good energy.


The busiest and best days to visit are Thursday and Sunday when everyone is there! But with this also comes a few negatives. There will be many pick-pockets waiting for you. So be careful when haggling and pulling your wallet out and try to avoid filming to not have your phone too visible. It is supposedly quite a dangerous area so please avoid wandering around there during late hours.


Death Road

If you love extreme sports and adventures, then you definitely have to do the Death Road. It is one of the world's most dangerous mountain biking routes! Do not worry, many tourists do it every day so you do not need to be a professional. Just be mentally ready and you will have loads of fun!

To book this adventure is very easy. Any agency in the city will offer it. They all work with the same few companies that actually do the route so the standard tour is an 8 am pick-up, a 1-hour ride to the starting point. The company will supply you with all the equipment and a bike so you'll be ready to go. After a 3 hour crazy ride, you will be taken to have lunch and then back to La Paz.


The standard price for the tour (everything above mentioned included) is 230 BOB or 330 BOB. Price depends if you want to full or half-suspension bike. I highly recommend going with full suspension as the road is very bumpy.



Another trip I can highly recommend that you can do from La Paz is the Uyuni Salt Desert. It was absolutely an incredible experience! You can do a day trip but the way there is quite long so I would recommend doing at least 2 or 3-day trip.


The best areas to stay in La Paz


Sopocachi

As the best area, I am highlighting the Sopocachi area, because it is supposedly the safest area in La Paz. Also, the area has some amazing restaurants, a cable car station and is close to all the main areas.


Downtown

Downtown logically would be the best option, as you are in the historic center and in the middle of everything. Unfortunately after Covid, according to some locals, the downtown area is not that safe anymore. I must say that after spending some time in La Paz I would still stay downtown if I found good accommodation there because I think you mostly need to be careful in the late hours.


So staying in Sopocachi will allow you to have late dinners out without worries but in downtown you need to be more careful.


The best restaurants in La Paz


The Carrot Tree - Sopocachi

In Sopocachi I want to highlight The Carrot Tree. A very cozy restaurant that has a fireplace, which is great as it can get fairly cold in La Paz. The food is excellent! Probably one of the best burgers I have ever had. They offer different vegan and vegetarian options. My personal favorite has to be the red velvet brownie. They have a deal for Mojitos every day, all day - 1 for 20 BOB.


They also have a restaurant in downtown but I didn't try it myself so can't vouch for that.


Yati - Downtown

In downtown I highly recommend Yati. The atmosphere is lovely and the food is excellent. The menu is not too vegetarian friendly but you can find some options.


I had their specialty ceviche (which is my favorite food in South America) and I loved it. One of the best ceviches I have ever had!


This place is rated number one on TripAdvisor with excellent 'only 5-star' reviews. That tells something about the place!


I accidentally came across this place and only after trying it out, I saw the TripAdvisor score.


HB Bronze Coffeebar - Business District

For all the coffee lovers I recommend HB Bronze Coffeebar. This place is quite expensive but you will get the best quality coffee in the whole of South America (because coffee in general in SA is quite bad quality, all good stuff is exported). In this cafe, you will find award-winning coffee. Also, the service is 6 stars!



Important info regarding entering Bolivia


Get your stamp on the Bolivian side!

If you are entering Boliva by bus and especially from Peru, be very careful when crossing. Ensure you get stamped twice, on Peru and on the Bolivian side. Because the desks are next to each other, it is very easy to get confused and enter Bolivia without a stamp, because unless you do it yourself no one will really check you on the way out.


5 people on our bus missed the stamping point on the Bolivian side and when border control entered the bus after we have been driving for 1 hour towards La Paz, they checked the bus and asked the 5 people who didn't get their stamps to return to the border. Horrible, as after they had to cover their own taxi back to La Paz and the distance is 2 hours.


So to avoid any inconveniences, please ensure you get stamped on the Bolivian side!


Check out this video to get a better feel of La Paz: