La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, while Sucre is the constitutional capital and the seat of the Supreme Court. La Paz was established in 1548, and is in the Andes. Altitude of the city ranges from about 4,058 m (13,313 ft) above sea level in El Alto (where the airport is located) to 3,100 m (10,170 ft) in the lower residential area. It is the highest national capital in the world.
The sight from the air as one flies into La Paz is incredible. First, one sees the sprawling shantytowns of El Alto, slowly giving way to the sight of La Paz itself, clinging tenuously to the sides of what looks like a large gash in the earth.
La Paz was built in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River (now mostly built over), which runs northwest to southeast. The city's main thoroughfare, which roughly follows the river, changes names over its length, but the central tree-lined section running through the downtown core is called the Prado.
La Paz geography, in particular the altitude, reflects the city's society: the lower you go, the more affluent. While many middle-class paceños live in high-rise condos near the center, the really rich houses are located in the lower neighborhoods southwest of the Prado. The reason for this division is that the lower you go in the city the milder the weather is. And looking up from the center, the surrounding hills are plastered with makeshift brick houses of those struggling in the hope of one day reaching the bottom.
The satellite city of El Alto, in which the airport is located, is spread over a broad area to the west of the canyon, on the altiplano.
El Alto International Airport (IATA: LPB) (ICAO: SLLP), El Alto. This is the world's highest international airport; at 13,313 ft/4,058 m above sea level, it's almost half as high as a jetliner's cruising altitude, and takeoffs require a longer runway due to the thin air. There is an airport departure tax of US$25 (or Bs174) for international flights, Bs15 for domestic flights. Tax can only be paid in cash, but several ATMs which also give out US$ are available at the airport.
Most South American airlines (LAN, TACA, Avianca, SkyAirline etc.) serve El Alto Airport as well local airlines (Boliviana de Aviación (BoA), Transporte Aéreo Militar (TAM), Aerocon and Amaszonas). Most international flights will make a stop over in Santa Cruz to pick up or drop off passengers. American Airlines is currently the only U.S. carrier serving Bolivia, with one daily flight from Miami.
State-funded BoA and TAM (usually for a cheaper price) serve major domestic destinations as well as some major South American hubs. Aerocon mainly provides air links to communities in the Beni Department via their hub Trinidad. Amaszonas provides direct service to tourist destinations like Rurrenabaque or Uyuni. LAB (Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano) was Bolivia's national airline until April 2007, when services were suspended by the Bolivian government due to financial problems. Another private operator, Aerosur, has also now ceased operations, due to a dispute with the Government over unpaid taxes.
While you may be in the practice of racing to immigration when you get off a plane, in order to avoid long queues, forget about this in La Paz. Take things very easily or you will be seriously out of breath and may suffer medical complications. Just walk slowly to the immigration area.
From the airport, the official rate for a taxi into central La Paz is Bs 60 (about US$9). Only use radio taxis with a sign on the roof. Shared vans cost Bs 3.80 (US$0.50). When returning to the airport, please give yourself plenty of time if taking the bus. Often they are full once they pass near Plaza San Francisco, especially during rush hour 5-7PM. The first bus leaves from Plaza Isabel de Católica in Sopocachi at 6.15 a.m.
If you are taking a TAM flight OUT of La Paz airport be VERY careful to verify which airport it is leaving from, some TAM flights leave from the El Alto Intl airport and others from the military base airport. (As of Nov. 2011 all TAM flights seem to be leaving from El Alto Intl. - May 2012 update - TAM flights do sometimes still leave from the military airport)
The main bus terminal is in Central Park, near the upper end of the Prado (Google Map) and a 15-20 min walk from most hostels. Note that buses arriving from Lake Titicaca (the route for entering overland from Puno, Peru) and Sorata terminate at a plaza near the city cemetery (Cementerio) farther to the west. Buses from Quime terminate in the El Alto bus terminal.
Buses leaving La Paz usually stop in El Alto to pick up more passengers. It sometimes takes almost an hour until you really leave the city.
Cochabamba 7-8 hr. Normal day buses cost around Bs 20 while "full cama" (flat bed) buses with for example Bolivar cost Bs 90. Semi cama between the two.
Hundreds of people cycle around Bolivia each year and most of them pass through La Paz. If you are one of those, read on. If you are not and you want to be free, get a bicycle and read on.
If you are getting into La Paz from the north (Titicaca, Perú), west (Chile, Tiwanaku), south (Oruro, Sajama etc.), you will have to pass through El Alto (best avoided after dark) and then you will have to take the plunge down to the centre of La Paz. Traffic in El Alto and La Paz is chaotic and pollution makes cycling more difficult. To get down to La Paz, it is probably best to follow the autopista (highway), as it has a broad shoulder on both sides (watch out for the holes). Traffic on the autopista can be heavy, but the shoulder is rarely used, except by the public transportation. Many other routes are possible, but some streets can be extremely steep. Check your brakes!
If you are coming from the yungas (Coroico), you will get in through Avenida de las Americas.
There is an excellent Casa de Ciclistas  in La Paz.
There are three types of shared public transportation in La Paz: regular buses or "micros"; shared vans, called "mini buses", and shared taxis running set routes advertised on the windshield, called "trufis". The former cost Bs 1,30 while the second are Bs 1,50-2,30 depending on duration. A trufi will generally cost you Bs 3-3.50. All types have their routes indicated on the windshield, but mini buses have the bonus of fare collectors hanging out the side, yelling out routes in a rapid, auctioneer-like manner. You can hail a bus or mini bus anywhere; to get off, just yell out "¡voy a bajar!"
The easiest way to get around is by taxi. They aren't metered, so agree on a fare before boarding; a ride within downtown should be about Bs 6-8. If you want to go further, ask two or more taxi drivers before boarding. A normal ride by taxi from downtown to a place within the city won't cost more than Bs 20.
Make sure that the taxi has a yellow sticker on the windshield and rear paasenger side window that displays a 4 figure number. That is the only surefire way to ensure you are getting into a geniune registered taxi, and not a dangerous 'gypsy taxi'. Gypsy taxis may have taxi painted on the side of the car, and even have the boarding on the roof, always look for the yellow stickers.
If you ever find yourself to be lost, in general the easiest thing is to simply walk downhill. You will eventually find yourself on the Prado or another main avenue, then You'll be able to take a taxi to the downtown, if you are on the southside of the city (Zona sur).
There are a few of the large car rental companies in La Paz, both at the airport and downtown, including Avis and Budget. A Suzuki Jimny costs $59/day with Budget and cars seem to be in very good order. Beware of extra charges when you return the vehicle to Budget. The roads around La Paz can be unpaved and so the car can get a little dusty inside and outside, we were asked for an extra $57 to clean the car. Renting a 4x4 is very much recommended as the surrounding area is stunning, visit Chacaltaya and the Valle de Las Animas.
You can do day trips around La Paz by bicycle. You can do the famous death road by your own bicycle by taking a minibus (25 bs incl. the bike) from the bus terminal on Av. Ramiro Castillo to La Cumbre, then cycle down to Coroico and take a minibus back (30 bs with the bike) to the same terminal. Check your brakes!
You can take your bike to Chacaltaya (5300 masl) and climb the remaining 150 altitude meters on foot. Take the autopista to El Alto and follow the road to Chacaltaya. Alternatively, take the autopista to just after it makes a sharp turn, take the first local street to the right (a sharp right turn by a pedestrian bridge over the highway) and follow that street up until it turns to gravel and you reach a school called Siete Lagunas. Turn right and follow the signs to Zongo first, then to Chacaltaya. You can also take your bike to Zongo pass with fantastic views of lakes, dams and peaks. This is for well acclimatized people. Check your brakes!
Sagarnaga Street, (just south of Plaza San Francisco). La Paz' main tourist strip. It's mainly a market street with artesano and souvenir stores, but you'll also find budget hostels, tour and travel agencies, cafes, and lots and lots of backpackers. Don't be suckered by the roving sellers of "trilobite-in-a-rock".
The Witches' Market, (Mercado de Hechiceria or Mercado de las Brujas). Calle Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz. Vendors sell llama fetuses and dried frogs for Aymara rituals, as well as soapstone figurines and aphrodisiac formulas. This street is also the best place to pick up a charango or other Bolivian musical instrument.
Eloy Salmon. Shops on this street sell cheap electronics.
Calle Jaen. One of the few places in the city with preserved colonial buildings, currently housing several interesting museums.
Plaza Murillo. Contains government buildings and the city cathedral.
The Valle de La Luna. Surreal, weathered rock. Just outside the town of Mallasa. 30-40 minute bus ride (depending on traffic) down the La Paz valley. Take local bus #43 to Mallasa (Bs 2.40), from San Francisco Plaza or Prado, mini-bus #273 or #902 (Bs 2.30 - 3), a taxi (Bs 35) or join a tour. The entrance to the park is located next to the flags and costs Bs15. Opening hours: 8 a.m - 5.30 p.m. UPDATE: As of Oct. 9, 2013, you can show up at the paradero near the Iglesia de San Francisco and Sagarnaga Street and jump on a combi/micro headed towards Mallasa and the cost is only Bs 2 per person.
The Thursday & Sunday Market in El Alto or Feria de 16 de Julio. A huge market held in El Alto every Thursday and Sunday. This mostly Aimara market is one of the world's biggest, and a person can find just about anything. The latest software and DVDs are practically free as are high quality used clothes, jackets, sweaters and everything else imaginable. For newbies, stick to the railroad tracks starting at the ceja and ending at Plaza Ballivian. Do not bring anything valuable (like camera or mobile phone) and keep your money (except small bills like 10's) inside your clothing. Bring sunblock. As a long time resident of Bolivia, this is one of my favorite pass times and the area where I have practically furnished my house, dressed my kids and bought plants for my garden. On fair days there are hundreds of mini buses leaving from the Prado.
The Self-guided Public Transport Tour. The best way to see the real La Paz is to jump on and off public transport minibuses and micros at random, go to the end of the line, turn around and jump off at any place that looks interesting. There is no way to get lost and each jump on and off costs about $US 0.15. Buy fruit and so on along the way and talk to people in the peripheral zones. Quite safe.
Lucha Libre de Cholitas, Polifunctional de la Ceja, El Alto (From San Francisco, take any mini-bus bound to Ceja and stop 200m after the autopista toll.), . 4pm. The tourist entry ticket is pricier but includes some snacks and souvenirs. The show starts around 5pm with men fighting for the 1st hour before letting the Cholitas on the ring. You can go there with a tour or on your own with a mini-bus (Bs 2).Bs 50. edit
CIRCULAR Circuit of Culture and Art: One ticket for three awesome museums, Visit La Paz museums, one ticket for three within a week! With the aim of promoting the cultural and historical heritage of La Paz and Bolivia, we launched a single ticket to access the circuit, which will be sold at tourist agencies, hotels and The museums of the circuit. The Three Museums of the Circuit are San Francisco Museum: a Catholic-indigenous face, the National Ethnographic and Folk Museum: a Trip through Bolivian Cultures, and the National Museum of Art: Exhibitions, collections, history and more.
Museum San Francisco, Plaza San Francisco. This restored religious complex has housed some of Bolivia's most important historical moments, including the birth of the Independence Revolution of 1809. Also, one can climb the church tower to get a panoramic view of both the indigenous and Mestiza quarters. Displays are in Spanish and English along with personal guides.
National Ethnographic and Folk Museum, Ingavi 916, esq. Jenaro Sanjinés. The MUSEF shows us the Bolivian cultures in their historic dimension and their current situation. These cultures are alive in the cities and the countryside, in markets, schools and churches, in streets, the jungle or a minibus. Not a single corner of Bolivia escapes its diversity. And to understand this complexity better, the MUSEF offers us an incomparable tour.
National Museum of Art, Calle Comercio esq. Socabaya. No doubt, the tour through the National Museum of Art is a ride through the history of Bolivian art, its paintings, sculptures, photos and other artistic expressions; a singular experience for both national and foreign visitors.
Tiwanaku Museum (Museo Tihuanaco)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo), Av. 16 de Julio 1698 (Prado). The permanent collection upstairs (Bs15) contain many works by renowned Aymara painter Mamani Mamani. The downstairs gallery containing work by students and up-and-comers is free.
Coca Museum, Calle Linares 906, . M-Su 10AM-7PM. A favorite of foreign tourists, this small museum details the history and significance of the coca plant, including the effect of the U.S. War on Drugs. The displays are in Spanish, but booklets of complete translations in other languages are provided. According to the museum, crack cocaine is the greatest epidemic since the Plague in the Middle-Ages. And yes, there are free samples of coca leaf for visitors.Bs 10. edit
Musical Instrument Museum (Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia), Calle Jaen 711. Displays a huge collection of sound-producing devices from Bolivia and beyond, some of which you can play yourself. The museum was founded by charango master and inventor Ernesto Cavour, and some of his creations on display (such as multi-bodied guitars) are downright bizarre.
Museum of Precious Metals (Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos), Calle Jaen 777. Pre-Columbian treasures in silver and gold.
Submerged Museum (Museo Subterraneo), in front of the city stadium. Hardly deserving the name "museum", it's essentially a small outdoor plaza sunk into the ground with a huge replica Tiwanaku monolith in the middle of it. The original one used to be there, but it was moved back to Tiwanaku for preservation.
Bolivian Andean Textile Museum (Museo de Textiles Andinos Bolivianos),  Plaza Benito Juarez 488. It exhibits a large variety of textiles and weaving's from all the Bolivian/Andean communities. It's a must-see for weaving lovers. It also displays several garments, like ponchos, from all these regions. The museum also includes a shop (90% of your purchase belongs to the artists) and it is located at lovely house in Miraflores.
La Paz is a city which can be a sight in itself, and there are several viewing places or miradores offering impressive panoramas.
Mirador Killi Killi, (from Avenida Sucre take Avenida La Bandera and then walk straight up, the mirador is on the right side). You can get the best view of La Paz from here. No entrance fee. You can either walk or take a taxi to get there.
Parque Laikacota, (at the top of Av. Ejercito west of the city center). The best panorama from within the bowl, with clear views of the city and the rugged terrain to the east, all the way to Mt. Illimani. Admission is Bs 3.50.
Mirador Monticulo, (next to Plaza España). This small park (free entry) has a church and lots of trees which block much of the city, but the clear view of Illimani makes it an evening hotspot for couples.
Av. Camacho, (In the heart of downtown). Points straight to Illimani, and from the intersection with the Prado it's framed by skyscrapers in an interesting juxtaposition.
Teleferico. Take the cablecar "Teleferico" above the city from the Estación Central "Taypi Uta" (close to the bus terminal) and go to Cemeterio "Ajayuni" or to El Alto "Feria 16 de Junio". 3 BOL per ticket. (Opened since 30th May 2014) opening hours 5:30 - 22:30. In the future they will open two more lines around Alto Obrajes.edit
Teleferico above La Paz at Sunset near El Alto
Worlds Highest Golf Course (with Golf and Tours Bolivia), ☎ 777 32300 (email@example.com), . La Paz Golf Club is a must for any golf enthusiast. Apart from being the highest grass golf course in the world, this course is also famous for it´s par 3 Moon Hole, voted one of the most exotic holes in the world. The best way to visit this course as a tourist is to do a tour with "Golf and Tours Bolivia". They organize everything for a reasonable fee.edit
El Choro Trek. The El Choro Trek is an amazing trek starting in the mountains at La Cumbre (4700m)and ending in the jungle at Chairo (1500m). From Chairo you can follow the road all the way to Corico, which would make for a very long day, walking along a road/hwy, or you can get transport from Chairo to Corico, either private taxi or hitch a ride along the road. Maps of the route are available in La Paz at most gear shops - but don't trust the time estimates that are given. There are many places to camp and buy basic food, as well as warm meals along the way. You can also buy bottled water, at a premium, or purify your own along the way. La Cumbre --> Corico will take 3 days, as it is about 60kms, however depending on your time of arrival in Corico, it may be possible to catch a bus back to La Paz the same day (about 3 hours return). edit
One of the most recognizable aspects of Andean culture is its folk music, which you can enjoy at a number of peñas, or music clubs.
Huari, Calle Sagarnaga 329. Its location makes it the convenient choice for foreign tourists, so be prepared for extreme tourist prices and slightly tacky decor. (The ancient Incas probably didn't have black lighting.) Nonetheless, the music and dance performances are excellent.
Marka Tambo, Calle Jaen 710. Considered among the best for serious fans of the music.
MegaCenter,, (in the entrance to Irpavi in the "Zona Sur"), From downtown you must go on public transportation.
MultiCine, 2631 Avenida Arce, (a couple of blocks south of Plaza Isabel de Catholica), . Brand new multiplex cinema with 3 3D screen. Shows current Hollywood blockbusters as well as independent films when available.
The Cinemateca Boliviana, Guachalla and Federico Suazo St). Most modern movie theater in the city. You can see new mega-releases as well as local films and international festivals.
Monje Campero, (at the beginning of Av. 16 de Julio), 
16 de Julio (near to Plaza del Estudiante).
Cine Azul, (at the beginning of Av.16 de julio). Despite the best efforts to censor it Latin America's premier underground bluey showhouse is still up and running. The steam is literally dripping off the walls, amongst other things.
Instituto Exclusivo, Avenida 20 de Octubre #2315, ☎ +591 2 242 1072, . Study Spanish, English, Dutch, German, Portuguese or several other foreign languages with experienced and personable teachers. Excellent individualized and small group instruction with friendly staff. Activities from salsa classes to local excursions, including museum, market or peña visits upon request. Free internet, homestays and transportation.(-16.50900990542171,-68.12729358673096)edit
Pico Verde Languages, 363 Sagarnaga St (up from San Francisco, close to corner with Calle Illampu), ☎ +591 2 231 8328 or +591 737 18240, . M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM. Friendly Spanish school in the heart of La Paz´s historical district. Specialises in crash courses for travellers wanting to get to grips with or improve their Spanish, as well as longer courses for those spending more time in the city. Group or individual classes tailored to any level, with experienced teachers who all speak fluent English, as well as some French, German and Italian speakers. Homestays and volunteering opportunities can be arranged, as well as other activities. Competitive prices and laid back atmosphere.US$4.50-8 per hour depending on class size and hours taken. edit
SpeakEasy Institute, Avenida Arce #2047, ☎ +591 2 244 1779, . Highly trained, experienced teachers and courses tailor-made, short survival Spanish, brush up on what you know, prepare for international exams, understand exactly what the subjunctive is. Homestays, volunteer work and cultural activities offered.edit
Pablo Fierro, ☎ 777 32300 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 8AM-8PM Mon-Sun. Pablo is an excellent option for private Spanish tuition in La Paz. With over 5 years teaching experience, Pablo offers a completely flexible study environment in a variety of surroundings. One popular option is Spanish on Foot, where students can tour the city with Pablo and practice their conversational skills with the locals. Students are also able study in more peaceful surroundings such as Pablo's classroom in the city center, a quiet city cafe or inside their hotel/hostel. Classes are sure to be fun thanks to Pablo's friendly personality and good sense of humor. Prices are very affordable with discounts for long term students. edit
Rita Clavijo, Pasaje José Manuel Loza Nº 420 (Calle Prudencio esq. Juan de Vargas) (Miraflores, between Parque Laicacota and Estadio Obrero), ☎ +591 728 89 364 (email@example.com), . For those who find learning in a formal school environment difficult, or whose schedules make fitting in with a school's timetable impossible. Rita offers private tuition at whatever time is most convenient, either at her home, your hostel, or a quiet café of your choice. More than 10 years experience teaching Spanish, and a positive, adaptable approach based on her extensive study of cognitive theory. Specialises in helping students who have found that rigid, traditional approaches don't work for them.(-16.503692,-68.123592)edit
William Ortiz (Servicing for ABC Spanish Tuition), Miraflores, Avenida Simon Bolivar, Pasaje 1880, house Nº 1785 (opposite China Motors Company, walk the alley up to the end), ☎ +591 2 2220582 or +591 72552871 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Mon-Sun 8AM-8PM. Mr. Ortiz, has taught Spanish since 1992, in La Paz, his place is located 20 min walk from Sopocachi and 10 min to the centre. The schedules for the lessons are completely flexible and the student could start lessons any day of the week. Individual, Group and tailor-made classes. Family homestay, Volunteer work and Educational tours could be organized for students during the course. Intensive lessons 3-4 hrs/day or Short-term intensive lessons 5-10 hrs/day. Free hostal pick-up.edit
Iris Palacios, Calacoto district, Calle 23 N 7870, . 9AM-7PM. Private Spanish classes in the heart of south area of the city. Certified teacher with 5 years of experience. Flexible schedules, kitchen, WiFi, volunteer placements, homestay and host families.edit
Fair trade shop, 958 Calle Linares. Weavings are upstairs, better quality than the stuff on the street with comparable prices. Nicely mounted with wood panels and ready for hanging.
A Manos, Calle Carlos Bravo 299 (Behind Hotel Plaza on el Prado). Good quality handicrafts. Has a café (Café El Consulado), travel agency; Topas Adventure Travel Bolivia, and 5 great rooms.edit
Ayni Bolivia (Fair Trade handicrafts), Av. Illampu 704 (one block from witches market), ☎ +591 2 279 2395 (email@example.com), . M-F 8AM-8:30PM, Sa 10AM-6:30PM. Fair trade store member of World Fair Trade Organization WFTO, has 26 different groups, with a wide variety of handicrafts (alpaca, wood, ceramics, native textiles, table cloth, greeting cards). One store is located inside Hotel Rosario and other at the street.US$2-50. (-16.4955,-68.1402)edit
The Spitting Llama Bookstore & Outfitter, 947 Calle Linares (inside the Hostal Posada de la Abuela), ☎ +591 79770312 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . M-Sa 10AM-7:30PM. Offers offers a wide range of trekking, camping equipment and similar requirements. They also rent things like tents and sleeping bags. Many books in English and many other languages and have Bolivia's best book exchange. English-speaking staff available. This is more of a book store than anything else, they do not have much equipment at all.edit
La Paz is a good place for buying maps of the country. Topographical maps are available in 1:50 000, 1:100 000 and 1:250 000. The most popular maps, including the 1:250 000 version of Cordillera Real and the 1:50 000 version of Volcan Sajama are sold by street vendors that roam Calle Sagarnaga and from stalls along el Prado. But the best place to buy maps is the "Instituto Geografico Militar", IGM. The instituto has two offices in town, listed below.
Edificio Murillo No. 100, Calle Juan XXIII Parallell to Calle Murillo at the end of Calle Rodríguez. This office is likely to be closest to where you stay and sometimes has as map or two on offer, but most often asks you to come back mañana when they still don't have the map you want. It's has a nice atmosphere though, and makes a nice visit for mapophiles needing that fix of fresh map air.
Oficina Central, Estado Mayor General, Av. Saavedra No. 2303. This is the place to go, but a little out of the way. It is said to be open afternoons, but it's best to visit between 9PM and 11PM Closed if there's a soccer game in the nearby Stadium. Take a micro marked "E. Mayor" from Plaza San Francisco. The unmarked entrance is 20 m down Av. Saavedra from the main car entrance to the Estado Mayor. Surrender your passport in the window marked IGM, get a number tag to hang around you neck and walk down the road and to the left. Many maps are only available in copies for Bs 30 a sheet. An original is Bs 40.
Dragon China, Calle Linares, 1017 (In/beside Lion Palace Hostel), ☎ 2900133. till 22:30. Good Bolivian Chinese food prepared by real Chinese cooks. The fried trout with noodles is beautifully flavored with ginger and the delicious stir-fried noodles (linguine) are not swimming in a liquid sauce for once. 13-25 Bob. edit
Restaurant Jalal (Lebanese food), Calle Sagàrnaga, 392, corner Illampu. Noon to 22. Excellent and authentic Lebanese food. Upstairs. Don't be put off by unappealing entrance. Has some vegetarian dishes. Best falafel I have ever tasted. 30-50 Bob. edit
Carcajada, Calle 20 de Octubre #2060 (entre Aspiazu y J.J. Perez) (Mujeres Creando). Anarcha-feminist cultural cafe. Plates for around 10bs, generous lunchs for 25, various cakes. Browse books and contemplate the fall of capitalism and patriarchy while you eat.
Utama, top floor of Plaza Hotel, Av. 16 de Julio 1789 (Prado). With its fabulous view of the city, the Utama has served the likes of Fidel Castro and Alberto Fujimori (embattled former President of Peru), yet the main dishes (Bolivian and international, in portions ample for two) are only around Bs 50 (US$6.50).
Tambo Colonial, in Hotel Rosario. Lavish breakfast buffet for Bs 20 (US$2.50), great international and local food from 12 noon-11PM. Try the Lake Titicaca trout with Beni almonds.
Sultan, San Miguel, Zona Sur. Great Arabic fast food in a tiny setting. Try the falafel for 7 Bs. Order a "super" for 10 Bs if you're hungry and be there for lunch when the boss isn't around (bigger portions).
There's a string of inexpensive pizza and hamburger joints on the west side of Avenida 6 de Agosto south of Plaza del Estudiante. Sergio's is considered the best, and is good for checking upcoming music venues.
La Mia Pizzeria, Calle Ilampu, below one of the two "Pizzeria Italia" branches on Calle Ilampu. Cheaper than "Italia" with more American style pizzas. Take-away available.
Al amir, Murillo 824, has nice Arabic food.
100% Natural, Calle Sagarnaga 345. Often full, especially around 11PM, but serves huge sandwiches and great vegetarian burgers in a cosy atmosphere. Good food, better juices.
The Star of India, (the highest Curry House in the world!) is one of the few places you can get curry in Bolivia (and also can deliver to your hostel). The curries and side dishes are mediocre at best, if you're longing for a UK style curry you'll be disapointed. Open from 9AM for breakfast, then lunch served M-Sa from 11:30AM and Sun from 4PM (with good veggie and vegan options.) They offer a free "I survived the world's most dangerous vindaloo" t-shirt to anyone who finishes it - people generally don't. Portions are small for a curry house.
Café Ciudad, Plaza Estudiantes (Lower end of the Prado). Open 24 hr. Mediocre at best. Expensive for what you get. Location and 24/7 are the only outstanding features.Burgers 15-20 Bs, main courses 30-40 Bs. edit
Glam, Sanchez Lima Nº 2237, ☎ + 591 2 2423446. Now a bar featuring Salsa music and dancing. Cover 20bs and gets you first beer free.85Bs. edit
Sergiu's Pizza, Calle 20 de Octubre, 7 (down Plaza del Estudiante). cheap pizzas (12 bs for a big slice) edit
Pescaderia Palacio Real, Calle Jimenez (Just left of Calle Jimenez 626). Bs20" lat="" long="">Good value restaurant, packed with local just a few blocs from Calle Murillo. Fast service, tasty and cheap food in a popular atmosphere. Different kind of fishes available. Fried trucha with rice and patatoes costs Bs22 (Much better than in Copacabana)edit
Chifa Ping (Chifa Ping), Prado. Notable for the pictures of MaPo Tofu out the front. This chifa does more than just the standard Arroz Chaufa. Spring rolls, steamed dumplings and the aforementioned MaPo Tofu are available here, along with more traditionally Chinese stirfrys. Menu for 24Bs (Jan 2014) but the more traditional dishes are a la carte.Menu 24Bs. edit
Villaserena (Villaserena), Calle Llampu and Calle Aroma (The restaurant is at the top of the hotel Estrella Andina). 11:00 - 22:00. An amazing restaurant on top of the Estrella Andina hotel. Has a fantastic rooftop terrace overlooking the city with a view of the snow peaked mountain in the back. The daily menu is 30Bs (12:00 - 14:00) includes an amazing(and unique) salad, soup and mouth watering meat finished of by a delicious dessert. One of the better lunch options in La Paz for the money. Menu 30Bs. edit
Chez Moustache, Calle Heriberto Gutierrez N° 2366 (Zona: Sopocachi - La Paz, LP), ☎ 60524872, . 12-10. An approachable bistro style restaurant. Decor with great sense of humour. Menu is seasonal and the plates offered change daily. Full bar, ample wine list and affordable prices.edit
El Consulado, Calle Bravo 299 (Behind Hotel Plaza(Prado)). New place in La Paz. Best brunch in town, gourmet food in beautiful surroundings. Wifi and garden. Working with the "New Andean Kitchen" and organic coffee.
Restaurant Sabrosa Taiwanesa, Calle Chichas No. 1208, Zona Miraflores, 2221186 (a short walk or quick taxi from Plaza Isabela Católica, just on the other side of the Puente de Las Americas). New family-run Taiwanese restaurant. Flavourful dishes and a good sized menu (veg and non-veg) in a clean setting.
Angelo Colonial, Calle Linares 922. A dark, bohemian cafe set in an old mansion decorated with scads of antiques. Serving Bolivian and mediocre international food. The best drip coffee in La Paz. Painfully slow service. Another location on the Prado. Serves llamas.
Alo Cubano, Av. Aniceto de Arce. Best place to pretend you're back in the 50s plotting a pan-American revolution with Fidel and Che.
Contigo Peru, second floor of Edificio Alameda (on the Prado). Good ceviche and other seafood.
Pizzeria Italia, Calle Ilampu 809, serves nice breakfasts with a friendly smile. Pizzas are not good, and also overpriced.
Cafe Karlovy, Av. Claudio Aliaga Nº 1182 - Bloque J-47, San Miguel. 8AM-12PM. An elegant coffee shop in the hip southern part of La Paz. Serves fantastic food all day.edit
Namas Te, Zoilo Flores #1334 (San Pedro), . 8:30AM-7:00PM. In the heart of the city, San Pedro. Serving possibly the best homestyle vegetarian cookin w/much flavour and love. Deep fried vegan patties. Fixed lunch starts midday. Music w/your organic coffee/tea/food. If you want the menú del dia, be sure to reserve it in advance by calling!Bs 20. edit
La Terraza Cafe, Ave 16 de Julio 1615. On el Prado. Very nice restaurant-cafe for Bolivian standards. Try the personal size pizza. The one with extra cheese, pesto, tomato and caramelized onions is to die for.edit
Ken Chan, Batallon Colorados No.98. Esq.Federico Suazo (200 m on the right side of Batalíon Colorados from the round-about at the lower end of the Prado (the left street if coming from the direction of the bus station)), ☎ +591 2 2442292. Authentic Japanese food in this restaurant run by the Japanese Society in La Paz. Japanese specialties such as ramen, chicken katsu and karaage in addition to the expected sushi. Set meals with miso soup, (Japanese) rice are available.Set meal main around Bs 40~50. edit
La Coca, Rosendo Gutiérrez Nº 482, ☎ + 591 2 2410892. In the Sopocachi district, about a block and a half from Plaza Avaroa, La Coca is an almuerzo style restaurant offering a very good four course menu for the price. Choice of 3 soups and 5 main courses, at least one of each guaranteed to be vegetarian. Quiet, pleasant decor, friendly and competent staff.20Bs. edit
Gustu Restaurant , Calle 10 no. 300 Calacoto, half a block from Av. Costanera. Noma's Claus Meyer venture in South America in partnership with the NGO Ibis and Melting Pot Bolivia created what is not only a restaurant but also an experience. The restaurant works as a school for humble bolivians to learn how to cook and work in the hospitality industry. More than that, the food is focused on seasonal and local produce, so don't be surprised if you never heard of the ingredients used or you catch the word Llama on the menu. The idea whole idea is nice, the prices aren't cheap for bolivians standards but in comparison to a dinner at Noma is well worth the buck.
Naira, Calle Sagarnaga 161. Catering mostly to travelers (and guests of the hotel -- see below), but a good sampling of Bolivian dishes. Expensive.
Eli's New York Deli, on the Prado. Try ordering with a thick New York accent and see what you get. Prices can go sky high.
Yussef (closed down), cnr illampu and Sagarnaga (As you go up Sagarnaga it is on the right inside a building about 10 m before the corner). Lebanese food, with real authentic lebanese owners. Great platters for vegeterians and mea eaters alike. Also real quality Baklava. great hosts there and atmosphere. It is a little more pricy than the usual fare but definitely worth it.edit
Local law prohibits serving alcohol after 4AM. There are a number of speakeasies defying this.
Paladar-Cozinha Brasileira, C. Ferrecio #B-28, San Miguel (On the right side of Alexander Coffee), ☎ +591 2 2774337. Tu-Su 12noon-3:30PM/Tu-Sa 7PM-11:30PM. Traditional Brazilian cuisine. Feijoada (hot bean pot with smoked pork rib, smoked sausages, sun dried meat and bacon), moqueca de Peixe (pirarucu filet [white meat amazonian river fish] slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices). A caipirinha is the perfect cocktail for this meal or you can also have wine or beer if you aren't feeling that adventurous. Variety of grilled meats (not "rodizio" style), chicken and trout. Cozy and owned by a Brazilian and French Canadian couple.US$5-15 with drinks. edit
Alexander The Great, Av. 16 de Julio 1832 and other locations. Many thought the legendary Macedonian slayer had long since died. Not so infact, although he is considerably tamer after a rough encounter with a fiery cholita.
Blueberries, Av. 20 de Octubre 2475. This café serves very delicious coffee, and also has a very appealing breakfast menu. The café is situated at the east end of Plaza Avaroa, where you may also find an "Alexanders Coffee". Free WiFi for custemers.
Cafe Confiteria La Paz, Avenida Camacho & Ayacucho (close to Obelisco). 8AM-midnight. Free WiFi for customersedit
Papaya's Cafe, Calle Jaen and Sucre (Cafe of the Museo Costumbrista), ☎ +591 791 13 593. 9:30AM-midnight. Llama burgers, terrines, pates. Quinoa tabulets and salads, highland cheeses. Specialized in coca sours drinks. Saya home made beer.Bs 20-100. edit
Pepe's Coffee Bar, Jimenez 894. Decent coffee and a nice calm getaway close to the tourist ghetto. Sandwiches are disappointingly small, but tasty. The "Trekker´s Breakfast" is huge and delicious.
Hallwright's Avenida Sanchez Lima #2235 between Rosendo Gutierrez and Guachalla, +591 6803 1510. Open Monday to Saturday from 5 to Midnight. Wine bar that serves share plates of cheese and cured meats. Serves lots of Bolivian wine and all their food is locally produced. Also has some Argentine and Chilean wines, local craft beer and a good selection of spirits. Relaxed atmosphere with good staff (most speak English as well). Nice place to chill. Free wifi. No smoking. Decent happy hour every day 5 to 6:30.
Blue Note Café/Wine Bar [closed down, as of April 2012], Plaza gaston Velasco, Viluyo esq. Linares (1 block from sagarnaga and illampu; at the top of the stairs when you exit Oliver's). Great vibe; it's a fantastic place to chill with friends, have a drink & a bite to eat. The people behind the bar know their stuff (from martinis to wine to local beer), and there's excellent chili, lamb chops and tapas on the menu. Good prices compared with other bars in the area; it's open from the late afternoon onwards.
The English Pub Calle Linares corner of Calle Tarija N |89, + 591 2124302. Northern English owned backpackers bar serving standard English fare at mid-range prices. Under new managment. Fun party atmosphere,and a warm welcome from Eglish speaking staff. Also has travel Has WiFi and TV for most sporting events and a book exchange (very good, but expensive). great happy hour 5pm-8pm everyday. fridays and saturdays amazing partys & surprises. Available for large bookings and tour groups. Great food, the breakfast is nice and good for a hangover. good place to meet with locals practice your Spanish.
Sol Y Luna, address: Corner Calle Murillo 999 and Calle Cochabamba, Tel. +59122115323 Website: Openingshours: open from Monday to Sunday from 09.00 till 01.00 Price range between 3 and 9 USD. Dutch owned & managed traveller's hangout. Good atmosphere, 4 different areas, live music every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, free WiFi, large screen TV's and beamer for important sport games, Pool table. Try coca leaf mojitos, where the mint leaves are replaced for coca leaves!! Have a try of the famous Dutch snack Bitterballen!! (meat croquettes)or if you have trouble choosing, try one of their mixed plates for 2.
Irish, Plaza Avoroa. Food is overpriced but good, and the cocktails are reasonable, though not as good as some from some of the other bars. Mostly frequented by Bolivians and is of course a themed bar.
Traffic, San Jorge. Bar with a good atmosphere and fairly good music. There is a large dance floor and a comfortable bar. Owner Asher has taken 6 steps back from managing the place after a sting operation codenamed 'superhuey' .
Antique Pub, Pichincha 662. Recorded rock music, and all sorts of old things including fob watches, photographs, a kid's tricycle and a six shooter to keep you amused. They serve food too.
Pomp Pomp Salty Man, Loayza and Comerceo. Known for its great clandestine happy sauces. ATM on premises.
Hard Rock Cafe, Calle santa-cruz #399 esq. illampu, ☎ +591 2 211 9318. 10PM-4AM. Open all week long, great parties, all kind of music. The biggest bar in Bolivia serves almost every drink there is. Full of backpackers and locals, great music and atmosphere.edit
¨BackStage¨, La Florida, Calacoto. Trendy karaoke lounge with a great ambience and an amazing variety of songs both in Spanish and English. A good option if you visit the Zona Sur.
Mongo's, Hermanos Manchego 2444. Since 1995 has remained one of the most popular places for travellers with a good mix of locals. It's a lively atmosphere every night of the week at this place.
Forum, (near Plaza Espana). Bolivian hangout and a proper disco venue, the other one is called Soundbar. Very dressed up Bolivians frequent the establishment. Worth a look if you're missing a big club with big pretensions.
La Gitana, Zona Sur, Calle 8 de Calacoto, is a bar/club hangout for upper class youth of La Paz's South Zone. Dress well.
Dry Law, Zona Sur, Cota Cota, is a pretty hip club in La Paz's rich South Zone that's slightly on the right side of pretentious. Good alternative to Mongo's or RamJam if you're sick of bumping into Gringos all the time. Dress well.
Ttkos, Calle Mexico 1553, San Pedro, is a renowned alternative reggae/ska/punk venue. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and well mixed drinks. Ask for the "tutuma".
Be sure to inspect your room before signing the register.
Hostel Maya Calle Sagarnaga 339, ☎ +591 2 231 1970. Quality, inexpensive hostel in La Paz with very friendly, helpful, bilingual staff. The terraces have a fantastic view of the city, and they're located in the best neighborhood near all the bars, museums, restaurants, and great events. Right the next door on the street is mountain bike tour operator Downhill Madness, where you could jump into a ride down the Death Road.
Loki Backpackers Hostel, Calle Loayza 420. ☎ +591 2 211 9024, . Set in a beautifully restored 100 year old hotel, with an amazing bar in the old ball room. Also houses the Oxygen Bar on the 3rd floor with a rooftop terrace and BBQ area. Amenities include real duvets, comfortable beds, hot showers, breakfast, English speaking staff, tour desk, internet and WiFi, International phone service, pool table, TV-room with DVDs, cable, and enough partying to keep you up until 3AM. Dorm beds from Bs 50. Doubles, triples and twin rooms also available.
Arthy´s Guesthouse, Avenida Montes #693. Small family run hostel with friendly and helpful staff. All private rooms (no dorms) with shared bathrooms. Internet access on site through pc's (with a fee) or Wifi (free). Beware they do have a midnight curfew(not a party hostel). Rate goes from B$ 70 to B$ 80 per person/night.
Pirwa Backpackers Hostel La Paz (Pirwa backpackers La Paz), Av Montes #641 (central area of the city), ☎ +51 84 244315 (email@example.com), . checkout: 11:00. 24 hr hot showers, movies, in-house bar, attentive staff, free breakfast, free internet, pick up service, and comfortable beds.From US$5.80/person (44Bs/person). (-16.490987,-68.1393313)edit
Adventure Brew Hostel and Brew Too. Avenida Montes 533. ☎ +591 2 246 1614, . New, bright and clean. Micro-brewery on-site, and a rooftop bar, with BBQs most nights. Just down the road is the annex: The Adventure Brew Too. there, dorm beds are Bs 48-72, single with bath Bs 192. Includes all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, slow internet, WiFi, a range of DVD-films and a small Saya beer. Although their internet booking engine will state they are full, they might have a bed if you call. The location is good for the bus terminal, but a bit off for other things. US$20 per night for a single.
Wild Rover Backpackers Hostel, Calle Comercio 1476,  ☎ +591 2 2 211 6903. Un-officially the highest Irish owned hostel/bar in the world and with a crowd to match, Wild Rover is a new backpackers just 3 blocks from the famous Plaza Murillio in a beautiful old ex presidents house. Facilities include 24 hr reception, travel agency, backpack lockers, 24 hr gas powered hot showers, extra wide beds with specially made winter/summer duvets, fun bar with daily activities, all day food menu with the food you miss from home, wifi and free internet, pool table and TV room. Very popular with British/Irish backpackers. Some rooms are very noisy due to proximity of the bar, ask for a room in the back. Dorms from Bs 40.
El Solario, Calle Murillo 776. Clean and cheap backpacker joint, located one and a half block from Calle Sagarnaga along Murillo. It is a 10-15 min walk from the bus station or a short taxi-ride. Warm water, shared bathrooms with electrical showers, cheap laundry service, free internet and wifi as well as free use of a kitchen. Nice mix of people - especially popular with Japanese and French travellers. Occasionally full but back-up options are available in the same block, albeit not quite as good value. No lockers so valuables must be left with the office. Singles Bs 35, Doubles Bs 60, Triples Bs 90, 4 bed dorm Bs 25, 6 bed dorm Bs 20.
Bacoo Hostel, 693 Alto de la Alianza St.. Big sized party hostel, guests are mostly very young. Dorms around 50 Bs (depending on the size), 2 pivates; 140-160 Bs, but very poor beds and bad shower in the privates (April 2012).
Hotel Nuevo Sol, Calle Linares, 1011 (One block south of Ca. Sagàrnaga), ☎ 2900933. Brand new in 2012. (Feb 2014) Very bright, new, clean but basic hotel. Rooms larger than average with private bath and large windows that actually seal, but only basic furnishings. Cable TV with BBC (75), CNN (74), TV5Monde (105). Very hot shower (mostly, except can be only just warm at peak use time in the morning) but only cold water in sink. No heating -- may be a problem in the winter (but warm enough now in February). Adequate breakfast included. Great location, one block from tourist street Sagàrnaga. One block from large market. Only about four blocks from Plaza San Francisco/Plaza Mayor and the same from Plaza Murillo. Staff very friendly and helpful. 24hr reception. A laundry and a good Chinese restaurant next door. Across the street from 'The English Pub'.From 100 Bob. edit
Hotel la Valle Great location, great prices (double with private bath (no tv), 90 bs) and very friendly staff. Popular with Bolivians. Great place. ☎ +591 22456085, firstname.lastname@example.org
Inkaterra Backpackers Home, across the bus terminal, singles from Bs. 30.
Hostal Illimani Calle Illimani #1817 In Barrio Miraflores, a few blocks from the Stadium, ☎ +591 2 220 2346. Basic and secure accommodations with shared bath and sink in room. Ms. Filomena is the manager who keeps an eye on the place and is always happy to help. Has a courtyard and places to wash and dry clothing. Expect to pay 25 b for a single. Doubles are available. Is not in the normal city central tourist area. If you want to be by the tourist stuff, do not stay here. If you want less gringos around this is a good place.
El Carretero, about 5 blocks north of San Francisco, dorm for 30 Bs. Basic. Gets a lot of "Artisans" staying there.
Hostal Austria, Calle Yanacocha ☎ +591 2 235 1140. Very popular with backpackers. Offering warm water, friendly staff and a central location. Singles Bs35, shared room Bs30.
Hosteria Blanquita, Santa Cruz 242, is a nice place, with a friendly staff, offering doubles for 80 Bs 12 midnight curfew. Be wary of confusing billing calculations and over charging. Use your own calculator to check the totals.
Hotel Continental, top end of Calle Illampu. Doubles with shared bath are 80 Bs. 10% discount with HI-card. Former members of Status Quo tend to use this hotel whilst in town.
Hostal Cactus, Calle Jimenez. Kitchen, laundry service, lousy Nestle instant coffee maker, rooftop terrace, nice quiet street. Very popular with the pseudo-hippie types. Can be very loud outside the rooms near the employees reception area (Friday night fiesta time). 30 Bs for privates (10 Bs for lentil soup).
Hotel Majestic Calle Santa Cruz. Splurge just a little and for 130 bolivianos you get a nice comfy double (Single 100 Bs) with tv (loads of movie channels) and private bathroom with hot shower. All in the heart of the backpacker area. Breakfast is also included, but isn´t great. The Senora in charge is a lovely lady and will take good care of you.
Hostal Lobo, c/Illampu esq Santa Cruz, low prices, friendly staff, a home away from home taste of Tel Aviv.
Hotel Savoy, Calle Chuquisaca 675, very friendly staff, free wifi, basic breakfast (ask for more and youll get more for free), hot showers, clean, doubles from Bs160. Quite street, though stinks a bit. Recommended!
Hotel Milton - Calle Illampu #1126-1130. ☎ +591 22353511, +591 22368003. email: email@example.com. A bit worse for wear, but excellent value for the price. Friendly and honest staff. Singles from 100 Bs which includes a real breakfast, cable TV, room with view, bathroom with solar/gas hot water (not electric), decent furnishings, and wifi, which is rare to find in this price range. They also run a travel agency and bus company for tours.
Tiquina Palace Hotel - Pasaje Tiquina 150. Good central location, nice rooms and very good hot shower. Free wifi. Doubles with 2 beds are of better quality than the ones with one bed. Rooms on the right side (if standing in front of it) have the most windows and are a bit bigger. The higher in the building the less noise from outside. 160 Bs for a double, basic breakfast included (May 2012).
Lhamourai Living, Calle Yungas, Zona Miraflores, . Clean, artsy, and in the center of the City, fit for group of 6 or a family, for when you need a place for a day or for a few months. Prices are about $US35 (a day).
Apartment Collita, Calle 6, Los Pinos, . Gorgeous, spacious and tastefully equipped apartment for 4-6 people in the Zona Sur of La Paz. Prices are between $US140-$175 (per week).
La Posada en La Paz, Calle Hermanos Manchego 2551, ☎ +591 2 243 5204, . Small, friendly and bilingual staff run this posada in the heart of the restaurant and pub district. Between Mongo´s and Traffic, and just steps from Mamprahon's Asian Food. Singles US$20, doubles US$30.
Hotel España, Av. 6 de Agosto 2074, 244-2643. Located in the Sopocachi district close to numerous nice restaurants, the España has a charming garden courtyard as well as a solarium. There's a single net-connected PC in the lobby. Singles US$24, doubles $34.
Hotel Rosario, Av. Illampu 704, ☎ +591 2 245 1658, . Located in the Aymara District close to the Witches Market and many touristic attractions. Has a colonial style building with sunny patios. Free Internet and WiFi. Has a travel office. Beautiful rooms. Friendly and helpful staff. Complimentary tea and mate de coca. Singles US$28-31, doubles US$63 per night. Book ahead as it fills up. Note June 2013 - room prices at the Rosario are significantly higher than those listed above.
Hostal Naira, Calle Sagarnaga 161, ☎ +591 2235 5645, Fax+591 2 231 1214, . In business since 1975, with a good restaurant in the basement and a popular cafe (Coffee Banais) on the ground floor.
In crowded areas be careful for pickpockets and bagslashers. A common trick is that one person spills something on your clothes and, while you or he wipes it off, another person lifts your wallet or slashes your bag. Be vigilant when checking into a hotel or hostel. Keep a hand on all your bags and belongings at all times. Acting as if they work for the hotel, opportunist thieves will create a diversion and snatch the nearest unattended bag.
If you are approached by plain-clothed police officers, don't show any valuables or your passport. Certainly, don't get in a taxi with them as it is a trap. Undercover police are strictly ordered not to hassle tourists. There have been several cases of muggings and things going missing from bags or luggage after "drug searches". Insist on being taken to the police station before giving them access to your things. If you can, call the 110, which is the Bolivian number for emergencies. Take care: an Austrian couple was found murdered in 2006 after following false police into a taxi.
A recent twist in the above scam is the involvement of accomplices where they try to befriend you on a bus and when the 'plain clothes' policeman approaches the accomplice claims that the same thing happened to them and that you should cooperate with them. This is a trap and the same scam as described above.
There have been several cases of violent muggings in taxis. Take only Radio Cabs (they will have the telephone number and their call centre listed above the cab). The taxis, or Gypsy Cabs, have no boarding above the taxi and have taxi written on the side and are are dangerous to take at night, as many of the drivers are paid to drive tourists to specific locations for muggings. Be especially careful if you are at one of the illegal after-hours bars such as Fin Del Mundo or Route 36, as most of the muggings happen in taxis from these locations. Lock the doors and don't allow other people to share the journey with you.
There are more reliable taxi firms to use:
Magnifico Taxis, ☎ +591 2 2410410
La Paz Taxis. ☎ +591 2 2221212
Gold Taxis, ☎ +591 2 2722722.
La Paz is a very safe city, and if you keep your wits about, you there shouldn't be any problems.
Computer hard drives can be damaged by operating them at altitude, and so if you use a laptop computer or anything else containing a hard drive (including ipods and certain other MP3 Players), you are taking a risk. Most hard drives sold today safely work up to 3,000 m/10,000 ft. La Paz exceeds this altitude by one-third. While you may get by without anything bad happening, the hard drive could be destroyed (disc crash) and you will lose your data and installed software (even after returning to sea level). At the very least, you should back up your data before arriving. The high elevation won't subsequently "stress" the hard drive though, assuming nothing else happens during your visit.
Travelers to La Paz often become ill the moment they arrive in the city. Why? La Paz is 11,900 feet above sea level, the highest metropolis in the world. People with ailing hearts or bronchial problems are warned to stay away, and even those in perfect health usually cannot avoid some illness resulting from the altitude.
The altitude of La Paz is well within the zone where altitude sickness could be a problem, especially for those arriving from at or near sea level. (Just spending a day or two at an intermediate elevation may not be enough.) It's is highly recommended that you have adequate travel insurance, familiarize yourself with the symptoms of altitude sickness, and inform your physician to what elevation you will be traveling (up to 4,000 m/13,000 ft. for La Paz, and 6,000 meters/20,000 ft. if you want to climb Huayna Potosi). Taking Ginko Biloba supplements for a couple weeks before a climb in altitude has been known to eliminate altitude sickness. On your first night in La Paz you are likely to find difficulty in breathing and wake up panting for breath. Mate de Coca (Coca Leaf tea) is a popular remedy. Take it easy when walking around town and if you are young and healthy don't be lured into a false sense of security. Marathon runners can get altitude sickness while those far less healthy can have few symptoms.
Despite being only 16 degrees south of the equator, it does occasionally snow a little in the highest parts of La Paz yearly (1-4 times a year), due to being 13,000 feet/4,000 meters above sea level and packing some warm clothing is a must year-round. Snowfall would be much greater were it not for the extreme dryness in the winter, and snow in the summer happens on occasion every few years and is actually not that rare. Frost happens every month in the highest parts as well. In the highest parts La Paz has an "equatorial tundra" climate, in which it does snow, and in the middle a temperate climate where there are frosts often but no snow (except on rare occasions), and in the lowest parts a subtropical climate in which snow is extremely rare and there are very few yearly frosts. It is at this altitude, with year-round mild weather, in which hotels, shopping centers, and residences for the upper class are located, as opposed to the tundra at the top of the city which sometimes experiences snow in the summer.
Public health assistance (Asistencia pública; basic tests, medical advice, prescriptions) can be found at av. Camacho 1519 (near the corner of av. Bueno).
If you have an unlocked smartphone, consider buying a local SIM (make sure to ask for a "4G SIM") with an internet package.
Internet cafés are on each street corner in La Paz. Current standard fare is Bs 2-4/hour. There are four internet cafés around Plaza Mendoza at this price, all with good connection. A lot of internet cafés in calle Comercio too.
If you have a laptop computer you can find WiFi access at several cafes and similar establishments.
Sol Y Luna cafe, Calle Cochabamba.
Oliver's Travel Bar.
Café El Consulado. Fast internet in the café and patio
The Eglish Pub. Fast internet at your service :)
Cafe Torino - Sacabaya 457 . WiFi and has an Internet café as well. Okay café with snacks, they let you sit for hours even only just drinking a coffee and eating a cake.
Tomate Cafe - Ayacucho 376/corner Mercado. Good vegetarian place with very good internet connection. Only locals come here!
There are many laundrettes situated around the city, charging from Bs 6 per kilo wash and dry.
Many barbers can be found on calle Santa Cruz (near calle Figeroa). 15 Bs for beard shaving.
Changing money on the street does not give you a better rate, and some tricks will most likely be tried such as false Alasitas or Banco de la fortuna Notes (toy money). Still, it is convenient on weekends and after hours, -just stay alert.
If you need to Extend your Bolivian visa this is easily done at the Immigration Office, located at Avenida Camacho (between streets Loyaza and Bueno). Bring a photocopy of your passport's photo page, your entry stamp as well as immigration card (the green one). The copy store across the street from the Immigration Office is well versed with the requirements, cost for copies is less than Bs 1. Bring your passport and copies (of the photo page, the stamp page and the immigration green paper) to counter #2 and ask politely for an extension ("más días"). Note that you cannot extend your stay to more than 90 days in total.
A great day hike is Muela del Diablo. Get combis from Prado for Predregal, stay on til the end and ask locals the way to hike up the hill for incredible views and an imposing peak. For a half day come back the way you came or for a long one go down the other way to Valle de la Luna.
If by this point you've already seen a good amount of the city, the museums, the streets, the markets, the clubs, partying at the backpacker hostels, and feel like you need a break from it, you might as well want go out of the city for a full-day activity, more to be clear: adventure activity: the World’s Most Dangerous Road. This world-famous road, starts in the barren heights of the Andes, and descends past glaciers, waterfalls, and incredible views of the valley, deep into the lush Amazon Basin. Incredible adrenaline rush, unlike any other place on earth, a really beautiful scenario.
(Note: If you have your own bike, this is totally doable by yourself at a much lower cost . Otherwise, read Gravity's advertisement below or choose any other agency.)
La Paz has plenty of companies that provide this biking service, but one of the most remarkable companies to go with its Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking.
It’s a full day trip, starting at 7:30,the guides of Gravity pick you up at café Alexander, this one is located on the main street El Prado just a few steps from Plaza del Estudiante.
From the café, it’s around 45 minutes to 1 hour bus ride up to the top: La Cumbre, this is the highest point (you are at 4700 meters above sea level) and by that is one of the coldest, so for this part you’ll want to wear lots of layers of clothing to begin with it.
The guides will introduce themselves and tell you a bit about the day. You´ll get a chance to know the group as well. Weather permitting you’ll have views of mountain peaks, glaciers and the beautiful high altitude landscape.
Your guides will introduce you to your bike: Kona, double suspension with Hayes hydraulic disk brakes, big Marzocchi Fork, and smooth Fox shock, and they will also give you the rest of the equipment you need to use for the trip, helmet, goggles, jacket and pants windproof, gloves, waterproof jacket (if it’s rainy season) and the transit vest.
You’ll get time to practice a bit more on your bike around La Cumbre, the guides will give you a big safety speech on how to ride safely and useful riding techniques. The guides all fully trained bike mechanics so they will help you out if you have any problems with your bike or anything you may wonder during the trip.
The first 22 km are on the asphalt road, this way it will give you time to get used to the bike before you get to the World’s Most Dangerous Road. There will be a guide in the front and a guide in the back of the group at all times, and behind everyone will be the support vehicle, where you can store your things, and that also has all of the tools, rescue and first aid equipment on it.
The guides ride along with you, so if you have any questions or concerns as you are going, then you can ask at one of the many stops along the way. At each of the stops, the guides will tell you what´s coming up in the next section and give you any coaching or riding tips they think you may need.
At the end of the asphalt section, there is a police checkpoint where the municipality of Coroico charges you a 25bs tourist road tax that everyone who goes through there needs to pay. So, you´ll need to bring cash for that. After the police checkpoint there is a path of 8km uphill that you can pass through in the bike or in the support vehicle. After the uphill part is the start of the World’s Most Dangerous Road, which is the last 44 km, on a dirt and gravel road, along the way you´ll dip into the cloud forest, go under some waterfalls and through a couple of rivers into the jungle.
The first couple of sections are shorter, so the guides can keep a close watch on everyone and make sure all are doing well. There isn't too much traffic on this road, as there is now a new, paved road, which most vehicles take. The entire time on bike is around 4-5 hours, which includes around 15 stops. Two of these are for snacks and the rest are for the group to get together – as there are two guides with each group, one in front and one in back, you can go whatever speed you feel comfortable- and the guide will give you any information/advice you need about the next part of the road – whether it’s narrow, wide, sharp corners, etc… Also, the bus is behind you all day, so if you ever want to get in it, you can, or if you want to take off layers/change clothes during the stops, you can, as it’s quite cold at the top, and normally warm –shorts and t-shirt weather- at the bottom.
One of the guides has a camera and will take over 100 photos and 6 videos of the trip and the group.
This trip has a very nice ending at La Senda Verde, a really cool animal refuge, where there are lots of different kinds of monkeys, birds, turtles, coatis, a bear, and a snake. The animals have been rescued from the illegal pet trade and put back in to their natural environment and only Gravity supports the refuge. The animals are used to people and you do get the chance to play with the monkeys. When you arrive you will get a free t-shirt of Gravity and a glass of beer for finishing the ride. La Senda Verde also has hot showers and they provide you with towels, soap and shampoo so don’t forget to take a complete change of clothing including shoes for after the ride. Then there is a buffet of salads and homemade organic pastas, as much as you want to eat. The volunteers will give you a tour of the extensive grounds and information on the various animals, if you would like as well. Normally they spend about 1.5-2 hours at LSV where you can also use the swimming pool if you like.
Normally, weather permitting, Gravity returns to La Paz via the WMDR, so you can enjoy the views and the guides will tell you all the scary stories you didn´t want to hear on the way down, on the way back up, but sometimes in rainy season, they return by the new road. Normally you’re back in La Paz between 7:30-9:30.
For a safer and more relaxed trip to Yungas, you may want to take the South Yungas Road that leads to Chulumani by bus. Around 36 km up the South Yungas Road you will find a surprise: a European castle, built in the 1930s, emerges in the middle of the coca and flower growing region. It´s a treat because the people who run the castle/hotel have built many narrow roads for hiking through mountains and mountain cascades. Much calmer and relaxing than Coroico. The hotel is called the Hotel y Parque Ecologico el Castillo del Loro.
You can head to Quime for some good trekking, Uyuni for the world's largest salt flats or Rurrenabaque for pampas and Madidi national park.
Looks like La Paz has a lot of things to go on… but there are even more!
Another activity to do, if you have some time to kill in the afternoon, or feel like exploring the city a bit, it’s Urban Rush.
17 stories, 50 meters or 163 feet, sounds a bit too much? Maybe, but for those adrenaline adventurers looking for new stories to tell at home, this is just the next step.
Rappel/abseil down the most central building with a straight view of the center of La Paz.
With barely 8 months functioning this brand new activity gives you a whole different perspective of things to do in La Paz, and a very “literately” different type of view from one of the highest cities of Bolivia.
Before get this adventure going, the guides at Urban Rush give you the proper training in two different areas, one of them is a 2 meter wall inside the building so you can practice runs on, that way you’ll feel more comfortable and ready to go.
After your practice is done, it’s time to jump out the window .Take your time to catch a bit of courage, take a deep breath and slowly put one feet next to the other on the edge of the window, remember all the training and the tips the guides told you and you’ll have nothing to be worried about, all the equipment and the structure is 100% safe and exceeds all international security standards.
The guides control the descent with a 2 brake rope system, and they can stop you at any time during your descent if it is needed. So you can enjoy the activity as it's happening.
Once you reach the 6th floor you can try the free fall, want you have to do is spread your arms and jump against the wall, by the time you are on the air, the guide will be letting to rope loose and you’ll be falling down very fast, like a bungee jump; before you get to the platform falling down the guide will pull the rope again to break you.
Urban Rush is open every day of the week from 1pm – 5pm.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!