In the shadow of the immense triple snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani and at altitudes reaching 4,000m, Bolivia’s cultural capital, La Paz has earned itself the moniker of the ‘Tibet of the Americas’ and life at these lofty heights is admirable if not spectacular.
With two-thirds of Bolivia’s population of Aymaran or Quechuan indigenous descent, La Paz is home to many of these colourful and determined people. Watch local Bowler-hatted Aymaran women trailed by tightly woven black plaits, selling artisanal trinkets or looking after their children whose cheeks prickle pink with the cold, high winds. You can also catch one of the vibrant and raucous street parades and carnivals taking place throughout the year or visit the equally lively daily markets, in particular the extraordinary Witches Market.
The city’s indigenous, colonial, and modern influences might be as jumbled together as the electrical lines between the houses, yet a majestic Hispanic church and a modern high-rise bookending a street illustrates how it all sits captivatingly and stoically side by side.
We offer a range of La Paz’ best hotels, where you can take time out to adjust to the altitudes, explore the city or simply relax in high comfort. To help you get the most from this enigmatic city we have great local guides available to show you around.
The Sajama Volcano and National Park is within easy distance of La Paz and with Lake Titicaca only 2 hours away this city makes for a great destination from which to explore some of Bolivia’s best known natural spectacles and vibrant culture of the high plains.
La Paz probably has the most spectacular setting of any South American city. Vibrant street markets, colonial churches and modern tower blocks are all enclosed in a valley, high up in the Andes with Mount Illimani looking over. The altitude takes a little getting used to but it is totally worth it to experience life in the city that touches the sky.
What to do
- San Francisco Cathedral
- The Witches Market
- Shopping for Alpaca rugs and silverware along Plaza de los Heroes
- Museums on the winding, picturesque Jaen Street
- 'The Burnt Palace': Bolivia'??s Presidential Palace
- The city's street parades and carnivals
When to go
La Paz and Baja is a year round destination, with more chance for rain during the months of July to October (but this is usually not that much). December to March ranges with temperatures at 25°c-27°c (77°f-80°f), and from April to November these can climb to 30°c-34°c (86°f-93°f).