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Off the Beaten Track In and Around La Paz



Most known for its extreme altitude, ladies with bowler hats, the coca museum, and witches market, La Paz also has many lesser known treasures to share. Depending on what tickles your fancy, there are dance and dinner fests (known as peñas), treks on ancient Incan roads, museums squeezed behind colonial side streets, textile exhibits and secret shopping finds, as well as a terrific children’s museum whose views of the city alone are worth the trip.



Located on former fair grounds, Kusillo is not just for kids. Associated with the Kipus Foundation’s interactive children’s health and culture programs, this place has plenty to keep parents and progeny alike busy. For a striking view of the city, hop on the outdoor elevator (known as the funicular) or head to the playground on the upper level. If sweeping views and heights aren’t your style, try something with a little artistic flair: kids can try their hand at local crafts and everyone can spend some time checking out the crafts from La Paz and around the country.



Calle Jaén, located very close to La Paz’s major plaza and cathedral, harbors great views of the city’s remaining Spanish colonial buildings, as well four museums. The Precious Metals museum, which exhibits Inca and Tiwanaka work, is a sure win, as is the Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia. The latter displays an array of charangas, horns, drums and other music-making devices from the past and present. Get in touch with your musical side, as you bang and pluck your way around exhibits of play-it-yourself drums, harps, and pianos. A great chance to fill the colonial courtyard with your own version of musical genius.



Like the city itself, the clothing donned in La Paz is a refreshing blend of traditional and modern. You can learn more about Inca, Aymaran and other textiles at the Museo Nacional de EtnografĂ­a y Folklore or the Textiles museum. COMART on Illampu features a range of wearable works downstairs and a display from the recently revived weaving district of Tarabuco upstairs. Millma, which exports to exclusive boutiques in the U.S., features beautiful contemporary alpaca sweaters and other garments at significantly lower prices than you will find back home.



If you’re in the mood to get the old heart pumping, go for a trek on the area’s Inca Roads; day treks of all kinds abound around La Paz. Be sure to exercise some caution, though, as routes change every wet season. The two main Inca Roads—the Choro and Takesi—have yet to change, however. You can day hike or hire a guide and walk the entire road in a couple of days.


If you’re a little green from the altitude, but want to get out for some air, try Pongo, located just 15 minutes past La Cumbre, or Summit, on the world’s most dangerous highway. You can take a turn fishing for trout, or buy some at one of the stands (we recommend number 17 and 23). Or you can head to the Valle de La Luna for a lookout over really funky sand and rock formations.

Did you like this article? Then you'll like these: Tiwanaku, Madidi National Park, Witches' Market, Samaipata, The Peoples of Lake Titicaca, Cal Orko, La Paz, Coroico, Tarabuco and Tupiza.

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