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La Paz Overview

La Paz serves as Bolivia’s administrative capital, a packed city set high in the Andes at 4058 meters (13,313 ft) above sea level. It has steep hills, big business, an even bigger backpacker scene, indigenous markets, universities, hotels, restaurants and tour offices galore. What’s more, La Paz is THE place set up base camp and head north, south, east and west for even more action. While the altitude can be jarring at first, La Paz’s spectacular mountain scenery and incredible nightlife makes it all worthwhile.


As metropolitan as Bolivia gets, which is not very, you can bus, taxi, bike or walk throughout the crowded city. No itinerary is necessary for this busy tourist hotspot, as a wander around the central area (known as the Prado) will bring you upon markets (most notably are Mercado de las Brujas and Mercado Negro), museums (Try the Museums of Coca, Contemporary Art, or San Francisco) and all other favorites for both locals and tourists alike. Other Paceña treats include biking the World’s Most Dangerous Road, visiting Valle de la Luna, chewing coca leaves and spending late nights at some of the bumping discotecas.


You can venture south within the city to see the wealthier district, or head north to El Alto—La Paz’s area of shantytowns and home to the poorest of the city. Head even further south to get to Oruro and beyond, or all the way north to Lake Titicaca, the northern Yungas or Rurrenabaque. Buses leave daily to all destinations; if you’re traveling within the country this is the place from which to do so.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to La Paz: Zona Sur and The Center and El Prado .

28 Dec 2009

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