Guide to

La Paz

La Paz is well-known for its unusual topography, steep streets and high altitude. At nearly 4,000 meters, Bolivian city—which is the administrative center, but not the capital—is not for those in a rush. Take it slow, don’t be demoralized if locals march past you as you catch your breath on the uphills. In moving slowly through this metropolis of nearly 3 million people (including the areas of El Alto and Viacha). you’ll have more time to savor every moment.

Mi Teleférico

La Paz doesn’t have the right geography or topography for a subway system, but never fear, speedy transportation is at hand with the building of the cable car system called Mi Teleférico. The system began functioning in 2014, and is the first system in the world of independent cable cars (not linked to a light rail or metro), and also the most extensive. It will whip you up to El Alto in just a few minutes, or around the city, avoiding the crowded streets and the traffic of La Paz, which can frustrate even the most intrepid traveler.

Witches’ market

The Mercado de Las Brujas, or Witches’ Market is an open-air market on Cerro Cumbre in La Paz. Here people sell medicinal plants, dried animal products including frogs and llama fetuses, many of which are used in traditional medicine or lifestyle, these latter often being buried before foundation is poured for a new house, as an offering to the Pachamama, or Mother Earth. Items made of stone, wool and straw probably make a better, more TSA and customs-friendly souvenir.


It would be impossible to spend much time in La Paz without noticing the vast, three-pointed mountain of Illimani that makes up part of the backdrop of the city. It is the second highest peak in Bolivia and tops out at over 6,000 meters. Illimani speaks to the evolving nature of the planet, and is a towering visual testament to the movement of the earth’s moving tectonic plates.


An easy day trip from La Paz is to Tiwanaku, a Pre-Columbian archaeological site dating from about 110 AD, and which had a peak population of as many as 20,000 people in approximately 800 AD. It was a society with a complex political structure, and advanced building techniques both with stone and adobe. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Tiwanaku’s main attractions are the Akapana Pyramid and a temple that is partially underground which has depictions of human heads carved into it. There is also a large open temple and an arch called the Sun Gate.


Historically Bolivian cuisine has been largely overlooked, but the opening of the restaurant Gustu in 2012 changed all that. Gustu is the brainchild of Danish chef Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma. Gustu continue to lead the pack, working exclusively with native Bolivian products, which, given the country’s biodiversity, provides a nearly endless stream of surprises in the popular tasting menus available here.

When to Go

May – October: dry and mild

How to Get Here

How to arrive: LA: via Miami & Lima, NY: via Bogota, MIA: via Lima, London: variety

Flight Times: LA: 14hr, NY: 12hr, MIA: 9hr, London: 19hr

Good to know

Language: Spanish Currency: Boliviano Visas/fees:

What to do in La Paz

Bandurrias Island from the Air

San Francisco Cathedral

visit the Whitches Market >>



San Francisco Cathedral

Thermal Spa Geometrica


take the Cable Car around the city

Mapuches In Araucana Region

Day trip to Tiwanaku

Connect to Mapuche Culture


Tips from our Team

  • temperatures will change by altitude and time of day

Ready to go? Here’s what to pack

normal adeventure-wear, no need for very formal clothing, walking shoes, layer

Where to stay: Overnight Recommendations

Hotel AWA on the shores of Lake Llanquehue

Suites Camino Real

The vibe: modern luxury

The location: at the edge of Lago (Lake) Llanquihue

Good for: Adventure seekers who like to end the day relaxing with a view

Dusk at Hotel Antumalal

Atix Hotel

The vibe: mid-century glam in a relaxed lakeside setting

The location: perched above Lago (Lake) Villarica, at the foot of Volcán Villarica

Good for: Architecture and design-lovers

Hotel Casa Panguipulli Lakes District Chile

La Casona Hotel Boutique

The vibe: Private and quiet boutique hotel

The location: Perched above the shores of Lago (Lake) Panguipulli

Good for: Couples or small groups looking for an intimate setting