Sarah Ketchum of Ketchusifyoucan is sharing her native’s information to La Paz, Bolivia!
La Paz, Bolivia is a metropolis that can take your breath away—each actually and figuratively! Sitting at 13,00Zero ft. (about 4,00Zero m) above sea stage, La Paz is a metropolis not like every other.
This metropolis tucked between towering Andean peaks is the place that I used to be fortunate to name house for 2 years, and I completely fell in love with it. After I first accepted the instructing job that took me to La Paz, I wasn’t positive what to anticipate.
I actually hadn’t heard very a lot about Bolivia, and it wasn’t on the prime of my journey want record. I shortly realized that it ought to have been!
Outside adventures, mountain views, genuine tradition, and scrumptious meals await the traveler who ventures to this unimaginable Bolivian metropolis in South America.
Right here’s an area’s information to exploring La Paz, Bolivia!
When to Go to
Bolivia has two foremost seasons: wet and dry.
Most individuals wish to go to through the dry season, which falls between Might and October. Keep in mind, since Bolivia is within the Southern Hemisphere, these are their winter months, so though you usually tend to keep dry, you is likely to be chilly.
Through the coldest months of June and July, temperatures can drop beneath freezing within the metropolis. If you wish to go to through the hotter months, common temperatures in La Paz are nonetheless fairly delicate — you received’t see many days over 70°F (21°C).
In the event you go to between the months of November and April, make sure you pack a rain jacket and water resistant sneakers as rainstorms can blow in fairly shortly and you could possibly end up in a downpour.
For the very best of each worlds, attempt to plan your go to someday within the “in-between” seasons; September or October, April or Might.
What to See and Do
Wandering the streets of downtown La Paz there’s a lot to see! From the elaborately dressed cholitas, to glimpses of snow-capped Mount Illimani overlooking the town, La Paz is a feast for the senses.
San Francisco Basilica
Holding each historic and spiritual significance, the facade is adorned with each Catholic parts and Bolivian natural world, symbolizing the mix of Outdated and New World traditions that make up Bolivian tradition.
To the left of the church, you’ll be able to stroll up and down Calle Sagarnaga the place you’ll discover loads of eating places, tour operators, and outlets promoting virtually something you could possibly wish to be comprised of alpaca wool or brightly coloured aguayo material.
The San Francisco Basilica is considered one of La Paz’s most iconic landmarks.
The Finest-Preserved Colonial-Period Road
Proceed your wandering to Calle Jaén, the best-preserved colonial-era road within the metropolis, to go to a number of museums and artwork galleries. Be sure you take a look at the work of Mamani Mamani, considered one of Bolivia’s most well-known artists, and the Museo de Metales Preciosos which homes many Pre-Colombian, and Pre-Incan, metalworks.
Head to Plaza Murillo to get a take a look at the federal government buildings housed in La Paz, together with the La Paz Cathedral, Palacio Quemado (residence of Bolivia’s president), and Legislative Palace with its backward turning clock.
Valle de la Luna
For the Journey Seekers
For adventurous varieties, El Camino de la Muerte, or the Loss of life Highway, has acquired to be on the highest of your record for must-do actions whereas in La Paz. Often known as the “World’s Most Harmful Highway,” this cliff-hugging freeway will take your breath away!
Many firms, together with Gravity, provide mountain biking excursions, taking you from mountainous La Paz down the Loss of life Highway to the jungle city of Coroico.
In the event you’re searching for a thrill, however not one for biking, take a look at the Urban Rush Experience and rappel down a 17-story constructing proper within the coronary heart of the town! You may even put on a ridiculous costume whilst you do it so you’ll be able to giggle your nerves away.
Up for a hike? Head to the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) within the Mallasa neighborhood for a comparatively quick, simple stroll among the many unusual spire-studded panorama.
For Sports activities Followers
In the event you’re a sports activities fan, catch a soccer recreation on the Hernando Siles Stadium. The Bolivian nationwide staff performs there, as do a number of native golf equipment. The El Clasico matches between two of the preferred native groups draw huge, excessive vitality crowds.
In the event you’re on the town throughout a match, you’ll make sure you hear the roar of spectators even when you don’t seize a seat for your self! Tickets are simple to acquire on the final minute from hawkers exterior the stadium, and normally don’t price greater than 140 BOB ($20 USD).
The place to Keep
There are a selection of choices in your keep in La Paz, from fancy lodges to budget-friendly hostels.
The Zona Sur
The Zona Sur (Southern Zone) is usually thought of to be the most secure space of the town, and it’s also a spot the place you’ll find a number of luxurious lodges. This space of the town additionally sits on the lowest altitude, so it may be a superb place to remain in case you are nonetheless adjusting.
The Casa Grande — the resort is beautiful, and you’ll usually discover rooms for below $150 USD. Even when you’re not staying at Casa Grande, it’s best to undoubtedly take a look at their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. The Casa Bar on the highest flooring is a enjoyable, stylish place to seize a drink.
Atix Hotel — one other extra luxurious choice within the Zona Sur, and it’s house to the Ona restaurant, a superb dinner spot. The cooks delight themselves on creating distinctive dishes that showcase conventional Bolivian delicacies in new and thrilling methods.
One other common neighborhood located between the Zona Sur and metropolis middle is Sopocachi. House to many fashionable eating places, Sopocachi is a superb place to name “house” throughout your keep in La Paz.
The Stannum Boutique Hotel — situated in Sopocachi, it is a fashionable spot that provides spa companies that can assist you loosen up after a day of exploring the town.
Coronary heart of the Metropolis
If you wish to keep within the coronary heart of the town, near most of the foremost vacationer points of interest and tour firm workplaces, there are many hostels close to the Plaza San Francisco and Calle Sagarnaga.
The Adventure Brew Hostel — fairly common with younger vacationers searching for cheaper lodgings. It gives each dormitory-style or personal room choices.
Outdoors the Metropolis
In the event you choose to spend your days exploring, however your evenings away from the hustle and bustle of a giant metropolis, Colibri Camping is likely to be the right place for you. This eco-lodge is a extra rustic, budget-friendly choice.
It’s separated sufficient from the town so that you can take pleasure in nature and loosen up, however shut sufficient so that you can simply see and do all you want to whereas visiting La Paz.
The place and What to Eat
One Bolivian snack you must-try throughout your go to is a salteña. Like a chicken-pot-pie-to-go, salteñas are a scrumptious method to fulfill your starvation with out lacking a beat. Out there in pollo (rooster), carne (beef), or vegetarian varieties, your journey to La Paz could be missing with out tasting a salteña.
There are many salteñerias to select from, however probably the most common is Paceña la Salteña, which has a number of areas all through the town.
One other snack you must-try throughout your time in Bolivia is a cuñape. These tacky rolls are completely addicting! (They usually’re made with yucca flour, so that they’re gluten-free!) My favourite locations to seize cuñapes had been Café Epico within the Calacoto neighborhood and Los Qñapes in San Miguel.
In the event you go to Los Qñapes, make sure you pair your tacky delights with their superb scorching chocolate!
For a cup of espresso, you’ll be able to’t beat Café Typica. This cute espresso store was my go-to once I wanted a quiet, cheerful place to grade papers. I used to be thrilled to see that it was named because the number one coffee shop in South America final yr!
With two areas in La Paz, it’s best to undoubtedly cease in and seize a snack at Typica.
In the event you contemplate your self a foodie, you need to plan a go to to Gustu. This gourmand restaurant was included on the record of Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurants in 2017, and for good cause.
One of the best ways to expertise all of the flavors and creations that Gustu’s cooks have to supply is to order considered one of their rotating tasting menus. Add on the drink pairings, and also you’re in for a culinary expertise not like every other! The most effective half is, you’ll be able to take pleasure in a meal of this caliber for below $130 USD.
The best way to Get Round
La Paz will be fairly an awesome metropolis for foreigners with all its steep, winding streets. Fortunately, there are many choices for public transportation that may get you the place you could go all through the town.
Most types of public transportation in La Paz are secure for vacationers to make use of, even in case you are touring alone, on account of the truth that you can be surrounded by numerous different commuters.
Concentrate on your environment so your pocket doesn’t get picked, however don’t be overly fearful. Embrace the Paceño public transportation with the following tips!
One of many first stuff you’ll probably discover while you arrive in La Paz are the brightly coloured cable automobiles crisscrossing the sky. These teleféricos not solely present environment friendly
public transportation, but additionally a enjoyable manner for guests to see the town in its entirety.
Tickets will be bought at any teleférico station, and the route maps are very simple to grasp.
A one-way journey on one line solely prices Three BOB (lower than $0.50 USD), and if you wish to trip all of the strains, it can save you money and time by buying a chargeable teleférico card.
In the event you’re susceptible to getting automotive sick, the teleférico is a significantly better choice for getting round to keep away from the stop-and-go visitors and hairpin curves that characterize La Paz’s streets. Even when you can deal with a harrowing automotive trip, I nonetheless advocate driving the teleférico at the least as soon as throughout your time in La Paz as there actually isn’t any higher method to get a chook’s eye view of the entire metropolis.
One other nice choice for getting round in La Paz is to make use of the Puma Katari buses. These buses price 2 BOB per trip (lower than $0.30 USD) and run alongside set routes with set bus stops.
Pumas are an important choice for affordable transportation, they usually will let you simply plan out your route. The buses even provide free WiFi on board so you should use a maps app in your telephone to make sure you hop on and off on the proper stops.
Micros, Minis, and Trufis
In order for you a extra native expertise, hop on one of many micros (multi-colored faculty buses), minis (15 passenger minivans), or trufis (shared taxis).
These numerous types of public transportation run alongside routes specified by the indicators within the home windows. As such, you’ll undoubtedly have to know the neighborhood you’re heading to in order that which car to flag down.
Somewhat than stopping at designated areas, these micros, minis, and trufis will be flagged down anyplace to hop on.
Merely wait by the aspect of the highway and flag down the one going to the neighborhood you’re headed towards. Equally, you simply want to make use of a phrase like “Aqui, por favor!” (Right here, please.) or “En la esquina, por favor.” (On the nook, please.) to let the motive force know that you just wish to get out.
Venturing by the town in considered one of these choices will be an journey in and of itself!
I undoubtedly advocate utilizing a map app in your telephone in case you are unfamiliar with La Paz with the intention to higher know which autos to flag down and the place to inform the motive force you wish to get off.
Micros are the most cost effective type of public transportation in La Paz, costing just one BOB ($0.15 USD) per trip. Minis price 1-2 BOB relying on the gap you journey (for instance, crossing from the Zona Sur neighborhoods to El Centro, or the town middle neighborhoods, prices extra). Trufis price 2-Three BOB, once more, relying on the gap you journey. Most individuals pay as they exit the car.
The most costly type of public transportation is utilizing a taxi. After all “costliest” nonetheless usually means lower than 20 BOB (lower than $3.00 USD) relying on the gap. From the Zona Sur all the best way as much as the airport in El Alto, a good price for a taxi is 90 BOB (lower than $14.00 USD), and most rides that you just take will likely be far shorter than that.
Radio taxis are official taxis, which means the drivers work for a taxi firm and have radio contact with a dispatcher, making them a comparatively secure choice to make use of.
In La Paz, you’re positive to see many automobiles driving round with no different markings in addition to a sticker that claims “Taxi” within the entrance window. These sticker taxis are usually not affiliated with any official firm however are merely people utilizing their private autos to make some cash.
Many of those sticker taxi drivers are sincere, hard-working individuals who will get you the place you could go and not using a downside, and normally for a less expensive price than a radio taxi.
There are, nonetheless, some sticker taxi drivers which are related to extra nefarious actions, comparable to kidnappings or worse. Since these taxis don’t work for a corporation and due to this fact are usually not in radio contact with a dispatcher, there isn’t any accountability for the passenger.
Please, particularly in case you are touring alone, don’t threat a sticker taxi to avoid wasting just a few cents.
Coping with the Altitude
One factor it’s possible you’ll be fearful about when planning your journey to one of many world’s highest cities is altitude illness.
The primary factor you are able to do to fight altitude illness is to drink tons of water! Staying hydrated is essential. Even for somebody who has lived in La Paz for a very long time, complications and different signs of delicate altitude illness can sneak up on you when you’re dehydrated.
Most locals will guarantee you that consuming a heat cup of coca tea can even assist with the altitude. On the flip aspect of that, when you’re scuffling with the altitude, keep away from alcohol. You is likely to be stunned how low your tolerance is that this excessive above sea stage!
Additionally, when planning your journey to La Paz, don’t schedule any huge plans for the primary day or two of your go to, simply in case you could spend a while adjusting and resting in or close to your resort room.
For me, normally, a pleasant lengthy nap after I arrived at my condominium from the airport was all I wanted to be able to hit the bottom operating the following morning!
If La Paz, Bolivia wasn’t in your radar earlier than, I hope you’ve been satisfied that it ought to be!
There’s no place on earth prefer it, and I do know that the individuals, tradition, meals, and rambunctious nature of this metropolis within the sky will endear it to you because it did to me.