3 days in La Paz: The quick guide
La Paz reminds me of a very old tree. Its leaves change at every season, new ones come and grow with the eagerness of youth. But its centenary roots remain unchanged and constant despite the time.
Bolivias capital collects all the uniqueness and beauty of its country in a dynamic, loud and colourful environment. Where centenary traditions live next to 21st-century evolutions.
Contrast is what makes this city so appealing. You will find cholitas selling every type of fruit and vegetable in open-air markets right next to high-end cafes and restaurant. Comically old buses roar up and down cobblestone streets filled with cocktail bars. La Paz is the symbol of a Bolivia that is busy taking its places in the 21st century while holding on to its wonderfully unique traditions.
You will hear a great deal about La Paz' bad reputation, but let talk be talk and visit with an open heart. You will be sweetly charmed by its irreverence.
Where to sleep in La Paz
Splash out at Atix Hotel
The recently opened Atix Hotel has already entered the Conde Nast Traveller Hot List for 2017 and it’s probably the best-designed hotel in the city. Five-star comfort meets incredibly modern design. A pool, bar and a best-in-class restaurant will make you never want to leave the Atix!
Take it easy at 3600 Hostel
An old mansion transformed into a quiet, beautifully designed hostel. Only 3 rooms host a maximum of 15 guests in a spacious hostel with wooden floors and lovely end of century decor. The cherry on top is an inside courtyard where breakfast is served in the morning and guests can relax on comfortable sofas.
Where to eat in La Paz
Cheap Lunch at Mercado Lanza
An absolute must try experience is eating in one of the 4x2 meter restaurants in Mercado Lanza amongst the locals. This massive food market rises up on seven floors which are neatly organized by the types of food. You can find booths that only serve fruit salads and juices, others sell bread and sweets and then there is a full section dedicated to local ‘almuerzo’ (lunch). Try the plato paceno, a Bolivian staple.
Lunch at Cafe del Mundo
This lovely cafe built on three floors serves incredible dishes from all over the world. You can have acai bowls or delicious fresh salads, and some of the best coffee in town. Opened by a Swedish girl who fell in love with La Paz and married a Bolivian man, Cafe del Mundo is the perfect place for travellers to hang out and eat something else apart from Bolivian food.
Cosy dinner at Magic K
A vegetarian restaurant that also doubles as a hippie music venue that blew us away for the deliciousness of the food. We recommend taking the tasting menu, in order to try a bit of everything. The pizzas and salads are also a must try.
Fine dining at Ali Pacha
If you are feeling like treating yourself to a really special dinner, head to Ali Pacha. A plant-based modern fine dining restaurant that serves locally sourced produce in a 3, 5 or 7-course set menu. We chose the 7 courses and enjoyed every single dish. One of the two talented young chefs explained each course with passion and dedication. The restaurants itself is a beautifully decorated space, making for a wonderful dinner.
Where to have
a drink in La Paz
One of the quirkiest, most curated bars we’ve ever seen. The interior design is a mix between Mad Max and an airplanes hanger, with engines hanging from the roof and a fireplaces in the middle of room. Nothing is out of character and the cocktails are great.
Top 5 things to do in La Paz
Ride the cable cars called Teleferico to get some of the best views of the city. There are 5 lines which cover most of the city and, besides being a brilliant way to cut traffic, they are really fun to ride. The highest one is El Alto, reaching 4150 mt.
Visit Mercado La Bruja, the Witches Market. Here you will experience some Bolivian esoterism. This market covers several streets and between the usual stalls selling colourful textiles and llamas key chains, you will find little shops selling all types of potions, teas and preparations to be used for esoterical purposes.
Visit road Calle Jaén for a cultural day. This cute, colourful colonial road hosts four of the best museums in La Paz: Museo de Metales Preciosos, Museo del Litoral, Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas and Casa de Murillo. All of them worth a visit to get a look into Bolivian history and traditions.
For an immersion into local life, stroll through the local market at the exit of El Alto on the Teleferico. Car engine parts are sold next to fried fish, clothes next to beauty products, all casually displayed on the street.
Visit La Paz Cathedral Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady on the corner of the bustling Plaza Murillo. Constructed in 1692 but only opened in 1925, the neo-classical Cathedral is an immense structure, with a high dome, thick columns, solid walls and soaring ceilings.