19 Best Things To Do In La Paz, Bolivia - Updated 2024

| 10 min read

Welcome to the highest capital city on Earth! La Paz sits 3500m (11,500ft) above sea level on the famous Altiplano and is set amid some spectacular Andean landscapes. The huge edifice of Mt Illiami - some 6438m tall (21,122ft) - looms not far from the city streets. For hundreds of years, it has been a key administrative centre, a fact reflected in the centuries-old colonial buildings. Landmarks include the stunning buildings around Plaza Murillo, the 18th-century San Francisco Church, natural wonders like Moon Valley, and cultural treasures like the Witches’ Market, which has for centuries dealt in traditional potions. There is so much to see and do during any visit to La Paz that it can be difficult to decide where to begin. Whether you seek cultural, landscape, or architectural delights, read on for some of the best things to do in La Paz, Bolivia.

1. Enjoy a full-day tour of the Tiwanaku archaeological site (from USD 80.0)

Fans of history will find it hard to resist a visit to the pre-Incan remains of Tiwanaku. This UNESCO world heritage site, which is one of Bolivia’s most important archaeological sites, is so impressive that the later Incan civilisation revered it as the site of creation by the god Viracocha. It is easy to see what so impressed them: the site is home to the Akapana pyramid, famous Gate of the Sun, numerous temples, monoliths and mysterious and evocative face carvings. This 8-hour tour picks up guests in La Paz before spending time exploring the ruins.

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La Paz to Tiwanaku Archaeological Site Full-Day Guided Tour

Duration: 8 hours

7 reviews

2. Explore the Inca Road on a trip to Cotapata National Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Further visual spectacles await travellers who make a beeline for the beautiful Cotapata National Park. Located roughly 50km (31 miles) outside La Paz, the 600 sq km (232 sq miles) park features a range of landscapes, including rugged mountains, glacial areas, and cloud forests. It is also home to the famous Inca Road, Choro (or Chucura), which pre-dates the discovery of the Americas by Columbus, and winds its way through the landscape towards the Huaranilla river. Fans of wildlife will find more than 200 different species of animals, and a range of flora in the humid cloud forest.

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3. Pick up some unique bargains at Mercado Negro

Mercado Negro, La Paz, Bolivia
Source: Photo by user User: Shoestring... used under CC BY-SA 1.0

Another popular destination for those seeking an authentic market-going experience, Black Market, or Mercado Negro, is full of stalls spread out over several blocks of the city. From local clothing and home goods to modern electrical equipment, you can find a unique memento of your La Paz adventure here. What bargains will you pick up when you wander around these eclectic stalls? Tourists are advised to be on the lookout for possible pickpockets, however, so make sure to take precautions to protect your valuables during your exploration.

Mercado Negro

Address: Zona 9, Mariano Graneros, La Paz, Bolivia

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4. See colonial buildings at the oldest street in the city, Calle Jaen (from USD 5.0)

La Paz’s oldest street, the beautiful Calle Jaen, is the best-preserved among the city’s colonial streets, making it an inviting target for photographers. It boasts no fewer than four small museums, which offer a fascinating glimpse into the past: Casa de Murillo, or House of Murillo, the home of 19th-century La Paz revolutionary leader Pedro Domingo Murillo, Museo de Metales Preciosos, or Museum of Precious Metals, Museo Costumbrista, and Museo del Litoral Boliviano, which remembers the devastating 1884 war with Chile. Those who take this street tour will end their journey at Calle Jaen, after taking in San Pedro Square, Witches’ Market, Plaza Murillo, and the culinary delights of the Rodriguez food market.

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La Paz City Walking Tour Including Historical Streets

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

349 reviews

5. Take in the sights of Laz Paz's central square, Plaza Murillo (from USD 10.0)

Plaza Murillo is the city’s central square, and a popular spot to stroll and admire the charms of the surrounding buildings. These include La Paz’s impressive cathedral, Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, which dates back to 1835 and features neoclassical and baroque styles, as well as the original Bolivian Palace of Government, or Palacio Quemado: “Burnt Palace”, a nickname which stuck after a fire in 1875, and is now a museum. Behind it towers the 29-storey Casa Grande del Pueblo, which now serves as the presidential residence of Bolivia. These sights are all included in this tour, which also stops at the Witches’ Market, San Francisco Church, and Calle Jaen.

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La Paz Walking City tour plus Cable cars

Duration: 3 hours

213 reviews

6. Immerse yourself in culture at Museo San Francisco Cultural Center

Dating back more than 250 years, the building in which Museo San Francisco Cultural Center is situated began as a church. Following the restoration of the church and convent, part of the site was turned into a museum, while the rest remained part of the Basilica of San Francisco. This cultural centre serves to preserve the arts and relics of La Paz and Bolivia’s long history. Collections include religious paintings and other artwork by the area’s indigenous population, some of which date back to the 1600s. Outwith the collections, the building itself is a beautiful piece of 18th-century architecture, sure to merit a few snapshots.

Museo San Francisco Cultural Center

Address: Plaza San Francisco, La Paz, Bolivia

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 6:30pm (closed on Sun)

Price: 2.89 USD

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7. Get hands-on with the exhibits at Museum of Musical Instruments

Edge pan flute
Source: Photo by user Joan used under CC BY 3.0

Enjoying excellent word of mouth from past visitors, the Museum of Musical Instruments sits on Calle Jaen, making it a popular stop during a sightseeing visit to this beautiful colonial street. The museum is chock-full of fascinating and unusual instruments from the region, and across the wider world: a double-headed guitar, panpipes, and more. It serves not only to celebrate Andean music but to inspire future musicians. Indeed, the museum provides some instruments for hands-on use that children are sure to enjoy playing with, including pieces formed out of traditional materials such as toucan beaks, bone and wood.

Museum of Musical Instruments

Address: Jaén 711, La Paz, Bolivia

Opening hours: 9:30am - 1:30pm & 2:30pm - 6:30pm (daily)

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8. Experience some of Bolivia's cultural treasures at Museo Nacional de Arte

An attraction with a true wow-factor, the National Museum of Art is situated within a magnificent architectural gem from the 18th century. This palatial building sits on one of the corners of Murillo Square, in the very heart of the city. Unsurprisingly, given its beautiful baroque architecture and stunning internal features, the building has been formally recognised as a national monument since 1960. Of course, a visit to this museum is not just about the building itself, but what it contains. Its collections celebrate Bolivian art from pre-colonial times to the present and also houses a series of cultural events and temporary exhibitions.

Museo Nacional de Arte (Bolivia)

Address: Socabaya, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Museo Nacional de Arte

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 12:30pm & 3pm - 7pm; Sat: 10am - 5:30pm; Sun: 10am - 1.30pm (closed on Mon)

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9. Learn about the coca leaf's history at the Coca Museum

Coca - from which the much-maligned drug cocaine is derived - has a long history in the Andes as a sacred leaf. Native to the region, the leaf itself has been used for millennia as a traditional remedy for altitude sickness. Chewing on it supposedly helps alleviate some of the unpleasant side-effects of life in a thinner atmosphere. This museum explores not just its use by native peoples dating back as far as the settlement of Huaca Prieta in northern Peru in 2500BC, but also the history of its use in soft drinks and the invention of cocaine in the 19th century. Visitors can also check out the on-site cafe with goods made from coca.

Coca Museum

Address: Linares 906, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Coca Museum

Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

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10. Explore Pura Pura Ecological Park

Whether you’re a fan of woodland parks, or an adrenaline junkie seeking a little skateboarding action, Pura Pura Ecological Park will likely find its way onto your La Paz itinerary. This forested recreational park - the largest park in La Paz - is located on a hillside overlooking the city, and enjoys some charming views. It’s a great spot to take in the sunset, so remember to take a camera. The park enjoys numerous hiking trails that will appeal to walkers and those seeking to spot any local wildlife, and it is also home to a large skatepark.

Pura Pura Ecological Park

Address: Pura Pura, La Paz, Bolivia

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

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11. Enjoy live music at Peña Huari

Fans of live music may wish to pay the colourful delights of Peña Huari a visit during their stay. This popular live music venue also showcases a range of Bolivian dances, so culture vultures seeking to experience a show will find much to enjoy. A working restaurant as well, Peña Huari serves a range of Latin and South American dishes, some of which are vegetarian-friendly. Guests should bear in mind, however, that the dance shows and live music cost extra. Previous visitors were big fans of the atmosphere, praising the vibrant shows and the colourful decor.

Peña Huari

Address: Sagarnaga 339, La Paz Zona 9, Bolivia

Website: Peña Restaurant “Huari”

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

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12. Catch a film at Cine Teatro Monje Campero

things to do in la paz bolivia | catch a film at cine teatro monje campero
Source: instagram

Movie lovers need not miss out on their latest cinematic fix during their visit to La Paz. This popular movie theatre, located within a colourful pink and green art deco-style building, shows a mix of Spanish and English language screenings of the very latest films. From Hollywood blockbusters like the Lion King remake to Brad Pitt’s latest work, its modern screens also show movies in 3D. This was also the first cinema in all of Latin America to offer the latest Digital Dolby sound system when it was introduced.

Cine Teatro Monje Campero

Address: Calle Bueno y El Prado, Bueno, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Cine Teatro Monje Campero

Opening hours: Screen times vary

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13. Visit a park with a view at Plaza del Monticulo

If you’re a fan of a good view, you’ll almost certainly want to head to Plaza del Monticulo - or the Mound. As its name implies, it rises above the city, and its location within the Sopocachi neighbourhood offers fine vistas across the cityscape. Indeed, several personalities are said to have been inspired by the location, such as the writer Julio de la Vega and plastic artist Cecilio Guzmán de Rojas. The park and plaza also feature some attractions of their own, including the Gate of the San Jerónimo Seminary, an ornate arch dating back to 1776, which was relocated to the park from its original building. The Fountain of Neptune, which dates back almost 100 years, is another popular feature.

Plaza del Monticulo

Address: Presbítero Medina 2421, La Paz, Bolivia

Opening hours: 24 hours

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14. Dine in one of Latin America's best restaurants, Gustu

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Deriving its name from the Quechua word for flavour, Gustu has carved quite the path for itself in the culinary world since opening its doors in 2012, picking up numerous coveted awards. In 2014 it was named among Latin America’s 50 best restaurants by Restaurant magazine, a feat it has achieved repeatedly since then. It has also wound its way into world-famous publications, including The New York Times and The Guardian. Patrons are assured that their food is a truly local product, with all ingredients, drinks included, sourced from Bolivia alone. This is reflected in the dishes, which include the likes of llama and Andean tubers, as well as pork, palm heart, and guayaba.


Address: Ave Costanera 10, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Gustu

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 2pm & 6:30pm - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 3pm

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15. Embrace vegetarian cuisine at Ali Pacha

Another highly-rated fine dining establishment, Ali Pacha enjoys one of the best reputations of any eatery in La Paz. Its contemporary stylings have earned many fans, and it enjoys glowing reviews for both food and service. The plant-based cuisine makes it perfect for vegetarians and vegans seeking fine food, and there are also gluten-free options. Whether it’s a business meeting or a romantic evening meal, Ali Pacha boasts the perfect setting for both. The restaurant’s patrons agree, and some have admitted to travelling to La Paz for one evening just to dine there.

Ali Pacha

Address: Calle Colon 1306, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Ali Pacha

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 3pm & 7pm - 10pm (closed on Sun)

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16. Catch TV sports and American grills at Factory

One for bar fans or diners seeking hearty fare, customers of Factory Grill and Bar have found plenty to enjoy, from its food to its atmosphere. The American-themed menu features a range of barbecue and fast food options, including juicy burgers, chicken fingers, chicken wings and more. It also boasts huge sports bar TV screens, which come in handy for patrons eager to catch the latest sporting event. Located in La Paz’s Megacenter mall, it opens just in time for lunch, making it a good option for those looking to bookend a busy day of shopping.


Address: Avenue Rafael Pabón, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: Factory

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 2am; Sun: 12pm - 12am

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17. Hit the shops at MegaCenter mall

Speaking of Megacenter, this popular shopping mall hails itself as “the largest and most complete family entertainment complex” in the whole of Bolivia. It is home to everything, including bars, restaurants, retailers, an 18-screen cinema, and even a financial centre. Shops sell everything from general gifts to boutique goods. Those seeking to have a little fun will find it at 10-pin bowling and Xtreme Fun amusement park. This location is sure to appeal to those seeking a family-friendly day out in La Paz.


Address: Av Rafael Pabón, La Paz, Bolivia

Website: MegaCenter

Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)

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18. Marvel at the rock spires in Valle de la Luna (from USD 55.0)

For fans of beautiful landscapes, Valle de La Luna - or Moon Valley - is a site located roughly 10km (6 miles) from downtown La Paz. Its otherworldly rock formations are the result of strong winds and rain cutting through the weak clay rock strata. The reasons for its stunning rock spires may have a simple scientific explanation, but the visual results are truly striking and are a tempting target for aspiring photographers. There are many different colours found in the rocks, which range from dark violet to beige and russet. This half-day tour, which runs for roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes, also takes in the cathedral, Witches’ Market, San Pedro Prison, and a cable car ride offering superb views of the city.

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La Paz and Moon Valley Half-Day Tour with Admission Ticket

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

2 reviews

19. Wander through the tourist hot-spot of Sagarnaga Street (from USD 28.0)

wander through the tourist hot-spot of sagarnaga street
Source: www.viator.com

La Paz’s streets are a rich melting pot of pre-Columbian traditions and post-conquest cultures, creating a colourful and memorable city. Anyone visiting will almost certainly want to explore its vibrant streets. One such example is Calle Sagarnaga, one of the main tourist strips and chock-full of markets and souvenir shops. This area is also home to the famous Witches’ Market, which sells a range of goods related to Andean traditions, as well as the witchcraft from which it gets its evocative name. This tour includes a one hour stop at Calle Sagarnaga as part of a wider bohemian trip around the city, including stops at the colonial boulevard of Calle Jaen, cable car rides, and the artistic neighbourhood of Sopocachi.

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La Paz city tour, a bohemian experience

A packed travel itinerary awaits

Bolivia’s capital city really does have something for everyone, from its spectacular colonial-era architecture and fine hill vantage points to its food scene and cultural and historic attractions. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy should you have children with you. With such an array of options, you’ll likely end up with a packed itinerary for your trip to La Paz.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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