La Paz

Gateway to Bolivia

The department (state) of La Paz is one of Bolivia’s nine departments and is located in Northeastern Bolivia near the borders with Peru and Chile. The department of La Paz is a synthesis of culture and natural diversity which makes it ideal for tourism. Here is where we encounter the mystical Lake Titicaca, magnificent pre-Incan ruins, pre-Columbian footpaths, and the majestic peaks of the Andean Cordillera Real mountain range. The department also hosts a paradise of tropical protected areas and nature reserves that extend from the cloud forest (Yungas) to the Amazon region where it borders on the Beni department.

The city of La Paz is the capital of the department and is the seat of the Bolivian government. The city averages 3,600 meters in altitude and is one of the highest cities in the World. La Paz is a multi-ethnic place where people from all over the country merge, as well as immigrants from all over the world. Here is where multi-ethnic and multi-cultural expressions combine to present a wide variety of religious festivals and tipical dressings from every region of Bolivia. As well as concerts, lectures, theatres and other artistic presentations. This ethnic and cultural diversity makes La Paz the most cosmopolitan city of Bolivia.
The city is located in an enormous canyon. The houses cling to the sides of this canyon and climb its slopes as it seem they might try to touch the sky. An in the city centre old colonial buildings are mixed with more modern constructions.
La Paz is unique, it is the political and cultural heart of Bolivia and one of the most important stops on any Bolivian tourist route.

Top Five places to visit in the city

1) A curious mixture of natural products and handicrafts can be found at the so-called witch market in the center. Many of the products are used to perform rituals, such as llama, alpaca and sheep fetuses, or belong to the natural remedies and medicinal plants.
2) The cathedral and the government palace are located on Plaza Murillo, the center of political and historical La Paz.
3) The San Francisco Church & Convent was completed in 1753 and is one of the most important places of worship in the country.
4) The best preserved colonial street in La Paz is Calle Jaen. Here are important museums that reflect the history and identity of the country.
5) The Valle de la Luna in the south of the city is a natural attraction that was created by erosion by water and wind, and has formed interesting cone and crater formations that remind the place of a lunar landscape.

Top Five places to visit in the surroundings

1) Tiwanaku was once the capital of a large Andean state that included parts of Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. It was the first advanced civilization in South America to be considered the most important of the entire American continent.
2) Three hours from La Paz is the majestic Lake Titicaca. Archaeological sites from Inca times can be found on its islands, Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. Copacabana on the shores of the lake is a well-known pilgrimage center, to which pilgrims travel to worship the "Virgen Morena" (Virgen de Copcabana) and to receive their blessings.
3) Cordillera Real in the immediation of the city and the tourist center of La Paz, offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. Its approx. 600 peaks, partly snow-covered, partly glaciated, from heights between 5,500 meters and 6,500 m.a.s.l. form a mountain range of approx. 200 km in length.
4) The Yungas of Coroico are tropical valleys and mountains covered with lush vegetation, as well as agricultural areas of café, coca and citrus plantations. One of the attractions of the region is the drive along one of the most spectacular roads in South America - "El Camino de la Muerte" or "Death Road".
5) If you leave the city of La Paz to the northeast, you reach the Valle de las Animas - hundreds of rock pinnacles or rock needles that rise high and resemble gigantic petrified organ pipes. A few kilometers further you will reach the entrance to the Palca Canyon. Rock formations formed by the water resemble Gothic cathedrals or obelisks. A hike through the Palca Canyon also offers a wonderful view of the glaciated mountain Illimani.

Tours

For information about tours to Bolivia and to La Paz and it´s surroundings, please contact us or visit our tours section.

Places to stay

For information about places to stay in La Paz and it´s surroundings, please visit our accommodation section.

Best time to visit

La Paz can be visited all year round. The most stable season for outdoor activities in the Cordillera Real with clear skies but cold nights, is the dry season in southern winter from May / June to September / October. At this time of year, depending on the altitude (varies in La Paz itself between 3300 to 4100 meters), the temperatures are usually only pleasant in the sun at noon, but the nights are frosty cold. Summer from December to March is the rainy season with the most rainy days in January and February and the highest temperatures on sunny days. During the rainy season it is green in the Altiplano, but the mountains of the Cordillera Real are mostly covered with clouds. Insider tip: The perfect travel time for trips to the region of La Paz, with active components are the transitional months of May, or October till November - at the end of or before the start of the rainy season. In these months, day and night temperatures are still pleasant compared to the winter months, and mostly stable weather can also be expected in the mountains.

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