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7 Unforgettable Things to Do in La Paz, Bolivia's High-Altitude City

I bet, La Paz is not on your must-see list but somehow you find yourself traveling to La Paz. It's the highest city in the world, the second largest in Bolivia, and it's perfectly located to explore Bolivia's natural wonders.

La Paz itself is not a city packed with many sights, nor is it a great place to do extensive shopping, or have a diverse culinary selection - but somehow I enjoyed my 10-day stay a lot, and found myself doing some stuff.

Sounds contradictory and you might wonder what you could do here. In this blog post, I'm going to share my 7 favorite things to do in La Paz, that will brighten up your stay here.

Table of Contents:

Exploring the Witches' Market (Mercado de las Burjas)

Deeping into a different culture and learning more about their customs and traditions is what I love about traveling. One of the reasons why I like Bolivia is because of its authentic indigenous culture that is still very much present.

Coming from a Western country, some things were shocking and fascinating at the same time. Exploring the Witches' Market was a good example of it.

Yes, you've heard it right. In La Paz, you can visit a witches' market. Here they sell herbs and plants for medicinal and ritualistic purposes, dried animal fetuses for rituals, amulets and talismans, and so much more.

Bolivianos, especially those with indigenous backgrounds, have a strong belief in witches and shamans. Traditional practices are deeply rooted in Bolivian culture. The Witches' Market is an actual selling market and a visit isn't for the faint of heart.

For those, who want to experience the culture up close, the Mercado de las Brujas in La Paz is freely accessible to tourists, and photos are allowed

👉🏽 There's an even more authentic Witches' Market in El Alto, but I don't suggest going there without a local guide. Here you can book a walking tour in La Paz, that includes the Witches' Market in El Alto (and many more!)

A Must Thing to Do in La Paz: A Cable Car Ride Over the City

I remember when I did my first cable car ride through a big city in Medellin (read about it here). Cable cars in cities are very common in South America. I, however, only associated cable cars with skiing or hiking in the mountains, far away from a city.

As Medellin, La Paz uses the cable car for public transportation, to connect higher parts of the city with the center. And besides that, offers the best overview of the city you can imagine.

In La Paz, the cable cars are called 'mi teleférico', and are the biggest cable car network in the world! It's a sustainable way to reduce traffic in the city and connect those who live on the outskirts.

Which Cable Car in La Paz Are Good for Tourists?

Randomly taking a cable car and driving around with it is a little unnecessary in La Paz. The best way to use them is to use them with their actual purpose; traveling from one spot to another.

In total, there are 10 different lines named by colors. The most important ones for tourists are the red, yellow, blue, and silver lines since they connect different sights and make visiting La Paz more convenient.

Here's an overview, of which line you should take for what sights:

  • Take the Red Line to travel from Estación Central (the historic central station) to Cementerio General to 16 de Julio (El Alto).

  • If you're located in Sopacachi and want to travel to the viewpoint of Laikakota take the Yellow Line. From that viewpoint, you can catch the Silver Line to get to the city center.

  • If you're in the city center and would like to travel to El Alto, the Blue Line is the fastest way to get there.

A practical way to get around in La Paz and a bargain. A ride costs only 3 Bolivianos and especially during rush hour gets you faster from one place to the other.

Cable Car La Paz

Celebrate the Death at Cementario General

As I mentioned above, Bolivianos do have contrasting beliefs and might be foreign to some people. In Europe, death and funerals are linked to grief and sorrow. Everyone wears black and needs to say goodbye to their loved ones.

This is different for Bolivianos. I had the pleasure to visit the cementario during Halloween and surprisingly had an interesting insight into their relationship to death.

Death is related to huge feasts, celebrations, and being together as a family. People cook for the deceased, bring the feast to their grave, and the whole family eats next to it. Keeping the skull of a dead person is also not uncommon, speaking with it and asking for advice as if it is alive either.

If you have the chance to visit the Cementario during Halloween, I highly recommend doing so, but no worries if not. It's still a great place to visit, with the most overhead graves in Bolivia, and many colorful graffiti on the wall.

Shop at Sagarnaga

I love shopping. I know, it's not a sustainable statement, but to be brutally honest, I do. Thanks to traveling full-time with carry-on luggage only and being more mindful about my purchases, I keep myself under control and my wallet safe.

La Paz is not known to be the best shopping destination, and it does not accommodate a single fast-fashion store. I somehow found Sagarnaga - a colorful street with many small shops that sell clothing and accessories made from alpaca wool. I could not resist and bought myself a warming jumper and scarf.

💡 Did you know that alpaca wool is one of the most sustainable clothing materials since it doesn't need chemicals or pesticides to grow, is a renewable source, and can be washed sparsely? Besides that, alpaca wool is cruelty-free and vegan!

Besides buying alpaca wool, it was also a beautiful street for a walk, buying other kinds of souvenirs, and having a cup of café at Café del Mundo.

Sagarnaga Street

Visit the Historic Jaen Street

Want to learn about Bolivia's art, history, and culture? Then you must visit Calle Jaen. This street is home to four museums and is a popular destination for those who are interested in exploring the country's history.

Here is a short overview of the museums:

  • Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas: Learn more about Bolivian's history and culture. Marvel at the colorful and traditional Bolivian costumes.

  • Museo del Litoral: A small museum dedicated to the Pacific War that resulted in Bolivia losing its Pacific coast to Chile.

  • Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos: See artifacts of ancient civilizations. See the ability of the people of the Andean highlands to work metal.

  • Casa de Murillo: A small but lovely museum that houses colonial art, furniture, and household items of the Bolivian aristocracy.

Cholita Wrestling - A Thrilling Spectacle of Bolivian Tradition

A unique and entertaining cultural experience can be seen in La Paz: the Cholita Wrestling. It takes place on Thursdays and Sundays in El Alto.

What's 'Cholita Wrestling'?

Cholitas are indigenous Bolivian women, dressed in colorful and traditional costumes.

As an act of feminism, the cholitas wanted to break social stereotypes and enter the male-dominated world of professional wrestling. Wrestling is not just about physical strength, it's more a form of performance that includes humor, drama, and storytelling.

Nowadays, it has become a popular tourist attraction and it's the perfect way to experience a blend of Bolivian culture and entertainment.

Where to Watch the Cholita Wrestling in La Paz?

The best way to see this entertaining spectacle is on Sundays at 2 pm in the Multifunctional Center in El Alto. A ticket costs around $13.

You can also book a high-rated guided tour here.

🤫 As El Alto is not the safest place for tourists, please make sure to bring only your essentials and take a taxi (order an Uber!) to get home safely.

Mountain Biking the Death Road

Looking for a thrill? Then mountain biking on the Death Road, or "Camino de la Muerte" in Spanish, is a must-do in La Paz for you. The official name of this road is North Yungas Road but became its name because of its high death toll in the past. The road is technically open to any vehicle that wishes to take the risk but is primarily used by cyclists, particularly mountain bikers.

The road from La Paz to Coroico includes a descent of 3500 meters (❗️) altitude and is 63 kilometers long - a unique and adrenaline-pumping experience.

Doing the whole trip with a tour operator is highly recommended and saves tons of time plus is safer. They provide you with high-quality mountain bikes, transportation, food, and an English-speaking tour guide.

How to Choose a Tour Operator for Mountain Biking the Death Road?

For some tours, the quality of a tour operator is incidental since it's the transportation from one place to another that matters. In this case, the quality of the tour operator is crucial since you're dependent on their safety measurements and equipment.

Here's a small checklist for you to find a suitable tour operator for your unforgettable mountain bike experience in La Paz:

  • Check their bikes! Are they from an internationally recognized brand? Are their brakes functioning? Are they maintained well? All those questions should be answered with yes.

  • Since riding down the road takes 4-5 hours, it's significant to choose a company that offers bikes with good suspension. If there's an option between a base option and an upgraded option - take the upgraded one.

  • The group size of the tour can differ depending on demand. However, it's advisable to ask how many guides accompany the group. A good measurement is one tour guide for five riders. For example, if there are 10 participants, two tour guides should accompany the group.

What Should You Wear and Bring While Doing the Death Road Mountain Bike Tour?

The weather is unpredictable and checking the weather forecast the day before is an important thing to do. Nonetheless, you're clothing choice should be adaptable, and I advise layering with proper clothing.

What to Wear And Bring for A Mountain Bike Tour

💡 At the end of your trip there's a resort where you can take a bath, shower, and change your clothes. If you'd like to refresh yourself after this trip, bring swimwear, a towel, and a change of clothes.


It turns out that there was still enough to do in La Paz than it looked like in the beginning. I enjoyed my 10-day stay a lot, although I missed a good vegetarian restaurant (there were none!) and cool places to hang out.

La Paz was also an inspiring city to walk around and observe daily life. I often found myself pausing somewhere and inhaling the simplicity of La Paz. I took many pictures, kept myself fit by walking a lot, and went to the cinema. Well, in some cases, it's better to embrace the real life of locals than just chasing sights in a city.

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