Itineraries for Your Trip to La Paz

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1 Day in La Paz for First Timers

Curated by Jen Rose SmithVermont travel writer Jen Rose Smith covers adventure, remote places, and traditional cuisine from a home base in the Green Mountains. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, American Way, Nexos, Condé Nast Traveler, Backpacker, AFAR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Outside Online.

Downtown streets have snowy peaks for a backdrop in Bolivia’s high-altitude, high-energy capital, and a soaring network of cable cars gives riders a condor’s view of it all. With one day in La Paz, you can sample a bit of everything, from the wares at the Witches’ Market to historic churches, eroded canyons, and exceptional museums.


Test your legs—and your lungs—on a walking tour of downtown La Paz, where modernity meets landmarks from the colonial era. The maze of streets disappears into markets that are even harder to navigate, making this a great place to check out with a guide. One highlight of downtown is the Witches Market, where offerings include llama fetuses and other important components of traditional ceremonies. You can also visit a colonial-era church and monuments honoring Bolivia’s hard-won independence. If you finish the morning with energy to spare, head to the nearby National Museum of Archaeology to check out exhibits that explore Bolivia’s diverse cultures.


After a downtown lunch of Bolivian specialties, head to the southern edge of town to see Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), where a hiking trail winds through an eroded labyrinth of spires and fins. Some tours make use of the cable car system that links downtown with the southern zone, which makes this activity extra special: You’ll have aerial views of neighborhoods that are far from the tourist track. On sunny days, be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen to the Valle de la Luna, as there’s little shade on the trail and the high-altitude sun can be punishing.


Take advantage of warm afternoon light to ride the cable car all the way to the El Alto neighborhood, where you’ll have gorgeous views back across the valley. Hop out for a stroll or snack near the cable car station, then board a car back down toward downtown before the last light disappears. Try to snag an uphill seat in the cable car for the best possible views.

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