La Paz is a city of many talents. While I am not a fan of the altitude- it is the highest altitude major city in the world- there are some great experiences to have both in the city in around. Most people focus on the tours that run from La Paz, like the Amazon, Death Road, and Uyuni Salt Flat tours. But I am here to tell you there’s some greatness to be seen in the city itself (and some surprisingly good coffee).
Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)
This spot shares its name with a few other places in South America- but this one is the best. Why, you ask? It is said to have been named by none other than the Moon-Man himself, Neil Armstrong, due to its status as the most similar place on earth to the actual moon. It’s a short taxi from La Paz and makes for a great relaxed day trip.
This is the best way to get high in La Paz (ha). The relatively new Teleferico system is a mode of public transport for locals to this city of mountains and valleys, making it a practical way to get around at a very low cost (3 bolivianos one-way) with some spectacular views. I used the red line (there is also green and yellow) to get to the flea market and the trip on the gondolas was worth it in itself.
Oh, how I love a market, and this one has a view. This is one of if not the largest flea market in South America and is at such a high point in the city you need to catch a cable car to get there (see above). This makes for some awesome views and is worth the trip just to loom around and try some local foods. If you and willing to get a bit, which is half the fun, you are in for some awesome and incredibly cheaps finds! The market is open on Thursdays and Sundays only. *Please so do not die of jealousy because I found this ski jacket at the market for only 20 bolivianos (around $4AUD).
Mercado de las Brujas (Witches’ Market)
This was one of the only things I knew about La Paz before I went was this market, and my love of markets and the macabre meant I was especially excited to see it. I went here twice and enjoyed it more the second time when I had the chance to wander around and really take it in. It is more touristy than I had expected, but there are still plenty of stores to be found where locals purchase their good-luck llama fetuses, love powders, and amulets.
Walking tour/San Pedro prison
If you’ve ever heard of ‘that prison’ in Bolivia where the inmates pay for their cells and that used to be the site of the purest cocaine in South America- San Pedro prison in the heart of La Paz is that place. The Red Cap walking tour of the city leaves from the square that houses the prison, and also happens to give a great perspective on the city and the culture from local guides.
Read– Marching Powder
Stay– Wild Rover hostel
Coffee– The Writer’s Coffee