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LA PAZ, BOLIVIA: THE PERFECT 3 DAY & 5 DAY ITINERARIES

The urban sprawl of La Paz is covered by a network of cheap cable cars that take you from witches’ markets to Cholita wrestling arenas to epic viewpoints. Top this off with beautiful backdrop of mountains and lush jungle valleys surrounding the city – travellers won’t struggle to keep themselves busy in this crazy city. We’ve outlined a 3- and 5-day itinerary to help you plan your time in La Paz.

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN LA PAZ?

3 days is the perfect amount of time in La Paz.

 

You can see most of the inner city in one day, including the witches’ market and the historical centre, especially if you’re whizzing around on the popular cable cars.

 

One day should definitely be dedicated to riding down the exciting Death Road, a bucketlist tick for many travellers. And the final day can be used to explore some of the unique landscapes outside of the city such as the Valley of Souls or to do some trekking in the Andes surrounding La Paz.

 

If you have the time, then extending to 5 days can be a great shout if you want to fit in something more adventurous such as summiting Huayana Potosi or exploring more of the city. There’s so much to see and do in La Paz.

LA PAZ 3 DAY ITINERARY

Our 3-day itinerary covers the very best of the city without killing yourself trying to fit everything in.

 

And if any of the below isn’t to your liking, swap it out for one of the things to do we’ve suggested in our ‘best things to do in La Paz’ post.

 

  • Day 1 – City walking tour and cable cars (morning) / cholita wrestling (evening)
  • Day 2 – Death Road (full day) / night out
  • Day 3 – Valle de la Luna (morning) and city viewpoints (evening)

If Death Road isn’t your cup of tea then cut that out and you have a lovely two day itinerary for the city.

Day 1 - City Walking Tour, Riding The Cable Cars & Cholita Wrestling

Head for breakfast at Café Typica to start your day off right. They serve a great selection of set breakfasts with freshly made smoothies and the best coffee around.

 

If you aren’t staying close to Typica (which is in the Sopocachi district) then you can try out Higher Ground or the Writers Coffee which are both in Downtown.

 

After a good feed, book yourself on to a Red Cap Walking Tour ($3) to start exploring the city.

 

Red Cap offer tours of the city leaving at 11AM and 2PM from San Pedro Plaza. The tour will tick off the major sightseeing destinations in the city centre including the Witches Market, San Francisco Plaza and Plaza Murrillo. If you want an extended tour of the city they have a longer city tour costing $17 which takes you on the cable cars and up to El Alto.

 

If you prefer to explore by yourself for free then after the walking tour, hop on the cable car and ride around for an hour or so taking in the unbelievable views of sprawling La Paz. You can take the red line and stop off at El Alto for some breath-taking views of the city and to see an even bigger, crazier witches market.

How to book Cholita Wrestling (Monday, Thursday & Sunday only)

If you want to pack in one final thing you can watch the Cholita Wrestling – Bolivias very own WWE/Lucha libre style wrestling dominated by female wrestlers.

 

It’s one of the most popular things to do in La Paz for both locals and tourists, and the choreographed fights are incredibly entertaining and funny. The wrestling starts at 17:00 PM and costs $11.50. You can turn up yourself, book through your hostel or use Red Cap again to save yourself the admin.

 

Booking through Red Cap doesn’t cost any extra.

 

To be honest, booking their extended city tour/cholita wrestling for $28 seems worth it to save the admin of doing it all yourself. The El Alto area isn’t the safest either so being with a guide is better. If you join the 11 AM walking tour ($3) followed by the extended tour at 2 PM ($17) you’ve seen the entire city centre and its highlights chuck in the wrestling ($11.50) you’ve seen most of what La Paz has to offer for a total of $31.50.

Day 2 - Death Road & Night Out In La Paz

Once one of the world’s most dangerous roads, Death Road has now turned in to one of Bolivia’s top tourist attractions, second only to the salt flats.

 

Since the 1950’s, it was the only road that connected La Paz to the Northern regions of Bolivia, and the narrow winding road led to many tragic fatal accidents over the years. Fortunately, the government has built a new road for larger vehicles and Death Road is now mainly used for tourism.

 

While there’s still the odd accident, the road is nowhere near as dangerous as it was.

 

Death road is a full day activity and your pick up will be between 6-7AM in the morning.

 

You will have a short ride to the top of the road at 4,650m (15,260 ft) descending to 1,200m (3,900 ft) at the town of Coroico. The first hour and a half is spent speeding down the new, safe asphalt road. Then you’ll navigate the bumpy, windy, wet death road. This is an exhilarating experience but one that takes a bit of concentration.

 

If you aren’t a confident rider it may not be for you, but you can always hop back in the tour companies van which follows you for the day. Falling off the bikes is a common occurrence, but if you’re sensible it won’t be a problem.

 

Once you reach the town of Coroico, you’ll have a buffet lunch and can relax by the swimming pool. You should arrive back in La Paz for 5 PM.

How to book Death Road

Gravity are the most well-known and longest running company with a great reputation for safety. However, they are the most expensive at over $120.

 

We looked online and found Barracuda Biking ($80) which had great reviews, was much cheaper and had lots of positive comments about the quality of the bikes.

 

For a full debrief of whether Death Road is worth it as well as more information on what to expect, check out our post here.

Nightlife in La Paz

You should fit one night out in whilst you’re in Bolivia’s biggest city and why not do it whilst still riding the high of surviving the Death Road.

 

Start off at Wild Rover and let the night take you from there. The hostel bar staff will organise a host of party games, mainly beer pong and free shots. Most people go to a club together from Wild Rover.

 

If you’ve decided to skip Wild Rover then Selina has a good bar which is popular with locals and there are lots of great places to drink in the Sopocachi area.

 

If you are looking for a club later in the night then then try Glam or Plan B.

Day 3 - Valle De La Luna & City Viewpoint At Sunset

If you’re tired after the Death Road then a half day trip to the Valle de La Luna, 20 minutes outside of the city is a nice easy day and only costs $2.

 

Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is a maze of jagged canyons and giant spires that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. There are several trails running through the area with the longest one taking up to an hour to walk.

 

This is a great half day activity to enjoy whilst getting some photos of you looking like you’re on the moon.

How to get to Valle De La Luna

By public transport: Take the Teleferico (cable car) green line to the end, Irpavi. Then take a taxi to the entrance, or you can walk to 8th street of Calacoto and take a minibus to Mallasa. The entrance to Valle de la Luna is just before Mallasa — tell the driver that’s where you’re going and they’ll drop you at the entrance.

 

By taxi: Moon Valley is about 15-20 minute drive from the southern zone of La Paz by taxi. 40BOB on uber

Best viewpoints in La Paz

For a more relaxed evening, why not head to one of the incredible viewpoints in the city?

 

At any time during the day you will be blessed with incredible views but if you go at dusk to see the sun setting over the mountains that surround La Paz then even better.

 

Depending on where you are based in the city, Kilikili viewpoint and Parque Mirador Laikakota are great options and give you close to 360 views of La Paz with Illimani Mountain providing a great backdrop for photos.

LA PAZ 5 DAY ITINERARY OPTIONS

Have a couple of extra days to spare in La Paz? Then our list of best things to do will give you some good ideas of what else is on offer. However, here’s a couple of ideas to help your planning

 

The Mountain Climber Itinerary

  • Day 1 – City walking tour and cable car (morning) / cholita wrestling (evening)
  • Day 2 – Death Road (full day) / night out
  • Day 3 – Valle de la Luna (morning) and city viewpoints (evening)
  • Day 4/5 – Huayana Potosi

The first 3 days taking it easy in the city is the perfect amount of time to acclimatize to the altitude in preparation for climbing one of Bolivia’s most famous mountains.

 

Regarded as one of the easiest 6,000m summits in the world and accessible to beginners, this is a great expedition for avid climbers or beginners looking to earn their crampons.

 

If you would prefer to do a single day hike then the Conodiriri hike is a single day trek that is great for adventures who want to get into the mountains but don’t want to bother with the camping. The trek starts at an altitude of 4400m takes you up to the turquoise Chiar Khota Lake (4600m) for incredible views of La Paz and even Lake Titicaca.

 

La Paz On Foot offer this and lots of other single day hikes

The Nature Lover Itinerary

Just outside of the concrete jungle of La Paz you will find some incredible and unique landscapes. Both the Valley of Souls and Canyon de Palca are great single day hikes to do if you are looking to escape the city and get out into nature.

 

  • Day 1 – City walking tour and cable car (morning) / cholita wrestling (evening)
  • Day 2 – Death Road (full day) / night out
  • Day 3 – Valle de la Luna (morning) and city viewpoints (evening)
  • Day 4 – Valley De Las Animas
  • Day 5 – Canyon De Palca

Kanoo Tours combine a trip here with Canyon de Palca for $37.

 

South Treks do a full day tour to Canyon de Palca for $45 if full (5 or more people).

 

 

Where’s your next stop in Bolivia? If you aren’t sure yet then we’ve outlined a three week, 10 day and 7 day itinerary here to help you plan. 

 

 

If you are looking for more trekking and to get off the beaten tourist track in Bolivia then Cochabamba and the famous Torotoro National Park are great choices. 

 

 

Or if you want wild nature, then heading to the Amazon from La Paz is relatively cheap and easy compared to the rest of South merica. Check out our guide to booking an Amazon tour here.

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