City Orientation Walk, La Paz (Self Guided)

Set amid the Andes over 3,500 m above sea level, La Paz is the most elevated capital in the world. Complementing the city's dramatic setting is the large number of historic, cultural and architectural attractions. This orientation walk comprises several landmarks dating back to the colonial era, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Plaza Murillo, the city's unique Witches' Market, and many other notable sights.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Bolivia » La Paz (See other walking tours in La Paz)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Author: valery
Iglesia de San Francisco in La Paz

1) Iglesia de San Francisco in La Paz (must see)

This building has as its core - the original San Francisco Church - started in 1548, one year before La Paz was established. The church collapsed under a heavy snowfall in 1610 and was renovated in 1784. This church's Baroque frontage is a unification of local and Catholic art, and is abundantly ornamented with original figures, such as dragons and tropical birds. Several traditions and styles merge in the Plaza de San Francisco, which is opposite the church. A contemporary statue of rock columns and limestone in the square facade honors three large civilizations of Bolivia.
Sagarnaga Street

2) Sagarnaga Street

Sightseers enjoy Sagarnaga Street, because they can purchase distinctive Bolivian souvenirs, particularly merchandises made from the wool of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas. There is an immense variety of silver jewelry, handicrafts, etc. Wood sculptures are few and far between, as they take a lot of time to carve. A photo mosaic from Sagarnaga Street entrance provides a guide to what all of the shops stock.
Coca Museum

3) Coca Museum

The Coca Museum, as its name suggests, is all about coca and its use and cultivation. The museum provides guides, who will talk about many interesting facts regarding the coca plant, beginning with a poem about the its origin, and explaining the importance of Kokas in the mines of Bolivia during the colonial era. They will also explain the beginning of the coca boom in Europe, the prohibition law of 1914, and tell about the fight against coca cultivation from the 1950s and the consequences of drug use.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 to 18:00
Witches' Market

4) Witches' Market (must see)

The Witches' Market is the most common gathering spot for all locals in La Paz. Situated on Calle Jiminez and Linares, locals go to the Witches' Market to get llama fetuses and dried frogs for Aymara ceremonies, and little soapstone sculptures and aphrodisiacs. Placed amidst the dynamic traveler's market, the Witches' Market displays its clients' herbs, folk medications and a diversity of unique items used to control the many spirits that occupy the Aymara world.
Museo Tambo Quirquincho

5) Museo Tambo Quirquincho (must see)

Museo Tambo Quirquincho is in the oldest building in the city. It has permanent and temporary expositions. Some of the most interesting are the very old carnival masks and silver jewels, as well as contemporary paintings and statues. Also on display are anthologies of colonial silver and Republican old images of the city. Within the museum there is "Amalia Garcia". The courtyard serves as a stage for concerts, trade fairs and other activities related to the Bolivian culture.
Museo Nacional del Arte

6) Museo Nacional del Arte (must see)

The National Museum of Art is one of the most important museums and cultural institutions in Bolivia. The museum was built in 1775, made from pink Viacha stone; it has now been renovated to its former glory. Its floors are devoted to a series of artists: Marina Núñez del Prado's modern statues, the late-Renaissance works of art of Melchor Pérez de Holguín and art works of different and famous Latin American artists. The visiting contemporary shows are displayed outside.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 to 12:30 and 15:00 to 19:00; Saturday: 10:00 to 17:30; Sunday: 10:00 to 13:30
Metropolitan Cathedral of La Paz

7) Metropolitan Cathedral of La Paz (must see)

Constructed in 1835, the cathedral is an extraordinary edifice well worth visiting. The Cathedral of La Paz is located in the central square, which is Plaza Murillo, named after Pedro Domingo Murrillo, who led a revolution against the Spanish. At the corner of the yellow edifice, adjacent to the cathedral, is the Presidential Palace. The tradition of clustering main edifices around the central square comes from the colonial period. The cathedral was built in 1720, and has both historical and architectural significance for La Paz.
Palacio Quemado (Palacio de Gobierno)

8) Palacio Quemado (Palacio de Gobierno) (must see)

The Palacio Quemado is a commonly used name to denote the Bolivian Government Palace. It is located in the Plaza Pedro Domingo Murillo in downtown La Paz. The building has had many names throughout its history. Its nickname originated from the Presidential Palace that was burned in 1875 during the uprising in the government of Tomás Frías. He had rebuilt and improved it many times since then, but the name has remained rooted in the town of La Paz. The Presidential Palace is located next to the Catedral Nuestra Señora, right of the Legislative Palace, where the Congress of Bolivia is housed.
Palacio Legislativo

9) Palacio Legislativo

This is the legislative center of La Paz and a large, palace-like building close to the Plaza Murillo. This governmental area is adjacent to Palacio Quemado and other historic structures. Along with the many other old buildings and areas, such as churches, streets, and museums, visiting this large government body will help you to understand the culture, traditions, and customs of the Bolivian people.
Plaza de Murillo

10) Plaza de Murillo (must see)

The Plaza Murillo is a romantic, tranquil place to hang out for couples and locals that appreciate the beauty of the colonial architecture, which includes the Palacio Quemado and the Congreso Nacional. There are also several eating places around the plaza and even a theatre. From time to time, you may see exhibitions by local painters, and you meet a lot of native street sellers, shoe shiners, etc. There are always various older Bolivians here, relaxing and having their daily chit-chats.
Iglesia Santo Domingo

11) Iglesia Santo Domingo

The splendid Iglesia de Santo Domingo was built in 1575. It is to be found five buildings North of the central plaza. You can see several statues at the front of this remarkable Baroque structure. The building is more of a bastion than a church. The painted statues are in the pastoral style and give a sense of Mexican architecture. You may appreciate the intricate stonework, which reflects the Baroque style.
Museo Nacional de Etnografia y Folklore

12) Museo Nacional de Etnografia y Folklore (must see)

The Museo Nacional de Etnografia y Folklore is committed to the rich local traditions in Bolivia. They are portrayed as stunning and fascinating dioramas and will make it easy to understand the traditions of the Inca civilization. The best part of this museum is the 3,000 Years of Textiles show, a demonstration of intensely painted skirts, coverlets and wraps used by women to carry their children - each of them being a work of intrinsic value in itself.
Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia

13) Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia

This museum houses an impressive, practical assortment of musical instruments and would be of great interest to modern day musicians. This is the pet project of charango-skilled artist Ernesto Cavour and it showcases all types of this Bolivian instrument, which resembles a small guitar. There are other original Bolivian musical instruments here as well. Seven categories include percussion, string, and wind instruments.
Casa Murillo

14) Casa Murillo (must see)

This museum is the former home of the most important freedom fighter in Bolivia, Don Pedro Domingo Murillo. He was hanged in 1810 by the Spaniards. The museum currently houses an exhibition with items from those times. On the ground floor, you can see a glass paneled display case "Plantas Los Calientes", containing Wira Wira and Manzanilla. In addition, there are native costumes and puppets displayed alongside everyday objects. Five beautiful paintings are showcased in upstairs rooms, plus crowns and various objects used daily, and from this time period.
Museo del Litoral Boliviano

15) Museo del Litoral Boliviano (must see)

In this museum you can learn about the lost war against Chile, the so-called "War of the Pacific" (1879-1883). The consequence of the lost war against Chile was a huge loss of land of Bolivia. In addition, Bolivia also had to cede its important sea access to Chile. Bolivia's demands for a separate access to the sea since 1904 in a signed contract remain unclear. In the "Sala de Mapas" you can see old maps with the original borders of that time, as well as books from that period. In the "Sala de Uniformes y Fotografias" are displayed old chests, pictures and uniforms. On the first floor you will also find showcases filled with rifles, pistols and sabers.

Walking Tours in La Paz, Bolivia

Create Your Own Walk in La Paz

Create Your Own Walk in La Paz

Creating your own self-guided walk in La Paz is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Landmarks of La Paz

Landmarks of La Paz

La Paz has a large number of monuments, plaques, water fountains and busts distributed along the main streets of the city, roundabouts and squares. The figures in bronze, marble, stone or other materials, which are placed in plazas, avenues, streets and sometimes in the most improbable corners, can be viewed or photographed at anytime, despite the time of year. A few of the top landmarks of La Paz...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Museums in San Sebastian

Museums in San Sebastian

La Paz offers tourists many cultural opportunities. This current tour is dedicated to museums in San Sebastian area of La Paz, located on small, charming streets, full of historic architecture, all within a pleasant walking distance:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 km
Daily Life in La Paz

Daily Life in La Paz

Life in La Paz is very different from that elsewhere, if you take into account the elevation of the city and the bowl that La Paz sits in. Here you will find friendly people, going about their normal activities, such as working, playing sports, studying, shopping, going out at night, praying, and much more. A few of La Paz’s attractions include:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Museums Self-Guided Tour

Museums Self-Guided Tour

La Paz has many great museums, of which Coca Museum is undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions. Other museums are smaller, but well set-up and visitors can spend there many hours walking through the impressive display of Bolivian culture. The Museo de Textiles Andinos Bolivianos has a large exhibit of antique textiles. Here are these and other museums in La Paz that you might like to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Top Shopping Locations in La Paz

Top Shopping Locations in La Paz

Shopping in La Paz is as easygoing as many other things that you may do in this historic city. Walk through the stalls, which are located in various areas of it, or visit the many shops in the heart of the city. On the paved streets of Calle Linares, Mercado de Las Brujas, or the Witches Market, you'll find Bolivian food, ethnic items, and many other things of interest. Don't miss the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Walking Tour of La Paz's Historic & Contemporary Buildings

Walking Tour of La Paz's Historic & Contemporary Buildings

Contemporary skyscrapers and unique historic buildings are just an example of what one may discover on this walking tour of La Paz. Below is the list of some of the architectural jewels of the city.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in La Paz for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best La Paz has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as La Paz, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.