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About La Paz
La Paz is the world's highest capital, standing at an altitude of 4,150m (13,620 ft) in a bowl-like canyon towered over by majestic mountains. It's also one of South America's liveliest cities, with a buzz in the air whether you're browsing the potions and herbs at the spiritually inclined Witches' Market, flying through the skies in a super-modern cable car, or making a day trip to the otherworldly landscape of the Valle de la Luna.
La Paz hostels include party destinations, the 120-year-old former home of Bolivian presidents, and digital-nomad hubs with co-working areas and strong Wi-Fi. If food's a key consideration, look out for a La Paz hostel with restaurant-quality communal kitchen facilities or free breakfasts. There are even rooftop hostels in La Paz, with views of the city's varied buildings set against the jagged Altiplano mountain range.
El Centro (literally "the centre") is the heart of La Paz. West of Plaza San Francisco, you'll find lots of international restaurants and shops near all the main sights. East of the square has more of a local vibe and lots of impressive government buildings to check out. You can also explore the colourful Calle Jaén alley and the landmark Plaza Murillo. Sopocachi is La Paz's bohemian area, with grand colonial-era mansions and a whole host of upmarket cafés, bars and clubs.
Walking tours are an inexpensive way to get to grips with La Paz, and usually start around the square outside Plaza San Pedro. The guides will help you explore the top sights, including the Mercado Rodriguez market, where women in indigenous clothing sell fruits and vegetables. Don't miss the museums either: the Ethnography Museum is full of intriguing Bolivian folklore finds and the Museum of Musical Instruments will give you a glimpse of the country's rich musical culture.
The modern Swiss-made cable cars are one of the best ways to get around La Paz. This ingenious method of transport not only gets you from A to B in double-quick time, but also gives you amazing views over the city. Buses and colectivos (minibuses) cover certain routes – check with your hostel staff for the most current schedules and information. The city is also the gateway to the "Death Road" for downhill mountain biking, reachable from the bright yellow La Paz Bus Station in a couple of hours.