This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in La Paz. To help you make friends with La Paz before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
At at three thousand six hundred sixty meters, La Paz is the world´s highest city, which you will realize as you try to labour breathlessly up its unforgivingly steep, dusty, and noisy streets. Its more than one million inhabitants crowd its cobbled zonal streets, which circuit and sprawl around the sides of the bowl-shaped valley upon which it is built. La Paz is notorious for pickpockets; be careful to avoid losing your wallet.
There are hordes of backpacker hostels and hotels to suit every budget and taste around the tourist area of Sagarnaga, LLampu and Murillo in central La Paz. Check out a few hostels in La Paz before making a choice, as they vary widely in price and quality. It is also possible to bargain down, especially during midweek or if you're intending to stay a few days. If you have a specific hostel in mind, it is worth booking ahead to ensure you get a room, as the most popular hostels are often booked out, especially during La Paz´s frequent festivals. Many of the hostels include a substantial breakfast worthy of considering when making your choice.
The temperature reflects the high altitude; although on sunny afternoons it can reach the mid-teens Celsius, the nights often drop below freezing. Be sure to grab an alpaca jumper at the craft shops splashing through the tourist streets, alleyways, and marketplaces in an endless sprawling maze. Besides the craft shops, there are plenty of museums covering everything from South American musical instruments, ancient gold and silver artifacts, and coca production (Calle Linares). These are clustered around Calle Jaen and Plaza Murillo, all within the tourist zone.
For bars, pick up some of the flyers dotted around hostels and eateries. For a cultural experience, head to one of the illusive Penas to check out some traditional Andean folk music and sink some beers with the locals.
La Paz is a great base for countless activities such as the World's Most Dangerous Bike Ride to Coroico (you can book from any number of agencies on Sagarnaga -- it is worth paying extra for good, safe gear). Alternatively, hiking, skiing, nature walks, and Amazon boat trips can all be organised from La Paz.