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Overview to La Paz: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

La Paz

Perched between the pincers of a canyon high up in the mountains, La Paz is an awe-inspiring sight. But it’s also got more attractions than just rugged surroundings: the friendly people and vivacious street life here are, for most travelers, the real highlight of a stay.

As a general rule of thumb, the closer you get to the bottom of the valley in which the city sits, the more affluent the area. The oxygen levels are low in this high-altitude city, which makes for a generally sedate pace to life, and explains why the richer inhabitants congregate towards the canyon floor.

The colonial center of La Paz sits to the east of El Prado (the main thoroughfare called, at various points, Avenida 16 de Junio and Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz) and radiates out from Plaza Murillo. The president’s palace is found here, along with the city’s impressive cathedral.

In the surrounding area, Calle Ingavi boasts the Iglesia Santo Domingo. Further north, Calle Jean offers a selection of fantastically well-preserved colonial buildings containing four different museums covering everything from musical instruments to gold Incan artifacts.

The indigenous neighborhoods of the city lie to the west of El Prado, where the winding streets and alleyways are home to the gorgeous Iglesia de San Francisco and the Mercado de Hechiceria (the Witches’ Market) that offers an amazing glimpse into Aymaran mysticism and medicine.

Here, the city also ripples with a vibrancy, color and life that you’ll rarely encounter anywhere else in the world. All in all, it's an atmosphere that most travelers quite understandably find impossible to resist.

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