Bolivian’s love to celebrate events with parties and festivals. In fact, there are hundreds of festivals in Bolivia throughout the year. These celebrations often continue into the night. There is no shortage of nightlife in La Paz. From rock venues to techno clubs to relaxing acoustic music, there is something for everyone in this lively city.
ALIVE Music Bar (San Miguel)
This venue is located in the southern end of town in the San Miguel neighborhood along Avenida Montenegro. This bar often has live rock music and drink specials. It is a fun place to listen to live music and interact with locals.
Address: Avenida Montenegro 893, La Paz, Bolivia
Hours: 9:30 pm – 4:00 am
This bar usually has a nice mix of locals and travelers and a nice atmosphere. On Thursdays they have Afro-Bolivian dancing and music known as Saya. This generally starts around 10pm and lasts through the night.
On the weekends Malegria has a variety of local and pop music to keep everyone dancing into the night. They have a coat check, nice sized dance floor area and more of a lounge area off to the side. This bar is located in the Sopocachi area of La Paz which is close to the Radisson and Camino Real. It is just a few kilometers from downtown.
Address: c. Goitia Nro. 155 (Sopocachi), La Paz, Bolivia
Diesel Nacional (Sopocachi)
Diesel is aptly named for its junkyard décor. Pieces of old trains, cars and airplanes are key pieces of decoration inside and out. The decorations create a unique but cool atmosphere. This bar is a nice place to grab a few drinks with friends before heading to the clubs. Plus, it is located just around the corner from Malegria.
Av 20 de Octubre 2271, Sopocachi
New Pa’Goza (Sopocachi)
New Pa’Goza is a popular dance club located in Sopocachi that is regularly full on weekends and late at night. This club generally plays electronic music and is a great place to have a beer or people watch from the lounge and bar area above the dance floor. Be warned though, this small club has poor ventilation and is generally very smoky. They also have a coat check.
Local discotecas and penas
Hidden down sidestreets or up steep staircases are dozens of discotecas and penas. These bars and clubs often have live music or djs and are great places to interact with locals. Rarely do travelers venture into these venues on their own. That being said, the music and people always create a fun and entertaining atmosphere. There is no better way to get to know locals than to swap stories over drinks. Bocaisapo is a local favorite and is located in near the historic Calle Jaen area of La Paz.
Sagarnaga Street Pubs (Downtown La Paz)
Along the main tourist street in La Paz, known as Sagarnaga, there are dozens of restaurants and pubs that cater to travelers. These pubs generally close fairly early by La Paz standards, around 1 or 2 am. These spots are fairly pricey for Bolivia with drinks averaging 25 – 30 Bs (~US $4) for a beer or spirit. These bars are a great spot to meet other travelers, have a beer and catch up on sports.
Don't forget to check out local festivals or celebrations while you are visiting Bolivia. These celebrations are always lively and highlight Bolivian culture. Be sure to look out for these popular events:
La Paz Day July 16 – La Paz
Gran Poder (May or June) – La Paz
Carnival (February) – Oruro
Independence Day (August 6) – Nationwide
Book a room for your stay in La Paz:
Bolivia is home to a range of beautiful landscapes. From sky-high mountains to the jungle to the the desert. There are scenic views at every turn. Below is a collection of some of our favorite places in Bolivia.
View of the Andes Mountains from Lake Titicaca
Huayna Potosi of the Andes Mountains
View of the Andes Mountains from the top of Huayna Potosi
Salar de Uyuni
Flamingos at the Salar de Uyuni
Colorful Siloli Desert
Ollague Volcano near the Salar de Uyuni
Sunset from Hotel Rosario Lago Titicaca
Lake Titicaca and the town of Copacabana
Planning a trip to Bolivia? Please feel free to email us with questions regarding your Bolivia tour itinerary!
Read about Day 1 at the Salar de Uyuni or Day 2 at the Salar de Uyuni
On the final day we left at 5:30 am and went to the Sol de Manana Geysers (Morning Sun Geysers) for a spectacular sunrise. The geysers are beautiful, especially at sunrise, but have a very strong sulfur smell. Morning light through the geyser mist creates stunning photos. The main geyser is very loud but it's a great way to wake up in the morning.
After the geysers, we went to the nearby hot springs for a relaxing soak. Since it was winter, it was still about freezing this time of the morning. Changing out of winter clothes and into a bikini in freezing cold weather is never fun! The hot springs were very crowded, with multiple tour companies stopping at the springs in the morning, but it was still nice to relax for while.
The next stop on the tour was the Salvador Dali Desert. The landscapes in the area were inspiration for many of Salvador Dali's paintings. After this, we went to Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca. The trip was coming to an end at this point. We drove to the border to drop off our group members that were transferring to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. From here the trip is basically a long drive back to Uyuni. We passed interesting lava flow landscapes, a rock valley and the small mining town of San Cristobal. We arrived in Uyuni around 6:00 pm.
The border crossing between Bolivia and Chile
The last day is mostly driving but there are some beautiful landscapes and wildlife along the way. We recommend bringing a book or music for the journey.
Day 3 highlights (Clockwise from top left: Sol de Manana Geysers, Salvador Dali Desert, Llamas, Laguna Verde)
Day 3: Menu
Breakfast: pancakes (jam, caramel, butter), drinkable yogurt, corn flakes, and hot beverages (tea, coffee, cocoa)
Lunch: tuna, white rice, vegetable platter, peaches and beverages (coke and water)
The night buses left around 8:00 pm from Uyuni. Expect an arrival in La Paz around 6:00 am or 7:00 am.
Highlights of the trip include stunning scenery, a variety of wildlife (foxes, alpacas, llamas, flamingo), amazing sunsets and star gazing. Read more about Salar de Uyuni highlights
The food tends to be very carb heavy without much protein or vitamins. We recommend bringing some fruit well as peanuts or some other protein rich snacks. An extra 2 liter bottle of water per person for the duration of the trip should be sufficient.
The Salar de Uyuni trip was one of my favorite tours in Bolivia. The entire experience is great and some of the best scenery in the country is found in the area. Be sure not to miss the Salar de Uyuni when you visit Bolivia!
Questions? Need help planning your itinerary? Send us an email and we'll help you out.
Authentic Bolivian cuisine remains true to its origin with typical diets still consisting of locally grown ingredients with some Spanish influence. Today, restaurants are creating modern Bolivian cuisine that incorporates traditional ingredients with a culinary twist. Quinoa ice cream, gourmet llama, cactus and alligator are some of my favorite ingredients now included on menus around La Paz.
To highlight Bolivian cuisine, Turisbus, our tour operator portion of our company, is in the process of creating a food tour. The tour will feature Bolivian cuisine and ingredients but with a modern fusion. Classic Bolivian cocktails and wines will also be showcased.
- Sopa de mani: peanut based broth with chicken and potatoes
- Chairo: soup consisting primarily of potato, onion, corn, beef and other vegetables
- Fricase: soup made of pork, potatoes and spicy broth
- Pique Macho: filling meal of beef, sausage, potatoes, onion, egg and peppers topped with a spicy sauce
- Charque: dried, salted meat (usually llama or beef) similar to jerky
- Saltenas: a sweet pastry usually filled with meat, potatoes and a spicy sauce generally enjoyed in the morning
- Chufly: traditional cocktail made from singani (local brandy made from grapes), ginger ale and lime
- Suspiro: baked meringue dessert
Creation of a new tour is always exciting since it involves exploring new locations and in this case, trying a variety of mouth-watering meals, desserts, wines and drinks from the best restaurants in La Paz. For the research, I visited over 30 of the best restaurants in town based on TripAdvisor reviews and word of mouth recommendations from locals and travelers. There were a handful of restaurants that were reoccurring favorites. These favorite locations will be featured on the food tour.
Llama with cactus, honey and yogurt at Gustu (left) & Trout with sautéed vegetables and potatoes at Tambo Colonial (right)
One stop on the tour will be at Gustu. This restaurant has been featured in notable food magazines and blogs around the world including, Food & Wine and AFAR. Gustu is the newest project from Noma’s co-founder, Claus Meyer. Noma is a three-time winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and is currently ranked #1. The restaurant also has an apprenticeship program that trains local youths about cuisine and entrepreneurship.
Read Food & Wine Magazines featured article “Is Gustu the World’s Best New Restaurant?”
Their menu currently features 5-course, 7-course or 15-course tasting menus as well as a la carte food and drink items. All ingredients and drinks are Bolivian. They feature traditional menu items such as charque (jerky), anticucho (beef heart) and salteñas (meat filled pastries). Fusion menu items include llama with cactus and honey, soft poached rabbit with citric cream and lemon grass or decadent red berries with raw milk ice cream.
Baked desserts from the markets (left) & Red berries with raw milk ice cream at Gustu (right)
Another stop on the food tour will feature French cuisine. This restaurant, Chez Moustache, is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor for restaurants in La Paz. The owner is from France and acts as the chef and manager and bartender at this charming restaurant.
The food at Chez Moustache incorporates Bolivian wines and ingredients into French style cuisine. Menu items feature local trout, duck and even alligator. Traditional mouth-watering crème brûlée and chocolate mousse are also available. Fresh produce is purchased daily from the local markets.
Join us on our food tour, which will be available later this year, to taste traditional food, inspired fusion dishes, delectable deserts, local wines and exceptional cocktails. Our tour will give you a chance to try some of the best Bolivian cuisine and drinks in La Paz.
We would love to hear your thoughts about the food tour. What dishes sound appealing? What is one menu item you desire to taste while in Bolivia? Feel free to leave comments on our blog!
Find out more information about our tours and services:
Day 2 of the Salar de Uyuni tour began at 8:30 after a restful sleep at the salt hotel. (Read about Salar de Uyuni day 1 adventures here)
We departed from the hotel and drove through the Salar de Chiguana, a small nearby salt flat, and then went to the semi-active and smoking Ollague Volcano which is located just inside the Chilean border.
View of the smoking, semi-active Ollague Volcano
We visited 4 small lagoons (Laguna Canapa, Laguna Hedionda, Laguna Chiarkota, Laguna Honda) and saw 3 different types of flamingos that call the lagoons home. We stopped for lunch at Laguna Canapa. Wildlife views at Laguna Canapa were one of the highlights of the tour (see photos below). After lunch we drove through the colorful mountains of the Siloli Desert. The Siloli desert is simply stunning. Our tour guide brought us directly to the base of the mountains whereas most of the other tours viewed the mountains from a viewpoint far off in the distance. Our group stood in silence at the base of the mountains, taking in the natural beauty of our surroundings. We also saw famous the stone tree (Arbol de Piedra).
One of the highlights of the tour is the Eduardo Avaroa National Park which has a steep entrance fee of 150 Bolivianos (~22 USD) to enter the park. Unfortunately, the wildlife viewing and photo opportunities were limited that day.
We spent the night in very basic accommodation near Laguna Colorada. The accommodation consisted of shared dorms that only had electricity for a few hours per night (no heat of any kind). It was very cold at night but the star gazing was spectacular due to the limited light pollution.
Day 2 Menu:
Breakfast: bread with spreads (caramel, butter, jam) and hot beverages (tea, coffee, cocoa)
Lunch: crumbed chicken, pasta, mixed vegetables, apples and beverages (water and coke)
Dinner: vegetable soup, spaghetti and beverages (water and coke) including a bottle of wine for every group
Day 2 of the Salar de Uyuni trip was my personal favorite because of the stunning scenery and wildlife viewings. Look out for the next post. Highlights include a relaxing soak in natural hot springs and llamas!
Book a Salar de Uyuni tour with us!
Short on time but want to visit the beautiful Salar de Uyuni? With only 3 days, it is still possible to see highlights within the stunning Salar de Uyuni! Take the night bus (a variety of companies leave La Paz in the evening) and arrive in Uyuni early the next day. Be warned, the bus from La Paz to Uyuni is extremely bumpy! Not recommended for light sleepers. Short flights are also available. Read our blog posts for more information:
Flights in Bolivia
Getting to the Salar de Uyuni
Choosing a Salar de Uyuni Tour Operator
We left La Paz at 9:00 pm with Todo Turismo (one of the best bus companies in La Paz). The company was celebrating its 9th anniversary and gave passengers complimentary cupcakes and wine in celebration. It was a great start to the trip. The bus was very modern and had reclining seats with foot rests and a working but also clean toilet. The staff members were also excellent. This company comes highly recommended but take note that seats are often sold out days or weeks in advance depending on the season.
Dinner on board: Small box of chicken, rice and vegetables and water
Added bonus: cupcake and sweet white wine
Breakfast: crackers, strawberry wafers and strawberry yogurt
The bus arrived to Uyuni late at approximately 9:00 am with a scheduled arrival of 7:00 am (late departure due to the company celebration), which worked out fine because most tour operators leave around 10:00 or 10:30 am. The majority of the tour operators in town only offer Spanish speaking guides but it is possible to find an English speaking guide for an extra fee. Many people arrive in town and jump on a tour the same day. The most reputable tour companies tend to sell out in advance.
After arranging the tours, the company filled the 4x4 vehicles with food, water, sleeping bags and other necessities. By 11:00 the majority of the tour companies had left the town and were en route to the nearby train cemetery. Groups stopped to take photos at the train cemetery then went to the town of Colchani. On the way we passed mounds of salt that were in the process of drying to be turned into packaged salt. In Colchani we saw a brief demonstration of the salt making process. After, went to the Hotel del Sal which is the first hotel made completely of salt. The hotel is no longer operating because of a lack of water and various environmental reasons. The groups stopped for a quick lunch and photos.
Day 1 highlights (Clockwise from top left: Train cemetery, Flags at Hotel del Sal, Group on salt mounds, Isle del Pescado)
After lunch we drove towards the center of the salt flat to take fun photographs playing perspective. It is a good idea to buy toys or props beforehand although there are vendors along the way .The prices are higher than in La Paz. Our group used dinosaurs, llamas and Pringles cans. After capturing scenic Salar de Uyuni photographs our group went to Isle del Pescado (Fish Island) for a short hike and photographs. The first day of the tour ended at the town of Agencha with a stay in a salt hotel.
The accommodation in Agencha was much better than expected with 24-hour electricity, en suite rooms and possible warm showers. Plus, it wasn’t too cold.
Day 1 menu:
Lunch: Beef, quinoa, plate of steamed veggies and beverages (coke or water)
Dinner: Chicken soup followed by chicken, potatoes, portion of mixed vegetables and beverages (coke or water)
Look for our next blog post about Salar de Uyuni Day 2 Tour Highlights.
Book a Salar de Uyuni tour with us!
(NOTE: this tour itinerary was with a different company but Turisbus visits similar destinations. View the Turisbus Salar de Uyuni Itinerary)
Travel trends show an increase in the number of people seeking off the beaten path adventures and cultural immersion. Travelers are generally taking longer trips and are making an effort to truly experience local culture, food and lifestyle, while sharing their discoveries with fellow nomads.
There has been a fundamental shift in the age of travelers. Two emerging groups of travelers are millennial aged backpackers and retiring baby boomers. With the aging of the baby boomer generation, a large proportion of travelers are at or nearing retirement age. This age group of travelers generally has the financial means and time to take leisurely round the world vacations which they have been dreaming of for years. These vacations generally last weeks to months and involve a level of comfort but also exploration.
Another trend in tourism is with the millennial age group of travelers. With the recovering global economy, many young adults are opting to take a gap year to travel and work. These travelers are generally referred to as backpackers.
With the increasing popularity of social media, travelers can easily share their experiences with friends, family and complete strangers. Thanks to Instagram, Facebook, numerous blog sites and other internet resources, the beauty and appeal of travel has never been greater. People are eager to see bucket list destinations or explore new destinations. In 2012, more than one billion people traveled internationally.
Luckily, because of its central location in Latin America, more and more tourists are traveling through Bolivia. At this stage Bolivia tourism is still developing and delayed flights, broken down buses and other issues are still common. Bolivia travel can be difficult but infrastructure is improving every day.
Bolivia is largely untouched by commercial enterprises compared to many other countries in the world. There are no McDonalds in Bolivia and very few chain hotels or restaurants. Bolivia provides authentic cultural experiences for those who dare to explore it.
Local woman and child
More and more travelers are discovering the best Bolivia tourist attractions. Every day an increasing number of people visit the Amazon Rainforest from Bolivia. Madidi National Park in Bolivia is home to a variety of stunning flora and fauna. Bolivia also offers world-class mountain trekking and climbing for a reasonable price. The nearby Andes Mountains are one of the best Bolivia tourist attractions.
Popular Bolivia tourist attractions also include mountain biking. Our most famous bike trip involves harrowing hairpin turns and steep cliffs on the infamous Death Road. Another popular attraction is the Salar de Uyuni which is the world’s largest salt flat. This vast white desert makes the perfect background for stunning photographs. During the wet season the Salar de Uyuni becomes the world’s largest mirror. Lake Titicaca, or the world’s highest navigable lake, is another popular attraction in Bolivia. The sleepy town of Copacabana is a great place to begin your Lake Titicaca adventures.
Salar de Uyuni during the wet season
Top Bolivia tourist attractions:
Bolivia tourism is still in its infancy compared to neighboring tourism powerhouse countries. Because of the contrasting landscapes, beauty and culture of this country, we believe that Bolivia is one of the best countries to explore.
With stunning scenery, friendly locals, unique culture, rich history and exotic cuisine, Bolivia is a magical destination. This land is a country for travelers who seek off the beaten path adventures.
For tips about Bolivia travel read our blog posts:
Flights in Bolivia
La Paz travel tips
When to visit the Salar de Uyuni
Getting to the Salar de Uyuni
A few weeks ago I was invited on a "Fam Biking Trip" to Palca Valley with one of the best local bike companies in La Paz, Gravity Assisted. Gravity Assisted is one of the safest bike companies in La Paz and is our company of choice for Death Road tours.
Gravity Assisted was celebrating the opening of their new office in the Witches Market area of La Paz. They invited some of the tour companies on a family bike trip to celebrate their new office and introduce a new tour they will be offering.
We met at the new office off of Linares Street. La Paz is not a big city, so most of the people invited on the tour knew each other or a handful of other people. I was the exception, being a short term intern in La Paz. It was wonderful meeting locals and expatriates who were in the tourism business and also love Bolivia.
After a short meeting in the new office we were off to Valle de las Animas. After an hour long bus ride we arrived at the trail head or "The Soul Trail". This ride is marketed as an easy ride on downhill roads through beautiful canyons, countryside and the historic town of Palca.
View of Mt. Illimani from Valle de las Animas
The trail head was a turnoff on the road leading to Valle de las Animas and had stunning views of Mt. Illimani. The equipment were unloaded and we were fitted with bikes, helmets, gloves and optional knee pads. The guides gave us short briefings about the trail, safety and general mountain biking tips.
The group and bikes on arrival at Valle de las Animas
After the briefing and a few minutes of practice, we were off. The initial part of the ride was on a wide road with a gradual descent. We passed by small houses, llamas and locals while enjoying views of the nearby canyon. We stopped frequently for photo opportunities and to keep the group together.
The trail become slightly more difficult later, with steeper grades and sharper turns as well as a few creek and dry river bed crossings. Part of the trail becomes an impassable river during the wet season in Bolivia.
With such a large group of bikers, ranging in availability, the ride took longer than expected and we didn't make it down to the mines as planned. Regardess, the ride was great and the views were stunning.
Riders in Palca Canyon
After finishing our ride we went to the beautiful Alkamiri Boutique Eco-Resort and Spa for a barbeque lunch. Our lunch was held in their lovely fomal dining room. The hotel is set away from the road and has breathtaking views of the nearby canyons and mountains.
After lunch we went back to La Paz and caught the end of the World Cup game.
"The Soul Trail" ride is a great half day tour in La Paz and wonderful practice from the famous Death Road. The tour provides stunning views of Illimani and is a great day trip for those wishing to escape the city. This bike ride is suitable for less experienced riders. However, a few of the participants did have minor falls on this trip. Take caution and wear necessary gear to avoid injury.
I was fortunate to participate in this family bike trip and have the opportunity to meet some of the best tourism operators in the country while enjoying a lovely afternoon in Valle de las Animas and Palca Canyon. It was also great practice for the Death Road. I highly recommend taking a tour of this beautiful area just outside of La Paz. The landscapes of Valle de la Luna, Palca Canyon, Valle de las Animas and Muela del Diablo are stunning.
Need a Death Road tour? Book a tour with Grupo Rosario!
La Paz is a lively city and great budget travel destination to explore for a few days. Souvenirs are some of the cheapest in Latin America. People often spend days browsing the markets of Calle Sagarnaga for souvenirs, trekking gear and other random finds such as unique instruments or custom made leather goods. Food can be extremely cheap. Clothing is reasonably priced.
Very cheap but good quality leather goods such as custom made jackets are located throughout the city. A variety of leather purses and shoes are also plentiful. In general, souvenirs and goods on Sagarnaga are the most expensive. To avoid tourist prices, head further up the hill past Illampu. There are clothing stores and stalls along Tumusla between Plaza Eguino and Garita de Lima. Fresh produce, personal beauty items, and electronics galore can be found along Max Paredes and the surrounding streets.
The markets of El Alto have anything and everything for sale. Here, it is possible to find recycled clothing or parts to build an entire car or even a house. I have seen everything from used socks to new cars being sold in the markets of El Alto which takes over a large part of city every Thursday and Saturday. This market, called “16 de Julio,” is worth exploring if you are in the area. Make sure and watch your belongings due to pick pockets. Do not wear flashy clothing or bring expensive electronics.
El Alto market vendors selling chicken, fruit, toys and movies
For cheap food, eat where the locals eat. Filling 3-course lunches can be found in the Mercado Lanza or other small restaurants for about 15 Bolivianos or US $2. These restaurants are probably best avoided for anyone with a sensitive stomach but travelers often frequent these restaurants without problems.
Market prices around La Paz:
2 Bolivianos (US $0.30)
- Bus ticket - on the La Paz public bus or mini buses
- 4 bananas
- Snacks - peanuts, beans or small chocolates from street stands
- Disposable tissues
- Glass of juice - juices being sold from a glasses in street stands
- Coke or soda - in glass bottles from markets or street stands
4 Bolivianos (US $0.60)
- Tucumana - a deep fried Bolivian version of an empanada
- Saltena - sweet and juicy meat and potato filled snack
- Cake / pastry - desserts from small stands
- Bottled water - 600 ml (20 oz)
- Avocado sandwich - found in cafeteria stalls inside the Mercado Lanza
7-10 Bolivianos (US $1 - 1.50)
- Bag of apples - roughly a dozen small apples
- Non-alcoholic drink - in central tourist restaurants
- 10 pack of pain medicine - tylenol, ibuprofin, paracetamol or similar
- 10 pack of throat drops
- Phone credit - local credit for texts, internet
- Burger and fries - from street stands that pop-up at night
- Fruit smoothie - from Mercado Lanza or street stands
- Gloves - basic pair of gloves
- Leg warmers - knit pair from touristy shops
- Taxi - price for a ride within the city center
25 Bolivianos (US $3.50)
- 2 or 3 course lunch - including soup, main and sometimes dessert (many restaurants offer this for 15 or 20 Bolivianos)
- Shampoo or conditioner - fairly expensive but most brands are imported from the US or Europe
- Women's haircut - nothing fancy but a decent trim with layers
- Wine - decent Bolivian wine from a small shop / stand
- Taxi - price for a ride to Zona Sur or the south end of town which takes approximately 20-30 minutes depending on traffic
- Beer or wine - from most restaurants or clubs (imported drinks and spirts with mixers tend to be more)
- Dessert - from a midrange or upscale restaurant in town
- Pillow - souvenir pillow covers from the markets
- Hat - souvenir knit hats
- Scarf - souvenir small knit scarf
70 - 100 Bolivianos (US $10-15)
- Dinner w/ beverage - average price at most midrange and nice tourist restaurants in the city
- Day tour to Chacaltaya and Valle de la Luna (basic budget tour)
- Private accomodation - in a hostel
- Jacket - Northface or similar knockoff light jacket or fleece
- "Alpaca" sweater - most likely not made from alpaca but decent sweaters that make nice gifts regardless
- Shoes - basic pair of tennis shoes
- Jeans - decent pair (leggings and t-shirts will be less)
- Purse - a small but nice leather purse
400-500 Bolivianos (US $60-70)
- Death Road tour - price from mid-range tour operators
- 1 night in a hotel - price for a mid-range hotel in La Paz
- Leather jacket - quality and price varies but many shops offer custom leather jackets in this price range
- Leather purse / backpack
1000 Bolivianos (US $150)
- 2 or 3 day mountain climbing tour - Huayna Potosi or other climb including transportation, food, guide and most gear
- 20 hours of private Spanish lessons - price for a popular language school in town but group and private tutors can cost much less
La Paz is overflowing with shops, markets, restaurants, street stalls and tour agencies. Shopping in La Paz can seem a bit overwhelming at first but we hope this guide will help!
Please feel free to ask us any questions about prices, attractions, accomodation or cuisine in La Paz. We're here to help.
Huayna Potosi is one of the most popular mountain climbs in Bolivia and is often called the world's easiest 6000 meter climb (19,685 feet). That being said, no 6000 meter climb is easy. Huayna Potosi is an easier 6000 meter climb than most mountains because it is located just under 2 hours from La Paz, offers decent accommodation and does not require a lot of technical climbing. Plus, the actual climb from high camp is only about 1100 meters (3,608 feet) and takes about 5-6 hours.
View of Huayna Potosi
Last Friday I started a 3 day mountaineering tour with Altitud6000. I chose this company because of their reviews on TripAdvisor and also because of pricing, availability and all around helpfulness. Many tour companies in La Paz offer 2 or 3 day tours but I highly recommend the 3 day tours for acclimatization. I met many climbers along the way that did not reach the summit, even on 3 day tours.
The 3 day tour to Huayna Potosi with Altitud6000 is currently 1400 Bolivianos ($202 US). This price is 30-40% higher than some of the other tour operators in town but I believe it was worth it. This company has great guides, good food and they provided ALL of the necessary equipment.
On the morning of Friday, July 18, I arrived to their office at 8:30 am. I met some of the guides and other climbers and then was off on my 3 day adventure! They took us to their off-site storage location just a few blocks away. Here they gave us our equipment. We were fitted with everything that we needed for our climb. I was given 2 pairs of gloves (inner and outer), thermal fleece pants, waterproof pants, a shell jacket, headlamp, boots, crampons, gaitors and even wool socks to wear with the boots.
After trying all of our gear we were driven up to base camp on Huayna Potosi. Base camp is exactly that, a base camp. No luxuries but a comfortable stay with a dining area and cabin full of bunks. We were given lunch and then set off to the nearby glacier to practice walking with crampons, using an ice axe and try ice climbing. There were 12 people in my group and this was everyone's first time attempting to climb a 6000 meter mountain. This was my first time even wearing a harness or crampons.
My amazing group hiking up to Rock Camp
On the second day we woke up early and hiked to the upper camp. Once at the upper camp, altitude 5130 meters, we were literally stuffed with food for about 6 hours straight. We were given mid-morning tea with cookies, crackers and bread followed by a massive lunch of burgers and fries. They gave us mid-afternoon tea with more snacks followed by chicken soup and a plate of trout and potatoes. Throughout the day we were advised to drink coca tea to help with the altitude. All of this before 6 pm. After 6 pm it was lights out and time for bed. With the altitude and unusual sleep schedule, most people in the camp did not sleep well.
On Sunday we woke up at 12:30 am! We had just enough time to carb load with bread and cake before getting ready. By 1:30 am we set off into the darkness with our trekking gear, water, snacks and cameras. We assembled at the base of the climb and put on our crampons and gaiters in the dark. The climbers were assigned to a guide, 2 per guide, and tethered to the guide for the duration of the climb.
A short time into our hike we could see the lights of El Alto between nearby peaks. Between the sparkly fresh snow, city lights and moonlight, the views were absolutely stunning. Our tour guides kept a slow and steady pace and stopped us approximately every 45 minutes to give us hot tea and chocolate.
We passed over crevasses and next to massive glaciers which were hard to see in the dark. We continued to climb through the night. No one in our group had any major issues with the altitude or other issues during the climb.
The ascent took about 6 hours. Our entire group of 12 made it to the summit of 6,088 meters (19,974 feet)! Unfortunately we didn't quite make it to the summit for sunrise but the views were stunning regardless. We only spent a few minutes at the top to take pictures, admire the view and congratulate each other before heading back down.
View from the top of Huayna Potosi
We used all of our energy and adrenaline for the ascent but the descent was the most difficult part of the climb. At this point the sun was shining and we could see the steepness of the ridges and the depth of the crevasses we had crossed in the dark of night.
This was by far one of the best experiences of my life. I highly recommend a trip to Huayna Potosi or another 6000 meter peak for active travelers passing through the beautiful Andes Mountain range area. Altitud6000 was also a wonderful company to use. I found them highly professional but also a lot of fun. This was one of those experiences that I will never forget.
Please don't hesitate to contact us about adventures in Bolivia.
We would love to help you book your perfect trip!