Welcome from Mr. Ivan Arias Durán
H. Mayor of Nuestra Señora de La Paz
La Paz synthesises the diversity and contrast of Bolivia, which is why we call it the city of a thousand colours. We can walk up steep streets and encounter colonial buildings in a journey through time, and a few metres away we come face to face with modern buildings of the 21st century. Here it is possible to taste traditional dishes in the markets and then be seduced by sophisticated gourmet food and know that the fiesta takes on a special meaning, with bohemian and art in every corner and folklore, with national music, present in the peñas and popular entrances.
La Paz is a city on the move, with a high plateau landscape that blends into a city that offers visitors attractions 24 hours a day. But it is also a municipality that keeps the warm climate of the jungle, with rivers and evergreen trees, and mountains that invite the adventurous.
For this and much more I invite you to visit us and let yourself be captivated by this city of a thousand colours and always on the move.
Iván Arias Durán
H. Mayor of Nuestra Señora de La Paz
City of contrasts
La Paz, the political capital of Bolivia, is a welcoming city, full of contrasts and with a unique living culture. It is the most surprising meeting point of national cultures with the western world, which is why it has become the most cosmopolitan city in Bolivia. To walk through its streets is to live day by day with its deeply rooted culture and tradition.
Founded in 1548 as a resting point between the transit Potosí and Cusco, in a town called Laja located in the middle of the Altiplano, later, due to the altitude and cold climate of the place, it was moved further east; to the edge of the Altiplano where the ravines begin and a warmer place called Chuquiago Choqueyapu (in Aymara Chuquiyapu, 'potato or gold farm'), considering that the pit in which the city is currently located was crossed by the Choqueyapu River, in whose course gold could be found.
The city is built on at least 200 rivers that cross it in different directions and whose waters originate in the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real de Los Andes, among them the emblematic Illimani, whose figures symbolise the advance of the ancient settlers; popular belief says that when the figures reach the top, the original inhabitants of these lands will be free again, a theme related to the Spanish conquest.
The city centre is a unitary urban ensemble with neoclassical and academicist architecture such as the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de La Paz, the Legislative Palace and the Government Palace. A characteristic of the city and the municipality is the symbiosis between the modern, the indigenous and the colonial, which gives the municipality of La Paz, made up of nine macro-districts, an eclectic character that defines its culture and its daily life.
A stroll through the city of La Paz is a journey back in time, where you can appreciate constructions from colonial times, with narrow streets designed for horse-drawn carriages, mixed with the avant-garde constructions of buildings destined, for the most part, for public and private offices.
The city has expanded towards the hillsides, forming new macro-districts in the municipality. From the lower parts of the city, you can see constructions that defy the laws of engineering and form a landscape that is unequalled by any visitor with magnificent views of its topography and colours.
Descending 200 metres from the city centre towards a warmer climate, in the southern part of the city, elegant mansions and modern housing complexes have been built, which nowadays constitute an important centre of commerce and gastronomy. During weekends, several blocks of the neighbourhood of San Miguel, located in this area, become pedestrianised so that locals and foreigners alike can enjoy the different dishes of La Paz gastronomy and visit its shops.
The municipality of La Paz has a territorial extension of 2,012 km2 and more than 90% of its territory is rural. It boasts diverse natural scenery scattered in various ecological levels ranging from 400 to more than 6,000 metres above sea level, offering a range of options for nature tourism and specialised tourism.
The natural potential of the municipality as a natural tourist destination was confirmed in the current administration with the first place, worldwide, in the City Nature Challenge 2022 with more than 136,000 observations of fauna and flora and 4,383 species records, breaking all the records of the world competition with valuable records of animals and plants. Thanks to the incredible scenery of high biodiversity, as well as being among the top 5 cities with the highest diversity of bird species (more than 150), La Paz is an undisputed nature destination.
It is also an ideal destination for adventure tourism, its varied topography allows the practice of different sports and adventure activities such as rappelling, rock climbing, paragliding, biking, downhill, canyoning; and in its high mountains, ice climbing, skiing and snowboarding, and mountaineering in the Huayna Potosi considered as the 6. 000 most accessible in the world, as well as many other adventure activities; all this thanks to the presence of the Cordillera Real de Los Andes in the territory of the municipality that in 2018 was considered by CNN International as an alternative destination to the crowded trekking routes of the Cusco region in Peru.
Traditionally, each of the 9 macro-districts of the municipality carries out ceremonies, rituals and festivities throughout the year, so La Paz has a rich festive calendar for 365 days of the year.
Of these patron saint festivities, the Señor de Jesús del Gran Poder festival stands out. In 2019 it was declared by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage of Humanity for its high cultural and artistic value. In addition, thanks to the preservation of ancestral traditions and a living culture, La Paz is an ideal place to learn about the traditions and ancestral knowledge of the Andean peoples. In this way, emblematic traditional festivals such as Todos Santos, ñatitas, carnivals, Alasitas (miniature festival), among others, and spaces for the exhibition and sale of traditional products such as the popular Mercado de las Brujas, where one can acquire elements for the traditional "challa" or retribution to Mother Earth. Likewise, La Paz has a rich history expressed in the various buildings that are heritage of the municipality and museums with an exceptional value at a national level.
All this cultural richness has led the city of La Paz to be declared by the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI) three times as Ibero-American Capital of Cultures in 1999, 2009 and the last time in 2018.
The gastronomy in La Paz is authentic, exquisite and full of intense flavours. Each dish highlights the culinary and traditional richness that is still latent in various endemic products and flavours. But it also has a variety of internationally renowned restaurants; sustainable enterprises, with social responsibility, with haute cuisine proposals but also revaluing the food heritage, becoming a gastronomic destination in the world. For this reason, in 2021 the famous list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants ranked the restaurants Gustu (36) and Ali Pacha (94) as the best restaurants in Bolivia, both located in the city of La Paz, and also named the chef from La Paz of the restaurant Gustu: Marsia Taha as the Latin America's Rising Star Female Chef 2021.
Beyond the aforementioned vocations and modalities, there is enough potential for the development of specialised tourism such as bird watching, mountain tourism, convention tourism, sports, gastronomy and others.
All this potential makes La Paz a world class destination, its modern tourist plant, capable of satisfying the most demanding visitor, gives the destination unique characteristics of originality and modernity.
For this reason, recognising the importance of promoting tourism as a strategic sector for economic recovery after the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the Autonomous Municipal Government of La Paz considers it important to multiply efforts towards an increasingly sustainable tourism, as dictated by the 2030 agenda of the United Nations. "Offering socially and environmentally sustainable destinations". Under the slogan "for the Common Good" and "La Paz en Paz", the municipality adopts the definition of sustainable tourism developed by the World Tourism Organization, orienting its tourism development policies towards the positioning of La Paz as an international tourist destination and the main tourist destination in Bolivia, capable of attracting quality tourism that generates employment and social welfare, consolidating comprehensive sustainability, the competitiveness of tourism as a strategic sector of the economy of La Paz, generating quality employment and economic development to address the consequences left by the pandemic.