The Best Day Hikes Around La Paz, Bolivia

Moon Valley from above
Moon Valley from above | © Guttorm Flatabø / WikiCommons
Harry Stewart

From casual strolls to adventurous treks, day hikes around La Paz offer phenomenal views of natural landscapes.

Some travel to La Paz for the fascinating indigenous culture, while others come for the booze-fueled fiestas. Outdoorsy types, however, may have a different objective in mind: to hike the marvelous landscapes of the Andes. Rather than jumping straight into a multi-day trek or a demanding mountain climbing foray, it’s wise to undertake a few easy acclimatization hikes first. Here are the best around town.

The Valle de la Luna


Valle de la Luna Hiking La Paz
© Guttorm Flatabø / WikiCommons

To ease into things as you adjust to the altitude, take a leisurely hour-long stroll around the lunar-like landscapes of the aptly named Moon Valley. We wouldn’t classify this tiny trail as “hiking” per se, but the scenery is spectacular nonetheless. Eons of wind and rain have caused its clay and sandstone surface to erode into a series of strange pointy spires, which creates a striking and surreal effect.
Independent travelers can grab any southbound bus (3 BOB / US$0.50) from the Prado in the center of La Paz marked “Mallasa” or “Calacoto.” If taking the latter, disembark at Calle Ocho de Calacoto and change to a Mallasa bus. Alternatively, a taxi should set you back 35 BOB (US$5) each way.

Palca Canyon

Park, Natural Feature

Palca Canyon hiking la paz
© Harry Stewart/Culture Trip
Meandering through the tranquil green meadows of Palca and into its dramatic sandstone canyon is a quintessential La Paz day trip. Natural splendor aside, the journey provides a fascinating glimpse into rural Bolivian life.
The gentle five-hour downhill excursion can be enjoyed both independently or as part of a tour. If going without a guide, grab any minibus from the center marked Uni and jump out at the village. Next, head downhill back towards the way you came and into the gaping mouth of the canyon. From here, cruise through the biggest canyon corridor along the river until you pop out at the other side.
A short hike past the exit is the mystical Valle de las Animas (Spirit Valley), a mind-boggling labyrinth of tapered sandstone spires. You’ll inevitably get lost, so head back downhill when you’re done in order to escape the maze.

The Muela del Diablo

Natural Feature

Muela del Diablo hiking la paz
© Eneas De Troya / Flickr

Perched on a hill overlooking the Zona Sur (South Area), this pointy tooth-like rock formation is a popular spot for locals looking to escape the city for an hour or two.
To get there, either take a taxi (80 BOB / US$11 one-way) to Pedregal or a minibus combo. By bus, make your way to Mallasa (see above) and look for a connection to Pedregal. From there, it’s a steep one-hour uphill hike to the Muela.


Natural Feature

Nevado Chacaltaya hiking la paz
© Felipe Ernesto / Flickr

Ever dreamed of climbing a sky-high mountain even though you’re no athlete? Well, at Chacaltaya you can do just that. This 17,700-foot (5,395-meter) peak requires minimal physical effort to summit. There’s no public transport, so grab a tour with a local agent that will drop you off near the top. From there, it’s a brief uphill walk to the peak, at which point you’ll be struggling to breathe only due to the thin mountain air. A sad fact: Chacaltaya was the world’s highest ski resort until its glacier fully melted due to climate change back in 2009. Visitors can still view the remnants of Bolivia’s only snowfield today.

Pico Austria

Natural Feature

Tuni Cordoriri pico austria hiking bolivia
© chesterphotography / pixabay

For the best possible vantage point of the Cordillera Real, nowhere within a day trip of La Paz beats the stunning 360-degree panorama of Pico Austria. Again, it’s remote so you’ll need a tour (see below) to get there. At 17,454 feet (5,320 meters), Pico Austria falls just short of Chacaltaya, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cinch to reach. Hikers must tackle a steep four-hour ascent from the trailhead, entailing around 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) of altitude gain. Pro tip: Ensure you’ve acclimatized before giving this a try. It’ll all be worth it at the top, though, as the views of the majestic mountain range are – literally and figuratively – breathtaking.

Further afield

Other snow-clad hiking options abound throughout the Cordillera Real, all of which you’ll need an agency to reach. Laguna Arteza, Arkhata, and Kellhua are a few solid options.

The glaciers and lagoons around Huayna Potosi and Illimani make for an excellent day out as well.

Lagoon in front of Huayna Potosi

Choosing a travel agency

Numerous agencies on Calle Sarganaga offer these excursions. Prices fluctuate widely depending on the number of people in your group.

To travel with the locals for an uber-cheap rate, check out the following Bolivian-oriented agencies, which depart on weekends and public holidays only: Juventud Extreme, Bolivia In Your Hands, Wanderlust Tourismo 591, and YAT Bolivia.

Boutique agencies La Paz on Foot and Solace both cater to the gringo crowd and garner rave reviews.

Tips for independent hikers

Bring a fully charged cell phone and download an offline map to use with your GPS. These hikes may be simple enough, but you still don’t want to get lost.

Obviously, you’ll need comfy shoes, sun protection, and plenty of water and snacks.

If you’re planning to hike through a valley or canyon, avoid doing so if there is any possibility of heavy rain. Flash floods are common in La Paz, and they can be deadly.

A small flashlight is probably a good idea as well, just in case.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.