Culture vultures rejoice! La Paz has enough galleries, museums and cultural spaces to keep the sophisticated traveler amused for days on end. Best of all, they only cost a few dollars each. Here are the most worthwhile options to visit according to our local insiders.
Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, and the first catholic cathedral of La Paz, this is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It’s conveniently located on Sagárnaga Street, close to a host of tourist hotspots, so you have no excuse. Take a guided tour of the museum or explore the religious artefacts and spooky catacombs on your own. A climb up to the bell tower rewards you with views of the city center. Recommended by local insider Andrea Puente Mancilla
Travel through Bolivian history in this colonial-style former Palacio de Los Condes de Arana is a work of art with original architecture remaining intact. The exterior of pink Viacha granite was recently restored and is a stunning work of Baroque style. Permanent collections of Bolivian colonial artwork are complemented by rotating exhibitions of modern art. Explore the Museo Nacional de Arte’s many nooks and crannies, you never know what you will find. Recommended by local insider Andrea Puente Mancilla
Walter Solón was a famous artist in Bolivia, renowned for his works, The Portrait of a People, featuring more than 400 characters from the country’s history. This house, his workshop, was donated to the neighborhood of Sopocachi in 1994 and features 2,000 of his works. Paintings, murals, drawings, altarpieces, engravings and textiles from his catalog are on display. Definitely one for the art-lovers. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
It’s hard to imagine one building housing almost a complete collection of examples of Bolivian art, but the Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas does just that. Photos, art and costumes are displayed to demonstrate the different cultural aspects of life in ancient La Paz. Miniature replicas of La Paz in a bygone era are a highlight. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
Small yet perfectly formed, the Altamira Galería displays paintings and sculptures from contemporary Bolivian artists. A welcoming atmosphere and interesting displays mean this gallery is a great place to soak up modern La Paz culture and immerse yourself in art. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
A world-renowned ceramicist, Mario Sarabia gets his inspiration from Andean culture and the local way of life in Bolivia to create magnificent works. At his art gallery, you can browse a catalog of his best pieces and learn the process behind the projects. Smaller pieces are available to purchase, so you can treasure Bolivian art at home. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
Among the magnificent buildings of the Calle Jaen is this extensive collection of unique indigenous instruments. If you want to know your charango from your ronroco, and your pinquillo from your pututu, you’ll find out here. With 15 rooms packed with different musical instruments and a touch of humor from the curators, it’s an entertaining visit. Find armadillo guitars, volcanic rock flutes in the shape of erotic figures and ingenious instruments made of goat heels and mules’ teeth. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
Bolivia still mourns losing a coast, the result of an ill-thought-out conflict with Chile that occurred in 1879. This small nationalistic museum proudly displays artefacts from the War of the Pacific, such as maps, cannons, uniforms and photographs. To this day, efforts continue to return the ocean to sovereign control. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
The La Paz Precious Metals Museum, sometimes referred to as the Gold Museum, houses a glimmering collection of pre-Colombian treasures. More than 2,000 shining jewels are on display, the highlight of which is the impressive Treasure of San Sebastian collection. A series of sensor lights illuminating the ornaments as visitors pass by adds a nice touch. Informative guides are on hand to ask questions about anything that takes your fancy. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino
Conveniently close to Plaza Murillo and packed to the rafters with textiles, masks, basketry and crafts typical of Bolivia for you to browse. With exhibitions on folklore, farming and nature, a visit will leave you armed with knowledge on the birth of Bolivia and its development through the ages. Tours are available, but get here early if you want to nab a spot. Recommended by local insider Lucas Cosentino and Andrea Puente Mancilla
This is an update of an article by Harry Stewart
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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