The city of La Paz, Bolivia is absolutely incredible. There are tons of things to do, see, and eat within the city limits. I would suggest, however, not limiting your trip to within the La Paz city limits. There are plenty of places to visit in the surrounding area that are worth a day trip.
Top 5 La Paz Day Trips:
Tiwanaku is a pre-Incan archaeological site that is only a two hour drive form La Paz. It is definitely worth a day trip (especially if you’re a history nerd like me!). I recommend hiring a tour guide so you can truly appreciate the artifacts in the two museums there and the site itself. We visited with Kanoo Tours for only $12 per person! They picked us up in a comfortable bus from Kanoo’s main office near Sagarnaga. Our tour guide, was exceptional; very knowledgable and well-spoken in both Spanish and English. We learned a ton from her and saw all of the site’s important locations, including the subterranean temple, sun gate, and some unique technology of the Tiwanakans, like ancient amplifiers. Included in the trip was a late lunch at a restaurant in the town nearby. A visit to Tiwanaku is a must if you want to know more about the history and culture of Bolivia.
If you’re looking for some adventure and a chance to get up close and personal with some of the snow-capped mountains of the area, explore Condoriri range! Again, we used Kanoo Tours for this day hike. Our guide, picked us up from Plaza Humboldt early in the morning and drove us for about 2 hours to the trailhead. From there, we hiked up to the Laguna Chairkhota for a lunch of sandwiches packed by our guides. After lunch, we headed up towards Pico Austria. The first half of the hike to the lake was relatively easy. We were able to complete this trek with our friends, one of which was ten years old. The second half of the trek up, up, up to Pico Austria was quite difficult. The trail is essentially short switchbacks that go straight up the side of a mountain until you reach the 5,350 m (17,552 ft) peak. It is totally possible to accomplish this feat, especially if you have been in La Paz for awhile and are used to the altitude. I highly recommend bringing a variety of clothing and layers on this trek. We began in t-shirts and ended in a nice mountain snow storm! Condoriri was absolutely beautiful, and if you’re up for an adventure, this hike was worth it!
Relax in Urmiri
About two hours outside of La Paz are the Urmiri hot springs. If you’re craving a relaxing day spent outside of the city, a visit to Urmiri is a must! To get to the hot springs, visit the tourist office in the Hotel Gloria La Paz and request a day trip to their Urmiri location. Then, come back on your assigned day to catch the minibus that will take you across the Altiplano to the springs. Hotel Gloria has a location in Urmiri if you want to stay overnight, but I always found that a day trip was the perfect amount of time to spend there. The price of the excursion will depend on the size of your group, with larger groups (six or more) costing less per person. Included in the price is transportation to and from Urmiri, entrance to all of the resort’s pools, including the natural hot springs, and a lunch at the hotel. A day spent lounging near the pools in the sun with a good book always left me feeling refreshed and ready to head back to La Paz for more fast-paced city activities.
Go Mountain Biking
While many visitors to Bolivia cycle down the famous Death Road, there are several other incredible mountain biking trips that can be done around La Paz. Our favorite mountain biking excursion took us from the top of Mount Chacaltaya all the way down to the Zongo Jungle. This full day ride with the Gravity Bolivia company takes you on a downhill adventure all the way from Chacaltaya’s peak at 5,345 m (17,500 ft), around the base of Huayna Potosí, and all the way to a village in the jungle at 1,000 m (3,280 ft). Not only will this bike trip provide you with some incredible views, it will also get your adrenaline pumping as you zip down the mountain roads. Our guide also gave us an option to do an off-road segment or two during the ride. Completing this ride was one of our favorite activities in Bolivia, and I would definitely recommend a mountain biking tour if you’re looking for a thrilling activity near La Paz.
Check Out Coroico
If you’re looking to get away to a lower altitude and warmer climate, a day trip to nearby Coroico is an inexpensive and easy day trip from La Paz. Minibuses to Coroico leave from La Paz’s Villa Fatima bus station and the trip takes about two and a half hours. Once you arrive in Coroico, there are plenty of options for how you can spend your day, from visiting a coffee farm, to experiencing some Bolivian wildlife, to rappelling down a series of waterfalls. Check out this article for more information about Coroico’s attractions, restaurants, and more.
Know any other great ideas for day trips near La Paz? Let me know in the comments!