Is La Paz the Capital of Bolivia?

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Is La Paz the Capital of Bolivia?

La Paz, a bustling city that is located in South America, is the capital of Bolivia. Situated high in the Andes Mountains, La Paz is known for its vibrant culture, spectacular views of mountains, lakes, and snow-capped peaks, and for being the home of Bolivia’s government.

The official name of the city, Nuestra Señora de La Paz, means “Our Lady of Peace” in Spanish. It was given this name after a silver statue of Virgin Mary was brought to the city by the Spanish during colonial times. The statue was placed on a hill and people believed it brought peace and prosperity to La Paz.

Bolivia’s capital has been called La Paz since 1899, when the former president, Aniceto Arce, shifted the capital’s legislator buildings from Sucre to La Paz. The government preceded to move to La Paz and make it the official capital in 1899.

The history of La Paz dates back to 1548 when the Spaniards founded the city. In 1782, it was made the capital of Alto Perú, a province covering most of modern-day Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru. La Paz was ceded to the newly independent Bolivia during the War of Independence in 1825 and has been its capital ever since.

The city remains an important part of Bolivia’s modern-day politics and culture. While several other cities in Bolivia are larger than La Paz, their residents mostly live outside what is considered urban city boundaries. As a result, La Paz is the most populous city in the country with more than 900,000 inhabitants.

Given its history, large population, and political significance, La Paz is undeniably the capital of Bolivia. According to, La Paz is one of South America’s most important ports and commercial centres, serving as Bolivia’s principal outlet for the export of petroleum products, tin ore, and natural gas. As such, it plays an important role in the country’s economy and remains an integral part of life in Bolivia.

La Paz is also home to many notable places: El Alto, a suburb overlooking the city; Iglesia de San Francisco, one of South America’s oldest churches; Plaza Murillo, a historical square where several government buildings stand; Sagarnaga Street, a popular shopping district; and Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), known for its surreal rock formations and desert wildlife just outside of the city.

The city of La Paz is an incredible place and Bolivia’s undeniable capital. Its cultural significance, deep rooted history and bustling economy make it an important part of life in Bolivia. From its historic monuments to its spectacular views and unique locales, it’s easy to see why La Paz is beloved by locals and visitors alike throughout South America.

An Insider’s Guide to La Paz, Bolivia

If you’re planning a trip to Bolivia, you might be wondering whether La Paz is actually the capital. The answer is yes! La Paz is Bolivia’s administrative capital, while Sucre is the constitutional capital. La Paz is a city that is often overlooked by travelers, but it is a fascinating destination that offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. In this insider’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at what La Paz has to offer.

Local Attractions

One of the most iconic sights in La Paz is the cable car system, which provides stunning views of the city and the Andes Mountains. Be sure to take a ride on the yellow line, which takes you from the city center to the El Alto district. There, you can visit the famous El Alto Market, which is the largest outdoor market in South America. You’ll find everything from textiles and handicrafts to fresh produce and street food.

Another must-visit attraction is the Moon Valley, located just a few miles outside of the city. This other-worldly landscape was formed by thousands of years of erosion and is made up of strange rock formations and deep ravines.

For a taste of La Paz’s indigenous culture, head to the Witches’ Market (Mercado de las Brujas), located in the heart of the city. Here, you can find everything from llama fetuses (used in traditional Andean rituals) to medicinal herbs and handwoven textiles.

Dining Spots

La Paz has a vibrant food scene that combines traditional Bolivian cuisine with international flavors. One of the best places to sample local dishes is at the Mercado Lanza, a bustling market in the city center where you can try dishes like salteñas (a type of baked empanada filled with meat, vegetables, and spices) and Api (a sweet corn-based drink).

For a more upscale dining experience, check out Gustu, a restaurant that has been named one of the best in Latin America. The menu features local ingredients and innovative cooking techniques.

Cultural Experiences

La Paz is home to several museums that showcase Bolivia’s rich history and culture. The National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore is a great place to learn about the country’s indigenous cultures, while the Coca Museum provides a fascinating look at the history of coca leaves and their traditional uses.

To experience Bolivian music and dance, head to a Peña, a traditional music club where you can dance to live Andean music and sample local drinks like singani (a distilled grape-based spirit).

Local History

La Paz has a rich history that dates back to the Inca empire. The city was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and served as a center of Spanish colonial power in the region.

To learn more about the city’s history, visit the Plaza Murillo, a historic square that is home to several important buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral. The San Francisco Church and Convent, located in the historic center of the city, is another must-visit attraction that dates back to the 16th century.

Off-The-Beaten-Path Suggestions

If you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path, consider taking a day trip to the town of Coroico, located in the Yungas region just outside of La Paz. This charming town is known for its mild climate, lush vegetation, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

For a unique cultural experience, visit the nearby town of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once a major center of pre-Columbian civilization.

La Paz is a city that is full of surprises and offers a wide range of experiences to travelers. Whether you’re interested in exploring local culture, history, or cuisine, there is something for everyone in Bolivia’s lively capital city.

Is La Paz the Capital of Bolivia?

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