La Paz, capital city of Bolivia - founded in 1548 under the name of La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de la Paz (The city of our Lady of Peace) - sits at a breathless altitude range varying from 3,000 to 4,100 meters above sea level which makes it the highest capital city in the world.
Due to this fact is often referred to as the city that touches de sky.
As a mother of fact, Bolivia has two capitals, being this one the legislative seat of the government and Sucre the legal capital.
First thing you will notice as soon as you arrive is the thin air that characterizes de Altiplano, so be prepared to feel the altitude.
Best course of action is to take it easy for the first two days or three to complete the acclimatization process. Most common symtoms of soroche or high altitude sickness include shortage of breath, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, changes in the sleeping pattern or even nausea or vomiting.
How to overcome it?...
By following a few simple guidelines you will be back on your feet in no time and ready to explore the magnificent Altiplano...
Read more about at High Altitude Medicine Guide.
With over one million inhabitants, it's a very picturesque city. More than half of the population are of Quechua and Aymara ancestry, so don't be surprised if you don't listen to Spanish language as much as you would do in other parts of South America.
Most of the city's attractions evolve around colorful marketplaces, architecture and museums in the vicinity of calle Jaén.
Don't miss the church and convent of San Francisco (1549) and Sagárnaga street.
For a quick look check this map of the capital city.
Just outside the city there are a number of nearby attractions to be explored before moving to the sub-tropical Yungas, or the town of Rurrenabaque - gateway to Madidi National Park - in the Bolivian share of the Amazon rainforest, or to the massive salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, near the border with Chile.
Average temperature in winter ranges from around 15 degrees Celsius (59F) to 22 Celsius (72F) in summer, which is also the rainy season - it rains just about every afternoon.
There are several micro-climates due to the city's different levels of altitude: El Alto (4,100 m), where La Paz airport is located, downtown is about (3,650m) and Aranjuez, located at 3,300 meters above seal level.
If you are in neighboring countries you can get international bus services from/to:
Arica (8 hours) or Iquique (12 hours), Chile.
Cuzco, Peru (around 17 hours), with connection to Puno (8 hours).
Lima, Peru (27 hours).
Buenos Aires, Argentina (50 hours).
Book budget accommodation in La Paz.