La Paz, Bolivia For Less Than $25

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]In today’s post, Brian Levine, along with Paz Romano, Kate Reder and Danielle Lussier are going to share their travel tips on how to survive in La Paz, Bolivia for only $25 a day per person. They are authors of the travel, wellness and yoga blog, Lucidpractice.com. Lucid Practice’s goal is to inspire people to feel happy and more alive through lucid engagement in enriching activities such as international travel, yoga, helping others, and eating enlivening foods. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.[/box]

San Fransisco Church
San Fransisco Church

 

If you are looking for a destination that is full of diverse attractions and activities, Bolivia is a perfect choice for your next adventure.

A picture of a valley in La Paz
A picture of a valley in La Paz

 

In Bolivia, you can easily spend less than $25 USD per day, eat extremely well and enjoy landscapes that photographs can’t do justice. The Bolivian destination cities that we suggest are: La Paz (a major city nestled in the snowcapped Andes Mountains), Copacabana (set on Lake Titicaca, the World’s highest accessible lake), Potosi (home of the most famous mine in the world), Sucre (Bolivia’s white-washed historical capital), and Uyuni (one of the BEST sites in the World, previously being a dinosaur stomping ground and now offering the unlike-anything-you’ll-ever-see Salt Flats).

Today, we’re discussing “A day in La Paz” – a place where $25 USD goes a long, long way. If you have the opportunity – especially if you are already traveling in South America – get to La Paz!!

Lama fetuses in the witches market
Lama fetuses in the witches market

 

We arrived in the “other Bolivian capital” on a bus from Copacabana, Bolivia. On the ride in, the scenery was fantastic. We passed between snowcapped mountains, lakes, and never-ending green pastures. The road into the city has been recently reconstructed, and if it wasn’t already there you would feel like you were the first person to catch a glimpse this land. It really is that bare in terms of development.

Me overlooking Moon Valley
Me overlooking Moon Valley

 

If we were to pick a way to spend a single day in La Paz, I would advise the following:

  • Start your day by catching the free walking tour with Red Cap Tours. The tour begins outside the San Pedro Prison, a prison where inmates (along with their wives and children!) infamously rent “cells” equivalent to hotel suites. From there, Red Cap walks you all over the city providing great bits of information that you won’t find in your Lonely Planet book. The tour incorporates the always interesting “Witch’s Market” and ends by taking an elevator up to observation tower of La Paz’s five-star hotel. This incredible view of the snowcapped Andes looming over the World’s Highest National Capital is all yours, free. The guides are great and gladly accept tips. The tour lasts around two to three hours.
  • After the tour (you can bail out at any time), we highly recommend grabbing lunch at the number one ranked restaurant in La Paz, the vegetarian and vegan-friendly Namas Te. Healthy food and great fruit juices make this place a staple for locals and travelers alike. A delicious and hearty meal will set you back about $5 USD.
Another view from hotel
Another view from hotel

 

  • If you have time for another great activity, take a local “colectivo”, a big white shared passenger van, to the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) on the outskirts of the city. Nature-lovers and photographers will especially appreciate this daytrip. It is rumored that the Moon Valley got its name when Neil Armstrong visited and stated that the unearthly landscapes here looked just like those he’d seen on the moon. Admission into the park costs less than $3 USD and, with set prices clearly marked on the colectivo shared taxis, transportation costs less than $1 USD each way.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas

 

  • To end your night, choose one of many typical Bolivian restaurants offering a “menu del dia”, which will set you back $2-4 USD. Most serve a great homemade soup (usually chicken, quinoa, or vegetable), and a main course of fish, meat, or chicken. If you have any energy left, the shopping stalls near the Plaza de Armas are incredible for a budget traveler. You will literally find anything and everything at extra cheap prices.
Me on bridge at moon valley
Me on bridge at moon valley

 

La Paz has so much more to offer. More markets, more nature, and more good food than you can possibly discover in just a couple of days. Follow this guide for a first day scraping the surface of this affordable metropolis. We had a ball walking around the city, exploring the markets, and just gazing up at the Andes. The snowcaps never get old!

Do you still think that Bolivia is expensive?

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65 Comments

  • Amazing photos – good tips too! I have never heard of Moon Valley – Is it very close to La Paz because it is AMAZING! Bolivia is one place I’d love to visit. That Moon Valley.. wow Im just ‘wowing’ right now if you know what I mean. Wow. Great post!

    • Hi Andrew!

      That was our first time to hear about Moon Valley as well. If you google this place, you can see how amazing and spectacular it is. Definitely worth a visit.

  • Great tips, especially the Red Cap Tours. I love when cities have freeby options. The Moon Valley looks fantastic and very unique, and what an affordable day trip!

  • Great information! It’s really good to know that there are other places out there that are within my travel budget and Bolivia looks incredible, I plan on visiting in the near future.

  • Having just spent time in La Paz I can definitely second these excellent recommendations.

    If you are trying to get to Moon Valley with a collectivo go to the main avenue in La Paz, stand on the south side, and ask some passer-bys which buses go to Valle de la Luna.

    While all the collectivos are numbered, the numbers I found on the internet turned out to be incorrect leading me to wait needlessly for 40 min :)

  • Valuable tips indeed! I think Bolivia is great. If a destination is beautiful and also affordable with a little bit of care, then what’s the hue and cry for? I mean I really wonder why people make excuses of not being able to travel because it’s expensive.

    • Thanks Renuka. In my opinion, Bolivia is so affordable and stunning and I can’t wait to explore La Paz!

  • Bolivia is such an awesome destination. It is so cheap, unique and beautiful. You can feel the culture just by walking in the market. The Bolivians are friendly and nice people. We enjoyed Valle de la Luna in a great way but a bit more expensive- 4 hours on ATV quads! each hour cost us 10$ and it is totally worth it! Amazing landscape combined with adrenaline activity!

  • Moon Valley looks absolutely surreal! I’ve always wanted to go to Bolivia to see Salar de Uyuni, and now it seems like I’ve just added one more place to go in my bucket list!

  • I’d love to go to Bolivia, and I’m thinking of going in 2016 for an extended trip around South America – hopefully prices won’t change too much before then! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Not trying to be a party pooper, but $25 USD a day in La Paz is more than enough for 2 people, not per person.

    With rooms for as low as 35 Bolivianos ($5), a typical almuerzo (set lunch) for 12 Bolivianos ($1.75) and a typical cena (set dinner) for 9 Bolivianos (1.30 USD), you would be hard pressed to find a place where you can spend the remaining $15 USD on your $25 USD day.

    • Hi Florian,

      Seriously? That sounds like a plan. Me and Cez usually travel together so that would be an awesome option for us!

  • Great photos and tips! I planned to travel to La Paz last year, but, decided to stay a few extra days in Puno, just a 3-hour drive from La Paz… I wish I could go :( The Moon Valley is incredible!

      • Puno is the base for Lake Titicaca visitors. So, if you visit the lake from Bolivian side, don’t bother (my opinion). There are a few places to see in Puno. But, those are not biggy at all. Remember, about high altitude when visiting Puno (3,830m) and Taquile Island village, Lake Titicaca (3,950m). Don’t start your journey at high altitude.

  • Wow, the landscape is amazing!
    I’m looking forward to the day when I can pack my bags and head to south America – but a couple more years to wait still.

  • Great tips, Bolivia is still somewhere we have to go and we’d love to one day. The bridge at moon valley looks a bit flimsy for me, but I’m petrified of heights which it might be why I don’t fully trust that bridge, I guess I’d go at the end because the valley looks beautiful.

    • Same here Franca. I was planning on going to South America this year, but then I decided to get back to Europe to do my master’s degree so I postponed it till 2015 when I graduate :). I speak some Spanish so going to South America has been my dream to come true.

  • Love these tips! Despite the hustle and bustle of La Paz, I really quite enjoyed my stay in the city. I actually did everything the guys suggested and can definitely vouch for the food at Namas Te, delicious and cheap! Red Cap Tours were excellent, the tour guides are top notch and they more than earn their tip. I also really enjoyed the nightlife in La Paz…with drinks being so crazy cheap, you’re pretty much guaranteed a fun night on the town :)

    • Did you make it there Brigid? That’s so wonderful. You are another person who really enjoyed this city which makes me a happy girl as I will be heading there next year (hopefully)! Cheap drinks? Cez will be over the moon then :-)!

  • Bolivia certainly does not sound expensive! The free walking tour sounds amazing, would definitely start by giving that a try.

  • This gives me great memories of my travel to Bolivia many years ago. It was one of my favorite trips during my backpacking days. As Brian attested, it is not only beautiful and had so much to offer but it is also dirt cheap. You can spend so little without really trying to rough it. I hope to make it back there someday.

  • ‘Sounds great. South America doesn’t really feature on my radar (I have no idea why), and coming from both England and Germany, I certaintly don’t think of any of the countries as expensive LOL!

    By the way, I like the photo with the Lama fetishes in the witches market. Interesting!
    Thanks for sharing. :)

      • I know. I’m maaaaaad, and I really ought to change something about that! I guess that if I look deeply there are a few countries that might be of interest to me. Ummm. Oh yeah.
        Such as: Mexico and Peru. Countries with amazing historical background!

  • Bolivia is very much on my wish list and especially to see Uyuni and Moon Valley – I can’t believe you can eat a meal in a restaurant as cheaply as 4 dollars – sounds fabulous! Now just have to figure out a cheap way of getting there from London!! :D

  • Bolivia looks like a cool place to visit. That Moon Valley is really something. Love the bridge. $25 a day per person is not so bad, in fact affordable by all standards.

  • The city certainly seems to offer quite a lot, the photos are certainly eye catching. I especially loved the one of the witch market, sounds fascinating!! The Moon valley is also worth a visit, beautiful picture!

  • Looks awesome Agness! I’m looking forward to visiting. I did Peru last year and loved it. Appreciate the share!

  • I’ve wanted to visit Bolivia since my daughter volunteered in an orphanage for a few months in Copacabana.

    A few months ago I read a book about San Pedro Prison – and it’s one I’d recommend. It’s called Marching Powder by Rusty Young. I don’t know what that prison is like now but it used to make some of the purest cocaine in South America.It was a wild story.

    • Has she? That’s so wonderful. I have not read this book, but thank you for a great recommendation!

  • Wait, what about dirty strinky streets of La Paz?))))
    p.s The better part of Moon Valley is located in Atacama desert, Chile. Which 200 years ago was a part of Bolivia…

  • Lovely! Thank you for all the info, I really enjoy every single article =)
    Can you suggest me from La Paz some tour to the Salar Uyuni and some budget 3-4 days tours?

    Thanks

    big hug from Italy!

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