Residential La Paz

The fancier residential areas of La Paz are found to the south of downtown. Most embassies are here as well as several upscale hotels, many restaurants, and the city's night spots.

San Pedro

In the residential district of San Pedro is the pleasant
Plaza Sucre
. Here, you'll find the church of
San Pedro
, built in 1720, boasting large paintings of the life of Christ along the nave, a huge chandelier below the dome and a gilt altar.

Also on Plaza Sucre is one of the city's less well-known tourist attractions,
San Pedro Prison
. This may not be everyone's idea of a pleasant outing, but it does offer a truly surreal, if slightly disturbing, experience. Many of the inmates will talk freely and openly about the bizarre goings-on in an open complex where new convicts buy their accommodation from paroled prisoners. Visits have been officially stopped by the authorities, but it may be worthwhile trying your luck.

Sopocachi

To the south of Plaza del Estudiante is the nice district of Sopocachi, a combination of older stately homes (many now house shops or offices) and high-rise buildings. The well-kept
Plaza Avaroa
, where a number of the city's cultural activities take place, is the centre of the neighbourhood. Around the plaza and along avenidas 20 de Octubre, 6 de Agosto and Aniceto Arce, which lead towards downtown, you'll find many good cafés, bars and restaurants.

Uphill from Plaza Avaroa is the smaller
Plaza España
and next to it
El Montículo
, a lovely park with great views of the city. The
Casa Museo Marina Núñez del Prado
www.bolivian.com/cmnp,
houses an excellent collection of Marina Núñez's sculptures in the family mansion.

Miraflores

To the east of the centre, on a ridge between the ríos Choqueyapu and Orkojahuira, is the pleasant district of Miraflores. Views of Illimani from here are special. As in other La Paz neighbourhoods, high-rise apartment buildings are gradually replacing single-family homes. Many of the city's hospitals are in Miraflores. This area is connected with the district of Sopocachi by the Puente de las Américas.

At the heart of Miraflores, by Plaza Tejada Sorzano, is the national stadium,
Estadio Hernando Siles
. In the middle of the plaza is the
Museo Semisubterráneo
, a sunken garden with replicas of statues from Tiahuanaco (refurbished in 2008).

The
Museo de la Revolución Nacional
 is an epic memorial of the 1952 revolution , with photographs and murals by Miguel Alandia Pantoja and Walter Solón Romero . It is also a mausoleum with the tombs of former presidents Gualberto Villarroel L, Victor Paz Estensoro and Juan José Torres G. The
Museo de Textiles Andinos
Bolivianos
offers good displays of textiles from around the country, detailed explanations and a knowledgeable owner. The
Botanical Gardens
 offers flora from the Altiplano and Yungas valleys.

Parque Mirador Laikakota
is lookout with wonderful views of the city and a children's playground.

Zona Sur

The Zona Sur, in the valley 15 minutes south of the city, includes the wealthier suburbs of La Paz. Home to some of the diplomatic and expat community, it has shopping centres, supermarkets stocked with imported items, a few exclusive hotels, and some of the smartest restaurants and bars of the city.

 

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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