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Downtown, or El Centro, is located in the 6th district and is where most tourists stay in due to its easy access to the city’s main attractions. The Plaza San Francisco area has countless souvenir shops, hotels, and restaurants. Although it is a good spot to walk around, it is a bit far from the “real Bolivia.” If you walk towards Avenida Perez, you’ll see the city’s true downtown with most of the important government buildings, the city’s best museums, oldest churches, and Calle Jaen and Plaza Murillo.
SopocachiThis is the bohemian district of La Paz with a mixed of grand colonial mansions and towering modern apartment blocks. Here, there are many upscale restaurants, cafés, bars, and nightclubs.
Casco ViejoThis is the historic and ancient center of the city. It is home to many museums, hotels, shops, the Mayor City of La Paz, and the Central Bank of Bolivia. You’ll find the Plaza Murillo in the Old Quarter where the Government Palace and the National Congress are.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Taking normal safety precautions are recommended in La Paz. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Muggings have happened in urban areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark. Although kidnapping is not common, express kidnapping involving tourists have occurred in Bolivia. Victims are abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs in order to be released.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them as they are not metered, so make sure you agree on a fare before getting in the vehicle. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you. Beware of “non-uniformed” policemen asking for your passport and permit. Official policemen will always be satisfied with a copy of your documents.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transportation is not very reliable due to strikes. Strikes often affect local transportation, and they usually last one or two days. Follow local news for updates on strikes and road blockages.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Expect floods and landslides, especially in mountainous areas during the rainy season (November-March).
TERRORISM RISK : N/A
Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Bolivia. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. Avoid traveling alone after dark. Women may get some unwanted attention from men.