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Living in La Paz?

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Peter B. Krehmer

Living in Bolivia, from Switzerland

"I was amazed how many like-minded expats there are in La Paz; it was great to get in touch with such a friendly group of people."

Heather Albrey

Living in Bolivia, from Australia

"Expat living in Bolivia can be difficult at times. The InterNations community made it a lot easier for us. "

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La Paz at a Glance

Living in La Paz

Living in La Paz means living high above sea level, which explains some of the local quirks, such as water boiling at 88°C. In addition, fantastic museums, a modern lifestyle, and diversified leisure activities offer expats a real taste of Bolivian culture.

Education in La Paz

Expats moving to La Paz with children will find a number of international schools, including the American Cooperative School Colegio Calvert which offers both elementary and secondary education, and the Highlands International School, which is a Christian school offering pre-kindergarten through to 12th grade education.

Expats living in La Paz may be interested in working at one of the many universities in the city. There are both state and private universities, with the oldest being Universidad Mayor de San Andres, which was founded in 1830 and offers courses in law, medicine, sciences, economics, humanities and arts.

Transportation in La Paz

In the first instance, it is likely that expatriates moving to La Paz will fly into El Alto International Airport, which is about 12 km south-west of the city. Like many other things in La Paz, the airport is among the highest international airports in the world. Expats living in La Paz will find different buses including micros and mini-buses, as well as taxis, with which it is important to agree fares before travelling. Naturally, the city is quite hilly, so cycling can be difficult.

To drive in La Paz, expats need to be 21 or over and have a full driving license, valid in their country of residence. It is a good idea to have an international driver’s license as well. One slightly quirky addition to the transport options in La Paz is the cable car. These opened in 2014 and connect La Paz with El Alto.

Culture and Leisure

Downtown La Paz boasts both institutional and cultural venues: in the central plaza there are the Palacio Legislativo and Palacio Presidente, and in the same neighborhood some interesting museums like the Museo Nacional De Arte can be visited.

Not to be missed are the Calle Jaén Museums, with four museums concentrated all in the same street, and the typical markets, like the Mercado Camacho and the Mercado Lanzo.

Soccer is big in La Paz, with a number of important clubs in Bolivian football, including The Strongest, Club Bolivar and La Paz F.C. The main stadium is the Estadio Hernando Siles which hosts most games. Expats living in La Paz can experience a real slice of Bolivian culture by going to see a La Paz derby.

There is a multitude of festivals in La Paz, throughout the year, including the Alasitas, which begins on the 24th of January and lasts a whole month. During this festival, people buy miniature gifts and offer praise to the God of prosperity.

InterNations Expat Magazine