These our our favorite museums in La Paz.
Plaza Museum of Contemporary Art
Ever since our new hostel in La Paz opened nearby, we’ve become enamored of this museum. The blue mansion which houses the Plaza Museum of Contemporary Art is an attraction in itself: the 19th-century art-deco mansion was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the famous designer of the Eiffel Tower. Bolivia’s modern art scene is presented to visitors through an eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures and other works.
The permanent collection reflects many of the social-political movements; there’s an entire salon dedicated to works inspired by Che Guevara, while other works chronicle pivotal events ranging from the conquest of the Inca empire to the rise of Fidel Castro. Some pieces on display are available for sale.
Unfortunately there is additional charge (20 Bolivianos) in order to take photos within the museum, but there is a souvenir shop where you can purchase images of the works, alongside other artistic objects.
Address: Avenida 16 de Julio #1698 – El Prado
Admission: 15 Bolivanos (approx. US$2.15)
Hours of Operation: 9am-9pm daily
National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore
Located in a colonial palace just two blocks from Murillo Square, the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore has been providing visitors with an entertaining introduction to the diverse regional cultures of La Paz ever since it opened its doors in 1925.
Its large collection includes pre-Columbian relics from the Tiwanaku Kingdom, the Inca empire, and lesser known cultures; festival masks from the colonial period and modern day; and weavings, ceramics, costumes, and weapons from Andean as well as Amazonian cultures. The 3000 Years of Textiles exhibit mesmerizes with its bright colors.
As above, this museum also charges for permission to take photos, in this case you would be asked to pay 40 Bolivianos.
Address: Calle Ingavi 916, La Paz, Bolivia
Admission 20 Bolivianos (approx. US$2.90)
Hours of Operation: 9am-12:30pm & 3pm-7pm on Mon through Fri
9am-4:30pm on Saturdays
9am-12:30pm on Sundays
Musical Instruments of Bolivia Museum
One of the curiousities found on colorful Calle Jean, this intriguing museum was founded in the 1960s by Ernesto Cavour Aramayo, a Bolivian charango player and inventor of musical instruments. It will take you into the heart of Bolivia’s indigenous cultures by introducing you to their musical instruments. It’s collection includes more than 2,000 instruments. Among more well-known instruments such as the Andean charango, you’ll see more unusual items such as erotically-shaped flutes fashioned from volcanic rock, armadillo guitars, and a palm leaf pan-pipe. Other natural materials put to musical use include bird beaks, goat heals, mule jawbones, and turtle shells.
Visitors can sample some of the instruments, or sign up for hour-long classes on the charango or pan-pipes. On Saturday evenings at 7pm, some of La Paz’s premier musicians gather to put on a charango concert. The admission for the concert is 20 Bolivianos.
Admission: 5 Bolivianos (approx. US$0.70)
Address: Calle Jaén 711, Casco Viejo, La Paz, Bolivia
Hours: 9:30am-1pm & 2pm-6:30pm daily
The friendly staff at Pirwa La Paz Hostel is always ready to help travelers with recommendations and assistance, so stop by for help arranging transport, excursions, or other aspects of your trip.