At first sight there are few less child-friendly places on the planet than La Paz in Bolivia. For a start, this exhilarating city sits in a giant bowl at 3,650m above sea level. Altitude sickness, absurdly changeable weather, weird food, insane traffic and unfeasibly steep streets are among the child unfriendly things you are going to come across here. Thankfully, there are also some child friendly places you can go to in order make sure the little one enjoys their time in this unforgettable city:
1. El Prado
In a city of steep streets El Prado is a delight to walk on. This is the most central part of the main thoroughfare which runs through the flat section of the city. If you are in La Paz with children then this is where you will probably spend a lot of your time. As well as being mercifully flat it also houses some of the city’s most child-friendly restaurants. Places like Brosso and Dumbo have big play areas where the little ones left off stream while the grown ups eat. These are fairly expensive restaurants by Bolivian standards but it is a safe, easy option for parents, with menu items you won’t be afraid of. There are also plenty of street vendors, kiosks and shops in this street to keep you busy while you are walking about.
2. The Cinema
I guess that it is due to the cold nights here that the Paceños love their cinemas. There are a few different venues to view a movie here, and there were always queues outside when I passed by. The most central one is on El Prado, while the next place on our list (Megacenter) also has a cinema in it. You will also find one on the classy Avenida Arce, which is where the foreign embassies are located. Most of the time it should be clear whether an English language movie is dubbed into Spanish or subtitled.
This is a massive entertainment centre which is located in the exclusive area in the south of the city. It is pretty far from the centre but a taxi out here won’t cost a fortune. There is a big, multi screen cinema, a food court, a big supermarket and a range of shops. This is a good choice for a rainy day or when you just want to be indoors and take it easy for a few hours.
4. The Zoo
If you hadn’t read this you might not even have realised that there is a zoo in La Paz. While the travel agencies are filled with details of adventurous biking and mountaineering trips this is something you won’t see mentioned just anywhere. It isn’t the biggest zoo in the world but I remember seeing a nice selection of llamas and some monkeys among other animals. Again, it is pretty far from the centre. The adventurous way to get there is in a micro bus to Mallas from San Francisco, while a taxi there will work out a bit more expensive. Apparently it’s the highest zoo on Earth and the second biggest in South America, although you shouldn’t expect a massive complex. It is only a few minutes from the Valle de la Luna and its weird moon like surface, so you might manage to fit in both attractions on one trip.
Your Surprisingly Fancy Hotel
Kids love to stay in great hotels and no parent wants to go to a dirty or dodgy place with their little ones. The good news is that La Paz is one of the best cities in the world for getting a luxury hotel at a low price. The city is stuffed with hotels of all types. Around the Witches Market you will find lots of cheap places where the backpackers hang out, although there are some decent family choices here too. Just a few minutes off El Prado you will find really classy family oriented places with facilities like swimming pools and fitness centres. If you want a comfortable base where the children can enjoy themselves and be safe then it is worth checking the prices in hotels like these.
Having a reasonable knowledge of the Spanish language is going to help you get around this city a lot more easily. Why not check out your current level before setting off?
Would you take your child on holiday to somewhere like La Paz?