Culture of La Paz

The structure and appearance of La Paz is best explained by looking at the people and cultures that have made the city what it is today.

This page will give you a touch of what it means to be a citizen of La Paz, by looking at some of the important things that constitute the daily life of a highland Urban Bolivian.

La Paz has an extremely high percentage of indigenous people, with roughly half of the population speaking the Aymara language. A majority of the indigenous people live in poverty in el Alto. This conflicts with the wealthy populations of the Zona Sur. Yet, somehow, all the people seem to get along in el Centro, the downtown area, where most of the markets, plazas and sources of entertainment are located.

Despite all the differences in ethnicity, over 95% of the population still claims to be Catholic. The origins of the city are found in the Spanish Colonial Architecture.

Bolivians eat their biggest meal for lunch, which usually consists of soup and a second dish and sometimes dessert. Many families also have dinner. Breakfast and tea-time (late afternoon) consist of tea and rolls with jam or Dulce de Leche (caramel sauce). A Bolivian meal is not complete without some potatoes, either fried, boiled, or whipped together with other foods. Traditional meals are heavy on the carbohydrates, with lots of rice or small bow-tie noodles in addition to the potatoes. Meat, normally beef, chicken, or sausage, accompanies most dishes. Vegetable consumption is limited to primarily red onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, carrots, peas, with some broccoli and other vegetables. Always available with meals is llajhua, a hot spicy salsa made from tomatoes and hot peppers ground on a large stone. Bolivians drink a good amount of alcoholic beverages, too; these include locally-brewed beer, Rum, Singani (a hard alcohal made from fermented grapes), and chicha (potent liquor made from maize)