With worn cobbles and candy-colored buildings, Jaen Street (Calle Jaén) is a historic haven in the midst of downtown La Paz. Along with cafés and shops, the street also boasts five small museums, which cover topics ranging from musical instruments to precious Pre-Columbian metals. The Basics
Calle Jaén is one of the city’s best-preserved colonial-era streets, and is often included as a stop on La Paz sightseeing tours. Stroll through the narrow alley and learn about Bolivian revolutionaries that once lived there, and peruse the street’s five small museums. After you check out the collections, linger on the street to visit cozy cafés, bars, and galleries that feature both contemporary and traditional work by Bolivian artists. Since no cars are allowed here, it’s a welcome break from the busy traffic in the surrounding streets.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Jaen Street is a must-see for history buffs, art aficionados, and music lovers.
- The museums are relatively compact, so you don’t need long to visit each one. Instead, sample a little of each collection as you work your way down the street.
- Tickets to the Juan de Vargas Costumbrista Museum include entry to four of the five museums—tickets to the Museum of Musical Instruments are sold separately.
- While some information at the museums is presented in English, other displays are Spanish-language only.
Jaen Street is located in downtown La Paz, roughly 10 minutes on foot from Plaza San Francisco, the area hub for taxis and public transport.
When to Get There
Stop by during the day to peruse the museums, shops, and cafés, or opt for a nighttime visit to a local bar. As with many museums in La Paz, these close for lunch at 12:30pm or 1pm, reopening for afternoon hours at 2pm or 2:30pm. The Museum of Musical Instruments hosts concerts on some weekend nights—it’s a chance to see the Bolivia’s unique instruments played by some of the city’s top musicians.
The Five Jaen Street Museums
Jaen Street is home to five small museums that cover topics ranging from precious metals and Pacific War history to Bolivian revolutionaries. These include the Museum of Precious Pre-Columbian Metals (Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos), Coastal Museum (Museo Litoral), Murillo House Museum (Museo Casa de Murillo), Juan de Vargas Costumbrista Museum (Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas), and the Museum of Musical Instruments (Museo de Instrumentos Musicales).