At Bolivia’s National Museum of Archaeology (Museo Nacional de Arqueología), visitors can view artifacts dating back as far as 1500 BC and trace the history of the landlocked country’s indigenous tribes and cultures. Located in central La Paz, the archaeology museum offers an insightful look into the mystifying relics of Bolivia’s past.
Archbishop José Manuel Indaburo established the National Museum of Archaeology in 1846, with a small private collection. With so many artifacts of Bolivia’s various cultures—Tiwanaku, Mollo, Chiripa, and Inca—being lost to Spanish conquest and European museums, Indaburo mandated that as many of these treasures as possible should remain at home in Bolivia. Today, there are few places better to gain an understanding of Bolivia’s rich cultural heritage than at this small but well-organized museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Museum of Archaeology is ideal for history and culture buffs.
- Expect to spend an hour or two exploring the museum’s exhibits.
- The museum is not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Take normal precautions to avoid pickpockets and petty crime.
How to Get There
The National Museum of Archaeology, located just two blocks east of El Prado in La Paz, is easily reached via taxi, bus, or colectivo. Travelers who want to avoid the hassle of navigating public transport can opt for a private tour that includes hotel pickup and drop-off.
When to Get There
The museum is open 9am to 12:30pm and 3pm to 7pm Monday through Friday, and 9am to 12pm Saturday. There isn’t really a bad time to visit, though if you want to avoid tour groups, arrive in the morning. The best time to visit La Paz in general is during the winter dry season, from May to October.
Other Museums in La Paz
Set aside some time in La Paz to explore its excellent museums, such as the National Museum of Art (Museo Nacional de Arte), the Museum of Bolivian Andean Textiles (Museo de Textiles Andinos Bolivianos), and the Museum of Musical Instruments (Museo Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia). Wander down Jaen Street—one of the most beautiful streets in La Paz—and visit the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore (Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore), the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), and the former home of revolutionary leader Pedro Domingo Murillo.