It is safe to say that as far as South American nightlife goes, Bolivia goes severely overlooked. Most people would consider Bolivia’s party scene close to the bottom of the barrel. I mean, when you have to compete against places like Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I had no expectations going into Ecuador and ended up having some of my wildest nights in South America there. Likewise, Bolivia delivered time and time again. I even celebrated Christmas in Sucre and rang in the New Year in La Paz. Things were absolutely wild. Honestly, much wilder than one would expect from a country like Bolivia.
Although you won’t find too much happening nightlife throughout the smaller villages, the big cities of Bolivia do know how to throw a good party. If you are looking for a good time, then the cities of Sucre, Santa Cruz, and La Paz are where you will want to be.
I did not plan on spending much time in Sucre but hey, things happen. I had a bad mouth infection that had me stuck in Sucre for nearly two weeks with almost daily visits to the doctor. Thankfully, the infection and antibiotics did not prevent me from drinking alcohol or having a good time. Forming a great squad over the course of those two weeks, we took Sucre by storm.
There are a lot of different places to party in Sucre. Weirdly enough, the hostel that we were staying at also doubled as one of Sucre’s top nightlife options. That basically meant that we were forced to party every night. I mean, not actually, but it sure made it easier. Among the other top options were other hostels, but don’t worry. There are plenty of non-hostels to choose from, as well. With Sucre being a relatively small city, almost all of the bars and nightclubs are within walking distance from the city center. Sucre is probably the safest big city in Bolivia, so traipsing around at night should not be a problem.
Most of Sucre’s nightlife shuts down at around 3 AM, although there are some late-night clubs that keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning. The good thing about Sucre is that it is a city where you can start the party early. In other late night cities, I’ll often have to pace myself to make sure I’m not blasted by midnight. However, in Sucre, you can definitely have a few drinks with dinner before immediately heading to a bar and then a nightclub. Craft beer spots and a trendy bar scene gives you an abundance of places to choose from for a drink or two. Many restaurants in Sucre also double as bars, and with the affordable drink prices in Bolivia, your night out won’t be too pricy.
For my complete nightlife guide to Sucre, check out my other post.
My first time in La Paz, I found the nightlife to be very dull and disappointing. Turns out, I just didn’t know where all the good spots were. Our hostel directed our group to an English pub where the only people there were the four of us. That is far from representative of La Paz’s nightlife. As Bolivia’s largest city, La Paz also has some of its liveliest nightlife.
At first, I didn’t think La Paz to be anything too special. Most of the clubs that we would frequent were run of the mill salsatecas with little appeal outside of a place to dance. Eventually, I befriended a local who would tell me where all of the low-key parties were. Of course, the downtown area of La Paz is where most of the popular clubs are concentrated. Between a solid nightlife district, there are also several clubs sprinkled in random places downtown.
Another district to know is Sopocachi, which is by far La Paz’s trendiest district. If I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t even think I was in La Paz at this point. La Paz is quickly becoming one of South America’s cities to watch. Like I mentioned earlier, I celebrated New Year’s in La Paz after initially dreading spending another holiday in the country. I did not have a great first time in Bolivia, but the second time around really opened my eyes to how incredible and unique La Paz was.
We rang in the New Year at Mirador Killi Killi before finishing up pre-games at one of La Paz’s famous party hostels. We then scooted our way to a nightclub recommended to us by my local friend. The DJ spinning house beats had the party going wild and it was one of my most memorable New Year’s celebrations, despite initially having no expectations for a night out in La Paz.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Home to the sexiest women in Bolivia, Santa Cruz is easily Bolivia’s hottest nightlife destination. Although few travelers make it all the way to Santa Cruz, the foreigners that do settle in Bolivia often opt for Santa Cruz. It is one of Bolivia’s most ethnically diverse cities, and it is easy to see why. Santa Cruz is arguably Bolivia’s most modern and globalized cities, which means that its nightlife will be the trendiest and most up-to-date that you encounter in Bolivia.
The bustling city is home to over two million people, and rapidly growing. It is pretty easy to find a pumping nightclub with a good crowd on a Santa Cruz night out. It combines the size of La Paz with the modernity of Sucre, making it Bolivia’s best nightlife city. Whether you are looking for something more low-key and trendy or for a night that you won’t remember, Santa Cruz has you covered.