Calle Jaén Museums

Lonely Planet review

These four small, interesting museums are clustered together along Calle Jaén, La Paz’s finest colonial street, and can generally be bundled into one visit. Buy tickets at the Museo Costumbrista.

Also known as Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), the Museo de Metales Preciosos houses four impressively presented salons of pre-Columbian silver, gold and copper works and pieces from Tiwanaku.

Sometimes called the Museo de la Guerra del Pacífico, the diminutive Museo del Litoral incorporates relics from the 1884 war in which Bolivia became landlocked after losing its Litoral department to Chile. The collection consists mainly of historical maps that defend Bolivia’s emotionally charged claims to Antofagasta and Chile’s Segunda Región.

Once the home of Pedro Domingo Murillo, a leader in the La Paz Revolution of July 16, 1809, the Casa de Murillo displays collections of colonial art and furniture, textiles, medicines, musical instruments and household items of glass and silver that once belonged to Bolivian aristocracy. Other odds and ends include a collection of Alasitas miniatures.

The Museo Costumbrista Juan de Vargas contains art and photos, as well as some superb ceramic figurine dioramas of old La Paz. One of these is a representation of akulliko, the hour of coca-chewing; another portrays the festivities surrounding the Día de San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist’s Day) on June 24; another depicts the hanging of Murillo in 1810. Also on display are colonial artifacts and colorful dolls wearing traditional costumes. A pleasant cafe is on the premises.