Route 36 – Bolivia’s Notorious Cocaine Bar

Route 36 is an illegal pop-up bar in the Bolivian capital city of La Paz notorious for being the world’s first and only cocaine bar.

South America is home to many popular tourist attractions, like the ruins of Machu Pichu, the Salar de Uyuni salt desert, or Angel Falls, but when it comes to drug tourism, there’s one place that everyone puts on their must-visit list. Route 36 is probably the only place in the world where you can walk in and order cocaine from the bar without having to worry about the legal consequences. Aimed exclusively at foreign tourists looking to indulge in some high-purity cocaine – no Bolivians allowed – Route 36 has been around for at least 12 years, during which time it has become famous as the world’s only cocaine bar.

Photo: Sergio Alves Santos/Unsplash

Although the high-risk drug is readily available and relatively inexpensive in Bolivia, its use is still illegal in the South American country. However, the people behind Route 36 have managed to stay in business for as long as they have by greasing the right hands and making sure to change the location of the bar every few weeks. Operating as a cocaine-serving after-hours lounge doesn’t sit too well with the locals, so in order to avoid complaints from neighbors, Route 36 constantly moves its operations throughout La Paz.

So how does one find the world’s only cocaine bar? There’s no address, no mainstream marketing, no official website to check, but then again, it doesn’t need any of that to get plenty of patrons. Foreigners traveling to La Paz need only tap the city’s taxi network to get information about the current location of Route 36. There are other ways as well – obscure travel websites, word of mouth, etc. – but this is by far the simplest way to find it.


For obvious reasons, there’s no bright “Route 36” sign outside the venue, and apart from the two grunts standing outside whatever location it does business, there’s no indication that the place even exists. After being frisked by the two gentlemen, tourists are allowed inside the establishment, but have to pass several security checks and locked metallic doors before finally making it inside the lounge itself.

Route 36 changes its appearance with every new location it moves to, but most often than not it’s a dimly lit room with the usual tables and a bar, the only difference being that you can order and enjoy more than the typical drinks. Here, you can reportedly order cocaine by the gram and have it brought to you on a metal tray, divided into lines, as well as a straw to snort it with.


The prices per gram vary by source (from 14$ to $25), but it’s definitely much cheaper than you’d have to pay anywhere else in the world. I can’t attest to the quality, but every source I checked seems to put it in the above-average category.

Even with its constant relocation, a bar as notorious as Route 36 would have been long closed without the tacit support of law enforcement and local authorities.


Photo: Dan Gold/Unsplash

“Everyone comes here. Of course, the police know, but they get paid enough that they actually look after the place,” one regular patron of Route 36 told