We flew from Santiago to La Paz and we couldn’t help but wonder what we might have missed by not being able to take the overland tour from San Pedro De Atacama, Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia. Lucky for us it was a clear day and we saw these gorgeous landscapes from the plane instead of the overland tour – incredible!
I was a bit worried flying directly to La Paz from sea level but I had my trusty Diamox pills and had starting taking them a day prior to arriving in Bolivia. All I have to say is that these pills worked wonders for me and I virtually had no symptoms of altitude sickness, I normally suffer if I’m over 3000 meters (10,00 feet). The city of La Paz sits at over 3500 meters and the airport in El Alto is even higher at over 4000 meters – too high for me!
Our first day we took it pretty easy, hung around our gorgeous hotel, and walked around a bit. The hotel was fantastic and had an endless supply of coca tea to help with altitude sickness symptoms, they even would have supplied us with oxygen and medicine if we needed it. Jesse, the customer service assistant at our hotel helped us figure out the bus system (which can be totally confusing if you’re not from La Paz) and we hopped on the bus to the historic district to have a look around. One thing we loved about Bolivia was whenever someone got on the bus they greeted everyone with a Buenas Tardes. The historic district was fun to see, San Fransisco Church was stunning. There were little shops and street vendors all over. A main attraction in this area was El Mercado de las Brujas known as the witches market. They were selling all kinds of potions and tintures but one hard thing for me was seeing the llama fetuses, they sell them for good luck and as offerings to Pachamama (earth mother).
Calle Jaen is worth taking a stroll on, the architecture was fantastic and this is also where most of the museums are located.
On our way to Calle Jaen we saw this great street art and stopped to admire the square.
We stopped in at a tour agency to see what day trips we could do and to ask about the Cholita Wrestling – if you’ve never seen Cholita Wrestling then you must go when in La Paz, it was the most hilarious wrestling we’ve ever seen!
Another must do while in La Paz is to take a ride on the cable car system. There are a few different lines to choose from but our hotel said the green line was the best one, it’s the longest and offered the best views. So we took the green line and it was a great way to get an overview of La Paz.
On our way walking to the cable car Gordon found his reserved parking space…
From the center of the city we took a taxi up to Mirador Killi (it’s a very steep climb). The views were nice and there were some locals setting up to play music.
Instead of taking a taxi back to the center from Mirador Killi we decided to walk. We saw some cool things along the way.
On one of our day trips we visited Tiahuanaco. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and believed to have been a moral and cosmological center for the Tiahuanacu empire. It is said that it might have been inhabited as early as 1500 BC.
This is the place where they would worship the sun.
On our second to last day in La Paz we decided to do another day trip and visit Chacaltaya (meaning ‘bridge of winds’ in molla) and the Moon Valley. Chacaltaya is HIGH 5421 meters (17,785 feet). It used to be South America’s highest glacier but it was completely gone by 2009. This glacier was Bolivia’s only ski resort. We thought going up the mountain would be nice and scenic, and we could enjoy the views – we definitely enjoyed the most amazing views but the bus ride up and down was scary as hell! Who takes a 30 passenger bus on a road like this? Only in Bolivia!
After our visit to Chacaltaya, our bus driver took the backroads to the Moon Valley. It’s a maze of giant canyons and spires, the rock formations are awesome here.
On the way back to the hotel we saw this, the cutest tuk tuk and it even had dolphins on the side – love it!
La Paz is a very cool city to see and we loved how the people have hung on to their culture. We had such a great visit here!
Where we stayed: Stannum Hotel 👍
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel