To put it simply, our time in La Paz was far too short — we could have easily spent two or three days here, but instead we had a mere 24 hours for a fleeting glance at this fascinating city — I loved it so much that we’ll have to come back one day.
Being the highest capital city in the world — it sits at 3,600 metres and rises to over 4,000 metres as you enter El Alto. The geography of the city has led to one of the coolest mass transit systems in the world — the Teleférico — think cable car / gondola.
La Paz is a city steeped in culture and tradition. Before arriving, I had seen many a photo of Cholitas — traditionally dressed women in fancy bowler hats, and wondered if they were dressed this way just for the tourists. It was refreshing to find this wasn’t the case and that the attire is worn with pride and as fashion, if mainly amongst the older generation.
The little time we did have was spent wisely though. We managed to visit Moon Valley, take lunch in an old railroad coach, view the city from above on the Teleférico and wander through Witches Market.
Cable cars are to La Paz as the tube is to London or the subway is to Net York, and what a fantastic way to get around the city and see it from a different perspective. With 8 lines, and more on the way, we rode the red line from central station up to El Alto and back again.
We couldn’t help ourselves but to stop for lunch in this old railway carriage outside the central station. Here we ate traditional 😉 Bolivian hotdogs and drank fresh Granadilla fruit drinks.
Finally, we wandered through the streets of Witches Market and were intrigued by some of the natural remedies, potions and spells on offer – think snakes, dried frogs, lama foetuses, owl feathers and you’ll get the gist – as if straight from the pages of Harry Potter. Unfortunately, we were completely spell-bound and took no photos here — which was very disappointing.
Our last view of the city was from our taxi to the airport, as we navigated our way up what seemed like impossibly steep back streets from La Paz city to the airport in El Alto. Our next stop — Uyuni.