La Paz, Bolivia an adventure in every corner
I am really enjoying these columns about Bolivia; brought back memories of first visit in 1975. So much has changed since then however some of the places remain the same like the colonial Plaza Murillo.
Today travelling to La Paz, you can do it over land, over water by catamaran (that you can sleep in) or by hydrofoil. The boats pass by the narrow straits of Taquille and after a few hours of lovely sailing we disembark in a small village and continue the journey in comfortable coaches to the town of El Alto. On my first trip to Bolivia, this town did not exist. Today El Alto boasts of a million + people, a bit of a chaotic place of “street industry” as anybody could and has set up a business on side of the road. There are two main sights here: the first is “crazy” architecture by Freddy Mamani and the brand-new cable car leading from the top of El Alto down to the city. Our tours stop here and we take our travellers down by cable car. This is a great way of seeing La Paz for the first time, dominated by Illimani Mountain at 6300mts in the back ground.
La Paz is set in a giant crater which has an adventure around every corner. From the Witches markets, the colonial sector to the “cholitas” Aymara indigenous ladies. Oh you must see them wrestling on Sundays! On the higher slopes of La Paz crater is where you will find the poorer barrios and at the very bottom of the valley is where the rich people live. (Easier to breath) It’s at this end where we find the Moon Valley which is a must see and almost next door is the highest golf course in the world.
There is a lot of great accommodation offering good value for money to choose from, and now just like their neighbours (Peru), the food and restaurant scene has evolved to world class. Most likely started by the chef Claus Meyer, he is the co-founder of Noma! Who opened Gustu, top restaurant in La Paz as a result there are now a lot more great restaurants, including street food you must try the favourite street food stands for Anticucho and Velas.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au