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Bolivia Travel:El Alto and La Paz

Updated: Oct 20, 2023





Evening approached, casting its golden hue over Copacabana's emblematic "White Anchor." My morning was graced by the thrill of a hike, and now, with that same fervor, I stood ready for the next phase of my Bolivian adventure. The bus, booked seamlessly through Peru Hop, arrived right on time at 5 pm, beckoning us travelers to embark on our journey to the unparalleled altitudes of La Paz.



As the road unraveled, we reached the picturesque San Pablo de Tiquina. A short pause, a few instructions, and soon, instead of the hum of the bus, I heard the gentle lapping of Lake Titicaca's waters. To our collective amazement, it wasn't just us boarding a boat to cross the Strait of Tiquina. Our loyal bus, the very vessel that had brought us this far, was being primed for its own voyage atop a barge. Watching it float on water was an unexpected spectacle, etching a lasting memory.


The waters of Tiquina were crisp, carrying whispers of tales as old as the Andes themselves. Once on the other side, a brief hiatus allowed us to gather our thoughts and share in the collective excitement of our unique crossing.


As our journey resumed, the horizon gradually gave way to the evening's embrace. We meandered through the tapestry of Bolivia's landscapes, with each mile drawing us closer to the famed heights of La Paz. However, before that, we touched the edges of El Alto. Standing even taller than its renowned neighbor, El Alto unfurled its vast expanse under the starry blanket of the night.


Time, in its relentless march, brought us to 10 pm. As the bus pulled up to my hotel in La paz, gratitude filled me. Gratitude for the land, the people, the journey, and the memories etched in the chronicle of a day that began with the sunrise over Copacabana and ended under the starlit canopy of La paz. With anticipation in my heart, I stepped into my hotel, ready to embrace the adventures the next day would inevitably bring.





As dawn broke, I savored a hearty breakfast at Qantu Hotel, La Paz. Drawn irresistibly by the promise of an ethereal view, I ascended to the hotel's roof deck. The panorama before me was nothing short of mesmerizing: La Paz, bathed in earthy colors, lay sprawled beneath the gentle embrace of the morning sun.






With the day's plan clear in my mind, I geared up for a guided tour of the city I'd booked through Expedia. By 11 am, I found myself at the heart of La Paz - Plaza Mayor de San Francisco. The vast square, echoing with tales of the past, flaunted a grand colonial-era cathedral and convent. Modern-day street art and bustling fairs breathed contemporary life into these historic grounds. And as predicted, the chill in the air was palpable.





As our group assembled, our guide led us on a journey that began at the San Francisco Church and took us deeper into the labyrinthine lanes of La Paz. The witches' market beckoned, revealing its secrets - from the uncanny practice of blood offerings in construction to mummified baby llamas hanging eerily from stalls. Walking through the market was akin to stepping back in time. Yet, as we ventured further, the subtle shift from traditional to contemporary became evident, marking the end of our eerie escapade.




Our next stop was the cable car station at Calle Almirante Grau. With tickets in tow, we embarked on what was arguably the highlight of our tour: a bird's eye view of the city. As we glided seamlessly between La Paz and El Alto, the breathtaking landscape unfurled beneath us. The city, a chasm of earthy tones, contrasted with El Alto, perched atop a plateau. An interesting observation was the many unfinished buildings dotting the landscape, a tactic locals employ to dodge property taxes.




While soaring above, we were treated to an array of visuals: multi-hued houses, bustling train stations, solemn cemeteries, and even prisons. Each sight was accompanied by tales from our well-versed guide.




Back on solid ground, our exploration continued. Jaen Street, with its stories of cholitas and their thrilling wrestling matches, beckoned. UNESCO heritage sites stood as silent guardians of history, leading us to the main square, which boasted the city's majestic cathedral and grand government edifices.



As the guided tour came to an end, I wasn't ready to retire. The vibrant energy of La Paz was infectious. So, with newfound enthusiasm, I meandered through bustling open-air markets, indulged in some retail therapy at local shops, and finally concluded my day at the serene San Francisco Church.


La Paz, with its blend of ancient rituals and modern life, had unveiled its treasures, leaving an indelible mark on my heart.







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I'm Archsael, i am an architect and a passionate traveler who finds joy in exploring the world's wonders. This site is a tapestry of my adventures, offering unique insights and inspirations from my journeys.

 

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