The highest ‘Capital’ in the world. La Paz is a mental metrpopolis, everything will seem different here. The first thing that you will notice is the sheer scale of the city. Built in what looks like to be a moon crater, La Paz’s terrain is a culture shock to even the most well-travelled adventurers. Love it or hate it, you’ll never be bored.
Despite being known as the highest Capital, Sucre is in fact the constitutional capital of Bolivia.
Many of the shops on streets seem to have a bizarre trend of selling similar items. There was a real demand for paint stripper and football shirts around our hotel.
On the subject of streets, La Paz’s roads can seem a never-ending maze with no real order or consistency. To save on time, money and lung capacity, it’s best to take advantage of the cities’ vast cable car network for any longer journeys. A single fare costs 3 Bolivianos ($0.43) so is a commuting option for the locals as well as a great way to see the city.
Things to do
A trip highlight for everyone, novice or pro-mountain biker. The 60 km trail combines exquisite views, jaw dropping heights, and an adrenaline rush for the thrill seekers. I decided to tour with RIDE ON Bolivia. They provide a great service with lunch and snacks as well as photos of the experience.
Cable car network
La Paz’s most efficient method of transport is the extensive cable car network that connects the city. We went during the middle of the day to avoid the morning rush hour. It is a great way to see the unique city.
Student on a budget
Bolivia as a country has a relatively cheap cost of living, especially compared to the South American powerhouses of Chile and Brazil. We stayed in a hotel for around $18 per night per person and spent little on excursions and food (other than death road). It is quite easy to live off less than $30 dollars a day here.
Personal experiences and thoughts
I loved the busyness of La Paz and its unique culture and history. I was fascinated by the superstitions and traditions that seem to be engrained into the people. For example, a local guide told me that Llama foetuses are often buried in the foundations of buildings in the hope of being blessed with good fortune by the Pachamama (mother nature).
Hit or miss?
Depends on your budget and the type of traveller you are. If you’re on a low budget and passing through I’d recommend 3 nights here to really get a grasp of the place.