The Highest Administrative Capital in the world
Bolivia is probably one of the fewest country left less known, which made me even more curious to pay a visit.
I have spent almost a Month in Bolivia and I would definitely recommend the country to every kind of travelers, as you can have it all over there:
from adventure to sightseeing, from the countryside to mountain scenario, from food to wine culture and much more. Both solo travelers, family and couple can find their way to enjoy this lovely South American country.
In this article, I would like to focus the attention on Bolivia most known city La Paz, a city that is often misleading to be the capital … which is not as the Capital is Sucre.
So here are 6 reasons (of the many) you should visit La Paz in 2018:
Epicentre of Bolivia
With its official name Nuestra Senora de la Paz, La Paz is still the most important city in Bolivia, regardless is not the official capital.. everything happens in Bolivia starts from Here: from fashion trend to commerce, to international flights and so on. Its mixture of being the most indigenous and yet the most cosmopolitan of the country gives to the city a charming vibe.
So you will find yourself experiencing a contrast between history and modernity just even strolling through the city center: for the most curious tough plenty of history that local people will happily talk to you with most of all in the northern department of the city.
La Paz host a huge area dedicated to handcraft of any type: from local clothes to souvenirs, from food to interesting drink (what Bolivian call Refresco) to taste and much more: just pin in your map as Destination “Mercado 16 de Julio”. The Market stretch from Plaza San Francisco (where you can visit the gorgeous Basilique) through Mercado de La Bruja (the Witch market) and up the narrow roads of the city center, where you can lose yourself for at least one full day. So just decide your budget as the beauty you will find are so many that would be difficult to stop shopping.
For the foodie, like me, La Paz offers a great variety of dish and street food. As a general South American culture, food is very important for Bolivian, so you will find food everywhere in the city at all time.. we do not a complaint, correct?
I am a big fan of the market and the one found in La Paz was probably the best so far met in South America: Mercado Lanza. The market is right by Plaza Major ( please visit the last floor of the market to enjoy the best view of Plaza Major and San Francisco Basilique) open from the early morning until evening. It a 3-4 flours market where to find food and drink of any kind and much more ( clothes and accessories are also there).
Top food tips :
Morning breakfast: egg, tomato and avocado roll washed town by a good hot black coffee. You can find a line of a kiosk selling them on the
2 floor, they are called “Cafeteria Y Sandwich” and each of them has its own name from the owner generally and a number to better being identify on the market maps ( a very well organized Market). My favorite was Kiosk Gloria, I hope you can pay a visit there
Silpancho for Lunch or Picana: both meat-based dish you can have a great option of Kiosk where to stop. Be ready as you will be stopped by all the vendor’s women and generally it can be overwhelming to choose one, so if you have more day pick few of them and taste as much as you can. Lunch generally come in a menu of Soup of the day ( vegetarian soup available) and main dish.
Postre (dessert): I am a dessert person.. so I would never miss to get my daily dessert and clearly I got my fav spot on the market too. At the market entrance from Av Perez Valasco, on the left side, you will find this adorable old woman selling local delicatessen on her little bench. Please taste her brownie or her corn biscuit, just delicious for less than 50 cents.
All the above are just few example of food, as the variety of food is really incredible and for everybody taste, so the real tip is: go and taste what call your attention. The cheap is very cheap and taste delicious, on top super fresh.
As mentioned above the Market 16 July host also the Witches market in Calle de Las Brujas: few old shops where you can find the amulet and Pachamama (the little statue to celebrate mother-nature) and for the believer.. magic brew. The most interesting thing is to stop and chat with the old women vendors.. they will be happy to explain everything they sell and clearly they will be happy if you buy something 🙂 Even if you are not a believer in magic stuff, it is still nice to have a stroll over there and experience a bit of mysticism, on top this is a touristic spot so quite at easy.. But for the real magic fun, I suggest you go to Alto by car cable and over there walking a bit on the right side off the metro you can find several little houses where to indulge your curiosity on hand-reading and much more… but be careful here, try to not carry with you much money or important belonging and better to go daytime, as not the safest place in town.
Museum and History and Mirador
Definitely, La Paz does not lack in Museum nor history: great variety of Museum, with the major concentration at Calle Jaen and gorgeous old road with an interesting architecture strolling through the whole old town. As mentioned above, you can visit the amazing San Francisco Basilica and its Baroque style.
You can also visit the prison of San Pedro, famous for its infrastructure and difference that other jails in the World.
More you can get and half day excursion to Moon Valley in the Southern side of La Paz ( you can either choose to go there by an organized tour and you can go by yourself grabbing a local bus in direction of Mallasa at Plaza San Francisco corner with Calle de las Brujas and ask the driver to stop close to Moon Valley). More than a Valley its a maze of canyons and giant spires, really worth it a half or one-day hike, but do not forget to carry a hut and water with you.
Being at a very high point La Paz offer also amazing viewpoint and not even very difficult to be reached : you can visit El Alto with cable car (Teleferico)
and enjoy the view of the city from there, or an easy hike up to Mirador Killi Killi only a 30 min walk up to a hill and still get an amazing view of town.
Adventure and adrenaline: Death Road
It might not be for everybody but you have great adventure options too in La Paz, one of which is to bike down the world most famous dangerous road: Yungas road. This road was, unfortunately, the house of many dead in the past is in many points extremely narrow and old, and with far too many downfalls, where drivers of the truck would not take it easy and sometimes end up downhill, increasing the devastating number or death. Until luckily the road was closed to traffic in 2009, and only open for local people living in the upper village of Coroico and to tourist interested in Biking.
I have personally decided to go on the tour with the agency Evolution Ride Espirit and it was the best decision ever: the care and the dedication of the agency was one of the best ever, on top the outstanding service offered at a great price, what ask for more??
We were on a 3 person mini group (so you get also a better-personalized guide tour and not overcrowded groups like many other agencies) with the professional and experienced guide, and not to forget extreme security on the professional bike and uniform with helmet. My guide Willy, who has accompanied and help us all the way down, was not just giving us physical tips but also explaining the outstanding scenery around and cracking many jokes. Perfect day and lovely experience
Be prepared as the ride start at La Cumbre at 4700 meter of altitude, with fantastic view also of Huayna Potosí and after few meter downhill on asphalt road the beginning of the death road down to dusty hill, until you will finish the ride at Yolosa and after a big group hugs you can then enjoy a yummy buffet lunch on nearby property and a refreshing bath on a swimming pool.
Well, these are only 6 of the many reasons why you should visit La Paz and its still local integrity: where food is still authentic and so people, where you can get history mixed up with archaeology and nature and not missing in adventure and fun. A bit of everything for you to enjoy a perfect city break.
For more info and tips do not hesitate to message me
thanks for reading