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A charming surprise that touches the clouds

La Paz
Bolivia   Go high, La Paz

Situated in a valley in the Andes Mountains, sitting between 3,200 to 4,100 meters above sea level, La Paz is the city where everything is "the highest in the world".


Killi Killi viewLa Paz, Bolivia's third most-populous city, has so many government departments that it's often considered to be the capital city. It is spectacular when seen from a distance and Killi Killi hills offers the best views in the entire city. Since the city is situated so high, in the river Choqueyapu and surrounded by mountain tops, it is a bit difficult to breathe - and light a cigarette - if you are not used to it.

To overcome that obstacle, and show their respect for tourists, you can get coca tea in hotels for free and if that doesn't help you can always find oxygen, even in the buses.

La Paz cable carsTalking about the highest, here are few things you can see here and nowhere else in the world. Chacaltaya is the highest ski area running from 5320 meters to 4900 meters; you can drink a beer in the highest Irish pub in the world (The Dubliner or Shamrock, depending who do you ask), or you can take a ride in the longest and highest urban cable cars from La Paz to El Alto (4,150m).

Puerta del SolIf you are willing to walk, just outside the city there is the Moon Valley, a collection of big stalagmites, jagged gorges and set of trails that wind through the weird park. A little further outside, there are the pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku and its monument Puerta del Sol, a nearly fifty ton gateway into the ruins, is Bolivian Stonehenge.

Witches' MarketThe place you don't want to miss in La Paz is the Witches' Market. This is one of the most unique places in La Paz, and probably, in the world: there you can buy good luck charms, make wishes, or create a spell. You may laugh if you want but this is serious business to the people who shop and work here and spells are hot sellers. An interesting place to spend an hour or so.

Plaza MurilloThe main city square is Plaza Murillo, the place where you can see beautiful government buildings and the cathedral, and taste the best local meals. While at food, keep in mind that long lunches are traditional throughout the country, so shops and other businesses are often closed between 12pm and 3pm.

La Paz restaurantsThe tea breaks take place around 4 and 5 pm and tea and pastry shells filled with vegetables, eggs, potatoes, raisins and/or olives, are enjoyed together. If you don't want to eat in hotel restaurant for any reason, look for places filled with workers from the street. It means you'll get good value for money (simple meals vary from $3 to $5).

El Prado avenueEl Prado avenue is the real center of life and events. It spreads from Estudiante square to Plaza San Francisco with a mix of buildings, from street market boots to ultra-modern glass buildings. This is also the place where you can see the mix of local people in traditional clothes and people from all walks of life, and that's the best way to feel the spirit of La Paz. Here you can find everything you can imagine and local products, like handmade hats and clothes, are so cheap they are almost for free.

Death RoadYou can enjoy a lot of adventures in Bolivia but one of the most popular activities in La Paz is the scary bike ride along one of the world's most dangerous roads. While it's true that the scenery is probably the most beautiful in Bolivia, we don't think you'll enjoy it because this road is called the Death Road, so it's not very wise to take selfies when one mistake can send you hundreds meters down the mountain.

If you like climbing more, Huayna Potosi mountain is for you: from the top you can see the Altiplano, La Paz, Lake Titicaca, and the Cordillera Real.

Streets of La PazOne of La Paz's most important landmarks is the San Francisco church, a beautiful church known for its intricately carved facade and blending of catholic and native art. Among all those small streets, Jaen Street is the most vivid and a must see place. This is a cobble-stoned street with a number of shops, bars, restaurants, and five museums. La Paz is an interesting place for party people because beer is good and cheap here and bars are working all night long... A great city to explore.

 

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