La Paz, Bolivia

San Francisco Plaza

Having said our goodbyes to Peru on Monday, we continued our South American adventure onto Bolivia, beginning with La Paz.

The journey from Puno to La Paz was also a fairly draining one. On route, we stopped first at Copacabana (not that one!), a shore-front city on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We stopped for lunch and took in some of the good views it had to offer, and then crossed the water by ferry. The journey took a large chunk of the day up, especially with La Paz traffic challenging London during peak times (And in what’s becoming a bit of a trend, we got some food in at night and got an early night before a busy day in La Paz on Tuesday).

La Paz is the world’s highest capital city (Sucre is the official capital but La Paz has more government departments). The city basically sits in a bowl, surrounded by the Altiplano mountains. And probably one of a rare few places where the poorer citizens of the city have a better view of it.

First view of La Paz

We started Tuesday off with a walking tour of the city, run by a group called  Red Cap Tours. Famous for it’s free walking tours, it didn’t disappoint. It was taken by two local lads, and throughout the three-hour tour they took us to several interesting but also typical locations in the centre, including the President’s Palace and Cathedral. Interestingly, the Cathedral was going through some last-minute preparation work for a certain famous person the next day, this person being the Pope! (More on how close we came to the Pope in the next blog..!) We visited the much talked about Witches Market, where centuries old beliefs are still practiced today, and the products on display were evident of it. I won’t get into too much detail, but check out some of the pictures and try to see if you can work it out.

Next up, we took in views of the city by riding within one of the city’s cable cars, a fairly new attraction to the city, and one which happened due to a train network not being practical. And the views were immense. You get to see the whole city from the top of the ‘bowl’. And all for the price of 3 Bolivianos (30p!).

For the evening, we opted to join a Foodie Tour of La Paz, a walking tour that started at six and ended at one in the morning! Our guide Sergio took us to several locations in La Paz with the intention of showcasing Bolivian cuisine. I personally liked the first dish the most, Api (a warm, sweet, thick drink made from purple corn with cinnamon) and a light cheese-filled empanada (a South American pastie). We tried a smoothie from a local stall made from fifteen different fruits, and it tasted amazing. We went back to the tour’s bar where we went behind the bar to make the city’s local favourite drink, a Singani Sour. It consisted of Singani spirit, lime and sugar, with egg white whisked until frothy and used as the top layer of the drink. And it’s pretty strong! But it was all good fun though. Thanks to Sergio and the team at Red Cap Tours.

After cramming so much into one day in La Paz, it was time to move on yet again, and this time, we were headed to Uyuni, the starting point for our three-day 4×4 tour which would take us across the Salt Plains high up in Bolivia, and onto the EAAF National Reserve with it’s huge coloured lakes and amazing landscapes. See you at the next post!

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