Exploring the city of La Paz in Bolivia
In comparison to other countries in Latin America, Bolivia is still very underdeveloped and undiscovered. In the past, it may not have been top of the list on a visit to South America – but what it lacked in modern style, it made up for in character and an unwavering traditional identity, which is still one of its main draws. Now, however, Bolivia has really upped its game, with a number of top-notch design hotels and world-class restaurants opening in the magical city of La Paz. Indeed, there is nowhere more exciting to begin your adventure than this lively, colourful country.
We believe it is vital to spend time here in order to witness the wonderful cultural contrasts and the coexistence of old and new. Wandering through the colonial centre of La Paz with one of our top specialist guides is fascinating. You will come across markets, where bartering for woollen clothing, handmade crafts and artefacts is a daily occurrence. The bustle of the winding, cobbled streets will prove a real eye-opener into daily life in Bolivia. Every Thursday and Sunday, the city hosts the biggest open-air market in Latin America, generating US$2 million a day, which is a sight to behold as well as immerse yourself in.
We also recommend visiting La Paz’s excellent museums to understand the history of Bolivia and learn about the various cultures of the diverse communities that make up this extraordinary country. As 70% of the nation is indigenous, the customs and history are important and well preserved – more so than in other parts of South America.
The best way to get around is by cable-car. Much like the London Underground – with different coloured lines taking you all over the metropolis – you’re likely to share one of these modern cars with locals on their commute, which gives you a wonderful chance not only to see the incredible views from above but also experience some time in the life of a resident. La Paz was built within a huge canyon, once formed by a river, and looking across a city that seems to be undulating is both unique and fantastic.
A trip to the outlying parts of La Paz is another must. We can arrange for you to head into the surrounding highlands to the enigmatic, ancient ruins of Tiwanaku or the famous Valley of the Moon. These geographical phenomena are great to walk around in the fresh air, while your guide explains their formation and significance.
Our guides always strive to take our clients beyond the tourist trail and to deliver real experiences that go further than the usual ‘must-see’ sites, such as going to folk shows, visiting weaving communities and meeting local craftsmen. This means that you will gain a true insight into Bolivian culture and encounter an authentic side to La Paz that is beyond most travellers’ reach.
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