La Paz, Inca Ruins of Tiwanako and Puma Puntu and Biking the most Dangerous Road in the World


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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz
May 14th 2015
Published: May 14th 2015
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La Paz, one of the highest located cities in the world lies at a dazzling 3650 meters altitude. A city with over 1 million people nestled between mountains it literally takes your breath away when you enter the city. I have now been a while in the 4000 meter altitude region, but the smog from all the cars makes it even harder to breath. Nevertheless it is a beautiful city with heaps of things to do.

After I arrived in La Paz and settled into my hostel I was on a mission to find a good dentist. After all that was why I was here so quickly in the first place. Though it was Sunday and everything was closed. So I went to a couple of hostels and asked of whom they would recommend and most of them gave me one name and address. So to make sure that I knew the way I scouted it out and spent the rest of the day walking around the city. One should know that is a rather difficult task considering it is hilly, remarkably steep and that I do not have the physical anatomy of a mountain goat! The city is also pretty dangerous and later that night I met 3 different guys that had their pockets picked. Nice one.

The next day I went as early as possible to the dentist to fix my tooth problem. To my surprise the dental clinic was hyper -modern with the latest equipment and sparkling as. As soon as I entered I was lead into a room by a nurse, towhom didn’t speak a word of English, and soon the dentist came, who didn’t speak English either. Since my Spanish is of a insufficient standard I just pointed at the tooth and he was up and away. He put some device in my mouth that was connected to a PC and very soon there was a 3D image of my tooth in all its glory. Now I am not a dentist, but it looked pretty impressive. Never had that done to me in Australia. Who said that only we in the west are highly developed?

After some urban reconnaissance and consulting with now 3 nurses he told me, with a big grin on his face, that he spoke English and that I need a root canal surgery. Well, who was I to argue with him so I gave him the go ahead, thinking all the time if that really was a good idea. So he went ahead and after about an hour all was done. No pain, no problems and all in all amazing. Remarkably the whole thing cost me about A$220. Now I had that same procedure done in Australia and the cost was over A$1000. So I was a happy chap after this experience.

The rest of the day I employed a leisurely attitude and schedule as I didn’t really want to strain myself after the procedure.

The day after I spent walking around the city and visiting the excellent museums and plazas. I had no idea that you can actually create museums about some of the stuff they did, like the Coca museum. I liked that one a lot as it gives you a good insight of the history about the coca leaf and how it created the cocaine problem mainly in the western world. Coca is chewed everywhere and is not a drug by itself. Only when you refine it with chemicals and diesel it becomes a problem. Another interesting part of the city is the witches market which is part of the central market in the middle of La Paz. There you can find everything from herbs to dried Lama foetus, rotten eggs, wooden devil figures, etc. So everything a witch needs to cast her spells. Now the Bolivians are very religious, but they also believe in the supernatural and witchcraft is a big business here in South America. While walking through the market one couldn’t help to think how many people go there to buy the stuff to cast evil spells on other people, get lovers back or just hope for a better life. We who come from a “civilised” world might laugh about these believe systems, but who are we to judge? Who knows, maybe they just work.

The day after I had booked a tour to the ancient Inca ruins of Tiwanako and Puma Punto. The place is only about 2 hours’ drive away from La Paz and counts to one of the most important archaeological sites in Bolivia, and what a sight it was! Now I know that a lot of people think that these are just a mountain of rubble and blocks of stones, but I find the Inca ruins fascinating! It is still not known how they exactly built these buildings and statues with the tools they had. The Incas also didn’t use the wheel as a transportation tool as they believed it represents the sun and they worshipped the sun very much. The blocks for the city came from a mountain about 20 km away and since some of them weigh over 200 tons it is still a mystery how they got them to the sight. Furthermore, the edges of the blocks are straight as and it looks like they were cut with a laser. The age of the site is also greatly in dispute and the surveyor and mathematician Posnansky asserted that given the geometry of the Wall of the Sun and the date of the astronomical positions (in reference to terrestial positions they match to), would indicate they would have had to been made at least 17,000 years ago! Posnasky's work can be summated best as such:

“Since Earth is tilted on its axis in respect to the plane of the solar system, the resulting angle is known as the "obliqueness of the ecliptic". If viewed from the earth, the planets of our solar system travel across the sky in a line called the plane of the ecliptic.
At present our earth is tilted at an angle to of 23 degrees and 27 minutes, but this angle is not constant. The angle oscillates slowly between 22 degrees and 1 minute minimum to an extreme of 24 degrees and 5 minutes. A complete cycle takes roughly 41,000 years to complete. The alignment of the Kalasasaya temple depicts a tilt of the earth's axis amounting to 23 degrees, 8 minutes, 48 seconds, which according to astronomers, indicates a date of 15,000 B.C”.

So Incredible stuff. It never ends to amazes me how the Inca’s build these cities and also how the Spanish tried to destroy their legacy in the name of the Jew-Christian “God”.

What though is not so incredible though as striking is the total lack of interest, preservation or further investigation (given the site is only 5-10%!e(MISSING)xplored) by the so-called “authorities” to this amazing ancient site! Tens of thousands of years of history is left to rot or be abused for mundane purposes while history and perhaps even Technology studies could be benefited all due to the total absence by the state. It just demonstrates that the System is not competent and even completely useless to make a true difference. It also provides an opportunity for real dedicated surveyors and explorers as well as the possibility for future alternative Institutions with the finances to unravel more secrets at the site. Such who would answer questions such as:
How could of the site been constructed at the given date prior to all known (if you accept mainstream history that is) required technological development? Is there chemical residue or presence at the site like the Nazca trails? Is certain partitions of the site and other surrounding areas also pertaining to unusual chemical traces or even electromagnetic effects? If nearby locations to the site were once flooded could other ruins also be flooded? Could the existing subterranean networks throughout the mountains link up to other uncovered sites? Could these also be linked to the existing known site through other undiscovered geometries or reference locations to the site? What purpose were the interlocking blocks at Puma Punto? Why is there machined cuts on these blocks? How would the geological situation appear at that time?

The day after the Inca ruins I had booked a mountain bike tour at the most dangerous road in the world. This road used to be the main transport road from the Bolivian lowlands to La Paz and goes from 4700 meters altitude to 1200 meters. Since I was in South America in 1982 I wanted to travel that road just to experience the trip. Not only is the road covering all the altitude, but it is carved in the side of mountains with one side going straight up and the other descends hundreds of meters. When it was used as a normal road every year, hundreds of people died.

So on the morning of the tour I got picked up from the hostel and with some 5 other people we made our way to the start. There we were issued rain jackets and pants, gloves, helmets and modern and functional mountain bikes. The instructors made it very clear to us that this was not an easy and un-dangerous activity and every year tourists get injured doing it.

Than we started and what a thrill it was. The first 25 km are on sealed road and it is all the way downhill. The speed we were going was incredible and our guide said that we reached over 70 km an hour. Now I haven’t been riding a pushbike for over 20 years so it took a while to get used to it again but how I enjoyed it to rush down the road and leaning into the corners. The weather on top was nice and as we descended we went through clouds and the visibility wasn’t the best, but that all added to the excitement.

After the sealed road section it became tricky as we hit the death road part and what a ride it was. The road was just a gravel road with huge rocks covering it that one had to navigate. You went under waterfalls and had to go through narrow corners. Then it started to rain as well and the road just got slippery as hell. Good fun. Every 10 – 15 minutes we had a stop to get the group together again as some of the riders took it easier than others. Guess in which category I was in?

After about 4 hours we reached our destination at the bottom of the road and by than I was wet as, my muscles were tired from holding on the bike and my legs were like lead. But I was happy as a pig in mud. What an amazing experience! It is not every day that one descends from 4700 meters altitude to 1200 meters, rides through rain clouds and gets rained on just to be greeted by the hot sun at the bottom of the ride. I will never forget this ride but also the women and men who died at this stretch of the road. I did this for fun, but in the past, millions of people had to travel this road for work, to supply the city or any other reason; thousands of which who died doing this.

So after a day with the dentist, some cultural activities in La Paz, visiting some Inca ruins and getting my adrenaline hit it was time to move on again. The city was really a lot of fun and there was a lot more to do. But time is precious and one can’t stay at one place for too long. So I took a bus to Copacabana, or so I thought! But that is for my next update and you will learn that, while I try to be perfect and well organised, even I can make some major blunders.

Hope you enjoyed this update and as usual, please leave some comments on the blog. I know I say that every time and every time it gets ignored but if I do not say it then no-one will comment for sure. Please take the time to comment and appreciate the good work that goes into providing this travel insight experience.



Take care wherever you are and live your life to the fullest. Just doing your day to day cores is below your potential.


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14th May 2015

No more toothless grin
Pleased for you the dental experience went well...equipped you for your bike ride through potential hell. Well done on all counts. The ruins sound pre-Inca if they are that old. The Incas were from about 1400 A.D I think. But by the stone work you describe sounds Inca as they were known for precision. Could it have been a mixture of Inca and pre-Inca cultures?
22nd May 2015

You are right....
..... Dancing Dave. The Puma Puntu ruins are pre Inca. The whole area is full of history. Where are you right now?
16th May 2015
La Paz

Highest city
Sounds like you are having a marvelous time. Wow 220 for a root canal is amazing. I'm glad he had all the up to date technology. i was a bit worried when you started the story. It is almost worth flying got LaPaz for dental work. Take care and have fun.
22nd May 2015
La Paz

Yes it ....
.... was good value. And so far all is good. La Paz is a must see place. And not only for the dentists.... Thank you for your comment and have fun where you are. Take care and until soon.
3rd January 2016

Thanks for the link!
Hey Welf, Thanks for giving me the link. Figured i would read from the start and catch up on all your adventures. That bike ride sounds amazing - Will add to the bucket list. Stay safe mate.
19th October 2016

La Paz Dentist details
Hi, Really interested to know who the dentist was that sorted your tooth out in La Paz? I'm currently in the area and have a root canal issue... Thanks in advance
20th October 2016

I had to dig deep ....
But here you go. Avenida Saavedra 1760, La Paz, Bolivia. It's near the main stadium. +591 (2) 224-0778 Hope this helps.....

Tot: 0.055s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 10; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0123s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb