Blogs from La Paz Department, Bolivia, South America


30th April - Isla del Sol (Sun Island) - Colombia Revered as the most important site within Inca mythology. According to Inca history, Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is both the birthplace of their revered Sun God and the world’s first two Incas. The story goes that following a great flood, the province of Lake Titicaca was plunged into a long period of darkness. After many days, the bearded god Viracocha rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca, traveling to Isla del Sol where he not only commanded the sun to rise, but created the world’s first two Incas; Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo (the Adam and Eve of the Andes). While the story is indeed dramatic, it’s fair to say that the Incas didn’t actually originate on the shores of Lake Titicaca. A ... read more

8th May Lake Titicaca is the second largest on the planet. It also is the navigable lake at the highest altitude in the world. It has an area of 8562 km2. The Bolivian part occupies something less than half of that surface, the rest belongs to Peru. Our guide Renan took us by small boat to one of several floating islands where we were greeted by some of the locals. These floating surfaces are constructed by the people of the Uru Chulluni tribe from braided roots of totora and we were shown with the use of models just exactly how the island & dwellings were constructed. It is the men who collect the totora, because they are the ones who know which roots are good for building the island. If they have a lot of ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz April 25th 2021

Prepare to be amazed if you take Reman’s tour on the cable car ride over La Paz. With 10 lines: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, White, Sky Blue, Purple, Brown, and Silver - We took 3 journeys on the Red, Silver & Purple lines. The views were stunning at the highest altitude of 3,600 meters above sea level. The average speed of the gondolas is 11mph. What a wonderful experience to be able to take this tour. Rising more than 300 metres from La Paz – the world’s highest altitude administrative capital at almost 3,700m – up to the predominantly Aymara communities of El Alto on the plateau, the Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) system links neighbouring cities that were long seen as social worlds apart. For decades the main route between the two was ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz April 21st 2021

About 10 kilometers from Bolivia’s capital of La Paz lies the stark, alien landscape of El Valle de la Luna, or Moon Valley. Thousands of years ago, it lay at the bottom of the ocean. The rains and winds of the Andes here have created these unusual formations, making the area almost a forest of stalagmites out in the open. It isn’t a valley at all, but a bizarre, eroded hillside maze of canyons and pinnacles technically known as badlands. Several species of cactus grow here, including the hallucinogenic choma (San Pedro cactus). Our virtual guide was great, taking us to a high viewpoint and was able to get quite close to some of the formations. Although the area of Moon Valley currently rests at 3,650 meters / 11,975 feet above sea level, thousands of years ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz January 20th 2021

29th December 2020 La Plaz - Bolivia I probably over-dosed on tours yesterday, note to self organise your trips better 2nd tour was to La Plaz in Bolivia with our tour guide David. The Plaza Murillo is the central square of the city of and the open space most connected to the political life of Bolivia. The most prominent buildings on the square include the Presidential Palace, the Government Building and the Cathedral of La Paz. An interesting sight is the clock in the spire of the Government Building, the clock runs anti clockwise but we weren’t able to get a close enough photo. There is a major problem with pigeons in the square, it reminded me of all those years that pigeons were a tourist attraction in Trafalgar square almost as much as the surrounding ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Isla del Sol January 22nd 2020

Another border, another experience! But this time I have our previous experiences to help us. Crossing from Peru to Bolivia had a similar plot to that of Mexico/Guatemala; a bus that leaves you at the border of the leaving country, then change all the money left into the new currency, then walk into the new country, having the passport stamped and then leave with another bus. At the point of changing my last Peruvian Soles for Bolivianos (the local currency in Bolivia) I moved away from the crowd, checked before what the current exchange rate is and then asked another cambio (as the Japanese girl did at the Mexican border) and yes I got a better rate, actually some pennies more that what internet said. I got £5 more than what the first guy offered me. ... read more
Migration control
The boat on the way to the island
The eco house

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 28th 2019

One last day in La Paz. Primarily because of a long journey yesterday and a long journey tomorrow, so I left a day in between. Not because there’s loads of touristy things to do here – we’ve pretty much exhausted that list. We planned to have a lie-in but the police put paid to that idea when they arrive at our door at 8 am to check our passports. This morning we start at the Coca Museum which charts the history of the coca leaf, its role in Bolivian culture and uses as a drug, both legal and illegal. It’s more interesting that I’d anticipated. They even have a café where you can buy coca cocktails and original recipe Coca Cola. We continue to St Francis church with its beautifully carved façade and ornate interior (lots ... read more
Coca Museum
Coca Museum - coca using miner
Coca Museum - cocaine user

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 27th 2019

We have a bus back to La Paz at 13.15. First we are going to visit Horca del Inca, an ancient astronomical site on a hill just outside town. We try to check out but reception is empty. We soon discover why – spitty llama is giving birth. It’s an exciting and unexpected start to the morning. We walk through town where there is a festival taking place; people in their Sunday best, cars decorated with flowers, bands playing. On to Horca del Inca, described by Google Maps as a 14 minute ‘mostly flat’ walk. 45 minutes and 389 steep stone steps later, we finally reach our destination. Quite a tough ascent at 3800m altitude. We return to the hotel. We have just enough time to get some brunch and see baby llama one more time ... read more
Baby llama
Baby llama
Baby llama

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 26th 2019

All the travelling with food poisoning and then a cold have taken their toll so I’m taking a ‘duvet day’. So while the old man sets off on a boat ride to an island full of steps, I take a stroll along the lake, then return via reception, borrow a Judy Finnigan from the library and settle in my deckchair overlooking the lake. I have a pleasant day reading and watching the many hummingbirds in action. In the evening we go to dinner. As we pass the resident llamas I point and say “and you can f*** off too” not realising that I’m actually pointing at a lady in a hammock. Luckily she sees the funny side and when we bump into her in the restaurant 2 hours later, she’s still laughing at me. We return ... read more
Pleasant spot to read
View from my deckchair

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 25th 2019

Today we are taking a minibus to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It’s only 90 miles but takes 4 hours. Partly because it takes ages to fight our way out through the crazy La Paz traffic and partly because it involves a ferry crossing. First, breakfast. It’s not as easy as it seems as we are behind a Chinese tour group. The buffet looks like it’s been hit by a plague of locusts. There’s no fruit left at all, meanwhile a Chinese woman is trying to force an entire watermelon into her handbag. Once we have left the city, the driver seriously puts his foot down and our white knuckle ride begins. Soon the highway runs out and we continue on what look like abandoned road works. Eventually the quinoa covered plains give way ... read more
Lake Titicaca
Papyrus boat

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