High in La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, please accept our apology, we arrived with a negative bias about major cities, and you pleasantly surprised us.

Our morning started out with ATM trouble. Unable to solve the issue until the following day, we decided to make the best of our time and explore the city.

From our modern neighbourhood of Sopocachi, we headed in the general direction of the historic district walking north-west along the tree-lined pedestrian walkway El Prado, passing embassies, skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, and well planned urban spaces.

Near the centre, we rode the Mi Teleférico cable car to El Alto, a sprawling city in itself built on the altiplano surrounding La Paz. The vistas are spectacular. The setting of over a million habitants cover the slopes of the valley in all directions.


From the gondola, we had a view of the mausoleums and the crowds queuing to visit deceased loved ones, an exceptionally busy event since it was All-Hallomas or All Saints’ Day.p1030274

The streets are brimming with colourful flower beds, murals and building facades. p1030301p1030400

Walking back towards our neighbourhood, we came across the Parque Urbano Central. An elevated walkway winds above the park offering terrific panoramas of the city, and the soccer fields and amusement rides below. img_20161102_150546

This small playground has a great view as well.img_20161103_143752

Brightly painted, funky buses ply the streets for fares, each with its personality and name.

Doing the tourist thing, we visited the Museo Nacional de Arte, a small museum showcasing the history of Bolivian art, and many stunning religious paintings. But it’s the colonial-era palace, in the Baroque architecture style that captured our attention.La Paz's National Museum of Art

This marble fountain nicely complements the interior courtyard.p1030419Near the museum, the central square, Plaza Murillo is surrounded by beautiful buildings; the Presidential Palace, National Congress of Bolivia, and the Cathedral of La Paz.

Look closely at the Congress building’s clock, the numerals are inverted, and the hands turn anti-clockwise. Dubbed the “Clock of the South”, it’s a reminder for Bolivians to remember their roots and to continually question established norms.p1030358

The square was buzzing with activity, adults and children alike feeding the pigeons.p1030344

And lastly, a photo that makes us chuckle. How would you like to be the cable guy and have to make sense of these?p1030408

The ATM incident turned out to be a fortunate event which kept us in the world’s highest capital longer than we had planned — La Paz, Bolivia a worthwhile visit.

16 thoughts on “High in La Paz, Bolivia

  1. Like your original intention, we completely bypassed La Paz. Now I see what a mistake that was! It looks wonderful – full of interesting areas, and I’d loved to have ridden the teleferico!
    The only other place in the world where I’ve seen individually decorated and named buses like these is in Samoa!

    • Alison, You haven’t been to La Paz but you’ve seen the buses of Samoa – I’d say you lucked out on this trade-off:) When you do get to La Paz, we highly recommend the teleferico, it’s such a fun way to get your bearings and the vistas from El Alto are fantastic. -Ginette

  2. I can see why you liked the city based on your colorful photos. I never thought of La Paz as a nice destination before. Being from a very small town, I used to not like cities but they have grown on me.

    • Jeff, we’ve found (coincidently) that visiting big cities on weekends or holidays is also a plus, less traffic and the citizens are out and about enjoying the day too, not rushing to and from work which makes for a more pleasant day…and we’re small town folks too:) – Ginette

  3. La Paz looks like a fascinating city! Love the murals, the flowers, and the lovely walkways. OMG, it would be impossible to sort through all those wires. It reminds me of our year in Mexico but on steroids!

    • We tend to shy away from big cities, and if it hadn’t been for the ATM trouble, we would have moved on — La Paz was a fortunate interlude. Those wires; we feel bad for the technicians that have to figure them out. -Ginette

      • We tend to stay away from big cities as well but once in awhile one comes along that surprises us, in a good way. The most recent one for us was Rome.

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