August 03, 2022

The Chillest vibe, La Paz, Bolivia

By Philippe Jolicoeur
Stunning view of Las Paz
If you're looking for a place that epitomizes "the Chillest" vibe, look no further than La Paz, Bolivia. This high-altitude city is surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet, and its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere is like nothing else. From the vibrant markets to the snow-capped mountains in the distance, La Paz is a must-see destination for any traveler looking for an adventure off the beaten path. So if you're looking to explore one of South America's most unique cities, La Paz should definitely be at the top of your list.

It's said that Bolivia is one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse countries in South America, and after spending a few days  there I can definitely attest to that. La Paz, the country's administrative capital, is located in a valley high up in the Andes Mountains and offers stunning views of the snow-capped peaks all around. From there, you can easily explore other parts of this fascinating country ,from the arid salt flats of Uyuni to the lush Amazon rainforest.

La Paz  is situated in the Andes Altiplano, so the city is encircled by mountains in every direction. La Paz is the world's highest capital city at an elevation of 3,475 metres (11,975 feet). In part because of its remote location, it is unlike any other metropolis. The city of El Alto sits in a bowl formed by the surrounding El Alto and the snow-capped mountains. We couldn't stop gushing about how awesome it looked the entire ride from the airport!

Since la Paz is situated at an altitude of over 11,000 feet, so visitors should be aware of the effects of altitude sickness. You may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches if you are not acclimatised to the altitude. Some people report no sensation, while for others the sensation is transient.

Our ride on Mi Teleferico was the highlight of our time in La Paz. A cable car system was started building in 2014 to improve transportation between La Paz and El Alto and reduce traffic congestion. Located on the Altiplano plateau, El Alto is actually higher in elevation than its neighbouring city of La Paz. A cable car system was put in place as a result of the two locations to facilitate easier travel.

In and around La Paz and El Alto, eight separate lines each serve a variety of stops. There is sure to be a station within walking distance of wherever you happen to be staying in La Paz. The cable car in La Paz is the most picturesque form of public transportation we have ever used, both because of the city's setting and because of the nature of the ride itself. The total cost for us to do an extensive loop was around $3 US. It was stunning in appearance and inexpensive to boot!

Central to La Paz, the Witches Market is a unique and fascinating marketplace. Llama foetuses, potions, and many other things are available that people believe will aid them physically and spiritually. Llama foetuses are buried under homes as an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth), with the hope that they will bring prosperity to the neighbourhood.

There is a colourful cobblestone street in the heart of La Paz known as Calle Jaen. This is a colonial-era street with classic, brightly coloured homes. This historic district has been carefully preserved and is now home to restaurants, shops, a hostel, and five museums.

Simply put, El Alto Open Air Market is an outdoor market. El Alto hosts a weekly outdoor market on Sundays and Thursdays. Getting to the market was a breeze; we simply rode Mi Teleferico to the linea roja (red line) stop. When we were ready to continue our cable car ride, we simply reboarded.

Although La Paz may be one of the most expensive places to live in Bolivia, it is also one of the most beautiful and culturally rich. There are plenty of things to do and see in this vibrant city, and with a little bit of preparation you can have an enjoyable (and affordable) stay here. Did we peak your curiosity about exploring La Paz?

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