In Spanish, ‘La Paz’ means ‘Peace’.
We got to La Paz via bus from Puno. We crossed the border easily this time, no more Guatemala ‘no stamp’ dramas here!
The bus was pretty comfy and a scenic ride around the lake. Apart from one thing, The bus had to cross the lake in a more narrow part. We all got off the bus and piled into a boat to cross that way. But the bus itself drove on to a bus sized barge and crossed individually. Along with about 20 other buses doing the same thing. So bizarre! I couldn’t help thinking building a bridge would be less effort in the long run. Welcome to Bolivia I guess!
We had a recommendation of ‘York B&B’ from some friends who had been on a similar trip to us. So to avoid staring at booking.com for hours like I usually do, we just went ahead and booked that.
Again, a free breakfast is always a winner for me! And like most things in Bolivia, it was super cheap.
After having a stomach virus for well over a week, I was not keen for meat or street food! Luckily we were staying in the tourist area of La Paz which had a lot of options for more vegetarian western food. I usually love to get involved in the local flavours, because in my opinion that’s a great way to understand and immerse yourself in the culture. But in this case I was playing it safe! We found this great vegan cafe just down the road which I went back to multiple times!
There was also a fun Mexican restaurant that was super cheap that we found one night for dinner which had us reminiscing on Tulúm and Mexico City 😌
On the first full day in La Paz, we headed first to the ‘Witches Market’. This is where older ladies in black hats sell heaps of herbs, spices and home medicine remedies. The most odd thing we saw were taxidermist llama baby and also llama fetuses. These are supposed to provide good luck. We learnt later that llama actually miscarry their first three pregnancies, so that is where these fetuses come from. No animal cruelty here!
We then headed to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna). This is a really bizarre but cool park near the outskirts of the city where there are strange rock formations. It’s super weird and hard to describe so the pics are better than what I can say!
We headed back to the city in a collectivo taxi, and wandered around taking in the sights. One of which was the famous San Pedro prison, where in the past tourists used to actually be able to go in and party with the inmates and even stay overnight. The prison apparently houses not only inmates but also their families. We didn’t go in, it’s now not allowed anymore, much to Danny’s disappointment.
After a lot of wandering around, I decided it was time for a wine. In the last few months I’ve only been drinking gin or other cocktails, just because the wine isn’t as good as home and I don’t like beer.
Since we are so close to Chile though, I decided to order a Chilean sav, I was not disappointed!
On day two, Danny went ahead and cycled the Yungas Road (aka Death Road). This is deemed the most dangerous stretch of road in the world and is no longer used for motor vehicles. Over 200 people have died along there! I didn’t go, since cycling is not something I’ve ever enjoyed, much less on the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’! I spent that day as an off day and read my book.
Our last day in La Paz, we treated it as a ‘no plans’ day. And just let whatever happen.
We wandered through our neighborhood and did a bit of shopping. I grabbed myself another llama wool jumper (which I haven’t removed from my body since). I loved checking out the different market stalls, even though it was very similar stuff to Peru, I just loved looking through everything.
We stumbled on a cafe that looked like it had a real coffee machine, so obviously we popped in for an espresso. Turns out the place was owned by an Australian, which always seems to be the case when we find a real coffee shop! ☕️
They also had a lonely planet of NZ which dated back to before the earthquake. So we had some fun being nostalgic reading the write ups & recommendations for Dunedin, Christchurch and Nelson. 🇳🇿
We also hit up the local art gallery, which included mostly catholic inspired pieces, but also some cool landscape stuff.
That night, we took another night bus to a small town called Uyuni to begin out salt flats tour.
Next stop: Salar de Uyuni!