Returning to La Paz 20 years later …

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Returning to La Paz 20 years later …

The first and only time I have been to La Paz was with a boy scouts group, and the city was just a stop-off on our hike along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

My memory of the city is that there’s a huge valley with the city in the middle and with fantastic views. The first time the mountains around were covered in snow, so it was a nice contrast with the city.

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Our first impressions of La Paz

La Paz has developed since then, although the poverty is still very noticeable and the welcoming smile of its people remains the same. Even in the unfavorable conditions it is common to see people smiling with the little they have and that’s remarkable – a different reality for us.

The only thing that we did not enjoy very much were the warnings regarding safety in the city. The hotel staff and other tourists told us the same thing: to carry as little expensive equipment as possible, to leave our passports in the hotel (just taking a copy with us) and to keep Noah close to us at all times. Unfortunately it looks like child trafficking and prostitution of young people are a reality here. Sad, but true.

We wanted to enjoy the city as much as possible but needed to keep Noah and ourselves safe. Thankfully we enjoyed ourselves and did not face any issues at all. Even better, we were invited to stay at the Hotel Presidente, the first 5-star hotel in the city, where we were extremely well received. There we were given some information about the attractions and a map, and then we were good to go.

Family Travel Secret
Like in other places in Peru and Bolivia, always negotiate a price with the taxi driver upfront. That way you avoid problems and get a reasonable fare.

Visiting La Paz over 3 days

On the first of the 3 days we visited the city a bit using the modern cable car that crosses La Paz. This is an interesting mode of transportation and one would think that was built for tourists, but in fact the inhabitants of La Paz use it to get around from one place to another. It is so popular that more lines are being built now.

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We took 2 lines that gave us an interesting perspective of the city from above. During the tour we made a short stop to take Noah to a park and to get some ice cream.

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Valle de La Luna

Ruth and Noah also went to Valle de La Luna (Valley of the Moon). I did not join them this time as I had some work to do for the blog, and I knew that over the coming days I would not have much access to internet (especially in Uyuni and Atacama).

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There was also still some time to explore the city center and the Witches’ Market a bit more.

Family Travel Secret
The Mercado de las Brujas (Witches’ Market) has nothing to do with witches. It is just a common name for where visitors can buy clothes and other souvenirs which are typical of Bolivia. The prices are really good and anyone who visits will certainly buy at least one interesting item from Bolivia

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On one of the days in La Paz we also visited the attraction called Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku), but we will leave that for another post as it requires lots of pictures.

Important facts:
Taxi from bus station to hotel in the city center: about BOB 15, but we could’ve got it for less if we knew how close it was; Taxi Valle de La Luna: this one we arranged with the same taxi driver that took us to the cable car. We negotiated BOB 100 for Valle de La Luna and BOB 300 for Tiahuanaco. At the hotel we were informed it was a good deal; Cable Car: we took the yellow and the green lines, and went from one extreme to the other. Those lines give a very nice view of the city and the mountains; Ticket for cable car: BOB 3 one way, one line

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