DURATION: 11 HOURS
La Paz has recently been designated a “Marvellous City” and as the seat of government has an endless range of wonders to delight all visitors. Her culture and identity lie beneath her facade fusing a mix of Aymara and Spanish cultures in the faces of her inhabitants and their syncretism.
Leave the hotel early in the morning to sample a typical breakfast of Api con Llauchas (a hot corn drink and cheese-filled pasty) in one of the city’s oldest markets. Watch the city wake up and visit the “mañaneras”; ladies who sell locally-designed and produced clothes from 6:00 am. La Paz is a symbiosis of identity and culture best seen on the street of embroiderers who make the typical costumes used during local festivities. Watch them at work keeping the identity alive of the creole class that is fast becoming an economic force to be reckoned with. Continue on up through the sprawling hillside neighbourhoods to the city of El Alto perched on the brow above La Paz to see the luxury homes of the Aymara nouveau riche. These “Cholets” (a combination of the word Cholo – an indigenous man who has migrated to the city – and the word Chalet) are built by local entrepreneurs who have accrued a fortune in the informal economy and are a blend of pre-Colombian symbols and vibrant colours. At midday float high above the city of La Paz on the red line of the teleférico (cable car) to enjoy the city from a different angle. Stop off at the Cemetery station for a lunch of fresh trout from Lake Titicaca at the Fish Market. Enjoy a “Quitapenas” (comforter) cinnamon ice-cream and cheese pasties traditionally eaten in the afternoon in La Paz. Visit the Cemetery to see the multi-story resting places of the ordinary folk and luxurious tombs of the city’s greatest. Observe the everyday traditions surrounding death in this fascinating city.
Transfer to hotel.
*If it is a Thursday or Sunday continue on to make a short stop at one of Latin America’s largest markets – the 16 de Julio.
**One of the highlights on Sundays is “Cholita Wrestling” where typically dressed women demonstrate the art of wrestling.