After a fun and breathtaking 2 days in Copacabana and Isla Del Sol, we “hopped back” on our bus and began the short four hour journey to La Paz. About an hour into the journey we had to exit the bus and cross the lake by boat, with our bus floating across by barge!! It was a funny sight for sure.
Once back on board we were treated to a movie and popcorn which sealed the deal and we both give Bolivia hop a massive thumbs up for a really super service. We were lucky arriving to La Paz by night to see every window of the bus just full with the sprawl of lights.
We chose a hostel called Arty’s which was a family run hostel and in a perfect location for exploring the city. La Paz is located at altitude of over 3,600m so it definitely takes some getting used to and basic walking movement leaves you breathless! We spent our first day doing some planning, booking on tours and arranging transport for our exit. We found a really cute cafe in a bookshop called the writers cafe which had good wifi, plugs and really good coffee- all the ingredients for a productive afternoon! Our Irish friend that we met in the cafe in Copacabana previously had given us a lovely tip of a great cinema in la Paz that offers movies in English. It was such a treat after nearly three months and it was definitely more about the novelty of the situation! We went to the multicine, complete with three floors, a series of restaurants, a gym, amusement arcade and shops. Much to my delight our timing and options for the English movies left us with one option-Beauty and the beast. I am now under obligation to sit through one of Gav’s picks the next time!
The following day on March 23rd we took in the Worlds Most Dangerous Road-death road (WMDR)! The road received its title in 1995, based on the ratio of deaths per mile. We paid a bit extra to go with the top rated company-Gravity Assisted biking and it really paid off. I was slightly nervous for our safety but we had really good quality equipment and two very professional guides either side of our group. Our group was also only five people so it was very easy to manage and well run.
We started with the traditional blessing which was 96% pure alcohol! Firstly to the ground for pacha mama/Mother Earth, second our bikes and thirdly a little sip for each person!
There was a straightforward downhill cycle on decent paths to actually reach death road-before the fun started. The road is still actually a public road despite the scary number of deaths and accidents on the road so the rule is that the cyclist cycle on the left-i.e. the cliff side! The path was gravel with lots of loose stones and you can literally just see over the edge of the cliff.
About an hour into our adventure the heavens opened and we got totally washed out, the conditions became tougher as it got sloppy and to top it off we arrived at a mini landslide…we just had to pass through as quick as we could and watch the rocks falling. It was definitely a day of rushing adrenaline-my watch was monitoring my heart rate for the whole thing and my average was way over 100 and almost double my usual resting rate!!
The tour ended in a place called Chorico and we each received a celebratory beer and survivors tshirt. We were treated to lunch at an animal sanctuary which was really cool- the opposite to most zoos or sanctuaries I have seen, there was a cage pathway built through the grounds for the humans while the animals roamed free!
We were wrecked by the time we got back to La Paz after Death Road and had a huge rest before one final day of exploring. For our last day in La Paz we enjoyed a lovely breakfast amongst travellers from all over “cafe del mundo” which means world cafe. In the afternoon we spent time exploring the cable car system of La Paz. It is the highest cable car in the world and operates at 3,000m above sea level. The views over La Paz on the way up were incredible, it is just so massive. Each trip costs 3bolivianos which is the same as 40cent at home.We hopped between the red and blue lines. The blue line offered crazy views of a street market that went on and on and on and on!!! We were also joined by some locals utilizing the service to get home-the further on the trip the more poverty there was.
We were due to take part in the city walking tour for our last afternoon but it was way too wet so we took some time out in the hostel, sorted the laundry, some home cooking and updating the blog posts! However anyone reading this with la Paz on the agenda, the tour offered by Red Cap walking tours comes highly recommended.