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La Paz: Initial Thoughts

We landed in La Paz Bolivia about 24 hours ago.  It was Sunday and most things were closed. This is my first trip to La Paz and Bolivia in general.  As we came in for a landing (from Lima), I was surprised at how desolate the area looked.  Basically I saw a brown plateau with skyrocketing mountains off a few dozen miles away.

Beautiful view from the Airport Taxi Stand

Beautiful view from the Airport Taxi Stand

The city itself is built down in a crater and from the bottom to the top there is about a 1,500 foot elevation change, which in general isn’t too bad, but when you are already at 11,500 feet, that starts to be meaningful.

We’ve seen more homeless on the streets there than we saw in Lima (granted our time in Lima was very limited), Cusco, Urabamba or Arequipa combined.  We are also seeing more aggressive street vendors, pushing their goods into your hands and your face.  Nothing that makes me feel unsafe at all though.

Locals feeding pigeons on a lazy Sunday afternoon at Plaza Murillo.

Locals feeding pigeons on a lazy Sunday afternoon at Plaza Murillo.

If you are active on TripAdvisor and are open for a sandwich and a beer late afternoon on a Sunday, EVERY SINGLE TOURIST will swing by at some point.  Antigua Miami was a great place to spend a couple hours chatting about local food, politics, infrastructure as well as global food trends, eco-tourism, etc.  The owner is what every entrepreneur should be like.

Most of the Spanish style architecture isn’t is the best repair.  Mostly falling down/dilapidated, but there are definitely some beautiful pockets.

Calle Jaen La Paz, home to restaurants, galleries and shops.

Calle Jaen La Paz, home to restaurants, galleries and shops.

Off to explore the City.  We’ll be doing so at a slower than normal pace, again thanks to the altitude.  Do you all have any suggestions for us?


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