At first you can feel a little off-kilter by the altitude and your surroundings but within a short time La Paz becomes wonderfully fascinating.
LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
Hotel Rosario has an excellent location in downtown La Paz for taking the Lonely Planet suggested walking tour. The rooms are dated, not of the quality we found at Hotel Rosario Del Lago in Copacabana, but spacious and clean. Recommend.
Hotel: Made reservation directly with Hotel Rosario through email for accommodations in La Paz and Copacabana (Del Lago) . Contact person was Ana Maria Limachi (she was most helpful) at firstname.lastname@example.org . All went well.
Tours: We did a self guided tour of La Paz on foot, following [somewhat] the suggested walking tour in Lonely Planet guide book.
FOOD & DRINK IN LA PAZ
BREAKFAST buffet at the hotel was filling with breads, pastries, meats, cheeses, cereals, fruits, juices, teas and coffee.
RESTAURANT LAZA It’s review in Lonely Planet was short, “Join the locals for a cheap eat.” Just our kind of place! so we went there twice. The first time it was almost empty; during the second locals were waiting for tables to clear. They have a daily set menu, which you prepay and get a ticket, or you can order off menu. The food is basic but with the number of customers, it’s got to be fresh. Only one of the young staff spoke a little English. Go for the experience.
LIGHT EVENING SNACK was had at the Hotel Rosario bar. It was not busy so we were also able to have a game of cards at the same table.
THE DRINK which has what looks like a testicle (presumably llama) in a glass of urine-coloured brew, is really a room-temperature, syrupy-sweet cinnamon beverage with a dried peach … called refresco de durazno (peach soft drink) … although, when Sherrie approached for a closer look a woman vendor shook her head and hands and warned “para hombres sólo” (for men only). Things that make you go ‘hmmm’.
PLACES TO GO AND THINGS TO DO IN LA PAZ
Have your shoes shined. Though shoe shining is a common trade in La Paz for rural immigrants, a number of lustracalzados, as they are known in Spanish, cover their heads with balaclavas in order to hide their identity so as not bring shame to their families.
Shop It is not possible to walk anywhere in city without seeing someone selling something … on streets, sidewalks, out of windows and doors or in shops. Even if you don’t expect to buy anything it is a great people watching experience … and that’s one of the real joys of travel; to be among people doing what they do on a daily basis. If you do want to buy something La Paz’s prices are low and quality goods can be easily found.
Witches Market. Poke around, it is strangely fascinating.
Museums, churches, squares, buildings and landmarks are plentiful and a good guidebook like Lonely Planet or Rough Guides will help you find your way around.
TO & FROM LA PAZ
To La Paz from Copacabana by Turisbus van bus. It is a partner company with Hotel Rosario and arrangements were made along with accommodations. Turisbus picked us up at the hotel in Copacabana and delivered us to the front door of Hotel Rosario in La Paz with one stop at a viewpoint overlooking La Paz. It was higher in price than local buses.
From La Paz to Puno by bus via western route passing the Pre-Columbian temple complex at Tiwanaku and crossing into Peru at Desaguaderos and on to Puno.