Gruta de San Pedro is a large cave about 12 km from Sorata. Some people walk there but it takes 2 -3 hours each way. After you wind through a low area in the front of the cave, it opens up and is ~ 12 m high and 150 m long. You may swim in the underground lake in the back of the cave. It is open from 8 AM to 5 PM and admission used to be $1. The entrance and the associated picnic area were under construction in 2004 but they are no doubt finished by now. See also a travelogue with views along the road to San Pedro.
After you wind through a low area in the front of the cave, it opens up and is ~ 12 m high and 150 m long. You may swim in the underground lake in the back of the cave.
Plaza General Enrique Penaranda is in the middle of the village of Sorata. It is beautifully kept and has tall date palms and flowering gardens.
The Cafe Jalisco was a small place but the food was tasty and the service good. We had lunch there and ordered off the Menu del Dia (menu of the day). I had the Tacos de Pollo (chicken tacos), Sopa Verdura (clear vegetable soup), Pan Tostada con Ajo (garlic bread), and Panqueque (like a crepe with chocolate syrup). The total cost was 18 BOB (less than $3). BTW, the banos was in the back by a patio. You had to flush the toilet with a bucket of water from the spring-fed fountain in the patio.
The Ristorante Bologna has both local and Italian food. I had Enchiladas con Carne. They were like soft tacos with steamed rice and guacomole (20 BOB). It was 9 BOB for the large Fanta.
The best cafe/restaurant I encountered whilst wandering around Sth America.
Good laid-back vibe, food excellent & the owner Pete's a toff!
On top of that it's in Sorata which is a good enuff reason on it's own.
I now know why the locals call this place the "Garden of Eden."
Favorite Dish: Chicken curry is second to none. Various fare on offer from local/traditional thru to good old British pub grub!
Pete also does an excellent range of sandwiches too, tuna ones are tres bien, & you gotta sample his superb banana milk shakes. Quite simply heaven within heaven on earth!!
Getting to Sorata is easy. Just head to La Paz and grab a bus from there. If coming from Lake Titikaka, you can ask to be let off at the crossroads from La Paz to Sorata to avoid the backtracking. In either case, the bus takes about 3-4 hours from La Paz. It's dirt cheap at under $1 USD an hour.
When we were driving to Sorata, there was some kind of religious or shaman ceremony going on at a small lake in the pass. There must have been 15-20 men there. Of course, we did not stop or take pictures. It is common in the Andes for the mountain passes to have religious significance in both the Christian- and Pachamama-based cultures. My guide would not say but I had heard about the Khare Khare or male witches that live in villages along the road to Sorata. It is said that they will lull you to sleep, cut fat from your side, and you don't even know it. Nothing happens immediately but within a month you may get severe pain in your side. If someone notices that you have been "cut," you will die. You must buy a bottle of antidote from them to be cured. BTW, eating garlic helps keep the Khare Khare away.
When we returned from Sorata, I did take pictures of the site which was deserted by then, except for the Mountain Cara Cara or Maria bird. On seeing a Maria bird, superstitious Bolivians will say "Suerte Maria" three times for good luck on their journey. The bird is a colorful scavenger that often looks for carrion on the road.
The next day I hiked to the San Pedro Cavern. The cave isn't up to much, however, the hike to get there is beautiful (takes 3 to 4 hours at a leissure pace, during market days at Sorata there are several trucks that can offer you a ride for a few Bolivianos). You walk through an awesome landscape. I met up with the Aussie couple and one of the Germans at the cave. We hiked back to Sorata together, stopping mid way for a beer stop.