This is a religious site atop a hill that rises above the town of Copacabana. It's a steep 20 minute walk. Along the way, people have tables set up selling various religious objects. Best time to walk up is late afternoon to catch the sunset over Lake Titicaca. Up top, some locals sell drinks and some knick knacks. Make sure you bring a flashlight for your way down in the dark.
La Paz is the type of city thats great for exploring on foot. The views all around are breathtaking as the city sits in a canyon, surrounded on all sides by fantastic snow capped mountains. For this reason, some refer to La Paz as "The Bowl". The streets are like wandering through an outdoor market, and it's a joy to simply wander about and see what's on offer. A good place to start is the Plaza San Francisco. There's good people watching and photo ops for us camera freaks. Take a walk up Sagarnaga street along the side of the plaza and check out the hilly market area here. Take it easy walking up some of the steep streets around here...remember you're at around 11,500 ft. above sea level.
This street market is on every visitor to Lapaz's intinerary. The Aymara women sell their talisman, mystical medicines,protective charms, and herbs along the side of the street. It's fun to walk around and have a look at the strange things for sale. The most eye catching are definitely the dried llama fetuses. You can find some very bizarre souvenirs here. The women generally don't like to be photographed. You can butter them up for a photo if you buy something from them first.
Copacabana is worth at least a couple of nights stay. It's a perfect base for exploring Lake Titicaca. Boats depart here for Isla del Sol and Isla de Luna. There is a nice church with adjacent plaza to check out.The trucha (Lake Titicaca trout) is worth the trip here alone. Watching the sunset along the beach (or up on Cerro Calvario hill nearby) should not be missed.
If you are planning on visiting Copacabana make sure you plan to stay a few days (maybe 3). The town itself is not too big, but one of the main attractions, La Isla del Sol, is about 1 1/2 hrs boat ride. This would not be such a big deal except that there are only 2 trips per day. If you get the early boat at 8am you can tour the island longer, but my guess is that when you get there, you'll want to stay the night! at least to see the sun set! The rates for the hotels on the island vary but plan ahead as room is limited. For rooms check out the Hunter Travel Guides, Vivien Lougheed. I used this book and found it very helpful! (I was in a tight schedule or i would have stayed) If you decide to take the later trip at 12 noon, you will only have an hour to tour the island:( not enough time at all.
Bring sunscreen! i cant stress this enough, you may not feel the heat but your skin will pay a heavy price! I've never experienced sunburn as i did in Copacabana.
Bring water! its overly priced on the island and they usually just have soda.
Be prepared to be overly welcomed by children and vendors with llamas. I got bombarded with requests to have my picture taken with the llamas and kids for a price.
The steps to the island are roughed and so is most of the landscape, wear comfortable shoes!
Laguna Colorado is a spectacular sight at 4278 m. (14,035 ft.) elevation. It is a large lake with clear blue and cloudy red water lapping on white borax shores. The color is from red algae. You are certain to see the rare James flamingo there. The flamingos seem to prefer the water where some large springs run into the lake from a lava rock hill.
It's a good walk from the Colque shelter to the hill, which is a good lookout point. You must cross an inlet using stepping stones, so be careful. Be warned that it can be very windy and cold at Laguna Colorado. Take cold weather gear with you. You will be there at the end of the day and the temperature will drop dramatically as the sun goes down.
Colque Tours has a rough shelter at Laguna Colorado...three bunk beds to a room, no running water and a not so good banos (see my Not for the Fastidious tip). It was so cold and windy that my sleeping bag felt good, even inside the shelter. Hey, for one night, no problem.
See also my On the Way to Laguna Colorado and Most Southern Bolivia travelogues.
Potosi was one of the largest, richest cities in the world in the 1600's, all because of Cerro Rico. It was a mountain rich with silver and tin, standing 5165 m then but now is 4830 m due to centuries of mining. The legend says the riches were discovered when a shepherd built a campfire one night and liquid silver ran out from under it. Now silver and tin are hard to find. Although the legacy of colonial architecture remains, so do polluted rivers, barren slopes and miners struggling to make a living. See also my travelogue, It Was One of the World's Great Cities, and my travel tips on Potosi.
Reina de Enin lets you cruise the Mamore River in comfort. Watch for pink dolphins, ride horses in the savanna, catch an alligator, fish for piranha, and visit an indigenous village, all while eating delicious food and sleeping in a comfortable bed. See my Cruising on the Mamore River travelogue for more pictures and information.
We took the new road down from La Cumbre. It is not quite completed and is not busy. However, on the way back from Coroico, we took the world's most dangerous road (based on annual fatalities). It is mostly one lane and unpaved with no guardrails. The views are spectacular and you even drive through a waterfall. We only had one real gasp when a big lorry came around a corner. Obviously it ended well. You may want to take one of the mountain bike tours down the road (see my Sports Travel tips).
Incahuasi (sometimes mistakenly called Isla de Pescado or Fish Island) is in the middle of the world's largest salt plain. It has huge cacti that only grow one centimeter a year, so they are very old. A hiking trail circles the small island. The rocks are covered with fossiled algae and are sharp like lava rock. You must pay a fee (8 Bs) before you start your walk. See also my Salar de Uyuni travelogue.
From La Paz you must pass over La Cumbre (4800 m) on the way to the most dangerous road and Coroico. Better stop and make an offering to the Pachamama for a safe journey (see my Local Customs tips).
said to have been the biggest city in the world potosi was once really rich and this past wealth is showed in churces and palaces... of course potosi was never rich 'cause all the silver extracted from cerro rico was printed in coin and sent to spain and over the silver nothing remained here but the buildings
definitely a packed tourist place, but unmissable if you're in the area. The salar is covered with a thin layer of water during downunder's summers and it' looks like the widest mirror in the world. During the rest of the year the salar is just the widest salt lake in the world.
The best streets to wander around (and make some shopping also), in downtown, are : Sagarnega, Isaac Tamayo, Tumusla, Max Paredes and Buenos Aires...
Les meilleures rues a arpenter (pour faire quelques achats notamment), dans le centre, sont : Sagarnega, Isaac Tamayo, Tumusla, Max Paredes et Buenos Aires...
Hard : you will throw out your lungs to get on the top of the hill (you will see the white cross from below). But, you will attend a great scenery, with a huge part of tropical landscape (green trees). Begin climbing at 17.00 in order to attend the sunset - then get down quickly (though carefully) : the mosquitoes will attack you after 18.00...
Dur : vous allez cracher vos poumons avant d'atteindre le sommet du Cerro (celui ou il y a une croix blanche, bien visible depuis le village). Mais, une fois en haut, attendez vous a un superbe spectacle, avec une vision plus amazonienne (des arbres a perte de vue). Commencez a monter a 17.00 pour voir le coucher de soleil ... Apres, descendez rapidement (mais faites bien attention) : en effet, les moustiques attaquent vers 18.00...
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