Guest post by lbajda
We flew in to La Paz, which is almost at 12,000 feet. One in our group got sick, and lot of people struggle with the elevation, so try to be prepared for that. I felt dizzy but nothing too bad. We got high altitude sickness pills, but those didn’t work for everyone.
We went to Carmen Pampa, a 3 hour drive from La Paz. We worked at Unidad Academica Campesina Carmen Pampa. This is a college that offers groups to visit/volunteer and we were there for 6 days. We had a work assignment alongside students for part of the day, and went on tours throughout the campus in the afternoons.
One day we did a day trip to Coroico, 30 minutes from Carmen Pampa. There is a beautiful church called the Cathedral S. Pedro Y S. Pablo Coroico. We explored the city and ate at M&M coffee – there were both locals and tourists there and it was really good. There is a rainbow and parrot sculpture in the main plaza that is where everyone gets their picture taken. We took little taxi-vans everywhere, and you can hop on/off whenever you’d like.
One day our guide took us on a walk near Carmen Pampa into a cloud forest, which was really neat. Got to see monkeys during the walk.
Went to La Paz for the last day, settled into our hotel. La Paz is a huge city. Generally walkable, but a lot of hills. Traffic was crazy so I would say walking is the better way to get around.
The Presidential Palace (Palacio Quemado) is impressive, near the main square. Did the Mi Teleferico cable car ride for 30 minutes, excellent views of the city. Really cheap, and lots of people use it as their daily mode of transportation. Lots of shopping and street vendors – everything is pretty cheap. Nice city to walk around and buy snacks/food along the way. I don’t feel that La Paz is a destination-worthy place on its own, however.
Nearby is one of the deadliest streets in the world, aptly named Bolivia’s Death Road (Yungas Road). They’ve closed it to cars so you can’t drive on it anymore, but you can bike it. That’s a pretty popular activity and something that would have been fun if we had more time in the city.
I would recommend booking a taxi in advance, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish. We heard it can be tough to get one on-the-spot.
The weather in May (2018) was hot, 90-100 degrees each day.
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