To get in the mood, set the scene...

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
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Trip End Dec 31, 2012


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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz Dept,
Friday, November 16, 2012

Today we decided to try acting on the information from the woman at the info office in the centre of La Paz catching a bus to Tiwanaku, a Center of archaeological importance.

It was easy she said.
Walk up to the cemetery. There are buses that leave from there all the time for out lying tourist destinations. Cost would be 30BOB and fee to enter the park was 80BOB.

Fine we thought. We can work around that. Sounds simple enough.

The walk was quite a bit more than a simple stroll.  It was all uphill crossing roads that were often covered in rubbish, people, stalls, dogs etc. not to mention cars with little sense of personal space.

We asked at one bus company, with signage indicating Copacabana, if they went to Tiwanaku and we were directed further down the road to a mini bus company - all official looking with signs etc.  But upon asking them about going there, apart from enthusiastic nods all other communication seemed to be in fast Spanish, exasperated looks and shakes of the head.
Seems the cost is actually 50BOB, per person, each way. Perhaps because we were the only passengers!

After much confirmation and some drawing on the back of paper we had arranged our transport.
The term 'escribe' (write) often comes in handy, particularly when you are unsure of the price they just quoted.

The trip took 1 1/2 hours, half of which seemed to consist of trying to climb up out of the valley that the city of La Paz has been built in.
Once out on the open road our mini bus driver showed the same skills, enthusiasm and road safety sense that has been common the country over.

Tiwanaku is a small community that now reaps the reward of having discovered in its back yard, evidence of the pre Colombian, pre Aztec civilisation.
A guide would have been useful but, the bus having cost much more than we thought, we opted  for the Boliviano saving option of buying a book and walking the 4 main attractions ourselves.  Which doubles as a souvenir. Fortunately many of the signs include English translations.
2 museums, both with bans on photography, one which had a single exhibit. A 7 metre tall totem/statue made from a single block of stone.

The two other attractions were semi active archaeological digs. One of a warriors training ground, the other of the main town including multiple temples, stone gates, sunken rooms and residential centre with suggestive evidence of a sewerage system.

We had 3 hours before our return journey so we took our time walking around and taking photos when allowed to (and occasionally when we were not).

The drive back was in the rain which cleared as we re entered outer La Paz. We stopped at a lookout where we had spectacular views of the city.

We spent a lazy late afternoon in the hotel planning and booking accommodation for our future stay in Puno, Peru, before going around the corner to a local restaurant that was so close, we could still access the wifi.

A jug of Sangria (too much fruit) and two chicken meals later and we headed off to bed knowing Joel would be by to pick us up for our Copacabana and sun island tour at 7.45 in the morning.
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