Arriving in this massive city that translates to “Peace” in english was a sight to see on the bus ride arriving in of the huge hills covered with houses as far as the eyes can see. We arrived from Copacabana and got dropped off near the bus station and walked down a main street until we found a hostel for 45 Bolivanos a night (less than $5 USD). Now luckily we have low expectations and are low maintenance but after one night at this hostel we had to bail. This hostel is called Bash and Crash so do yourself a favor and spend a few dollars more on a place especially if you plan on staying for a couple of nights. For the second night we turned to booking.com and found an amazing bed and breakfast place for $20 a night called Casa Skyways B&B that was a bit of a splurge for us but we decided since the food and transportation were so cheap it was worth it. That was the nicest place we stayed in in all of Peru and Bolivia and the most comfortable. Except for one small problem… the powdered milk they served at breakfast that is meant for coffee gave me horrible food poisoning. But after those two days of torture I just learned to keep my coffee straight black.
We spent our time on the first day walking around the main touristy area around San Francisco Church. This place is full of people and performers acting as clowns and dancers trying to make a few pesos and of course the lovely street snack vendors. As we were walking down one of the streets behind the church we found a vegetarian lunch restaurant called Centro Vegetariano! I was so happy after constantly eating meat in Peru! We had a simple soup, salad and vegetarian lentil dish all for less than $3 USD. Highly recommend to just walk around this touristy area because you can find everything a little more upscale..but still inexpensive. Or if you want the traditional dishes head toward Mercado Lanza Food Stalls close by and you can get many lunches and smoothies and empanadas all for less than $3 USD. This is a place I would recommend to go around and see what other people are eating and point at it with a smile and asking “Cuanto Cuesta?” (How much?) to whomever is working there. Good way to get authentic food even with the language barrier. We took a walking tour that afternoon by the company called Red Hat for 20 Bolivianos each that was 3 hours long. They took us to all of the interesting areas around San Francisco Church and we got to learn more about the different plazas, witches market, food markets and the San Pedro Jail. This tour I would completely recommend as it was informative and entertaining. After the tour we randomly found our way to this place called Museo De Bebidos Bolivanas! It was an awesome 20 minute tour of history of alcohol in South America more specifically Bolivia and then we tried 2 different beers and a shot for $11 USD! Such a great time and all of the drinks were very unique to anything I ever had in the United States.
On Thursday and Sundays the next town over called Alto holds the biggest flea market there in all of South America. You have to take a cable car to get there for but only 3 Bolivanos one way it is more than worth it. I bought some awesome fabric to make pillows with once we get our next future home. They have everything from clothes, to toiletries to car parts to food to cell phones to food stalls. It was gigantic and crazy and I am glad I wore my backpack in the front since my friend went to the flea market after I did and said he got his cell phone pickpocketed. This place is jam packed with people and even if you aren’t interested in buying anything the view from the town is completely amazing. One of the days I walked around the area of Sopachi which is where our B&B was located and found a Harry Potter themed café called Avada Kedavra Café Tenebroso. A little hilarious to see a cafe shop like this but fun to go for a drink and a small bite.
In Peru we took public transportation buses in the cities only a handful of times but it Bolivia it is much easier to get around in them. In Peru the bus drivers shout out the windows where they are going while in Bolivia there are signs in the front of the bus to tell you where it is going. The mini buses are called colectivos and it took some time to figure out which ones to take but for the most part strangers are willing to help from the driver to the other passengers to strangers on the street. The collectivos are usually 2-3 bolivianos and for it being so cheap we knew we had to use the system instead of taxis. Just be nice when asking and people are so eager to help! We went to Valley De Luna 45 minutes outside the town which was a little representative of what the moon would look like. It was very beautiful and felt like we were in a new world I have never seen before. The entrance fee was only a few dollars and was just a few dollars to get in. The perfect amount of time is 1-2 hours as there are two trails you can do to explore the area.
On one of the days I had food poisoning, Matt took advantage of it and biked the most dangerous road in the world for around 400 bolivianos ($58) and he raved about what a great time he had! There are many different agencies that sell the same package so just find one that you like the salesmen and make sure they give you in full details what to expect on your trip. Don’t be afraid to barter on this because you can always get them to go down even if it is just a few dollars. Matt says one person got hurt on the biking since it was all straight down hill and one guy was being an idiot trying to go the fastest.
After 5 days in La Paz we were ready to move on so it was off to Sucre! We just headed toward the bus terminal around 6pm and found a few companies that all head toward Sucre and went with the one that had the best seats at the best price. You don’t have to book any bus more than a few hours in advance, there are so many companies in route there so there will always be seats available. It was a 12-hour bus ride we got for around 150 bolivianos ($22 USD) each from the company El Dorado. It was by far was the most comfortable overnight bus because the seats reclined all the way back and we were provided blankets and they played Back to the Future 1 AND 2. It was the easiest bus ride and for the first time was a little bit bummed when it ended. Interested in seeing the adventure onfold there? Watch the Youtube video above to see the experience yourself!
5) Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, Sacred Valley
6) Machu Pichu
1) Copacabana and Isla Del Sol
2) La Paz
1) San Pedro De Atacama
4) La Serena
5) Puerto Iquazu
6) Buenos Aires