We arrived in the Bolivian city of La Paz mid-afternoon after the bus trip from the border town of Copacabana.
La Paz is one of the capitals of Bolivia (they have two) and is famed for its high altitude. We spent time in La Paz both before, and after our trip to Rurrenabaque in the Bolivian Amazon. Before Rurrenabaque we enjoyed exploring La Paz and walking around it’s interesting streets. We visited the Witches Market and saw the mummified llama foetuses and Toucan Beaks which were on sale. Locals will purchase a foetus to bury it underneath new buildings in an effort to protect them from harm or evil spirits. Toucan beaks and dried snakes are also popular items on sale at the market. Not for the faint hearted but extremely interesting to see!
We also visited San Pedro prison. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get past the guards to have a look inside, but for those who don’t know San Pedro prison is quite unique. Prisoners have jobs inside the prison and rent or buy the cell that they live in. Many of the prisoners also live with their families inside the prison. The prison was made famous for many Westerners through the book ‘Marching Powder’ written by an Australian name Rusty Young. For those who have read the book it’s well worth a trip.
While in La Paz, we also booked our trip to Rurrenabaque in the Amazon. We flew from La Paz to Rurrenabaque with the Bolivian military airline called Transporte Aéreo Militar (known as TAM). It was around $50 cheaper than the other airline provider (Amazonas).
After returning to La Paz, from our trip to the Amazon, we went mountain biking down the infamous Death Road. Otherwise known as the North Yungas Road, it is a 40 mile stretch of road from La Paz to Coroico which is essentially wide enough for 1 truck (yet trucks and busses head in both directions) with a mountain on one side and a sheer cliff face on the other. We chose to go with Barro Biking, who were a good price, their bikes were of good standard and the staff were very helpful. Flying downhill past the gravestones on the side of the track was a stark reminder of the dangers involved. Biking death road was definitely a highlight for us and we highly recommend it. At the end of the tour we were taken to a hotel with a swimming pool to have a dip and cool off- or maybe to have a stiff drink if you needed it. It was quite scary at some points when driving back from where we went biking. Looking out of the bus window and seeing the sheer drop reminded us why it’s named ‘Death Road’ or the world’s most dangerous road.
We originally planned to stay at Wild Rover Hostel but as we didn’t confirm our booking we actually lost it and ended up staying at Loki hostel round the corner. Loki hostel is known to be a bit of a party hostel but we took a double room on the top floor and it was totally fine. We actually ended up eating dinner at Wild Rovers on a couple of occasions as it was the closest thing to home cooking we had seen for a few months so took the opportunity and would recommend it.
After returning to La Paz from Rurrenebaque we took an overnight bus down to the city of Potosi.