We spent 4 days in October in La Paz, the “new capital” of Bolivia. Here is a round- up of the places we slept, ate and visited.
1. Hostel – Selina La Paz
A clean, trendy and modern hostel with good sized 4 bed dorms here each bed had its own shelf, light and privacy curtain. Plus the ensuite bathroom was clean and had a hot shower (result), and WiFi reached the rooms. But breakfast is not included and the on-site café/restaurant is a little pricey for its small portions. Plus it’s about a 25 minute walk (uphill) to the area with most of the cafés/restaurants/tour company offices. Also important to note: Bolivia Hop will not collect/drop off here.
Rating – 3.5/5
2. Breakfast – The Carrot Tree
A Irish-owned café with an upstairs seating area that has a view of the city. They have good vegetarian and vegan options, and served good value portions. We had breakfast here which is served all day, but they also had pancakes, burgers, sandwiches and more on the menu.
Rating – 4/5
3. Lunch – Higher Ground Café
A café that prides itself on its fantastic coffee, we actually enjoyed the fruit juice here. Lunch was a little pricey but portions were really big so it was quite good value. Frazer had a curry, I had chicken Milanese, both were good. We also returned for Nutella quinoa pancakes on another day but these were not the light and fluffy pancakes we were used to – they’re quite heavy (emphasis on the cake).
Rating – 3.5/5
4. Dinner – Cafe del Mundo
Cafe del Mundo is a travel inspired café featuring interesting decor and menu items from around the world. We actually ate brunch and dinner here one day because it was just that good. For brunch we enjoyed the strawberry and nutella pancakes (yes I like pancakes) and ‘El Robusto’ – a cooked breakfast. Then for dinner Frazer loved his Thai soup and I had a incredible quinoa burger. We even followed it with a hot chocolate brownie with ice cream. All round delicious, and great prices too. Plus the WiFi is good here and the people are very friendly.Rating – 5/5
5. Entertainment – Cholita Wrestling
We booked a cholita wrestling tour through our hostel after hearing from people that it was unmissable. The tour runs several times a week and tickets include return bus travel, a drink, popcorn and a souvenir for 100 BOB each (about £11). The show itself was one of the strangest things I’ve seen, with cholitas wrestling each other, the male referee and one other guy. Each match seemed to have the same storyline though, and it was uncomfortable at times to watch a young woman be thrown about, spat at and bashed on the head by men. It was also not a show that was attended by any locals, so I questioned the authenticity of this apparent local cultural tradition. When I returned to the hostel some research showed me that the main cholita wrestling show is actually held in a stadium on Sunday nights and attended by both tourists and locals, so perhaps that’s the one you should visit.
Rating – 2.5/5
6. Walking Tour – Red Cap Walking Tours
We discovered Red Cap after a bit of research into the best city walking tours and decided to go with them. They offer a basic walking tour of La Paz for 20 BOB (about £2), or an “extended walking tour” which covers El Alto and includes riding the cable cars for 120BOB (about £13). We decided to do the extended tour so we could see more, including the real witches market of El Alto, and so we could ride the infamous public transport. Our guide was superb but the tour is not an “extended” version of their original, it is an extension or add-on – so we didn’t get to visit some of the parts of La Paz that we would have liked to (the cathedral, the prison). It was interesting, and I did even get to visit a Shaman (like a witch doctor) and ask him to read my future (all good by the way), but it was a little pricey for what it was. The tour lasted about 2 hours, and finished back in the same area of La Paz (close to the tour company offices).