Bibiana Garside, owner of Latin American tour operator HighLives, reveals three top ways to acclimatise in the world's highest capital city, La Paz
I come from a city on the roof of the world. But when I return home to La Paz, Bolivia, you’d never know it. Like many other visitors, it takes me a little while to get used to the rarefied air of the city perched around 3,700 metres up in the Andes mountains, although this is rarely much more than feeling a little shortness of breath and feeling a bit drowsy for a few hours.
But after a quiet, restful first day and drinking a cup or two of coca tea, I’ll be ready for action and keen to see how my spectacular home city has changed since I saw it last.
Still, a walk along the street and I realise I won’t quite be moving as fast as I normally do in London – you just don’t have the breath for that in La Paz unless you’ve spent a few weeks here acclimatising.
But I have a plan. I take a taxi to the highest point of the city centre, that way, everywhere I want to go is downhill and the walking is easy. To help me feel like I’m home, I head for:
This block of streets is taken over by market traders selling goods and clothes of all types and quality – including many tailors where you can get made-to-measure outfits for a fraction of what you’d pay in the UK.
A stroll down La Paz’s main street leads this huge, garishly-coloured Bolivian version of Disney. Bolivian families, giggling schoolkids and awkward teen couples enjoy the fast food, but it’s the spectacular ice-creams of delicious tropical fruits that I seek out.
Towards the bottom of the hill, this bar can be too dark, too crowded and its service more than a little casual. But the thronged mix of young Bolivians and foreign travellers shuffling to western and Latin rock is the perfect way to round off a day’s homecoming.
HighLives offers fully organised tours in Latin America and can help you tailor your experience to combine luxury, wellness, adventure, culture and fitness.
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!