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From The Heights of La Paz

Hola faithful followers!

Sharing a hostel with “crunchy” backpackers from all over the world, we woke up to the hustle and bustle of Bolivia’s capital at 12,000 feet: La Paz. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, fresh fruit, Bolivian rolls, and some traditional breakfast salteñas, we set out to ride the teleférico, La Paz’s public gondola transit system. We soon saw why the gondola is the preferred mode of transportation for tourists and paceños alike. Breathtaking views of soaring skyscrapers, green soccer pitches, and dogs roaming the crowded streets below made this the best way to explore a city as unique as La Paz. We eventually made our way to a humble neighborhood at the top of the city, where we looked towards the sacred peaks of Mount Illimani and Huayna Potosí. Another teleférico ride brought us to the colorful markets of downtown La Paz. After eating a filling lunch at a quaint café, we found time to gear up for our upcoming trek through the Andes. We wandered the markets filling our bags with souvenirs to take home for our friends and families. The Mercado de las Brujas (or Witches’ Market) particularly caught our eyes, especially its dried llama fetuses that are typically used as a sacred offering to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. We then returned to the hostel for a quiet evening of winding down; some of us set off to find more delicious salteñas while others stayed and devoured a new favorite fruit of ours: pacay, or ice cream bean. We ate another delicious meal of spaghetti bolognese courtesy of our super generous and kind hostel staff, Leandro and Flavio. As we get ready to leave for our trek, we are super stoked but sad to leave the beautiful city of La Paz behind.

Tomorrow we head up to 4,800 meters above sea level to begin our trek. From there, we march along the pre-Colombian trail all the way down to a small town near Coroico, 48 kilometers away. Service will be limited along the way but we’ll do our best to send an update. Regardless, you can expect news when we return on the 26th. More to come soon!

Over and out,

James + Annika and the rest of the Thacher Bolivia crew