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South American journey (7) – Bolivia – Aventura Weblog

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La Paz, Tiwanaku and Titicaca Lake

As a rustic, Bolivia was essentially the most genuine and fascinating a part of the South American journey. It’s a poor nation, low-cost however with out vacationer traps. Essentially the most fascinating experiences have been the witch market in La Paz and the fascinating Tiwanaku. Lake Titicaca is included on this article, though it’s on the border with Peru.

I do know I’ve most likely used the phrases fascinating, extraordinary, magnificent, galactic lots. However this journey was stuffed with highlights.

Positioned 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz, close to the southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca, lie the ruins of one of many oldest and largest city cities ever constructed.

The traditional buildings and ruins (pre-Columbian, pre-Inca) present you the obsession of the individuals of that point for geometric perfection. Tiwanaku. 

However first, we bought to cross to Bolivia and cease on the way in which, we bought to go to Titicaca and the wonderful universe of the Uros natives. We visited the witch market of La Paz. Photo voltaic de Uyuni is described in one other separate put up.

A little bit of throwback:

In the summertime of 2019 I went on an intensive tour of western South America. Passing by means of 5 territories of the continent took me by means of fascinating locations, distinctive on the earth. I stood by the Hand of the Desert, wanting up on the southern evening sky of the Atacama desert, and drove the biggest dunes on the earth and the paths of desert valleys with such a unique look that individuals gave them names just like the Valley of the Moon or the Valley of the Planet Mars.

I took evening photos close to the Three Sisters within the Valley of the Moon. I gazed westward into the Pacific Ocean, out within the open, alongside the stone statues of the vanished civilization of Easter Island—the jap tip of Polynesia.

I had lunch in the course of the Bolivian salt desert and at evening I photographed my reflection within the water mirror of the flattest and whitest place on Earth. We stayed in a villa fabricated from salt and cactus wooden. We went to the cactus island of the salt desert.

I listened to the tales of the astronomers from ALMA – an observatory situated at over 5000m altitude, but in addition to these of the native inhabitants of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. We drove quick on grime desert roads to see the flamingos at sundown. I went to Macchu Picchu. I went to Cusco. We noticed the oldest pyramids in South America, the over 5000 12 months previous ones from Caral. I went to the witches market in La Paz and noticed the singing fountains in Lima.

It was a monumental journey in only one month, components of which might be monumental journeys in themselves. The pretext was the jiffy of photo voltaic eclipse, the third photo voltaic eclipse for me. The remainder of the journeys and the fascinating issues skilled concentrated inside a month make me surprise what I do with my time at dwelling when week after week, month after month goes by with out discovering something notable. And I miss leaving once more.

The tour was organized by the SARM Romania astroclub, of which I’m a member. The official identify was SARM Romania Expedition – South American Eclipse 2019, extending from June 25 to July 22, 2019.

Given the depth and extension of the journey, we have now divided the story into 9 components, introduced in chronological order as follows:

  • Buenos Aires;
  • Chile – Introduction to Chile and The Photo voltaic Eclipse 2019;
  • Easter Island;
  • Chile – Atacama Desert, Valley of Dying (or Mars) and different wonderful locations;
  • Chile – Moon Valley and the Flamingo Birds;
  • Bolivia – Salar de Uyuni or the Salt Desert;
  • Bolivia – La Paz, Tiwanaku and different wonderful locations;
  • Peru – Machu Picchu and Cuzco;
  • Peru – Lima, Nazca and the Caral Pyramids.

Bolivia – La Paz

July 13 – Saturday

In La Paz we had a number of choices however I selected a free go to of the town.

If you would like a pre-arranged schedule, you possibly can select to do the “Satan’s Street” with bicycles ($127) or optionally a 1/2 day bus journey to Valle de Las Animas and the Palca Canyon ($45).

In La Paz we stayed on the 5-star Lodge Camino Actual. I remind you that Bolivia could be very low-cost even for Romanians.

It was fascinating that at evening they put metallic shutters on the resort and the resort itself was guarded by personnel with computerized weapons. If you happen to have been late, they needed to open these shutters for you.

If I’d go once more to South America I’d take extra money with me for purchasing.

Not just for the fascinating merchandise themselves however it appears an excellent method to assist the locals there who’re clearly scuffling with cash, encourage the native financial system, if one may do a little bit of assist with out gifting away.

One morning I believe I heard gunfire outdoors on the town.

The thought robotically got here to thoughts that I used to be an European vacationer, in comparison with the native inhabitants, very like how we checked out center or below-middle class foreigners who got here to the grey and poor communist Romania of the 80s.

Besides that Bolivia, although poor, it isn’t gray. It’s actually very colourful.



Nonetheless, I selected a free stroll across the metropolis and had no drawback.

The town brings a little bit of Kathmandu or Cairo (that’s what I can examine it to) when it comes to congestion and chaos on the streets however it appears to be a bit extra orderly, with very massive stray canine and colonial buildings, together with some beautiful cathedrals.

It feels just like the third world, however once more, I didn’t have any form of drawback. I even had nice surprises.

La Paz is surrounded by enormous mountains and hills, and the town is populated on this hole between the hills and on the hills. The view can be excellent from the underside up, from the melancholy and from the hills.

They’ve constructed an exquisite gondola the place every little thing goes very properly organized.

I like to recommend the Gondola journey, truly the Mi Teleferico cable automobile.

It is a comparatively new type of transportation in La Paz that solely began in 2014. Since then it has gone from 1 to 7 lively strains (and 4 extra within the works) I don’t know and have by no means personally seen an in depth community of cable automobiles outdoors a ski resort! I remind you {that a} journey on these cable automobiles prices underneath $1 – nothing just like the exorbitant costs on the ski resorts.

The cable automobile community has been constructed in keeping with the wants of the locals, so it doesn’t hyperlink the vacationer points of interest particularly. Nonetheless, a spherical journey up and all the way down to “El Alto” provides you with wonderful views of the town and the whole valley.

Returning to the town of Paz, generally known as Nuestra Senora de La Paz, a reputation given by Alonso de Mendoza, the founding father of the town, recognized principally as La Paz, is the executive capital of Bolivia and the division of La Paz, on the identical time, the biggest metropolis within the Altiplan (which the best mountain plateau after Tibet). La Paz, the federal government capital of Bolivia, is the best capital on the earth, being situated at an altitude of three,660 m. Though Sucre is the authorized capital and seat of the judiciary,

La Paz stays the primary political and business middle resulting from its central location. The town was based in 1548 to rejoice the top of the Peruvian Civil Conflict.

Among the many most necessary vacationer points of interest, I point out the Presidential Palace in Murillo Sq., the Murillo Sq. Cathedral, which dates again to 1835 and is without doubt one of the most spectacular buildings in La Paz. It’s a enormous constructing, with a really excessive dome, with particular stained glass home windows. The Museum of Up to date Artwork is ready up in an previous villa, courting from the nineteenth century, being probably the greatest artwork museums in South America, presenting Bolivian artwork intimately and a formidable assortment of colonial work.

The Museum of Folklore or the Museum of Up to date Artwork, the Church of San Francisco whose structure combines the Spanish type of the sixteenth century and the mestizo type, having a facade adorned with stone sculptures are a few of them. The Museum of Ethnography and Folklore is beneficial for anthropology lovers, presenting the historical past, folklore and traditions of Bolivia, it’s housed in a seventeenth century constructing, itself a real murals. The Whale Museum, the Dove of Peace Monument on the entrance of the town, the Museum of the Nationwide Revolution or extra exactly of the 100 revolutions of the nation, however particularly of the revolution of 1952 when the mines have been nationalized or the Pipiripi Museum for kids, an interactive museum are presents temptations for vacationers.

San Pedro jail is the biggest jail in Bolivia, renovated to offer area for people who find themselves punished however who get pleasure from sure amenities, some work (even promote coca to vacationers or lease their place) or dwell with their household and in flip their convicts. Elections are held for group leaders within the jail, and stabbings are the order of the day. There are 1,500 prisoners right here, however a Briton, Rusty Younger, in 2003 began providing the opportunity of visits for vacationers, since then the place has been well-known.

Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches’ Market), a cobbled road stuffed with occult and weird artefacts assured to take your breath away (and never simply because it’s 3,660m above sea stage).

Subsequently I didn’t miss this market, the place I bought fairly a couple of souvenirs.

To be honest, the market begins out harmless sufficient. You’re greeted at first by rows of smiling distributors standing collectively of their conventional little bowler hats and colourful skirts, the aroma of incense drawing you additional down the road, earlier than issues begin to take a wierd flip. It’s right here that the market earns its nickname: “Witch Market“.

On both aspect you’ll discover wide-eyed wood drums and stone totems, promising to deliver luck and journey to those that purchase them. There are tables of quite a lot of bottled potions with Mills & Boon-style labels that promise every little thing from fixing an aching abdomen to serving to with weight reduction, being pregnant and even bed room efficiency (say you’re shopping for for a pal ). If you happen to suppose you’re touring buddies may be possessed, there are additionally incense packs to assist keep off ghosts and evil spirits. Whereas yow will discover all of the components for making the next witches, akin to dried frogs, animal bones, and herbs, essentially the most complicated components are the llama fetuses. Hanging from doorways just like the odd buzz, sitting on tables or in buckets, dried specimens are in all places. Fetuses serve an necessary cultural function, they’re buried within the foundations of any new constructing as a cha’lla (providing) to the goddess Pachamama, in return for good luck. Some Bolivians are anticipated to sacrifice a dwell llama.

Coca Museum

It is a fantastic, quirky and informative little museum, you might spend a couple of hours right here studying the ins and outs of this notorious plant. From its historical past and significance to indigenous cultures in South America to the devastating results it could actually have on the physique when misused and the wars fought in its identify.

Conventional meals in La Paz

At Tranquera you’ll discover many native dishes – from the standard meat dishes of Silpancho and Pique Macho to trout and steaks. For large llama dishes and quinoa dishes, head to Angelo Colonial. And for a complete lunch, take into account Vagon del Sur for extra scrumptious native meals. For tasty empanadas full of cheese (and condiments upon request), head to Jawitas Chulumani. If you happen to’re vegetarian however nonetheless need to strive saltenas, head to Pacena La Saltena. And if you’d like espresso, go to Cafe arte Sultana (which can be fascinating for lunch).

For these in search of alcohol over caffeine, go to Jallalla Cocktail Bar to get pleasure from each artwork and fantastic drinks.

As our resort was 5 stars, we took full benefit of this. I’ve laundry to scrub, I ordered room service, for costs of a number of tens of euros.

Within the night we had dinner on the resort. Different colleagues within the group took the chance to strive Alpaca coronary heart. For all my curiosity, I didn’t do that, particularly after seeing so many alpacas on this journey.


Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco

July 14 – Sunday

After a really early breakfast within the luxurious resort in La Paz, we glided by coach to Tiwanaku.

I do know I’ve most likely used the phrases fascinating, extraordinary, magnificent, galactic lots. However this journey was stuffed with highlights.

Positioned 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz, close to the southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca, lie the ruins of one of many oldest and largest city cities ever constructed.

The traditional buildings and ruins (pre-Columbian, pre-Inca) present you the obsession of the individuals of that point for geometric perfection. The ruins appeared to be minimize with a water jet or a laser, every little thing was symmetrical and joined to the millimeter.

Tiahuanaco was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 2000, Tiwanaku is an historical archaeological website named after one of the crucial necessary civilizations that preceded the Inca Empire.

On the magnificent Tiwanaku website, I had a really, very expert archaeologist information.

I spent essentially the most time on the gates and the calendar: the Solar Gate, the Moon Gate, the Calendar, and so forth., all UNESCO monuments. However I’d have stayed for months.

I stayed on the website for about three hours, on the way in which to Puno (which, by the way in which, marks the crossing into Peru), in reality (situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca at over 3800 m above sea stage).

Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco is the religious and political middle of the Tiwanaku tradition. It’s a pre-Columbian archaeological website situated in Western Bolivia.

Tiwanacu is acknowledged by students from the Cordillera Andes space as an important forerunners of the Inca Empire. Tiwanaku is situated in Western Bolivia, within the Andes mountains at an altitude of 4100m, being the oldest and highest metropolis in historical past.

Tiwanaku is understood in Spanish by the identify Tihuanaco, that means “Place of the Useless”. The age of this metropolis is just not but recognized, however Hans Schindler Bellamy writes in his e-book “Construct Earlier than the Flood”, loosely translated as “Constructed earlier than the flood”, that the town have to be at the very least 250,000 years previous.

Clearly as a metropolis it isn’t that previous however as settlement upon settlement upon settlement (as many are in any other case like that).. it isn’t a incorrect hypothesis as a result of the researcher L.S.B. Leakey discovered fossilized fragments of a 20-million-year-old human jaw.

Archaeologists, nevertheless, imagine that it’s unlikely that the town was constructed earlier than 50 BC. Chr. The ruins of the town rise 23 km from Lake Titicaca, a lake that used to wash the partitions of the fortress.

All of the buildings nonetheless impress us with their grandeur and would problem at present’s applied sciences, the stone slabs weighing 200 tons and the closest quarry being 50 km away, the following being 128 km between the mountains. That is the primary motive why individuals imagine that the town was constructed by aliens and raised in a single evening). If it had been in Romania, the dacologists would most likely have died of ecstasy. It’s good while you journey lots, as a result of that’s the way you see what’s good and fascinating at dwelling, but in addition what’s exaggerated.



Solar Gate

The Solar Gate is essentially the most fascinating edifice, symbolizing the Entrance to the Temple of the Solar.

This gate is minimize from a single slab shaped of a volcanic rock of nice hardness, being 3 meters excessive representing figures with wings, human heads, condors, pumas and toxodons, now extinct.

Calendar of Tiwanaku

Arturo Poznaski concluded that the indicators current on the buildings signify an fascinating calendar. This calendar reveals the 4 seasons, solstices and equinoxes, being divided into ten months of 24 days, plus two extra months of 25 days, the 12 months being 290 days, every of 30.9 hours.

Presently, the precise historical past of this historical metropolis is just not recognized, as a result of the Tiwanaku tradition doesn’t have any written sources outdoors of the carvings on the buildings, carvings which might be nonetheless interpretable by these within the area.




Historical past of Tiwanaku

For about 5 hundred years, the Tiwanaku empire grew from a small settlement targeted on the cultivation of crops and different merchandise not obtainable on the Altiplano right into a thriving ritual and administrative capital of a serious political state. Tiwanaku’s location between Lake Titicaca and the highlands supplied an exquisite atmosphere for agriculture, making it a fascinating base for Tiwanaku. The individuals of way back they developed agricultural methods that led to the expansion of their civilization.

Round 400 AD, a state started to develop within the Titicaca Basin, and an city metropolis was constructed at Tiwanaku. By 500 AD, Tiwanaku was probably the primary political energy within the Titicaca Basin,

The height of energy being within the eighth century. Together with being the headquarters of a strong empire, Tiwanaku was additionally probably the sacred middle of the Andean area. Many individuals made the pilgrimage to the sacred website, to worship and reward their gods.

Between 600 and 800,  the Tiwanaku group continued to develop and is estimated to have supported a inhabitants of 20,000 at its peak. By their improvement, the Tiwanaku have been capable of increase

tradition and political energy within the surrounding areas, spreading from northern Argentina and Chile by means of Bolivia to southern Peru, making them an important regional energy south of the Andes.

The decline of Tiwanaku is meant to have began round 950 after probably a change

substantial of the local weather. Within the Titicaca basin, a drought was attributable to a big lower in rainfall, most likely resulting in a drastic lower in agricultural manufacturing, the supply of the empire’s energy and authority.


The individuals of the area finally fled to completely different areas of the Altiplano and Tiwanaku disappeared as an city middle across the 12 months 1000. Deserted for almost 1000 years, Tiwanaku was rediscovered

in 1549 by the Spanish conquistador, Pedro Cieza de León, who got here throughout the stays whereas trying to find the Inca capital, Qullasuyu. In response to the historian, the Indians of the Tiwanaku area advised the early Spaniards that the ruins have been both erected by giants or have been the stays of an agnostic inhabitants that the gods had petrified.

Right this moment, Tiwanaku stays an enigma, shrouded in thriller about how, when and by whom it was constructed. A lot of Tiwanaku’s stone creations defy clarification, posing extra inquiries to archaeologists than solutions. For instance, the positioning is strewn with huge stone blocks weighing as much as 25 tons, which no recognized pre-Columbian tradition may have transported.

Over the centuries, Tiwanakus has produced a number of the most spectacular stone monoliths on the earth, together with an ingenious irrigation system, superior understanding of astronomy and photo voltaic astromechnics. The fascinating civilization was really superior past their years.

The ruins of Tiwanaku include spectacular architectural constructions akin to palaces, temples and pyramids, in addition to gigantic monoliths and figurative representations.

And the positioning is just not even totally excavated but.

Constructions obtainable for public viewing embody:

Akapana, Akapana East and Pumapunku

Puerta del Sol – Gate of the Solar

Puerta del Luna – Gate of the Moon

Kalasasaya, Kheri Kala and the homes of Putuni

The semi-underground temple.

There’s additionally a good, if small, museum inside that gives framework for understanding the ruins and pre-Columbian civilization.

One of many largest occasions within the Bolivian calendar is the Amayra New Yr.

Yearly on June 21, in Tiwanaku you possibly can watch the solar’s rays rise by means of the doorway of the temple on the east aspect of the advanced. Locals rejoice the Amayran New Yr carrying colourful clothes, not lacking the singani drink, gum chewing and dancing. Generally llamas are sacrificed for the barbecue. Vacationers are welcome to hitch the festivities and should purchase native artwork from artisan tables set as much as coincide with the occasion.

Particular buses go away La Paz round 4:00 AM to reach in time for dawn. Most hardcore can get outdoors the ruins a couple of days earlier than the occasion.

Way forward for Tiwanaku

In 2010, UNESCO beneficial that guests be banned from climbing the Akapana pyramid, however the suggestion was not applied. In 2014, because of the lack of administration and a holistic view unbiased of the business facets of using Tiwanaku, UNESCO determined so as to add the archaeological website to their record of World Heritage in Hazard.

In the direction of Peru

On the border with Peru I modified the coach for one from Peru after which went to Puno.

Within the new bus we had a really humorous Peruvian information who defined to us that Peru, considerably richer than Bolivia, lives from tourism and smuggling with Bolivians (Peru being costlier than Bolivia, however nonetheless the third world for Europe).

Becoming in time, we had one other tremendous fascinating journey (if we may have another on the identical day – however you are able to do a lot some days and so little on others while you’re sitting at dwelling watching TV) one to the Uros floating islands.

This journey additionally included a cruise on Lake Titicaca to the Uros Floating Islands, which value solely $15.

About Lake Titicaca..


Lake Titicaca and the Uros natives

We began to see the well-known Lake Titicaca from the coach. It’s a very massive lake, like a small sea, and it’s spectacular that it’s situated at such a excessive altitude.

It’s an intense blue, contrasting with the yellow of the encompassing hills and mountains.

On the lake, the primary attraction was assembly the Uros ethnic locals, who come from the Amaraya or Quechua tribes.



From what each they and the Peruvian information advised us, it appears that evidently their origin comes with the rise of the Inca civilization, they took refuge from the violence with which the Incas subjugated all of the tribes within the area, proper on Lake Titicaca, the place they constructed their villages constructing thatched homes and thatched islands removed from the shore.

I additionally didn’t know that Inca was the identify given to the elite class and the tribes have been truly Quechua, Amaraya and others with their particular languages. Quechua would have been extra in direction of at present’s Peru and Amaraya extra in direction of at present’s Bolivia, however clearly the previous borders or dwelling areas of the tribes 500-800 years in the past didn’t correspond to the present borders.


It appears that evidently the Inca rose on the premise of violence and political-military energy and their fall so rapidly earlier than the Spanish conquistadors was additionally because of the variations of opinion and the resentments that the opposite conquered tribes had in opposition to the ruling class of the empire.



Uros dwell on these floating islands of straw, of appreciable thickness. Personally, I believe that their physiognomy has additionally tailored to this lifestyle, for a whole lot of years. Nonetheless, descendants of South American tribes are considerably shorter on common than these with European ancestry, however the Uros seem even shorter and wider.

The straw islands are so necessary to them that when, for instance, a toddler will get married, they’re given part of the island, which is sawn off.

They’ve some conventional thatched huts on the island however I are likely to suppose they’re extra for vacationers now as additionally they had prefabricated buildings with trendy loos and every little thing.

They gave us a craft demonstration and a lecture on the historical past of Uros. Virtually on the islands they’ve their entire life, together with pets, particularly cats.



The boats are very stunning aesthetically, they appear like some form of bulging pagodas fabricated from straw clearly. The boat tour was very fascinating.

Humorous how they recounted that every head of household or tribe on a bigger floating island is called a Mayor or President, the Uros very a lot holding their independence.

On the finish of such a full day, we stayed drained however delighted past measure on the Royal Lodge in Puno.

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