An extreme attraction that has become extremely popular. Throttle a mountain bike down a treacherously narrow road that has been given the unenviable moniker of being the most dangerous in the world. With sheer drop offs of several hundred feet, random assortments of jagged rocks and the occasional oncoming bus to contend with, this bike ride is guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Be careful though, as it’s called the Death Road for a reason. The trip must be done with a tour company and Gravity are the best of the lot.
Known as the Moon Valley in English, upon entering this surreal nature park it’s not hard to see why. A short but enjoyable series of walking trails lead through a maze of bizarre rock formations, the work of millions of years of erosion. This classic half day excursion can be part of a tour; head there by taxi for around 35BOB ($US5) or any bus heading to Mallasa for 2.60BS (US$.040).
Not far from the city center lies Palca, where a tranquil rural paddock opens up into a spectacular canyon that is brimming with surreal formations of eroded sedimentary rock. The canyon goes on for miles, with plenty of twists and turns, waterfalls and streams. Most people visit on a guided tour to avoid getting lost, but those who prefer a little seclusion can get there by jumping on any minibus (2BOB/US$0.30) heading south (marked Ovejuyo or Palca) and asking the driver where to hop off.
This expansive pre-Columbian city was built by the most powerful indigenous empire of the time, who out date even the mighty Inca. The two hour drive is worth it to explore this fascinating archaeological site with its intricately carved stone faces, impossibly large building blocks and the monolithic Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate), believed to be an early astrological calendar. Tours depart daily, or jump on a bus heading to Desaguadero from the Cementerio district in La Paz and get off at the Tiwanaku intersection.
Sunday evenings play host to one of the country’s weirdest and most wonderful sporting events. A crowd of dedicated locals and curious travelers come together to cheer on a group of feisty Cholitas (indigenous women) as they punch, kick and body slam men who are representative of their abusive husbands. Despite the somber theme, it’s a rowdy and colorful affair that draws in many a laugh from an appreciative crowd. Most people go on a tour but it’s possible to get their via the red cable car line.