Back from the ascent of Huayna Potosi with Juan, we stayed three days more in La Paz so to get some rest and discover some places that we had not had time to explore before: Las Animas Valley, Moon Valley and Tiahuanaco.
Not even tired
Saturday 30th June 2018
We came back feeling like on another planet from our morning climb on Huayna Potosi. We arrived at the beginning of the afternoon in La Paz and came back to the same hostel than before, where we had let part of our stuff. After a well-deserved and highly appreciated shower, the watchword of the day was: RELAX!
El Valle de las Animas
Sunday 1st July 2018
Not feeling as sore as I expected, I woke up motivated to go for a stroll. Juan stayed to get some rest while I went in the direction of el Valle de las Animas, a huge valley located on the heights south of La Paz. The erosion carved the stones in impressive spikes rising towards the sky for as far as the eye can see. These geological formations now look like fossilized animals or big music instruments… shapes that would inspire more than one creative spirit.
I went there by bus and walked the whole afternoon in the valley. The entrance was free and there was nobody. It was completely quiet, which was ideal to contemplate these big rock formations and think about the adventures lived over the last days. I could go at my own pace and take as many pictures as I wanted, and I didn’t deprive myself!
Back to La Paz at the end of the day, I had a quiet evening doing yoga, working on the pictures and getting some more rest, because I still needed it!
El Valle de la Luna
Monday 2nd July 2018
Let’s go to el Valle de la Luna with Juan, at last! We had indeed planned this visit for one week already but had always postponed it for many different reasons. It would have been a shame to leave La Paz without visiting this famous valley!
We took a bus heading to the south of the city, where the valley is located. Two paths are possible there, one of 15 minutes, the other one of 45… I don’t need to precise which one we chose, on which we actually spent more than 2 hours! This valley is named like this for its rock formations that remind of the moon. It is actually not exactly a valley but more a succession of canyons and rock spikes made out of sand and limestone, carved by the erosion. It kind of reminded me of the Animas Valley but the feeling was completely different: here everything was fitted out and “touristified”, nothing to compare with the wild landscapes that I had only for me the day before.
The place is still worth a visit: the paths allow the visitors to enjoy all the views over the valley, while protecting the rocks. The place puts you in another world and you can stay as long as you want to explore it. We even stayed longer as we met some travellers of our hostel, with who we shared a mate from one of the park’s mirador. As always, the best way to enjoy a place is to take the time!
We came to La Paz with them at the end of the day. Some time to buy food and back to the hostel for a quiet evening.
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
Tiahuanaco is an antique archaeological city located two hours north west of La Paz, now listed to the World Unesco Heritage. It used to be the spiritual and political center of the Tiwanaku civilization, a pre-inca culture that was settled in the west of Bolivia, south west of Peru as well as the North of Argentina and Chile..
We had hesitated to go there as we had received some reserved comments about it but we had finally decided to make up our own opinion. We went there with Jazmin and Jorge, although they themselves didn’t have a fantastic memory of it. It was indeed an obligatory visit at school when they were younger but they would go there without receiving any information to understand the place… and sadly we cannot say that the situation changed a lot since then!
The mediation is very limited there. The visit consists in two museums where are exhibited items, jewels, statues and other sculptures from the Tiahuanaco civilization, and two sites with the ruins of the city. The panels are very frustrating as they give a lot of technical details (dimensions, surface etc. of each ruin) but absolutely no information about the utility or role of each place. The guided tours didn’t seem to be more instructive given the scraps that we heard. Two girls from the hostel that visited it the same day confirmed me in the evening that their guide was disappointing, although they had booked a tour with an agency.
We came out of this visit without having understood what it was all about, which is a shame when you know this culture is the foundation of the Inca and American civilizations! As for the village of Tiahuanaco, we had a walk there before leaving and it let us the impression of ghost village, without any other animation than the minibuses coming from and to La Paz.
We ended up the day on a more positive note thanks to Jazmin, who had the good idea to get down from the bus in El Alto so to finish our trip by funicular. It was even more appreciable that we thus avoided the complicated traffic while enjoying the view over the city. She then offered us a juice that was high in vitamins in a small place she had the secret of. Celery, apples, cucumber, curcuma, ginger and other detox green vegetables…. We were both fed and revitalized!
We fixed our meeting for the following day as we had planned to leave together to Copacabana and then split. This time it was our very last evening in La Paz!
To be continued…
Bus in La Paz: 2 BOB – 0,24€ per trip
Funicular in La Paz: 3 BOB – 0,37€ per trip
Bus to Tiahuanaco: 15 BOB per trip
Hospedaje Yanacocha: 30 BOB – 3,70€ per night in a 4-bed room and then 2-bed room, without breakfast. Nice and quiet hostel, well located, with comfortable beds and a pleasant atmosphere.
Valle de la Luna: 15 BOB – 1,85€ entrance fee, for a visit of 15 or 45 min but can last up to 2h depending on the time that you take there.
Tiahuanaco : 100 BOB – 12,32€ entrance fee for foreigners (15 BOB for the Bolivians…). The entrance ticket is really expensive for the very few explanations that are given on site. There are two museums and two sites with ruins to visit but it definitely lacks of mediation and the scraps that we heard from the guided tours didn’t seem to bring much more information.