Today I was able to sleep in slightly before starting my travels from Peru to Bolivia. I headed to eat breakfast at Sonesta Hotel Cusco, and I was able to meet Adriana, who helped to coordinate my stay, as well as her team who helped to coordinate the surprise Fourth of July decorations in my room last night. I had an amazing breakfast the next morning and loved meeting the women in traditional attire in the lobby. I got a great photo (it's pretty funny I know) from the hotel with them wearing the attire!
Everyone that I met at the hotel worked to learn and remember my name. I felt so welcomed, and even more so after my long day in Machu Picchu. I truly cannot recommend Sonesta Hotel Cusco enough. It was one of the most heartwarming acts of kindness, and everyone there was truly just so kind and great to meet. Thank you so much to everyone at Sonesta Hotel Cusco!
The hotel had a free shuttle to the airport but as it was only a five-minute ride away I decided to Uber to make sure I would be on time. I flew into La Paz, Bolivia with no issues. Upon arrival in La Paz it took a while for immigration officials to show up to process our arriving flight. I headed to the bathroom and then stood in the back of the line where I made a new friend! I started talking with Mia, who is so cool and from Norway, about my trip and how I had no plans for the day. She was just in La Paz for a few hours before flying on to meet a friend in another part of Bolivia. We decided to meet up after immigration and spend the day exploring La Paz together!
I say that we had to meet up because, as a U.S. citizen, you have to have a visa for La Paz. You can get your visa on arrival, but it takes a few extra minutes. There are quite a few pieces of information that you need to have readily available, but I was very organized with it all and it was a breeze. Within five minutes they had printed out my visa and I headed through customs. If you want to learn more about the Bolivian visa process head over to my page on Bolivia.
After customs, I met up with Mia and we took a cab to my hotel, Casa Fusion. I arranged the cab through Casa Fusion to make sure there would be no problems finding one at the airport. The cab driver was really nice and stopped on the drive in to let us take pictures of the absolutely amazing view out over La Paz. Fun fact: La Paz is the highest elevated capital city in the world, at over 12,000 feet (3,600 meters). At times it got as high as 13,000 feet. I don’t usually experience altitude sickness but it was impossible not to feel it when the entire city is elevated higher than most mountain peaks in Colorado.
I checked in to the hotel where I met the super sweet Ximena. She had great recommendations and was so wonderful to talk with. Before I left she was so sweet and gave me handmade bracelets that she makes to take with me on my trip. After checking in we struggled to walk up three small flights of stairs to drop my bags off in my adorable room. I say struggled because thanks to the altitude those few steps make you entirely out of breath. My room was very charming, clean, and comfortable, and was located on the top floor with a great view of Mi Teleférico, the cable car public transportation system in La Paz, and the city.
We headed out and took a ride up the Mi Teleférico. It was filled with mainly other local users. You sit in a few person cable car and it takes you up even higher in La Paz. We tried to find a good view once we made it to the top, but we were in more of a local area. We did find a grocery store where we got more water and some Bolivian snacks.
We waited in line for a few minutes to then take the Mi Teleférico back down into the city. We stopped by the hotel and I called an Uber to take us to the heart of town. Uber is new to La Paz so there was a bit of a wait, but there were no problems with the ride. We headed to the Witches Market area of town. There are lots and lots of shops, with an abnormal number of them selling soccer jerseys. We walked for a while before finding a restaurant to stop and eat. I got a great smoothie along with a ham and cheese sandwich.
The weirdest thing happened while we were eating though. Mia thought she saw someone she knew outside, she headed out to check, and it was someone that she knew from Norway! It was so incredibly random but goes to show just how small the world really is. After we ate we walked down the street to see the Church of San Francisco and the Plaza in front of it. It was really an immaculate church and well worth the stop. The plaza was a very popular place and there were tons of people, tourists and locals alike, in the area.
We then headed back towards the hotel because Mia needed to head to the airport. We walked for a while until we decided to take a taxi the rest of the way. We found a reputable looking taxi (make sure to not just hop in any taxi in Bolivia) and headed back. I hated to say goodbye after a great day! It was so fun to unexpectedly have someone to spend the day with, and I loved getting to know Mia. Thank goodness for Facebook so we can keep in touch and I can hopefully stop by Bergen when I visit Norway!
Once I got back I worked on things for a little while, and also headed downstairs to meet Rodrigo who also works at the front desk. He called me and asked me to come downstairs - he wanted to meet me and thought my trip was so cool! He was so interested in my trip and what I am doing - we made sure to take a picture together! I also got a call from the owner of Casa Fusion to make sure that I was having a great stay. I cannot thank all of the wonderful people I met and spoke with at Casa Fusion for helping me to have an amazing stay.
After a long day at 13,000 feet, I was exhausted. That night I fell asleep so early without even thinking about eating dinner. I had a great day in La Paz making new friends and seeing a great city!
26 countries down, 171 to go.
To learn more about Casa Fusion click here.