On top of the world in La Paz
As well as breathtaking views, there is plenty to do and see in the Bolivian city of La Paz
Sitting 3,650m above sea level, the Bolivian capital of La Paz is one of the highest major cities anywhere in the world.
Its elevation means that the city boasts views that will, sometimes literally, take your breath away, with the imposing Mt Illimani visible on a clear day across the valley below.
Just exploring the city's side streets, lively markets and vibrant cafes is a great way to pass any free time you might have when stopping off at La Paz while on tours of South America, but here we look at three of our favourite things to do and see that may be of particular interest to overland adventure travellers.
North Yungas Road, more widely known as Death Road or El Camino de la Muerte, is a must-visit spot for adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. Famed as one of the world's most dangerous roads, it spans the 38 miles between La Paz and the town of Coroico, traversing rain forest, cliff tops and steep hillsides. The road first ascends to around 4,650 metres (15,260 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 metres at Coroico making for a hair-raising yet thrilling journey complete with some of the best views in the region.
About 45 miles outside La Paz lie the mysterious Tiahuanaco ruins, regarded as one of the most important pre-Columbian sites in South America. The town, which rose to prominence around 1,500 years ago, is thought to have been the capital of a civilization that acted as a precursor to the Incas. Visitors can see some of the most fascinating and well preserved ancient ruins found anywhere in South America.
La Paz is packed full of markets but the Mercado de Brujas, or Witches' Market, is one of the most peculiar and intriguing of the lot. It is Located in the very centre of the city in an area that's home to the city's witches, medicine women, folk doctors, astrologers, fortunetellers, and sorcerers, many of whom sell their wares and services at the market. Shoppers can find almost anything here, including wood carvings, gold, silver and bronze items and medicinal herbs.