Last updated on : Apr 25, 2020
One of the best things to do in La Paz, Bolivia, the world’s highest capital at nearly 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) above sea level, is riding Mi Teleférico, a system I consider to be the world’s most revolutionary transit system.
I had my first experience riding in cable car public transportation in Medellin, but Mi Teleférico is much more extensive. With ten lines that span both La Paz and El Alto, this system covers the entire metropolitan area.
Only the classic cars of Havana or the gondolas of Venice can rival the uniqueness of the cable cars as a form of transportation.
After a lovely breakfast that included coca tea to ward off altitude sickness, I met my guide, a friendly Quechua young woman, outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in the center of La Paz, where we took a local “mini bus” to one of the cable car stations.
The cable line routes are color coded and most have stations with bathrooms and convenience stores. The cost of riding is very affordable at only 3 bolivianos, which is about $.50 USD, and because the cars are constantly running, it’s a very convenient and efficient way to move around. It’s also surprisingly quiet, eco-friendly, and extremely clean.
My guide provided a fascinating history lesson, giving an overview of the history and culture of La Paz and El Alto, her home, which has a population of nearly 1 million people. She talked about her Quechuan heritage as well as Spanish colonization, and she mentioned that the term “Indios”, commonly ascribed to indigenous people from the Americas, was derived from the Spanish “Sin Dios”, which means without God.
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I still can’t get over the cable car as a form of mass transportation, and the Teleferico (@miteleferico) in La Paz is quite extensive. It opened in 2014 and has eight lines between La Paz and El Alto. There are more than 30 stations with each having restrooms, ATMs, and convenience stores. It’s such an innovative way to get around. Plus, it’s efficient, it’s quiet, it’s low impact to the environment, and it offers fabulous views. 💕
Whether or not you have a guide, riding Mi Teleferico is a great de facto sightseeing tour of La Paz and one of the most unique things to do in La Paz. I would love to see more cities adopt this form of mass transit. After all, you can pretty much predict your travel time, don’t have to sit in traffic, and are guaranteed a window seat with a fantastic view!
If you’ve visited, name some amazing things to do in La Paz, Bolivia? If you haven’t been, would you go?
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