So I had made my decision to see La Paz and although I didn’t have a set itinerary, I was sure of one thing, I had to visit Tiwanaku. But Belle, you might ask, why Tiwanaku? The answer is simple. Tiwanaku was one of the most important precursors of the Inca Empire and as a good lover of history, I could never miss visiting a place like this.
The archaeological site of Tiwanaku, Tiahuanaco, Tiahuanacu or Tihunaco was the capital of a vast pre-Columbian regional empire that predated the Inca empire with its origins dating back to around 400 BC. It golden years were between 500 and 900 AD, but there is new evidence to indicate that it may have been established in the year 1500BC. Shocking right?
This archaeological site is one of the oldest of the Andean cultures. Its historic ruins, mysticism, craftsmanship and the perfection of construction and decoration techniques are all unique characteristics of the site. It is located at more than 3,800 metres above sea level about 72 km from La Paz close to the banks of Lake Titicaca. Its area is administered by the Bolivian government and since 2000 is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How did we get to Tiwanaku?
My cousin and I hired the Tiwanaku Day Trip through Bamba Experience. The tour began at around 8:30am when our guide came to pick us up at the hostel. He was very knowledgeable and an excellent host explaining everything in Spanish and English. We travelled in a safe micro-bus and as a plus lunch was included as well!
How can you reach Tiwanaku on your own?
There are 2 cooperative vans that depart from the street in front of the La Paz Cemetery near the flower shops. The buses cost around 15 Bs and take about 90 minutes, departing once the van is full of passengers. Upon arrival in Tiwanaku, the van will drop you right at the road that leads to the ruins. To come back, do the route in reverse.
Be aware that there is no direct road from Tiwanaku to Copacabana. If you want to take this path, you will first need to return to La Paz where you took the bus and then connect to a different bus heading towards Copacabana. These run every 30 minutes from 6:00am to 6:00pm and take about 4 hours (including the ferry crossing) and cost about 35 Bs.
Upon arrival to the archaeological site, you must purchase a ticket for about 80 Bs at the entrance. You can access the ruins of Kalasasaya, Puma Punkka, the Lytic museum (which has the largest sculpture found in Tiwanaku – The Monolith Pachamama) and the Ceramic Museum.
After that, I just have one thing to say, it was a great ride!
What did I enjoy most about this site?
I had the feeling that it was a little abandoned, but I liked it a lot! I was completely fascinated by and and would recommend it as a must-do from La Paz.
Source: Le Belle Tour