Tiwanaku, La Paz
Tiwanaku(Spanish spellings: Tiahuanaco and Tiahuanacu) is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five hundred years. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca, about 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz.
What to See
The remains of a Pre-Incan civilization. This monumental city in the Bolivian highlands 13,000 feet above sea level and one of 754 recognized World Heritage Sites, Tiwanaku is surrounded by mountain ranges, with Lake Titicaca on its west side. The massive, solid blocks of a stone not indigenous to the flat plateau give rise to the site's nickname, "the Stonehenge of the Americas". The museum contains most of the amazing things built by the Tiwanakan people. A skeleton was recovered that is about 13,000 years old. This place is quite magical.
What to Do
Take as many pictures as you can. This site is beautiful, the architecture and style is impressive.
Things to Buy
Many indigenous women will be selling pottery, scarves, clothes, crafts and other handmade things. They do not really charge much, and these items are worth it for the price. You'll probably only come here once in your life, so you might want to make sure to buy things you'll have to remember.
Where to Eat
There are a couple of restaurants near the museum. They are a bit expensive but the food is exquisite. Make sure to be careful eating fish or other seafood, they should be well cooked. You'll find people selling water and beverages around. At the restaurants, they have more variety.
Where to stay
You don't want to leave this area. The area surrounding Tiwanaku and the small town around it is quite barren. You'll see a small mountain range to the West of the ruins and other mountains all around.
Tiwanaku town is located 71 kilometers away from La Paz city and 15 kilometers away from the Titikaka Lake, which is the highest Lake in the world, located at 3485 m.a.s.l.
To get to Tiwanaku town from La Paz city you can take a minivan. The minivans depart from the General Cemetery area, located behind the flower market. The minivans depart each hour on a daily basis.
The approximate traveling time is two hours by minivan or an hour if you take a private vehicle. The road is in a good condition and along the way you will enjoy the surrounding highland landscapes and see Laja and Tambillo towns.
The transportation rate is 18 to 22 Bolivianos one way, which is approximately 3 dollars (could vary according the exchange rate).
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