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Tour information

TOUR LA PAZ AND TIWANAKU, CULTURE AND ARCHAEOLOGY

La Paz, seat of government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a unique symbiosis between the Andean cultures and modernity. It was voted in 2014 as one of the New Wonder Cities of the World. The best way to get around this city is by visiting its historic and political center, its colonial streets, natural lookouts and the stunning cable car system that descends to the city from the heights of El Alto. Near La Paz, the most important archaeological complex of Bolivia is located: Tiwanaku. It is a citadel built as a result of a culture of more than three thousand years old. The most representative piece and one of the most impressive in Latin America is Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun).

Optional visits:

- City tour riding on the cable car, observing from the heights the contrasts of the city; from the mountainsides to the residential neighborhoods in La Paz.
- Stroll around La Paz city and its markets (the best way is to walk around).
- Visit the city of El Alto, where most of its population comes from Aymara culture; it is also the fastest-growing city of Bolivia. In El Alto you will be able to visit lookouts, Andean wizards (fortunetellers), and the new architectonic houses known as cohetillo architecture.
- Experience the best world gastronomy at Gustu Restaurant run by globally recognized chef Claus Meyer as well as the best Bolivian folk music at Pe�a Huari (folk music venue).
- The Tiwanaku site is an energetic center where mystical ceremonies take place and Puma Punku (Gateway of the Puma) is the most important excavation site.

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Day 1: LA PAZ � TIWANAKU � LA PAZ

We pick you up at 8:00 am from your hotel and begin our journey through the vast Altiplano enjoying a landscape characterized by the Andean crops and small adobe houses. Our destination is the town of Tiwanaku, the most important archaeological site of the country.

To start our approach to this amazing culture, we visit the local museum for an introduction to the Tiwanaku culture inheritance. Later, we start our trip of 3500 years into the past. We will visit the archaeological site which main attraction is Sun Gate - a door carved from a single piece of rock - one of the most important archaeological pieces of the continent. Also, we will also visit some ruins of great architectural and iconographic richness of this enigmatic pre-Inca culture: the Temple of Kalasasaya which is believed to have been a ritual platform built from giant blocks of red sandstone. Templete Subterr�neo and the Pyramid of Akapana turn this place into one of the main sights of Bolivia.

After lunch, we go back to La Paz passing through many parts of the city. In the southern part, we will visit El Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), a natural formation that as a result of erosion, its great composition of clay, rain and wind have created a valley of stalagmites.

Then, we drove up to Murillo Square where the Legislative Palace, the Government Palace and the Cathedral are located. After that, we will visit the museum on Jaen Street, a beautiful and small patrimonial street reflecting the colonial history of the city. Later, we will visit the exterior of San Francisco basilica, the most representative temple of baroque-mestizo style in Bolivia. We end our tour visiting Calle de la Brujas (Witches� Market) where you will find local crafts and Andean ritual elements to make offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Finally, we go back to your hotel.

- Daily departures
- Air tickets, lodging in La Paz, beverages in restaurants and hotels, additional expenses, travel insurance and tips are not included in this tour.

Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) is an ancient archaeological site located 72 km (44 miles) far from La Paz, near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca and towards the Bolivian � Peruvian border town of Desaguadero. It was named after one of the most important civilizations that existed before the Inca Empire, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Tiwanaku is one of the oldest urban cities ever built, the great culture include several temples, a pyramid, symbolic gates, monoliths and mysterious carvings of alien-like faces. Later the Incas regarded this site as the origin by their god Viracocha. It�s location between Lake Titicaca and the highlands of Bolivia (Altiplano) provided a great environment for agricultural farming, people developed expanded farming and agricultural techniques.

Tiwanaku was founded around 1580 b.C. and had its �early� urban phase from 133 b.C to 374 a.C., the last period it is called as �Mature urban phase� up to 724 a.C., the imperial age declined during 1187 a.C. At its peak Tiwanaku was an important civilization for the whole continent and its influence can be seen today in Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, it is believed that was more advanced in pottery, astronomy and math than the Incas whom they predated, also had a strong religious influence on the Incas.

Here is a short description of the most important structures at Tiwanaku�s archaeological complex:
The Akapana Pyramid. It appears to have been multi-purpose, the summit could have been an observatory and holds the remains of a house whose rooms were used for preparing ritual ceremonies involving human sacrifice to the sun. The pyramid can be seen just partially, most of it is buried, it is a manmade earthen mound, faced with a mixture of large and small stone blocks.

Kalasasaya Temple platform. It is a rectangular structure constructed of alternating tall stone columns and smaller rectangular blocks, the walls of the platform include huge red sandstone and andesite blocks, some of which weigh as much as 100 tons (the nearest andesite quarries are located at Copacabana, 40 kilometers far from Tiwanaku). There is a secondary platform within Kalasasaya that contains other monoliths such us: El Fraile (the Priest). At the northwest corner of the temple is the Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun).

Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun). This gate is carved from a single block of andesite, it is 3-meter high, once you are in front of this spectacular archaeological piece it is visible a crack in the lintel that occurred when the gate was moved from its original location near the center of the platform. It is estimated to weight at least 44 tons. Archaeologists believe it was associated in some way with the sun god (Viracocha) and was used as a calendar; in the lintel, holding a scepter, is sculpted Viracocha, there are also forty-eight relief figures that represent weeks (the four missing weeks were a time of festival). During the Spring and Fall equinoxes, the sun shines directly through the gateway.

Subterranean Temple. Next to the Kalasasaya platform, walking down several stairs we get inside into this engineer advanced Temple, the first thing to be noticed are the rock walls, there are 175 protruding rock faces carved into these walls, every single one of the faces is different from each other, they seem to represent different races of human and extraterrestrial beings, it is a mystery why all of these different races are presented at the Temple. It also houses 3 monoliths.

The enigmatic complex of Tiwanaku has it is peak at an area called Puma Punku, which is about 1 mile distant from the principal part of the ruins. Puma Punk is a group of gigantic stones (megaliths weighing more than 440 tons), bluish-gray in color which appear to have been "machined" and they have a metallic ring when tapped by a rock. Many of these enormous stone blocks probably have not been moved since they fell thousands of years ago. Archaeologists however speculate that the stones were dressed, but never erected that the construction for which they were intended was interrupted. It is equally valid, however, to assume that the buildings were completed and then toppled by some natural catastrophe, such as the eruption of a mountain or a world-wide deluge. Over the last century, several different scholars have carefully measured the blocks and even managed to joined several fragments to form complete pieces, however, a full reconstruction has not been convincingly proposed, and instead the incredible precision of the stones has spawned theories of mythical lost civilizations and extraterrestrial technologies.

Prices

  • 2 passengers
  • All included
  • No accommodation
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual guide (Eng-Sp)
  • 1 lunch
  • All tickets
  • Telef�rico optional
  • $ 140 per person
  • Check Availability
  • 4 passengers
  • All included
  • No accommodation
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual guide (Eng-Sp)
  • 1 lunch
  • All tickets
  • Telef�rico optional
  • $ 90 per person
  • Check Availability

* Prices in American dollars