A Local's Guide to La Paz, Bolivia - This Way

A Local's Guide to La Paz, Bolivia

Describe who you are in 3 sentences:
My name is Maria Heilmann, I am mother of 3 and founder/creative director of aiayu. I often see myself as mother of four, with aiayu as the most time consuming one of my children.

What is your relation to this city?
We produce all our llama knitwear in El Alto, La Paz. This is where it all started and is the foundation of our aiayu brand. I have visited La Paz at least once a year the last 15 years. The city takes my breath away everytime I go there. literally because of the altitude (4000mt above sealevel) mindblowing in its colors, people, culture and nature. Bolivia is probably the most special place for me beside my birth country.

Best experience?
Fieldtrip to Uyuni were we meet a herd of hundreds of llamas and their 12 year old herder.

Weirdest experience?
Spending the night In 5200 altitude in the middle of nowhere with a oxygen tank in the room and the most spectacular with view of the mountain range separating Bolivia from Chile.

Your top 3 hangout spots?
Stroll or drive in the streets, absorbing its people and atmosphere, and then in your hotel bed relaxing! La Paz is not a comfortable place. I love to go there but always look forward to going back home again. The altitude makes you weak and tired but the origin and vibe of the city makes you high.

Favourite restaurants?
"Ali Pacha" for lunch and "Il Gustu" in for dinner, both modern and experiential, using only local ingrediens/you get the best burger in La Paz at "Crafted" and lunch at "La Mar" in Mira Flores, Lima on the way home. Normally we have a stop over in Lima. 

Best date place?
That is a tough one! I would not recommend La Paz for dating.

Best Sunday spot?
"Bronze hotel" to get the best coffee in the world. Try the Geisha or the Presidential.

If you were to live in another place, where would that be and why?
I always wanted to live in NY, Manhattan. It feels like we have been on our way to do so many times, but for some reasons never succeed. Maybe I am just more of a traveller… I love to travel but prefer my home where it is.

Best 5 local advices?
1. Respect the altitude!
2. Drink lots of coca tea
3. Go with the “teleferico”, a super cool cablecar system connecting Callacotto, La Paz and El alto try all lines, to get a view of the city. It is amazing quiet and beautiful.
4. Drive to the Alti plano and watch sunset or sunrise over lake Titicaca
5. Have dinner from the foodtrucks
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