What happens when a city goes to build a metro to help with its traffic issues, but can’t due to the unstable nature of the soil it is built on? It goes for the opposite approach and builds a cable car (teleférico) system instead!
La Paz has the largest commuter cable car system in the world and it continues to grow! With 3 lines (red, yellow, green – the colours of the Bolivian flag) already in operation, and 8 more planned in the next few years – it really will be amazing and efficient when it is complete!
I did a 3 hour tour of the teleférico system with Hanaqpacha Travel while I was in La Paz to ride all 3 lines in a circuit and to understand a little more about what I was seeing as we glided over the top of the city.
Given we did the tour on a Thursday – at the top of the red line I had the added bonus of walking through part of the El Alto street market. This is the largest open-air market in Bolivia and a place where you can literally buy almost anything – from cars to toilet paper (top images below).
The seller with the male audience had a dildo (for demonstration purposes) and god knows what else he held up to convince guys that he could help them with potions for sexual dysfunction.
Or, if you are really brave, you can get a tattoo …. !
Or you can enlist the help of a shaman for any number of rituals and blessings (bottom images).
Back on the teleférico, I have to say, this would have to be the most relaxing public transport ever! Super-clean, strict number regulations for each car (for safety), almost silent, and a birds-eye view of the city – it was so peaceful! It would be awesome to travel to work like this each day 🙂
Recommendation: You don’t have to do a tour to ride the lines – you can just do them individually. But this way you get to do the complete circuit and get a couple of bonus minivan rides (between the lines) thrown in for good measure.
Cost: US$8 for the tour. 3 Bolivianos for each ride if you do it individually.
Time: 3 hours