A unique way to discover La Paz. From a cable car!

by Deborah Durrfeld
kabelbaan la paz

La Paz has the largest cable car system in the world. It’s a great and handy way of transportation if you’re going from A to B. But you really want to use this cable car to enjoy the amazing views, almost for free! La Paz has several cable car lines that work as a metro system and connect the different parts of the city. Absolutely unique! In this article I’m giving you all the information you need for exploring La Paz by cable car.

La Paz

Contrary to what many people think, La Paz isn’t the official capital of Bolivia. It’s Sucre. Nuestra Señora de la Paz, (Our lady of Peace) is often seen as the capital, because the parliamentary and administrative authorities are located here. The city is chaotic yet fascinating. La Paz is located at 3600 m altitude and is surrounded by several mountains and volcanoes, including the 6438m high Ilimani, one of the highest mountains in Bolivia. The cable car offers the best views of the city and surroundings, especially on a day with a clear sky.

The largest cable car system in the world

A few years ago, it would take you hours to get around in this city. You would be stuck for at least an hour, when traveling from the upper town of El Alto to La Paz. In 2014, the largest cable car system in the world was put into service. Back then, it had three lines. In 2019, La Paz has ten cable car lines in the colors red, yellow, green, blue, white, orange, light blue, purple, brown and silver. It’s like a metro system and connects the different parts of the city with each other. 

kabelbaan la paz

The yellow line (línea amarilla) offers the best view, starting at the Chuqi Apu, del Libertador station. At the end station, Estación Qhana Pata, you can step out and walk to the mirador (viewpoint), that offers a beautiful view of the city and the Ilimani volcano.

El alto

When you take the yellow line, you can change onto the silver line (línea plateada). Here, you float above El Alto, the upper town and enjoy the view of La Paz. Below, you can see the hustle and bustle of everyday life in El Alto and its markets. 

The silver line (línea plateada) ends at Estacion Jach’a Qhathu, 16 de julio. From this point, you can get out and visit El Alto. However, I wouldn’t recommend walking around this area by yourself. Please read up about the area in advance, or book a tour with a local tour guide. El Alto is one of the most dangerous cities in Bolivia, and you should be careful when going there. 

Take the red line (línea roja) if you want to return to the city center, to the Estación central. Along the way, you will catch a glimpse of El Cementerio General, the cemetery of La Paz.

To the Zona Sur

At the Estación Chuqi Apu, del Libertador, take the green line (línea verde) towards Zona Sur. This offers a view of the Valle de La Luna. It’s called the Moon Valley because it looks like the surface of the moon. When you get off at Estación Irpawi, you will find yourself in a completely different world. This is where the rich and wealthy Bolivians live. Neat avenues, large houses, expensive restaurants and shopping boulevards. Zona Sur is especially nice to visit if you are shopping for luxury items or looking for a culinary experience inrestaurant GUSTU.

How to get on the cable car?

The cable car system is well-organized. You can buy your ticket at the ticket counter and follow the route to the gondolas, where everyone stands in line and people are monitoring the maximum number of people per gondola. It’s quick, clean and safe. A one-way ticket costs 3 bolivianos (40 cents). However, you have to buy a new ticket for every time you change the lines. Make sure to get a cable car network map to know exactly where you are at all times. 

Want to read more about La Paz? Check out the best places for shopping.

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

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