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January 18th, 2013 


El Alto, Bolivia


 With close to 700,000 people at 12,000 feet above sea level, El Alto, Bolivia is truly a heavenly town surrounded by striking snow-covered peaks in all directions. Due to such high altitude, it may take the traveler a day or so to become acclimated to the elevation and rigorous hiking or traveling should be done with extreme care if not fully accustomed to the elevation. El Alto was recently involved in the Bolivian Gas Crisis, but this has mostly passed and the area is considered safe for tourists to frequent.

 Getting to El Alto is convenient with El Alto International Airport connecting to Miami via American Airlines for the North American guest. El Alto International Airport also serves those wishing to travel to La Paz, located just north of El Alto.

 At one point, El Alto was just a southwestern suburb or La Paz, Bolivia's capital. However, in the late 1980s, El Alto was incorporated as its own city. El Alto looks over La Paz, as it is built onto a highland that is above the canyon that La Paz was built into. This smaller city is considered to be a feeder city to La Paz, as many of the residents of El Alto work and conduct other business in La Paz.

 Both El Alto and La Paz offer spectacular views of Huayyna Potsi, informally known as the easiest 6000er in the world. This mountain is the most climbed in Bolivia and offers several routes up to the summit. Some of these routes being in town and are easily accessible for the more adventurous tourist.

 Staying in El Alto is a great way to avoid paying higher costs at hostels or motels but still offers the close proximity to the capital city of La Paz and everything that city has to offer to tourists and guests. Several art galleries and museums bring an eclectic mix to the scene in both El Alto and La Paz. Many museums also offer travelers a glimpse into the past life and culture of the city with displays showcasing traditional costumes of the area and information about native flora and fauna. Other sites to see include the Bolivian presidential palace as well as the many churches and cathedrals that dot the town.


 August and September bring many festivals to the city with Optica Festival held annually in August showcasing audiovisual arts and the World Press Photo exhibition held in September. August also brings Fiesta of the Virgin of Copacabana. This festival brings many pilgrims wishing to pay their respects to the Virgin of Copacabana and ask her for blessings.

 Average temperatures in the area range from 60 – 70 F or 15 – 20 C with an average of 20” of rain per year. Many residents within La Paz and El Alto still wear traditional clothing and are just as pleasing to see as the local attractions and countryside. The traditional dress of the residents truly round out this breath taking experience in South America.

Thinking of heading to El Alto? If you are flying you will be heading to El Alto International Airport, South America’s Highest Commercial Airport, and the 2nd Worlds Highest Commercial Airport. Flying time to Miami from El Alto Bolivia is approximately 6 1/2 hours.

 If you are driving or taking a bus, drive time to El Alto from Cochabamba is about 4 hours 45 minutes and 218 miles. Thinking of driving La Paz to Santa Cruz Bolivia? you are looking at almost 15 hours drive time and 665 miles.

El Alto to Cochabamba

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El Alto to Santa Cruz

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