Two-thirds of the way up the hill which eventually ends in El Alto, you can find the viewing point Andina Jach’a Kollo. Just don’t trust your map or taxi driver to get you there.
The problem with any map of La Paz is that, because of the steep inclines, distances are severely underestimated. 200 meters straight up a 45°r; hill looks like a carefree 50 meter walk on your map. La Paz waits impatiently for the day when maps will be pop-up holographic 3D projections. But we had already learned the hard way about deceptive distances before we set off for Jach’a Kollo, so, even though it looked close, we hired a taxi. But he dropped us off far away from our destination, apparently deciding that the hills were too much for his car.
So we trudged up stairs and cobblestone roads, past groups of kids who felt no compunction about openly laughing at us, and past a creepy mannequin hung in effigy as a grim warning to would-be thieves. “Rob us, and you will die”. These warnings are no joke: areas such as this don’t have an effective police presence, and the neighbors will take the law into their own hands.
Eventually, we crested the hill. As though expecting us, a committee of three hilariously drunk guys greeted our arrival with hoots and instantly befriended us. We bought them beer from a nearby store, and hung out a bit, happy for the break. Through slurred speech, the most intoxicated guy kept trying to make a pun about Jürgen’s nationality, finally managing to spit it out… “Alemán. Animal. Animal! Hahahah”. He was so pleased with his wit, that it was impossible not to laugh along.
The mirador, as expected, was incredible. We were on the west side of the city, high enough to see the snowy mountains which encircle La Paz, and which are hidden by hills when you’re downtown. At the tip of the viewing point, a shaman cloaked in a colorful blanket was performing a ritual for a woman and her baby. We’ve often seen religious relics, such as still-smoking burnt tributes, left at places of extreme natural beauty, which just underscores how tightly the Andean people intertwine faith and nature.
Enjoy our pictures of the mirador. If you go yourself, make sure that your taxi driver is willing to get you there. The walk is brutal.