El Alto Journals

El Alto Heights

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A June 2007 trip to El Alto by SeenThat

El Alto International Airport Photo, La Paz, Bolivia More Photos
Quote: Reaching 4100m, El Alto is one of the highest cities in the world and the fastest developing one in Bolivia.

El Alto Heights

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Overview

Huayna Potosi Photo, Bolivia, South America
Quote:
HighlightsLa Feria del AltoOn Thursdays and Sundays, the longest market in the world (according to Guinness) is assembled between La Ceja and Plaza Ballivian. Anything from used plastic bottles, through rusty iron parts belonging to unidentified machines, twenty years old newspapers and brand new, though black market, cars can be bought here (see separate entry).El Alto International AirportThe city of El Alto is split in two parts by the El Alto International Airport (see separate review); it can easily be reached by foot from La Ceja. La Ceja is where these two parts meet and thus it is the city's nexus. El Alto Bus Terminal...Read More

El Alto International Airport

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Attraction

El Alto International Airport Photo, La Paz, Bolivia
Quote:
Despite its humble size, the El Alto International Airport is the Andean Plateau main airport and serves mainly the people arriving to or departing from La Paz. It is located above La Paz, on the plateau itself. Neighborhoods popped out around it and in 1985 became a new city, called El Alto; even today downtown El Alto is split in two by the runway. Another peculiarity of this airport is its altitude: the runway is at 4019 meters above the sea level (above 12000 feet).Reaching the AirportReaching the airport is easy. From downtown La Paz there are minivans marked ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 15, 2007

El Alto International Airport

La Paz

Between Two Cities: La Ceja

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Story/Tip

Huayna Potosi Photo, Bolivia, South America
Quote:
La CejaA few years before I arrived at Bolivia for the first time, a wild hailstone created a mudslide that caused to a small section of the Andean Plateau to slide down upon the city of La Paz. Many people and a neighborhood just disappeared in a couple of hours. The result was an area reminiscent in its shape of an inverted eyebrow (ceja, in Spanish), sitting on the busy interface between the cities of La Paz (on the slopes toward the Amazonian Basin) and El Alto (on the Andean High Plateau).The few streets comprising this area are one of the main commercial centers in the country and it may be the biggest travel hub in the country. South of the unused railway, the are...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 19, 2007

Climbing the Huayna Potosi

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Story/Tip

Llama, Condor and Coca Cola Photo, Bolivia, South America
Quote:
The MountainHuayna Potosi separates the Andean Plateau from the Zongo Valley and is almost ubiquitously visible from El Alto. Roughly an hour away from the city, it reaches 6088 meters above the sea level and is covered by snow during the whole year. The summit has a solid cornice and one of the best views in the Cordillera Real. The AltitudeBefore attempting to climb the mountain, acclimatization at 4000 meters should be achieved (that's the altitude of El Alto City). If arriving directly from sea level, that means staying more than a week at the city, walking around, drinking lots of water and exercising lightly. The sun radiation at such altitudes is ...Read More

Urban Heights

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Story/Tip

Huayna Potosi Photo, Bolivia, South America
Quote:
One of the most exciting aspects of visiting the Andean High Plateau is the opportunity to see urban life above 4000 meters (13123 feet). In Nepal, settlements at such an altitude are tiny; plants barely exist there and provide little nourishment to the scarce yaks. Just north of Nepal, Lhasa is the only example of Urban Tibet, but it is substantially lower and smaller than its Bolivian counterparts. Bolivia's Andean High Plateau has two substantial cities above the 4000m line: ...Read More

About the Writer

SeenThat

SeenThat
Tel Aviv, Israel