In the way between the Socosani Mountain and the Sorata River, Ayata enjoys an awesome landscape. The mountain reaches 5km height, while the river is significantly below 2km above the sea level; that means that the slopes cover more than three vertical kilometers. This dramatic drop creates plenty of opportunities for awesome views, fast white waters and a variety of climates within foot reach from the town. The many cultivated terraces assure plenty of comfortable paths in all directions; it is safe to walk outside. However, there are no sources of safe water and there are no guesthouses or hotels in ant of the settlements surrounding Ayata; thus any day walk must be planned with care. On the mountains raising across the Sorata River several settlements can be spotted - especially during the very dark nights of the zone. The main one is the town of Sorata, one of the main cities in the La Paz Department.
In the mornings, the sun heats the dew deposited overnight and creates a fog that dissipates before noon. The fog seems to slowly fill the lower valleys and creates very attractive views. The mighty Illampu is the highest mountain seen from the town - it reaches roughly 6500m - but it is usually blocked by the fog or the clouds. Even when in clear sight, the elevated surroundings in all directions steal a bit of its usual majesty.
The Human Landscape
Ayata is located in the Province of Muñecas, the poorest province of La Paz and one of the poorest in Bolivia. People survive here on simple agriculture, with no help of modern machines or fertilizers. When the fields do not require work, most men travel to La Paz, where they do work as porters, taking the merchandise to and from the congested markets on their backs.
The province was named after a person; however, "muñecas" in Spanish means "dolls," hence in an affectionate daily idiom, local women - famous for their colorful attires - are called "muñequitas," i.e. "little dolls." Spanish is only the third language in the area, which is on the borderline between the Aymara and Quechua cultures; English is practically unheard of.
Across a hill from Ayata is the town of Chuma, the province capital which can be reached in a couple of hours by foot; there is no public transport regularly connecting the twin towns, though long-distance buses may take passengers between them if they have space.