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Tiwanaku is an archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage site in the La Paz Department of Bolivia.

Get in

Temple of Kalasasaya

Some guidebooks are still wrong, they now charge $10 USD (80 bob) for Extranjeros (foreigners). Citizens - locals pay about 10 bob. Getting there is rather easy. If you're staying in El Centro (the city), take a taxi to, or a minibus with the "Cementerio" flap on the window to the Cemetery. Across the street from the cemetery's main gate, there are florists and to the right of this area are minibuses headed to Tiwanaku. You shouldn't pay more than 8-15 bob. Expect a 90 minute drive, buy some snacks and make sure the prices aren't too expensive from them either. Also, when the drivers head up to El Alto on the road to Tiwanaku, they will most likely pick up more passengers if the bus or minibus isn't full. There usually isn't much traffic on the road out of El Alto, so besides this everything should be fine. some drivers drive fast so they won't waste time, but they are experienced so don't feel nervous. You might also want to choose to sit near a window or out of the sunlight. Also, note that the altitude at Tiwanaku is a bit higher than that of El Alto's, as a tourist you're most likely not going to get used to this. The Sorojchi pill has been known as good against the altitude - but it is extremely dangerous to take this pill. You can also book a tour through the many tour operators in La Paz. Most of these appear to be in Spanish only.

Get around

Gate of the Sun

This is where you should stay, nowhere else to go to. There are only small villages in the surrounding areas of Tiwanaku and the site around it.


You can see remains of a Pre-Incan civilization of the ancient Aymara. The Aymara had a vast empire that stretched from the Atacama Desert to Cochabamba and today's northern Argentina. This monumental city in the Bolivian highlands 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level and one of 754 recognized World Heritage Sites is the most remarkable historical ruin in Bolivia. Tiwanaku is surrounded by mountain ranges, with Lake Titicaca on its west side (though not visible). The massive, solid blocks of a stone not indigenous to the flat plateau give rise to the site's nickname, "the Stonehenge of the Americas"--and, over the years, they have given rise to some other worldly theories of how the site came to be. Even though the Inca invaders and later the Spanish colonizers used the huge rocks of the former city to paving their streets and construct buildings, large parts are still there and reconstructed. In large part, the archaeological site is still covered and research is in progress. At the museum containing most of the amazing things built by the Tiwanakan people, pictures aren't allowed but sometimes people take them, anyway. The museum contains lots of pottery and handicrafts, and also a skeleton that is about 13,000 years old.


Take as many pictures as you can. This site is beautiful, the architecture and style is impressive. Don't cross over signs or anything: you'll upset the security guards there and might be kicked off grounds. Otherwise, you have quite a lot of freedom there to walk wherever you want.

Visit Lake Titicaca at a 30min drive; the boat ride is about $5.

Visit the Pariti Island with more ruins (not fenced, Aymara tombs and a ceramic museum - this is an all-day trip and can cost between $20 to $30).

The Main Plaza, numerous sculptures around the plaza, a 400 year old colonial Church, and ask the neighbors to show their personal monoliths, mummies, ceramics, their families decades ago. The Fernandez family in the main plaza has a 9ft original monolith (monolito Zunagua) in their back yard.


Many indigenous women will be selling pottery, scarves, clothes, crafts, and other handmade things. They do not really charge much, and these items are worth it for the price. You'll probably only come here once in your life, so you might want to make sure to buy things you'll have to remember. Some weigh a couple of pounds, so when packing your luggage at the end of visiting Bolivia, put these things in your carrying bag.


There are a couple of restaurants near the museum. They are a bit expensive but the food is exquisite. Make sure to be careful eating fish or other seafood: They should be well cooked, especially since you're probably not a native.


You'll find people selling water and beverages around. At the restaurants, they have more variety.


  • Hotel Akapana, with hot water, restaurant, and the owner speaks English. It is located across the street from the Tiwanaku Museum and at a five minute walk to the ruins.

Go next

You don't want to leave this area. The area surrounding Tiwanaku and the small town around it is quite barren. You'll see a small mountain range to the west of the ruins and other mountains all around. The main attraction is this site so don't wander around.

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