Tiwanaku

The ruins of Tiwanaku (sometimes spelled Tiahuanaco or Tihuanaco) make for a good day trip from La Paz for those who want to view a few carved monoliths, archways and arcades, and two decent museums. It’s no Machu Picchu or Tikal, but history buffs will love diving into the myths and mysteries of this lost civilization.

Little is actually known about the people who constructed this ceremonial center on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca more than a thousand years ago. However, evidence of their influence, particularly in religion, has been found throughout the vast area that later became the Inca empire.

In the eponymous village nearby, there are a number of hotels, restaurants, a fun little plaza with excellent sculptures inspired by Tiwanaku styles, and a 16th-century church, built, no doubt, with stones from the Tiwanaku site.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tiwanaku.