A visit to Tiwanaku ruins Bolivia with an 8 year old

A visit to Tiwanaku ruins with an 8-year-old

We had booked a tour to Tiwanaku ruins.
Our little mini-van was a bit late collecting us.
We then did the rounds of hostels and hotels collecting others.
So it was about an hour late by the time we exited La Paz.
As we hit the ‘burbs’, we suddenly found ourselves in traffic jams.
Firstly there was a University protest, so all the on-coming traffic was detoured.
Then there were markets.
But what I was surprised at next was there were people sitting on the road blocking a bridge.
Along with people, there were mounds of dirt, rubbish, and then strewn along the road were toilet pans and cisterns, rocks and other debris.  This made it impossible for the min-ivan, or in fact any traffic to pass.
So the driver shoots off down a dirt road.
We go for about 1 hour.  My poor bladder can’t come with the bumps.
Eventually, we have to beg the driver to stop on the pretext my son needs to relieve himself (by then he also did).  So we found a pile of bricks and that made a makeshift restroom.
As it was so dusty, the poor people in the back of the bus couldn’t breathe.
We had already booked the front two seats, knowing my son gets so travel sick.
But before we knew it, one poor lady was ill.
Finally, after driving along what looked like a waterway – cum rubbish tip, we found a way to cross.
There were some faint cheers.
We arrived at Tiahuanaco, a small station town where the ruins were.
We paid our guide the 80 Bolivianos entrance fee, after another quick dash to the bathroom.
My son was delighted as we found Kit-Kat for sale.
He has not had this in months, so we splurged and bought him a couple.
We can get 8 local chocolate bars for the price of one Kit-Kat!
Once in the ruins, our guide started teaching us the history and showed us some of the amazing carvings at the entrance.
It is quite sad.  There is a huge temple here, but the Bolivian government has only assigned a limited time and money to excavation, and restoration, so it will not be completely restored.
They do empty locals from the town, and this is great though.

We got to see 3 different sets of ruins here.
I was glad for our hiking boots, as the ground is quite slippery from the dust in parts.

Here we could see how over the hears of construction, the stone layers changed shape and size.

Now – people keep asking me how I educate my son.
Well, this is one definite way.
This is a learning day.
He knows he is to learn, and not just run around and be silly.
He loves his photography, so he is busy exploring and capturing what he sees.

In the center is a huge courtyard.

Behind us is the door to the sun.
On one day a year in April, the sun shines through here.
Sacrifices are still made.

Here is a really detailed archway.  It is intricately carved.  No-one knows how.
The locals spend time re-packing the ground and preserving the ruins.
The foreman sits on the hill, bellowing orders through a loud speaker!
In the walls are carved faces of the different tribes.
Each face is different.  I can’t remember how many – possibly 200.
Now, this is well worth a visit.
You can see this is a sunken area, and there are layers to these temples.
Here my son leans about how the different rocks and earth forms are used.
He is acting a bit silly now, but we learn about how they drained the water.
2 U shaped stones were cut, and then placed one over the other for the water to drain away.

There are also two huge stone gods.
They are well preserved and look awesome against the blue sky.
They say the rocks came from about 40 km away, but they have no idea how they got here.

Next is lunch.
My son has been wanting to try Alpaca or Llama.
Llama (pronounce Yama) is on the menu and he is excited.
He says it tastes like tough chicken.
I go for the soup and the Trout – yum!

Next is 2 different museums.
They have saved a lot of pottery, statues, and other small pieces they have found.

We then go onto another set of ruins from the 13th century nearby.

It is amazing to see how well cut the stone is.
It is a glorious area against the clouded sky.

What is again sad about this, is that they only set a short time to excavate the ruins.
Now they have “given up”.
Rocks and ruins protrude from the ground, and many are left partially exposed.
I wonder at what an amazing place this would be if it was fully restored.
I visualize it would be like Egypt.

We head back the same we came.
About 3/4 way through the trip, the altitude sickness kicks in for me. I have a very sharp headache. I have no Panadol or Coca leaves to chew – So I suffer. Back over the dusty roads to La Paz.
These ruins are well worth a visit.
Bring double the amount of water you think you need.
We had a huge bag of biscuits, fruit, and vegetables with us as snacks and ate the lot.
It is a long day.
Oh, and make sure you book the front seats!!

Questions and Comments

  • Do you always travel with your child, even in the craziest adventures?
  • Have you been to Bolivia?
  • Have you been to the Tiwanaku ruins?
  • Do share your comments with us below.

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