Arriving to Bolivia isn’t easy. For one thing, there are no direct flights to the isolated South American country and most connecting flights arrive at odd times. For another, the elevation of most major cities (La Paz sits at nearly 12,000 feet) makes for a dizzying arrival experience.
On my recent trip to Bolivia I flew from Los Angeles and connected in Bogota, Colombia. The Avianca flight arrived at 2:05 a.m. By the time I purchased a visa on arrival, made it through the two rounds of questioning from immigration officials, filled out paperwork and passed through customs it was past 3 a.m. In the dark of the morning I headed into the city of La Paz, zipping through the empty streets past city lights and vast empty canyons below.
In the wee hours of the morning my taxi stopped in front of MET Hotel, an illuminated staircase leading up to big glass windows that showcase the warmth of the elegant interior within. I ascend and step through the front door to the gracious greeting of a front desk host. Within minutes I’m checked in and heading up to my room in the elevator. This has been the smoothest part of arriving to Bolivia yet.
MET Hotel La Paz
MET Hotel is the newest boutique hotel in La Paz, located in Zona Sur, the most affluent neighborhood in the city. The hotel has a distinct feel of “Bolivia meets New York City,” which makes sense when I learned that the hotel design is a partnership between a New York-based hospitality design firm and Bolivian architect Ivan Valdez.
In addition to an elegant bar that looks like it came straight out of an episode of Sex and the City, the lobby is decorated with a custom collection of modern Bolivian art works curated by Mariano Ugalde from the Salar Art Gallery.
Inside each of the 76 rooms Andean textiles adorn a king-size bed and many offer views of the Cordillera Real, the surrounding Andes Mountain range. Elsewhere on the property there’s a pool, sauna and jacuzzi.
My Stay at MET Hotel
La Paz, Bolivia is a city where you really need a good base as a tourist. MET Hotel provided me a comforting space to collect myself after the long days of adventures and a consistent and reliable set of staff to help me sort out logistics – or simply provide a smile after a long day of exploring.
As a female solo traveler in Bolivia I felt really appreciative for all the help I received front the front desk staff. The location is also very safe and I felt comfortable walking around – even at night. The hotel is in easy walking distance to many shops and restaurants and there’s an adorable bakery next door. It’s also just a 10-minute walk away from a Mi Teleferico station, making it easy to get around (and above) the city using the public skyway.
My itinerary in Bolivia was packed to the brim with adventure activities from fishing in an Andean lake and climbing Pico Austria to mountain biking Death Road. Each day was really long and I was exhausted each evening when I returned to the hotel. In retrospect, I should have added a few more days to my trip to have a bit of breathing room, but alas I did not.
Given this, I didn’t have as much time to enjoy the amenities of the hotel as I would have liked, but it was supremely comforting to have the hotel as a home base. La Paz is a renowned gastronomy city, but I couldn’t muster energy in the evenings to go out for dinner so I ordered room service every night. The hotel’s restaurant is so deliciously fresh. They even have a menu with options designed to help with altitude sickness – chicken, vegetables and a pineapple mint beverage.
Thank You to MET Hotel La Paz
Leaving Bolivia isn’t easy either. My 18-hour journey back to Los Angeles began with a flight to Colombia that departed from La Paz at 3 a.m. I spent the entirety of my last day in Bolivia mountain biking and didn’t make it back to the city until nearly 10 p.m. With a few hours to kill before I needed to head to the airport, the staff at MET La Paz graciously let me hang out in the lobby. I sat on a couch as a fire blazed until the taxi the hotel arranged came to pick me up. This hotel was a beautiful place to begin and end my visit to La Paz and I’m so grateful to the staff for keeping me comfortable and safe.