© iStock/Markpittimages
© iStock/Markpittimages

From vintage railways to modern cable cars - La Paz

3 minutes to read

Trains do not arrive at La Paz Central Railway Station anymore: modern cable cars – the most efficient way to move along the city – have taken their place. Still, the memories of past decades saved in this building can take you back in time.  Discover how!

La Paz Central Railway Station
La Paz Central Railway Station

Two periods converge in one place

La Paz Central Railway Station was built in 1930. From the Station, trains used to depart to the main cities of the country and Arica, in Chile - the nearest commercial port. But as soon as pave roads started to connect the country, trains gradually did lose popularity, until the railway stations ended up closing.

In La Paz, the Station was abandoned for a period until the cable cars arrived in the city in the last decade. A modern cable car station got built right next to this Railway Station, and that is how the old iconic building caught the attention again. There was no doubt about the building's beauty, and the yearning won the fight against time, bringing it back to life.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Old train wagons brought back to life

Outside the building, you will find wagons of different colors. The yellow ones were restored to show how the interior of a train used to be.

The other wagons are even more interesting. They have become stores and restaurants where you will be taken several decades back in time. While in one of the restaurants, you will be served by waiters dressed up as a train crew, in the other one, you will feel like you are in a fast-food restaurant of the ’50s.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

On the other hand, if you want packed Bolivian food products to take home - as quinoa real, coffee, honey, amaranth, and others, or even local cosmetics - you can get them in another of these wagons.

Vintage style

Another coffee shop is located inside the Old Railway Station and has a vintage style that perfectly matches the building. The furniture, the decoration, and even the plates where your food will be served are from the last century.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

It is not only a cozy place that travels you in a vintage environment. Over there, you can also try several varieties of Bolivian coffee, and you even get to choose the distillation method used in your order!

Typica Speciality Coffee Shop
Typica Speciality Coffee Shop
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Cultural Center of the Railway Station

Finally, part of the Old Railway Station building has become a Cultural Center that holds temporary art exhibitions. The exhibitions are often related to the Bolivian culture. Besides exploring the exhibits, it is also possible to go all the way up to the clock tower, the highest point of the Station.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Cable cars departing from the Train Station

Of course, the best way to arrive at the Old Railway Station is by using the city's cable car. You will descend at “Taypi Uta” or “Estación Centralcable car station, which is where the orange and red cable car lines meet.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

From there, the orange line goes to Miraflores neighborhood – a residential zone –, while the red one goes to El Alto city. The latter is passing above the General Cemetery of the town and a humble neighborhood that has earned popularity because of its bright colors and positive messages of its walls: it is called Chuwa Uma.

© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Do you have some free time in La Paz? Go back to the city’s XX century and spend a while in this charming Old Railway Station! Do not forget to enjoy a tasty Bolivian coffee while there!


The author

Vanesa Zegada

Vanesa Zegada

I am Vanesa and I am from Bolivia. I am in love with my homeland. It never stops surprising me, even if I am a local. It is a place full of diversity, traditions, interesting spots that I want to share with you through my stories on itinari.

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