Chacaltaya ski resort is located in Bolivia just 18 miles from Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. An extremely high resort with a top elevation of 17,388 feet, the resort overlooks the beautiful Lake Titicaca and La Paz. The ski area at Chacaltaya is most suited to expert skiers with a sense of adventure.
La Paz is the base for people wanting to ski at Chacaltaya and although the city is only 18 miles away, the journey to the slopes takes more than an hour. As La Paz is the world’s highest capital city, travellers may suffer from altitude sickness and acclimatisation before skiing is advisable. The city is divided into three distinct areas: La Zona Sur, a low lying affluent area; El Alto, a poor area in the hills; and El Centro, boasting shopping, markets and other tourist attractions.
Skiing at Chacaltaya ski resort is centred on one main run and one chairlift. The chairlift takes you to a point 492 feet below the summit. From here, the downhill piste itself is not too difficult for intermediate skiers, but because of the altitude, difficult chairlift and old equipment on offer, it is only really only suitable for the more advanced.
In La Paz you will find many cheap hotels and hostels. It can get very cold at night, so it is worth paying a little extra for rooms with hot water and plenty of blankets. One of the best high-end hotels in La Paz is the Ritz All Suites Hotel, while those looking for a cheaper alternative should try the Alojamiento Universo, which has nice double rooms at bargain prices.
Tourist attractions and excursions at La Paz include: many fascinating museums and churches; Calle Linares; the beautiful Lake Titicaca; Yungas Valleys; Moon Valley, with its rock formations; and Cochabamba, for a cultural experience.
But times are hard for the world’s highest ski resort, a dizzy 5,300 metres above sea level. Not even Chacaltaya’s lofty heights can save it from the ravages of climate change, its glacier is melting so fast synthetic snow is seen as the only way to save it.