After completing the epic El Choro Hike, and subsequent chill days in Coroico, we returned to La Paz to find the streets lined with people as thousands of dancers and bands paraded down the main streets in colourful costumes.
In any other city this would have been a nightmare to arrive to (especially considering our hostel was on the street down which the parade marched), however in La Paz not so much. We got a taxi to a telerefico stop, caught a cable car over the traffic, and walked a block to our hostel. Amazing!
It was the Fiesta del Gran Poder (Festival of the Great Power), a religious celebration paying homage to Jesus Christ. To be honest there didn’t seem to be anything very religious about it, it was more like a drunken street party with both spectators and performers alike consuming an outrageous amount of alcohol throughout the day. Everyone was having fun which was the main thing.
The parade involved over 60,000 performers dressed in costumes (many of which weigh over 20kg) referencing the rich and diverse aspects of Bolivian culture, parading for kilometres through the street. There were full brass bands, dancing Cholitas, and men and women dressed in all sorts of wild and wonderful colours and costumes.
It was such a great thing to see – similar to what we expect Rio Carnival to be like – and we were quite happy to have been there at the right time to see it. We were lucky that our hostel happened to be on the main street so we were able to get front row seats without having to pay the 40 bolivianos fee for a chair.