La Paz at dawn

You're out of breath, standing at 3900 metres (12,900 feet) at 6am, looking across the skyscrapers of the highest capital city in the world, having just arrived at the highest international airport in the world (confusingly named JFK). Planes have to be specially adapted to land here.

The snowy multi-peaked bulk of Mt Illimani (6440m) guards the city straight ahead, on its eastern horizon, and a spectacular range of mountains - the Cordillera Real or Royal Mountain Range - files off to the left, towards Peru.

The city lies in a steep ravine, with the centre marked by a clutch of skyscrapers. As you descend the ravine, breathing gets easier and property prices get higher.

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