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World’s Highest Irish Pub

by on Feb.21, 2013, under Travel

  • Sumo

I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to actually write about my trip to the Wild Rover in La Paz, Bolivia, also known as the world’s highest Irish Pub. And it’s official. I have also been to Paddy Flaherty’s in Cuzco which claims to be the highest (and many others in Peru and Bolivia do), but for now the limelight is on the Wild Rover and the madness within.

Housed in the lofty Bolivian city of La Paz, you can find the Wild Rover Backpackers on 1476 Comercio Street. I wasn’t actually staying there mind you, I chose to stay at the nearby Loki Hostel instead (it’s literally round the corner). On the first floor of the Wild Rover backpackers is housed a cosy, friendly wee Irish Pub, also of course known as the Wild Rover. At an elevation of well over 3,000 metres above sea level, this little enclave away from the monstrocity of La Paz had the nice honour of being the world’s highest Irish Pub. So I just had to pop in!

You can also book your tours all over Bolivia from the Wild Rover – I sorted some of my buses and Salar tour from there. But I missed a few things out in order to squeeze in my visits to the world’s highest football stadium and the world’s highest Irish Pub! A travelling Northern Irishman has priorities you know!

I’m from Northern Ireland and there were a few Northern Irish mentions in the pub, Geordie Best made it onto the wall in the world’s highest Irish Pub. Great to see him there and made me feel at home.

I got a must have photo with my Northern Ireland flag – people always forget about us and always think of Ireland as one country. I love levelling things up.

Then as I sat down at the bar, I recognised the accent of the guy serving me! It was a strong Northern Irish accent! The first other Northern Irish person I had met in South America. Serving me an ice cold Pacena beer was Grant McParland, all the way from Carryduff in County Down, Norn Iron!!!

Straight away on hearing that I was a fellow County Down man, Grant gives up working behind the bar and comes and joins me for a beer! Imagine that in the highest Irish Pub in the world, drinking with a guy from literally just down the road. At the time, Down had just reached the All Ireland (Gaelic Football Final) and we spoke about that amongst other things, so Grant dashes out and grabs his County Down top! Red and Black with “An Dun” written on it. Behind the bar a range of UK and Irish products including Milky Way and the Southern Irish Tayto. Much prefer the Northern Irish ones, myself!

Liverpool were also on TV so I caught a live football match from the UK (a rarity for me on my travels). They played Utrecht and I also spoke to a girl from Dublin who is a Liverpool fan.

Grant and I posed for photos by the Irish Tricolour flag while I was holding my Northern Ireland flag.

Grant was a top lad and even had his iPod/iTunes connected to the bar dukebox so we cranked on the tunes for the next hour or so. We played Ash, Oasis, Van Morrison and of course The Wild Rover itself. I also met Jack from Tipperary who was working there and I chatted to him about the possibility of some work. Sadly I was already planning to move on, to do the Inca Trail and head northwards after Bolivia, so the chance passed me by on that occasion. But who knows in the future! I’ve worked in an Irish Pub in 3 continents, a fourth would be nice!

Every night in the Wild Rover it totally does get wild! This is a party style pub and a lot of fun activities go on including shots, cocktails, dancing on the bars and mild nudity! You really forget that outside you are in one of the highest cities in the world!

Cheers and Slainte with Grant, the sublime experience of having a Bolivian beer at some 3,660 metres above sea level. Amazing. It wasn’t a Guinness – a Pacena would have to do…

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The pub is on a side street but you will notice it first and foremost as a backpackers hostel, once inside head up the stairs to the world’s highest Irish Pub!

Situated on a random street and sinking deep into Bolivian mountains is where you find the Wild Rover and I have been to an Irish pub in 6 out of the 7 continents (didn’t find on eon my trip to Antarctica).

In short my trip to the Wild Rover – the world’s highest Irish Pub was amazing. Would love to go back – thanks to Grant for serving me and having a chat and just the sheer madness of it all! Don’t Stop Living.

Top of the world to ye!

To read more stuff like the highest Irish Pub on the planet head to Jonny Blair’s extensive website about a lifestyle of travel for more travel stories and tips.. This article, World’s Highest Irish Pub is available for free reprint.

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