El Choro Trek

This article is an itinerary.

El Choro Trek is in the La Paz department of Bolivia.

Understand

History

The mainly well paved stone trail was constructed before or during the Inca empire for the transport of food and goods from the lower subtropical area of the Yungas to the bigger cities in the mountains like today's La Paz.

Landscape

La Cumbre, the starting point of the trek, is a very high and cold place with a few small plants and a rocky landscape. Climbing up to the highest peak of the trail, you might experience snow and strong wind. From that point on the trail goes down into a valley, where you have a humid, softer climate. There are more and more plants, and after some hours you see several rivers, waterfalls, cattle and lamas. It gets more humid and after one or two days you enter subtropical areas with high trees and a wide variety of plants. The area is very hilly and most of the time you follow a big river. Several times you pass waterfalls or rivers on hanging bridges or on stones.

Flora and fauna

The first hours, after passing the summit, you will find little vegetation. Beneath Lamas, which belongs to the locals, there are barely any animals. Later, the pasture is accompanied by ferns and bushes. More and more plants encircle the trail as well as some flowers. The wood of conifers and others begins more or less close to Chucura and is more and more mixed with banana palms and subtropical plants as it goes down. Close to the end of the trail there are also coffee plants.

The most impressive animals you see are the butterflies and other insects and birds. There are a few mosquitos. One very famous bird of the Yungas region is the cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus).

Male Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Climate

The first part is quite cold: Snow paves the way of the first hours all year round as it leads to the summit. After the summit you will descend through cloudy and foggy air until you find the first green valleys crossed by little rivers and some flowers. The first bushes and smaller trees are behind Samañapampa. The nights are cold here as it is still around 4,000 meters high. In general, huge parts of the trails' pavement are slippery and wet. Later, as you enter the zone with more vegetation after passing Chucura, parts of the trail are closely surrounded by wet plants. From the campsite of Challapampa on, it gets way warmer and the nights are calm. Clouds tend to sit over this site of the mountains, so it is in general quite rainy.

Get in

Fees/Permits

You need to pay 20bs at Chucura for maintenance of the path and bridges.

Get around

Choro-Trail first day, walking up to the summit

Hiking is the only option for getting around. OpenStreetMap has good coverage of the area. On average, it takes three days and two nights to do the trek, but the trek is more relaxed in 4 days.

On the first night, you will probably camp at Samañapampa, which will take you at least 4 hours from the starting point. The next place to stay at night is Challapampa. In between, there are no options, and the path from Samañapampa to Challapampa takes around 6 hours, depending on weather conditions.

The Choro-Trail close to Samaña Pampa, walls next to the path

From Challapampa to San Francisco it takes 7 hours, and from San Francisco to the end of the trail, 5 hours. In general, you need to rest in between, as it is steep from time to time.

Choro-Trail in the middle of the way, view

See

From the high mountains to the subtropical woods of the Yungas, you will see many different plants, colourful butterflies and many parts are close to a river, which includes spots for dipping in the water and several smaller waterfalls.

Do

As you will walk most of the time, you can basically watch the surroundings and dip in the water, but there are no offerings of additional activities or services along the trail.

Buy

Eat

You should carry all your food with you. There are some restaurants and little shops on the way, but they can be closed as owners travel to buy goods from time to time.

Drink

Being able to sterilize water is an advantage, but not necessary. Most camp sites sell 2l bottled water for 20bs. You can as well drink the water of the rivers.

Sleep

You should be prepared to camp. The lodges on the way in Sandillani had been closed as the income was too low for the owners.

Stay safe

Take waterproof clothes and shoes with you. There are no alternative ways to walk than via the trail and no transport options, and parts of the trail might have eroded in heavy rains or parts of bridges might have collapsed, so you might have to improvise as well. The people living at the trail are friendly and helpful.

Go next

A taxi from Chairo to Coroico may be overpriced = 180bs per group. There is no public transport. From Coroico there is frequent public transportation to La Paz for 20bs per person.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, August 21, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.