Lake Titicaca and the Cordilleras

Shutterstock/22663231/P.ZonzelWithin striking distance of La Paz are an enormous variety of landscapes, extraordinary historical sites and potential for adventure. The most popular excursion is to the remarkable site of Tiahuanaco, 72 km west of the city. Rising out of the vast flatness of the Altiplano are the remains of pyramids and temples, of a great civilization that predated the Incas by a thousand years.

No visit to Bolivia would be complete without seeing the sapphire-blue waters of mystical Lake Titicaca and its beautiful islands. Covering 8000 sq km, Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at over 3800 m above sea level.

Hidden in the mountains of the magnificent Cordillera Real, to the east of the lake, Sorata is a colonial town enjoying one of the most beautiful settings in the country. Nestled at the foot of mighty Mount Illampu, it is a natural base for climbers, trekkers and day-hikers. Further north lies another important mountain range, the Cordillera Apolobamba, with more fantastic trekking and wildlife territory.

The northeastern slopes of the Cordillera Real plummet down to the Amazon Basin. These slopes are the Yungas, in places still clad in impenetrable cloud forests, while large areas are also used for coca plantations. Coroico and Chulumani are the main towns, good spots for walking or relaxing, especially if you've just cycled down the 'world's most dangerous road'.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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