Only a few hours from La Paz are the subtropical valleys known as the Yungas. These steep, forested slopes are squeezed in between the high Cordillera and the vast green carpet of jungle that stretches east, providing a welcome escape from the breathless chill of the capital as well as a convenient stopping point for those hardy souls travelling overland to the jungle.
The comfortably warm climate of the Yungas is ideal for growing citrus fruit, bananas, coffee and coca leaves, and also makes this area an especially desirable tourist attraction. The town of Coroico, in the Nor Yungas, is a favourite and the old road that winds its tortuous way down from the high mountains has achieved near-legendary status in South American travelling lore as the most dangerous in the world. There is also a newer paved road, but many tourists opt for two wheels on gravel rather than four on asphalt, for the terrifying and spectacular 64-km downhill ride. For those who prefer using their own two feet, there are also several popular trekking routes from La Paz to the Yungas .
The lovely little town of Chulumani, in the Sud Yungas, offers a less nerve-wracking but equally attractive alternative, and is a centre of both coca production and Afro-Bolivian culture.
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