Coroico

The little town of Coroico has long been a favourite with visitors to Bolivia and residents of La Paz. It clings to the flanks of a steep, forested mountain amid orange and banana groves and coffee plantations, with stupendous views, particularly to the southwest, where you can see the distant snowy peaks of the Cordillera Real. There is fine walking and birdwatching in the countryside around Coroico, and between hikes you can lay by the hotel pool soaking up the sun and enjoying the views. Unfortunately, many tourists who arrive by bike from La Paz have a quick shower and a meal, and return to the city the same day. They are missing out on the best part of the experience.

Ins and outs

Roads from La Paz are described above. Buses and minibuses leave from the city's Villa Fátima district throughout the day. Transport to and from La Paz uses the small terminal down the hill in Coroico, across from the football field. There are also shared taxis from Coroico's plaza to Caranavi for Guanay and Rurrenabaque. Buses between La Paz and Rurrenabaque do not enter Coroico but can drop passengers off at Puente Yolosita, where there are pickup trucks up to town.

Walks around Coroico

There are a number of good walks around Coroico. One is down to the pools at the
Río Vagante
, 7 km away, off the road to Coripata. It takes about three hours to get there. Ask at Hotel Esmeralda
for directions.

Another good walk is up to the waterfalls, starting from
El Calvario
. Follow the Stations of the Cross by the cemetery, off Calle Julio Zuazo Cuenca, which leads steeply uphill from the plaza. Facing the chapel at El Calvario, with your back to the town, look for a path on the left, which soon becomes well-defined. It leads in one hour to the
Cascada y Toma de Agua de Coroico
, the source of the town's water supply. Walk beyond this to a couple of waterfalls further on which are better for swimming.

Possibly the best walk is up
Cerro Uchumachi
(2480 m), the mountain behind El Calvario, which some consider sacred. As above, follow the stations of the cross but this time look for the trail past the antennas. From there it's about two hours' very steep uphill walk. The views from Uchumachi in the morning are spectacular but in the afternoon there can be fog. There is good for birdwatching in the elfin forest at the summit. There is no water en route, so take plenty as well as repellent for biting insects.

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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