La Paz to Chulumani

The road to the Sud Yungas branches east just beyond Unduavi . Though less nerve-wracking than the road to Coroico, this is nevertheless a scenically rewarding trip following the steep-sided valley of the Río Unduavi. Along the way is the beautiful Velo de la Novia (Bridal Veil), waterfall (views from the left side of the bus). The first settlement after Unduavi, Chaco, which is 1 km before the end of La Reconquistada Trail and home to Hotel El Castillo. Here are several hiking trails to waterfalls and a suspension bridge over the river. A few km further on is Florida, where a dirt road turns off to the right to the attractive colonial village of Yanacachi . The main road continues to Puente Villa and then 25 km further to Chulumani.

An alternative and rarely travelled route to Chulumani is possible if you have your own transport. The road starts 10 km before
Panduro
on the La Paz-Oruro road. From the turn-off, it's 88 km to
Quime
(clean basic
alojamiento
) along a good gravel road. From Quime it's a seven-hour 200-km drive to Chulumani passing through pristine cloud forest before reaching the village of Irupana . Also along this route are
Circuata
and
Inquisivi
. From Inquisivi another road with beautiful views heads southeast to
Cochabamba
via
Independencia
and
Morochata
, it requires a 4WD and steady nerves.

Yanacachi

This tiny colonial village is the ideal place to really get away from it all. It lies at the end of the Takesi Trail (page), or can be reached by turning off the road to Chulumani at Florida and following the signposted rough track. Yanacachi stands in a commanding position overlooking two major river valleys and there are great views over the village and surrounding areas from the bell tower of the village church, one of the oldest in the Yungas, dating from the 16th century. A more recent addition to the village is a major hydroelectric scheme.

Yanacachi also offers various activities and several small hiking trails. You can hike the three-hour trail down to the river and swim in one of the delightful pools below the waterfall. For a closer swim, try the pool at
Alojamiento San Miguel
, 15 minutes' walk out of town on the road towards Florida. Or you can help out
in the local orphanage for the day, enquire at
Fundación Pueblo
, which also has maps and local information. The foundation itself is interesting for its community development programmes to prevent people migrating to the cities in search of jobs.

Around Yanacachi

There are some lovely walks in the area surrounding Yanacachi, with several out-of- the-way places to stay, making it the ideal alternative for those who want a little hiking but don't want to camp. From the northeast side of Yanacachi you can walk the one-hour pre-Hispanic trail down to Sakha Waya. You can also hike the often-ignored final day of the Takesi Trail. From the bottom of Yanacachi, this pre-Hispanic trail continues on the south side of the ridge, past several small ruins and communities, and Villa Aspiazu, to the crossroads settlement of Puente Villa. From Sakha Waya or Puente Villa you can catch a passing bus up to La Paz or down to Chulumani or Coripata .

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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