Down into the Yungas [an error occurred while processing this directive]
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The situation in November 2002. See also the most dangerous road story.

From La Paz to Huarina via Coroico, Mapiri and Sorata

Distance

541 km

Ascending

10321 m

Days

14

Main difficulty

Bad road

The complete way can be done by road. We prefered the boat between Guanay and Mapiri because the road in this part must be very bad and the boat is a nice experience, with gold diggers on the riversite. Coroico and Sorata are both starting points of several trekking routes and therefore touristic but still pleasant to spend some days. A new road is build to avoid "the most dangerous road in the world" and will open in the beginning of 2003. I don't know if the old road is still open then, check in La Paz (several agency's offer this road as a bike trip).

Note: June - July 2003, Sascha from Germany
The old road was still open in 2003 and it looks like there will be no changes in the near future.

We did this trip in the beginning of the rain season. Almost every night there was some rain, but during the day not a single drop. I don't know if the river after Mapiri is crossable further on in the rain season. At the time we were there, a motordriver left his bike on one site an crossed by foot! Altitudes can be different from shown on maps, because the altitudes are measured values. The altitude differences dough should be more or less correct. We came from Bolovia and where already quite good acclimated before we started. This is a big advantage because the first night at La Cumbre is very high.

Day 1
From La Paz (3819 m) the road climbs gradually up for 24 km to the cold and high La Cumbre (4725 m). There are some houses here and a lake and plenty of camping space. Also a little more down are some camping spots near water.  

Day 2
The paved road now drops untill the right-turnoff to Yungas-Sur, head straight on. Then it starts climbing a bit and becomes after a while unpaved. When the road enters a new valley the road splits. To the left is the new road to Coroico and to the right starts 'the most dangerous road in the world'. On the most dangerous road, up to Yolosa, down heading traffic has to drive on the left site of the road and upcomming traffic has right of way. 61.55 km after La Cumbre, through a magnificant landscape, the roads crosses the brigde of Yolosa (1470 m). After the bridge the road splits again. The left one continues directly to Caranavi/Rurrenabaque/Trinidad and the rigth one climbs for 7.12 km steep up to Coroico (1983 m). There are several hostals here (with swimmingpool) and a lot of restaurants. 

Day 3
From Coroico there are at least 2 roads back to the Caranavi road. The first one, the way you climbed up, the second one begins at the north-east site of the plaza. The second one reaches the main road (1983 m) after 12.16 km, at the km sign 98. From here the roads climbs and descends along the Coroico river for 66.00 km untill Caranavi (917 m). Here are hostals and restaurants.  

Note: June - July 2003, Sascha from Germany
You have to push hard into the pedals to get this way managed within 1 day. But don't miss to have a look at the cable"cars" (old wheels on a cable to transport people from one side of the canyon to another).

Day 4/5
The route lefts now the main road and continues along the Coroico river again, to the north. On the road are many small villages and here and there restaurants and shops. After 73.25 km of climbing and descending the roads comes to Guanay (770 m), a gold mining village with several hostals and restaurants.

Note: June - July 2003, Sascha from Germany
Don't try to get a boat to Rurrenabaque in Guanay. Some guidebooks mentioned this possiblity. But there's no way to get a boat to Rurrenabaque for less than 250 US$ a day!

Day 6
Here a very bad road continues to Mapiri, but it is also possible to take the boat. The boat (45 bolivianos) lefts about 7-8 o'clock and it takes 4.5 hours to reach Mapiri (933 m). Here are 2 hostals and several restaurants.

Day 7 
Just after Mapiri the road crosses a big river. A littlebit upstream is a hanging footbridge which can be crossed with a loaded bike with some care (1 person at the time, but with 2 and 1 bike it is possible!). With a lot of steep climbing the road goes in 17.00 km to Santa Rosa (1289 m). Several hostals (1 with a green swimmingpool) and restaurants. 

Day 8/9
The road continues high above the Consata river and drops then down to a side river (933 m) at 9.92 km from Santa Rosa. Another river crossing, only this time without a footbridge. At the time we were there it rained in the night and the river was impossible to cross (some local could, but others were waiting). At 10.00 am the water was a lot lower (lowest?) and we could carry all our lugguge to the other site. From here the road stays low along the Consata river for 10.08 km to a little village (1080 m). Behind the village a very steep climb starts and continues for about 3.88 km to some houses (1516 m). We had to push all the way up (3 hours), because of the steepness in combination with the very rocky surface of the road.The road becomes less steep and descends now and then. After 4.07 km at a little house (1635 m) the roads starts really desending to Consata (1302 m), wich it reachs after 14.8 km. Here is a hotel and some restaurants.  

Day 10/11/12
Further along the Consata river for 17.65 km to a village (1444 m) and a new climb commes up. After the 4th hairpin curve the last water (for 21 km) is plunching out of a pipe. The road climbs up for 21.18 km to a restaurant (2786 m) near some houses (from here the road follows in total 4 side valleys untill Sorata). It takes another 2.67 km to the top (2950 m) and also 2.77 km down (2712 m) before the road starts climbing again for 10.27 km to Chamisa (3328 m). No hotel or restaurant. After 1.5 km a road turns left to Tacoma (higher then Camisa, but with a hotel), head straight on. While climbing the road follows the valley untill it turns to the other site of the valley were it reaches soon the highest point after 7.60 km. At the other site the road heads back to the Consata river and starts descending into the 2nd side valley after 11.55 km (3545 m). After 9.05 km it reaches Quiabaya (3126 m), with some restaurants (hotel?). After the village the road descends a little bit more and climbs a little bit on the other side of the valley. Back at the Consata river the 3th side valley is entered. The road drops to a bridge (2600 m) at 23.45 km from Quiabaya. Then again at the other side of the valley it climbs back for 5.65 km to the Consata river (2885 m). From here the road drops in some hairpin curves to the village of San Pedro and climbs up into the 4th side valley for 7.25 km (2857 m). From here finally Sorata can be seen. It takes another 11.83 km to reach the main square in Sorata (2889 m). Here are many hostals and restuarants.  

Day 13/14
From Sorata the road continues on the other side of the valley and follows the Consata river for 33.64 km to a pass (4310 m). Then the road drops back to the Altiplano and after 11.67 km it reaches the village of Walata (3950 m). It is another flat 8.95 km to the city Achacachi (3952 m). From here the road is paved again an it takes 19.88 km to Huarina (3964 m). Here the road meets the La Paz - Copacabana road. It is about 90 km back to La Paz and about 80 km to Copacabana.

 

 

 

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