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Coroico

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Yungas and Chapare : Coroico
Revision as of 22:54, 4 August 2011 by 190.104.24.5 (Talk)

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Coroico is a city in in the Yungas region of Bolivia and is a good place to spend a night before heading up to La Paz, or further into the Jungle. Because of the lower elevation, the weather is quite nice by comparison to La Paz, and has a resort-like feel to it.

Get in

Main Plaza in Coroico

Coroico new highway is open to public use, It's a very scenic road and the best way to appreciate it is by using the Hotel Esmeralda express van (door to door) or a local taxis-collectivo, which can be boarded at the Villa Fatima Bus Station. The route is only two hours.

Highway between Coroico and La Paz

From La Paz to Coroico you can also do "The Bike Ride" - the so-called, "World´s Most Dangerous Road." Look for the agency that allows you to bring your backpack along. Most agencies rather pay 5 bucks commission to the hotel your staying in La Paz, than to haul your luggage along. their Vans are stuffy. The most famous of these are Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking ($85 per person)[1] and Madness Adventures' Downhill Madness ($75 per person), Calle Sagarnaga No. 339, (591-2) 2391810 [2]. A good alternative is BarroBiking.com, Jose the owner does every ride, Calle Sagarnaga No 288, Zona Rosario, Galería las Brujas Of.10 Teléfono(s): 591)-735 10 270 (591)-2-231 5526. Another option is to contact the small Coroico agency[3].

There are also several two day walks which lead you to Coroico. See 'Do' section.

Get around

Coroico is a small town and just about everything is in walking distance. There are also taxis in town.

See

Do

Old Highway between Coroico and La Paz

There is some good hiking in the surrounding. There are several one day hikes, which include going for a swim in wild and clear rivers, seeing local agriculture (coca, banana, coffee, citrus fruits), old Casas de Hacienda (the houses of the former landowners), virgin forests and Afro-Bolivian communities. A good website about excursions in the Coroico area is www.COROI.CO.cc.

Noteworthy is a new community-run eco-tourism project, Kori Huayku[4]. Local guides offer a full day excursion in a most beautiful unspoilt valley, featuring great cloud forest, Cock of the Rock and even chance to see monkeys! The valley hides a forgotten Inca Trail, carved into the sheer canyon walls. Impressive, and for the good of poor local communities.

Two interesting two or three day hikes go from La Cumbre (the highest point between La Paz and Coroico, 4700m) to Coroico (1700m). The most famous is the old Inca Road "El Choro", which was the most important connection between the Yungas and La Paz until the 1930s. The other one is commonly called "Eco-vía". It is a road carved in the mountains, with the idea of having a train connection. It never did function, but as a train needs relatively flat terrain, it's a much more accessible option for people not used to walking. It can be done in two or three days, but come well prepared: the first two days you will not encounter any villages.

30 minutes away from Coroico there is a community project named “El Vagante” (http://www.elvagante.com) that offers canyoning and trekking for $40 to $60 per day. Canyoning involves rappelling down 8 natural waterfalls with pure, fresh, crystal clear water in the middle of the Yungas Jungle. You can also enjoy trekking through the Yungas tropics appreciating nature and fauna, breathing healthy full of oxygen air.

For free trekking you can walk up to the phone masts, when you get to the church you could go left which takes you on an easy flat path toward three waterfalls (first 2 not for swimming as they are the local water supply). The views of the valley are amazing and there are lots of wild flowers and the odd coca field. You could also go right at the church to the top of the hill (the highest point in the area).

CXC [5] offers mountain bike tours around Coroico for beginners to experts. Lonely Planet called them "a bit disorganized, but very friendly".

Most people just come to chill out at the pool, and at night go eat in one of the excellent restaurants.

You can find guides in the Tourist Information Office on the Plaza, or you can ask your hotel to recommend one.

Buy

Eat

  • Try the comedor municipal for cheap food from Bs6.
  • Pizzeria Erika has fairly cheap pizzas and pastas, but you can also go for a set meal.
  • The best restaurant in town is the French owned El Cafetal [6]. It's an open air restauramt under a jatata roof, with an excellent view down the valley (obviously no view at night!). Expect lamb curry, llama goulash, trout lasagna and crepes amongst others. 40BS+ They are also a hotel.
  • Best price/quality at the vegetarian Villa Bonita, also famous for its ice-cream.
  • Hotel Esmeralda has a huge All-You-Can-Eat buffet with fresh salads, meat and chicken, fresh vegetables, soups and vegetarian food - The food is always fresh, no microwave food - no frozen lasagnas - they even have a big "lorry type" truck to do big time shopping in La Paz - buffet at Bs. 32.-- / 4 bucks
  • Bamboo, one block from the plaza. Mexican restaurant favoured by local expats
  • Cafe Arte, on the plaza. Great cakes, average coffee
  • Empanadas, Main Plaza. 4pm+. Cheese empanadas appear at 4pm in the main square. No tiendas sell them. 2bol.


Drink

  • Carlas Garden Pub, Calle Adalld Linares (take steps down from the plaza), 72075620. 19:00-00:00. Dutch owned terrace bar with live music at the weekends. Closed Sundays.
  • Jugo ladies, randomly around the plaza. Fresh jugos, fruits and carrot


Sleep

  • Residencial Coroico, (close to the Plaza). Plain but cheap. There is only a cold shower. 15Bs.
  • Hotel Esmeralda, at the top of the hill by phone masts, 010-2213-6017, [7]. checkout: 11:00. Amazing potential, has rooms with stunning views, a clean-(ish) pool, (scalding) hot showers, sauna, a book and DVD collection, cable TV, the fastest Internet connection in town (by satellite), pool tables, fussball and a restaurant that offers buffet-based breakfast, lunch and dinner. 10bs 660ml beers at happy hour 5:30-7pm Dorm 75Bs (90 with brekkie), Shared Bath 90Bs, 120/140Bs including Breakfast.
  • Sol y Luna, even further up the hill (take a taxi or regret it), [8]. Reasonably priced independent cabins with kitchen and private bathroom in a paradisical garden or cheaper rooms in a big house or camping in grounds. Two pools set in woodland environment. You have to make reservations, especially on weekends. Amazing massages 120BS for 75mins. Yoga daily. 50bs+.
  • Villa Bonita, (600m from the Plaza), 71918298. Minuscule Villa Bonita offers high quality ice cream and vegetarian food in a pretty garden with a great view. The place has two cabins (for 2 & 4 people) and some rooms in their own house. It is run by a Swiss-Bolivian couple and their two small kids. Call ahead as it is often full on weekends.
  • Hostal Para Ti, (a few steps from the terminal). Beautiful panorama, areas for recreation and relaxing.
  • Hostal L. de la Torre, (close to the Plaza). Basic but clean, sunny and cheap, organised around a courtyard full of flowers. 25Bs.

Get out

There are minibuses to La Paz from 3am to 5.30pm. These take the safe new road, but are a bit cramped. 15-18 Bs, 4 hours. For 25bs you can get small micros 2hours.

A private taxi to La Paz should cost around 300-350 Bs. Also, there are shared taxis that cost from 25 to 35 Bs. They take the curves a bit too fast, so it's best to take them only if you have a strong stomach.

There are daily busses all the way to Rurrenabaque (at least 15 hours, or maybe 20!), leaving around noon.


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