CoroicoEarth : South America : Bolivia : Altiplano (Bolivia) : La Paz (department, Bolivia) : Yungas and Chapare : Coroico
Coroico is a hill top town in the Yungas region of Bolivia and is a good place to spend a night before heading to La Paz, or further north toward 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. Weekends are busier with Paceños.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Take a minibus from the “Minasa Terminal de Buses”, near Villa Fatima, La Paz, heading to Coroico. - Cost 20-35 BOB. Journey time is 2 hours. There isn`t a schedule. The minibus or minivan leaves whenever it gets full every 15 minutes to an hour. If a driver says he's leaving in 10 minutes, he just wants you to get in his bus but he wont leave until he's full. Also, tour agencies in La Paz will always be more expensive and will try to convince you that public transport is not safe. They will tell you anything to get a booking. Public transport is a good option for an authentic locals experience and totally safe. The first bus leaves around 6am and the last at 6pm.
As well, there's a Hotel Esmeralda "Express Van" - (door-to-door, peak season only).
Prices: Minibuses: 20 Bs for the ticket per person - takes 14 passengers Minivan: 30 Bs for the ticket per person - takes 7 passengers. They are comfortable and faster. Alternatively, get off the highway at Yoloso and take a collectivo up the hill for 5 Bs (15 mins).
From La Paz to Coroico you can also do "The Bike Ride" - the so-called, "Death Road." Look for the agency that allows you to bring your backpack along. Most agencies rather pay $5 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) and Madness Adventures' Downhill Madness ($75 per person), Calle Sagarnaga No. 339, (591-2) 2391810 . 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.
There are also several 2-day walks which lead you to Coroico. See 'Do' section.
Coroico is a small town and just about everything is in walking distance. There are also taxis in town.
Soak up village life.
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.
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.
15 minutes from Coroico on the Yolosa river is an animal refuge and EcoLodge called La Senda Verde. They offer several different tours to see their birds, monkeys and bears as well as offering short and long term low-cost volunteering opportunities.
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).
The best free hike you can do is to the waterfall of Vagantes. It is a way more beautiful walk than up to the 3 waterfalls and you will probably be the only person in the valley. You start by following the road to Coripata** but the first road you encounter at your leftside after leaving the village you have to take. It is right after the big yellow house, and there is a hard-to-read sign that shows the direction to the Vagantes. This sign claims it is only a 4km walk, this is not true, in reality it is more. After this you just keep on following the road downhill for a long time. Until you reach a sign telling: "Senda del Turista". Here you take the little path at your right side and follow it downhill to the valley. When you are close to the river and encounter a road and little cabin, you go right for another 5 minutes until you reach the nice waterfalls. You can swim here at some points, just be aware of the strong current. The walk takes approx. 2 hours each way. Take your provisions, as there is no shop or person selling anything along the road.
- The hike to Vagantes may be very beautiful but sadly these directions are incorrect. Do not take the road to Coripata, it is not the correct road! Do more research and do not depend on the above directions. I cannot provide better directions because unfortunately we ran out of time to do this hike. Looking at an ordinance survey map (belatedly) it seems likely that the correct road leaves the town further to the north, and does not go towards Coripata. It may be possible to obtain directions from a tourist agency/office in the town. There seem to be a lot of trails on the ordinance survey map so it would be good to do some research and make sure you are on the right track. There seems to be a lot of incorrect information online. It Also seems to be possible to get to this hike either by taxi or by paying a guide (100bs per person). NB: I am accessing free ordinance survey maps through an app called ViewRanger, and cross referencing with Google maps (which is not 100% around here)
CXC  offers mountain bike tours around Coroico for beginners to experts. Lonely Planet called them "a bit disorganized, but very friendly". Office does not operate, but apparently you can email for tours.
Most people just come to chill out at the pool, and at night go eat in one of the excellent restaurants. There is a large open air municipal pool (20m) above the bus terminal with space for sunbaking.
You can find guides in the Tourist Information Office on the Plaza, or you can ask your hotel to recommend one.
Yoga is available at Sol y Luna 30bol (See ´sleep´ section for web details)
A lot of people say, that there is no ATM in Coroico. This is not true. There are 3 ATM around the main plaza. You can withdraw money there with a normal international (VISA only, not Mastercard) credit card.
- 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.
- El Cafetal . 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 avoid! Awful food. Even worse service.
- Bamboo, one block from the plaza. The only Mexican restaurant in Coroico, but there are probably better eating options around. The food is okay, but the portions quite small and the restaurant seems to often lack essentials like beer or rice from the menu. The service is slow, but if you fancy some Mexican food, you don't really have much of a choice! edit
- Cafe Arco Iris, on the plaza. Great cakes, average coffee edit
- Empanadas, Main Plaza. 4pm+. Cheese empanadas appear at 4pm in the main square. No tiendas sell them. 2bol. edit
- La Casa, (1 block uphill from plaza). Alpine food: Fondu and Raclet. edit
- Back Stube Restaurant Pasteleria Alemana, Calle Adalid Linares, same door as Carla's Garden Pub. (The Back Stube moved down the steps), ☎ 72075620. Wed till Sat 12.00 - 23.00 and Sun 12.00 - 21.00. Open on Public holidays.. A classic in Coroico, est. in 2001, wellknown by Paceños and tourists alike. You can expect a large selection of well prepared food with good value for money. A filling breakfast is served all day from 12.00, every day a different lunch menu, and the full a la carte menu is available during opening hours. German and Bolivian dishes. It's also a nice place to hang out in the afternoon, they serve great coffee and home made cakes and pastries. Since March 2014 it's situated in a colourful garden, hammacks, relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff. FREE WIFI. They also have a book-exchange. edit
- Carla's Garden Pub is the true stand-out in Coroico. Coldest beer in the Yungas and the Dutch Chef really knows his stuff! BTW, the toilets are pristine!
- Carla's Garden Pub, Calle Adalid Linares (take a few steps down from Hostal Kory), ☎ 72075620. Wed till Sat 12.00 - 24.00. Sun 12.00 - 21.00. Dutch owned pub with good atmosphere, personalised service and the best tourist info. They also can arrange your busticket to Rurrenabaque. A large sellection of spirits, liquors, beers, wines and fresh juices, varied menu with pub food and snacks, a international book-exchange and good music. Sometimes live groups in the weekends. FREE WIFI. Facebook: Carla's Garden Pub. edit
- Jugo ladies, randomly around the plaza. Fresh jugos, fruits and carrot edit
- El Gekko Hostel & Camping, (close to the Plaza, place yourself in front of the police office and walk down a steep street to the left for around 200 mts, just ask for the Ayacucho Street). checkout: 12:00 PM. Incredible view of the valley, the owner is very friendly and speaks English, he's got a big movie collection. For campers it's 15 Bs, and a hot shower for 5 more - bring your own tent! Dorms are 40Bs. There's a kitchen for guest cooking and they also sell breakfast. 40Bs. edit
- Residencial Coroico, (close to the Plaza). Plain but cheap. There is only a cold shower. Hot shower for 5 Bs. 20Bs. edit
- Hotel Esmeralda, at the top of the hill by phone masts, ☎ 010-2213-6017, . checkout: 11:00. Some rooms with truly stunning views, clean-(ish) pool, (scalding) hot showers, sauna, a book and DVD collection, cable TV, satellite Internet connection, pool tables, fussball and the restaurant offers buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. 10bs 660ml beers at happy hour 5:30-7pm. Beautiful grounds, spotty service and owner rumoured to be difficult. Dorm 75Bs (90 with brekkie), Shared Bath 90Bs, 120/140Bs including Breakfast. edit
- Sol y Luna (eco resort), even further up the hill (take a taxi or regret it), . Quiet, expansive grounds. Reasonably priced independent cabins with kitchen & bath situated in a paradisaical garden; also cheaper rooms and secure camping. Two pools set in woodland environment. Reservations recommended especially on weekends. Amazing massages 120BS for 75mins. Yoga daily. 50bs+. edit
- Villa Bonita, (600m from the Plaza (where?)), ☎ 71918298. Minuscule Villa Bonita offers high quality ice cream and vegetarian food in a relaxing garden with an expansive view. Available are two cabins (for 2 & 4 people) and rooms in the main house. It is run by a Swiss-Bolivian couple w/ two children. Call ahead/often full on weekends. edit
- Hostal Para Ti, (a few steps from the terminal). Beautiful panorama, areas for recreation and relaxing. edit
- Hostal L. de la Torre, (close to the Plaza). Basic but clean, sunny and cheap, organised around a courtyard full of flowers. 25Bs. edit
- Hostal Kory. Incredible vistas of the cloud forest surrounding Coroico, clean pool, central location. Costs a little more but still inexpensive. Well worth the stay! edit
- Casa Loma Linda Coroico, Coroico (Ask for Gonzalo Quispe in bus terminal), ☎ 712.90046, . Casa Loma Linda is privately situated on 8 acres of land, and is only a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute drive from the plaza & bus terminal. It sleeps 6-8 people, and is fully furnished with 2 spacious bedrooms, a large bathroom with hot water, a kitchen, a large patio with a grill, a hatata with hammocks, and a roof terrace with incredible mountain and river views. Additional space for tent camping is also available. Hundreds of coffee, orange, mandarin, lime, lemon, plantain, banana, mango, passion fruit, and cacao trees surround the house. Full house $75/night. Discounts for longer stays. edit
- Hostal Chawi, Calle Final Sagarnaga ("Between), ☎ 67049600, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. Offers great view over the valley of the Yungas directly from the rooms. The owner Inti speaks German, English & Spanish. The hostel has two dorms, one double private room with shared bathroom and one private ensuite. The hostel also accept volunteers for different kind of projects. from 55bs. edit
- Las Cabanas del Profe (Private houses), 20 minutes walking from the main plaza (Contact José the owner, he can pick you up), ☎ 71596020 / [email protected]. Houses for 2, 3, 4, 8, and 10 people, all well equiped (kitchen, bathroom with hot water shower, separate bedroom) in a beautifull, big and quiet garden with two swimming pools. The second biggest house is around 150 Bolivianos. edit
- Hostal 1866, (Right behind the church on the main square). checkout: 11:30am. Wifi, hot showers. The beds are old, stuffs aren't very helpful, there were young people partying all night drinking and doing drugs but no one came to stop them. Not recommended. 40b. edit
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 the smaller/safer mini-vans 2 hours.
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 fast, so it's best to take them only if you have a strong stomach.
There are daily buses all the way to Rurrenabaque (at least 15 hours, or maybe 20!), leaving around noon for 110-120Bs. The ride to Rurre is far from comfortable and should not be done when it's rainy because the "street" goes through very mountainous areas and is not in a good condition.
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