Coroico & The Death Road & Cotapata National Park
Descending to just 1.782m, 95 km. from La Paz lies the tropical paradise of Coroico, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bolivia. The Yungas (cloud forest) around Coroico are tropical and humid valleys surrounded by high mountains with lush vegetation and rivers cascading down their slopes. The vegetation here is incredibly diverse and these lush hills feature large plantations of coffee, coca, and citrus fruits. A vast variety of birds abound (such as paraquets, macaws, and uchis) along with mammals like monkeys, wild pigs and deer.
The town of Coroico is the most visited destination in the Yungas and is located on a plateau on the flanks of the Uchumachi mountain and bordered by the Coroico, Santa Bárbara and Vagantes rivers. Its heavenly climate is sub-tropical and presents many interesting activities such as climbing Uchumachi for incredible views of the region, or paths along the Vagantes to natural pools. Nearby are the Cotapata National Park and the ending of the Choro trail.
Near Coroico lies the only afro-bolivian communities in Bolivia of Tocaña, Chijchipa and Mururata with their famous dances the Saya, Mauchi (funeral dance) and Semba (fertility dance).
Cotapata National Park
This park was created to conserve the diverse genetic resources of this sub-tropical cloud forest and to preserve its archeological and cultural heritage. The Cotapata National Park is located in the Murillo and Nor Yungas proviences of the La Paz department (state). It covers an area of 40,000 hectares and ranges in altitude form 5,900 meters to 1000 meters above sea level. The National Park and the Integrated Cultivation Area were created in July of 1993. The park features majestic snowcapped peaks, rich cloud forests and other eco-regions. Living inside the park are tiny villages of indigenous people that live from a combination of hunting and gathering and farming.
The popular Choro trek from La Paz that begins in Chucura at 4,800 meters also passes through the park and descends to Chairo at 1,300 meters. This route allows hikers to learn about the park’s full range of habitats from high mountains to cloud forest. The trek takes 3 days.
The Yungas region houses many descents of Africans that came to Bolivia during the colonial period. They have contributed to Bolivia’s culture more than their numbers suggest with such Bolivian classics as the Saya which presents a mix of traditional African and Bolivian elements. Saya’s intoxicating rythme is a staple of Bolivian cultural festivals all over the country from small towns to big cities. The largest Afro-Bolivian communities are Tocaña y Coripata.
The popular Choro trek begins in Chucura at 4,800 meters also passes through the park and descends to Chairo at 1,300 meters. This route allows hikers to learn about the park’s full range of habitats from high mountains to cloud forest. The trek takes 3 days.
On its lower slopes near Coroico this mountain offers the “capilla del calvario” with various trail circuits leading to the Cochuna and San Jacinto waterfalls. A trail that seems like a tunnel of verdant rainforest growth leads to the Uchumachi summit at (2500 m) from which hikers can see the Cordillera Real and its beautiful snowcapped mountains.
Located on the slopes of Uchumachi at 1.800 m, the Calvario summit offers a beautiful cloud forest panorama. Here visitors can find an ancient chapel (hermitage) built in the traditional style of the region.
The San Félix, San Jacinto and Cochuna are pristine waterfalls cascading over the steep Eastern sides of the Uchumachi. The trail to the waterfalls passes gorgeous mountain scenery, and coca, coffee and citrus farms along with numerous orquids and other regional flowers.
El Vagante River Pools
These beautiful rock pools on small branch of the Santa Bárbara river present an idyllic walk from Coroico passing numerous small farms and wildlife. Here exotic birds, butterflies and flowers abound.
The Puente Armas Waterfall
This trail begins at 35 Km. from Coroico on the road to Caranavi. After following a trail hemmed in by exuberant vegetation hikers cross the Santa Bárbara river and come to a scene of incomparable beauty; the gorgeous Puente Armas waterfall. Lush tropical flowers, butterflies and birds are plentiful here.
This striking giant rock is located in the Kilo Kilo canton just 10Km. from Santa Rosa de Quilo Quilo almost on the border of the Nor Yungas and Murillo provinces. There are ancient petroglyphs on the rock at the meeting of the two river Santa Rosa and Kellkata that go on to form the Ipiro river.
For information about tours along the "Death Road" to Coroico, to the Cotapata National Park and its surroundings, please visit our tours section.