Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Choro Trail (July 31st - August 2nd, 2013)

We first time heard about the Choro Trail from Olaf in Samaipata and Laura immediately got fascinated by it, as this trek passes through multiple vegetation zones (from 4800 down to 1300 m in altitude). To me, it also seemed to be an interesting hike.

We started by taking a taxi to La Cumbre, which was a somewhat luxurious option, but we did not have time to figure out when the buses go. I had already been there with my biking trip. This time, however, we had more time to look around and the weather was significantly better.

Beautiful mountains at La Cumbre

From there we started hiking towards the start of the Choro Trail. We missed our turn once and did not take the best route, because openstreetmap was a bit inaccurate. As we were enjoying the gorgeous views, we had a tough time breathing, because we had just recently returned from Rurrenabaque. In two hours we made it to the start of the Choro Trail, where we were welcomed by horde of llamas. 

Laura catching her breath

Wonderful views from the top!

Horde of llamas welcoming us to the start of the Choro Trail. 

We knew that from the top the path should mainly descend. As we were getting lower, we realized that we actually took too many clothes with us. Eventually, we made it down to Samañapampa, where we bought a schematic map of the trail and wrote our names in a registration book. From the book we found that there is a group of five Czech guys ahead of us. A couple minutes after the registration point we saw a completely new restaurant. Unfortunately, it was closed, which in my opinion could be the result of centrally planned economy.

Abandoned restaurant - unfortunately, some countries still haven't realized the advantages of market economy.

We continued down to Chairo, where we encountered another abandoned facility: a new building for registration, with even couple of rooms for accommodation. We had to pay our 20bs fee for path maintenance a couple of meters further at the stairs of another building that reminded me of an old school. After Chairo the vegetation changed completely. No more snowy peaks: everything seemed to have gained a green blanket.

Laura took a short break from studying the plant, so I could take a picture

We eventually caught up with the Czech group. They were from Brno and really nice. One of them even recently visited Estonia. They were on quite a tight budget, so they did not camp with us at a nice campsite in Challapampa. Instead, we spent the evening with a Belgian couple, who were on an all-inclusive tour. We stayed out relatively late, because the campsite had electricity, probably supplied from small hydro power plant (we did not hear any diesel generator).

Laura packing our things in the morning

The second day continued in more vegetation. We saw many beautiful flowers, crossed some hanging bridges and had wonderful views.

My grandma is really good at growing Calla Lilys, but here they grow naturally

Beautiful waterfall close to Choro

One of the many hanging bridges

No surprise that this camping spot is called "Buena Vista"

We spent a night at the San Francisco campsite. It had nice shelters, so we did not have to use the cover of our tent. Thanks to this we almost did not have to dry our stuff in the morning. The next day was Laura's favorite - the fauna and flora was absolutely amazing! We had lunch at Sandillani, where an elderly Japanese gentleman runs a campsite. He used to maintain a Japanese garden there as well, but is currently too old to keep it nice and tidy. He talked for quite a while with Laura, and showed her a Japanese photo book about Austria.

Hello bird!

Aren't these beautiful?

One of the many interesting flowers

This will some day be a beautiful butterfly

We continued down and eventually arrived in Chairo, having lost a pair of sunglasses on the way. In Chairo, we shared a bit overpriced taxi to Coroico with the Belgian couple. From there it was a less shaky, but somewhat long return to La Paz.

As usually, we contributed to openstreetmap, but additionally we wrote a new article for wikivoyage with practical information and of course we have more pictures.

No comments:

Post a Comment