The detached Cordillera Apolobamba, crimson against the Peruvian border north of Lake Titicaca, burgeoning with Trekking, hiking, and climbing destinations. Mountaineers in particular, will find an isolated wonderland of first ascents, tempting peaks and new paths to discover, and the hike from Lagunillas to Agua Blanca – through exalted Andean landscapes – is one of the most interesting ones in the country.
While access is improving, it must be noted that this is a remote region and far from being set up for travel. There are few services; transportation isn’t stable, and the people here maintain a peaceful traditional lifestyle. Comparatively, few locals speak more than basic Spanish (mostly men). Being sympathetic to the local sentiments of this highly traditional Quechua- and Aymará-speaking area will help keep its distinctive character intact.
How to reach Cordillera Apolobamba?
Many bus companies run a daily service to Pelechuco and Agua Blanca from Terminal Interprovincial in El Alto at 7 am (B$40, 11 hours). Buses return from Pelechuco to La Paz at 7 pm. Book tickets at least a day in advance, and double-check departure times to avoid confusion.
Things to do in Cordillera Apolobamba
Trekking: The Trekking in the Cordillera Apolobamba Tour is an exhilarating opportunity to consider the Andes mountain range as your home for nine days, traversing the unique hills. Cross below Chaupi Orco, the largest mountain in the region, while you find your ideal camping spot for the night. Travel fields of llamas while you follow rushing streams and soar valley walls. Skirt around extensive glaciers clinging imposing summits. Picnic at the banks of Laguna Chuchuja while you relish the tall peak of Condoriri. Local Andean deer skip past you while you tour Palomani Grande. Everywhere you walk in the Cordillera Apolobamba, the mountains encompass you.
Hike the Inca Mystery: With Peru’s renowned “Inca Trail” to Machu Picchu straining under the burden of trekkers, adventurers are dying for alternative Inca paths to explore. Bolivia offers various Inca trails, of which the road through the Cordillera Apolobamba is the best and indeed the most remote. Wild, isolated, and high, the Apolobamba Hike offers heart-stopping Andean forests, a glimpse into the soul of ancient cultures, and confirmed sightings of rare wildlife, including vicuñas and alpacas, and majestic condors. Plus, you can explore the Inca history while you walk. The Inca history will fascinate you; I can guarantee you that. Chased by low clouds drifting over the path, you will be able to traverse small caves, burial grounds and pre-historic temples untouched by humans while hiking in the Cordillera Apolobamba.
Top attractions in Cordillera Apolobamba:
The old Kallawaya village of Chari, a 6km stroll from Charazani (75minutes), is a mix of flowers, terraces and vegetable gardens. The town houses a Kallawaya cultural museum, a stone and thatch construction with exhibits on textile arts and medicinal plants.
About a 50 minutes walk outside Chari will lead you to majestic pre-Incan ruins, by walking through the city and turning left at the giant boulder that creates a small cave. Follow this track to the cemetery, keep left until you reach the ridge, then continue 200 metres up to the mysterious Pre-Incan remains. To avoid mistrust, it’s best to inform locals where you’re traveling.
What to eat in Cordillera Apolobamba?
Just off the square on the road to Residencial international Wasi, Doña Sofia is arguably the best place to eat here. Please try the mate de la basura, a ‘trash tea’ of regionally special herbs.