Coroico: Scenery, Relaxation, Food and Adventure

Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
Trip End Jul 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
La Casa Verde
What I did

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, May 29, 2011

From La Paz we took a cab to Villa Fatima, where an old gas station is now home to Yugena transporters. After a mere hour and a half we were loaded onto a minibus with dozens of locals, one other gringo, several animals, and a huge pile of bags tarped and tied onto the roof. Off we were!

The first part of the journey was rather uneventful, as it was an exact replay of our trip to the beginning of the death road. Part two was… more interesting. When we turned onto a dirt road that looked suspiciously familiar to me, I started getting nervous. When this road continued and narrowed, and we were driving on a cliff, I started to dig my nails into my legs. After about 20 minutes Josh confirmed my fear: we were driving down the "closed to traffic" death road. Unfortunately, this being Bolivia, we were not the only vehicle on the death road, so close your eyes and picture a minibus reversing around corners to let another minivan pass, while only one inch beyond your vehicle is a steep cliff leading down, down, down to the bottom of the valley. The trip, needless to say, took a good deal longer than the 3 hours we had expected, but we did arrive safe and sound in Coroico, a fact that we celebrated with pizza and a jug of sangria. Mmmm!

After finding a hostel for the night we went to bed, and in the morning set about looking for a new hostel, preferably one that didn't smell mouldy. What we eventually found was La Casa Verde, a lovely little place with a pool (being painted), hot showeres (if you could get the knob twisted just right), beds that you were comfortable (provided you slept on the edge where the mattress wasn’t warn through) and a fabulous breakfast (no caveats, it was GOOD!)

That day had a lot of reading and relaxing while we enjoyed the incredible views and chill vibe of the area. We also decided to invest in a repeat performance of one of my favorite activities: canyoning(Aka Rappelling down waterfalls)! Setting off early in the morning (we arrived, as asked, at 9 and were picked up promptly at 10) we drove for 14 km, which took nearly an hour on the horrible twisty dirt roads. We jumped out of the car at our destination village, which was an abandoned shack, and headed off for a downward descent that lasted about half an hour. When we got to our gear up spot, it was incredible – beautiful views of the surrounding area, and you could hear the rushing water. Wetsuits and harnesses on, we were ready to tackle the falls with our two young guides (17 and 19) and a father and son duo (Jimmie and Jimmie) from La Paz.

Once again, it was incredible. The falls weren’t quite as big as the ones in Banos, but we had a great time, and the scenery was straight out of a nature calendar. We saw birds of all colours, tons of butterflies, and not another single person until our final walk along the river. At the base of the falls we fallowed the rio, floating where we could, and ended up at a little laguna with a massive fall at the back. In for a swim (wetsuits still on, it was a bit chilly!) and it was incredible. When one of our guides swam to the back, and then disappeared behind the falls I held my breath, until he reappeared in front of us, so obviously step two was swimming to the back, climbing up, and jumping. So much fun! Lunch on the banks while the boys jumped off a cliff, and then pressured me into doing the same… so high! But I did jump in the end, and was rewarded with enough water up my nose to sink a boat. Or an Elise. The trip back to the car was straight up on the other side of the canyon for about half an hour, which our guides did in flip flops while carrying wetsuits and ropes. Did I mention they also kept pace with us? Who needs bootcamp!

We rewarded ourselves with a lovely dinner at the French restaurant (El Cafetal) that was reputedly one of the best restaurants in Bolivia. It wasn’t, so we got cake/apple pie afterwards at the German place (Backe Strusse?) afterwards. For someone who claims not to care much about desert, Josh can sure mow through a piece (or three…) of pie!

Next stop: Rurrenabaque and las pampas!
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jdad on

Wow! and uhh? Wow! maybe I need to start working out so I can still do that stuff. What a day!

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