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Trek of the Inca: from the Andes to the Yungas

YUNGA CRUZ
Trek of the Inca: from the Andes to the Yungas

Probably the most impressive of all the Inca trails, the Yunga Cruz takes us from the slopes of the Cordillera to the lush valleys of the Yungas to finally reach the charming small village of Chulumani, South Yungas capital and a butterfly paradise.
Along the way, we cross different ecosystems, from the stark Andean landscapes to the dense and rich tropic forest.
We will have the opportunity to see numerous hummingbirds, eagles and if we are lucky the famous jucumari (Andean bear) as well as mountain lion and gato montes (wild cat) prints.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Tutural Pampa - Lambate
  • Day 2: Lambate - Quirocoma
  • Day 3: Quirocoma - Laguna Kasiri
  • Day 4: Laguna Kasiri - Solaka
  • Day 5: Solaka - Cerro Duraznuni
  • Day 6: Cerro Duraznuni - Chulumani

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Tutural Pampa - Lambate

Difficulty: difficult trek between mountain and jungle. 5 to 7 daily walk. Good physical condition required.
Departure from La Paz at 8 a.m. in our private vehicle. We head towards the village of Tutural Pampa (3h30) located at an altitude of about 4000 meters in the valley separating Mururata and Illimani, two of the giants of the Cordillera. We start our hike on the slopes of Mururata towards a small laguna at 4200 meters of altitude, then, if we want, we can keep going to a second laguna at 4450 meters of altitude; depending on the physical condition of each one.
Descent towards Tutural Pampa and finish on the track leading to the village of Lambate. The precipices are impressive and the atmosphere typically Andean.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 4h; Elevation gain: +450m / -450m

Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 2: Lambate - Quirocoma

We meet our team of muleteers at the start of the trek in the village of Lambate. We start the long descent where we loose 1000 meters in elevation, first through the “Chacras” (corn fields) and the different traditional cultivations, to then reach Río Chunga Mayu (el. 2250 m.a.s.l.), before climbing to the quiet and well-preserved hamlet of Quirocoma, our destination of the day. We are able to admire the impressive North-East face of Illimani, very different from the view we get from La Paz.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 6h; Elevation gain: +290m / -1170m




Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 3: Quirocoma - Laguna Kasiri

We start early in the morning for the difficult climb we have to accomplish that day (1400 meters of elevation gain!). The trail follows the crests before slowly entering the forest. We leave Río Kasiri below, to which we return a few hours later, just before reaching its spring. We stop in a beautiful grass field to cool ourselves in the crystal clear pools before starting the ascent of an arête where we find a portion of paved pre-Hispanic trail we follow to our camp, on the shores of Laguna Kasiri. We find ourselves in the center of a mountain circ, surrounded by the summits of Cerro Khala Ciudad, in an atmosphere of mystery.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 8h; Elevation gain: +1410m


Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 4: Laguna Kasiri - Solaka

We skirt the lake and continue along our trail to a pass (el. 4180 m.a.s.l.) from where we enjoy an amazing view of the Cordillera and the Yungas, lower valleys between the high plateau and the Amazon Basin. Shortly after, we find ourselves on a well-preserved Inca trail that we follow to the area called Solaka, where we set up camp on the edge of the forest.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 7h; Elevation gain: +230m / -710m

Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 5: Solaka - Cerro Duraznuni

After crossing the last stream (and the last water point) of the day, we finally enter the jungle and a thicker vegetation. Vines invading the trail force us to use our machetes. We may encounter on the way a few gold miners gone to try their luck in some of the yet unexplored valleys of the area.
We set up camp on a flat spot with amazing views before arriving at Cerro Duraznuni. In the evening, pay attention as it is not rare to have the visit of a jucumari (small Andean bear).
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 7h; Elevation gain: -860m

Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 6: Cerro Duraznuni - Chulumani

We travel deeper into the suffocating heat before exiting the jungle and finishing the trek to Estancia Sikilini (el.1850 m.a.s.l.) amongst coffee, coca and citrus plantations. There we meet the dirt road that leads to Chulumani, located on the other side of the valley. We are now surrounded on all sides by coca plantations
After taking our lunch in the “Butterfly Capital”, our private vehicle takes us back to La Paz (4-hour trip).
Cold lunch (included). Dinner open.
Hiking time: 4h; Elevation gain: -870m

Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

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