Terra Bolivia » Mountaineering » Ascension of Illimani

Ascension of Illimani

The Illimani is probably the most famous peak in Bolivia. It is an integral part of the panorama of La Paz, as a backdrop to an Indian market teeming with life, or immobile mineral mass crushing the few buildings of the city. So much sighting from the capital that it has become the emblem.

Climbing, Hiking
10 Days




El Alto Airport -

A private driver will pick you up at the international airport of El Alto and drive you to your hotel in La Paz.
This afternoon our guide will show us the historical center of the city. We will meet at 02:00 pm at the hotel lobby.

From the Plaza San Francisco (the main square of La Paz) we will go up the Sagarnaga street, where it is hard to resist the temptation of buying some local handicraft sold all along the street. We will stop in the Witches Market (“Mercado de las Brujas”) where the locals buy all the necessary artifacts for ceremonial offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth): coca leaves and other medicinal plants, miniature figurines in sugar and lama fetuses.

We will then wander in the different markets of San Pedro before we go the Plaza Murillo. This square is the political heart of the city since it has become the executive capital of Bolivia in 1899: here are the Presidential Palace and the National Congress.
Night at the Naira hotel***.


Our private driver will pick us up in the hotel lobby at 9:00 am for a full-day tour around the best points of view over the city and into the Moon Valley. La Paz, world’s highest capital elected in 2014 as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, is surrounded by the high picks of the Andes.

From many parts of the city we can admire the white summits of the Cordillera Real and the imposing Illimani, protector of the city. From the K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park we will enjoy a panoramic view over the capital.

The Montículo, in the bohemian Sopocachi is the classical meeting point of lovers and newlyweds for romantic pictures.

Since 2014 La Paz is proud of its new cable cars. From the sky the panorama over the city and the mountains is unique and we can have a feel of the social gaps while flying over different neighborhoods.

We will then drive to the south, across the rich "Zona Sur" and get out of the city to enter the Moon Valley. Here we can enjoy the quietness and walk amongst the lunar rock formations during an hour.

In the afternoon we will go back to the historical center and wander around its colorful markets.

NOTE: The K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park are closed on Mondays.
Night at the Naira hotel***.


Departure at 8:30 am from our hotel. Our driver rides across the entire southern area to take us up to the Ovejuyo district, at the entrance of the city of La Paz.

We are on the beginning of a ridge between La Paz and the Valley of Illimani, a sacred mountain 6439 meters. We start our walk at 3850 meters along the ridge between the two valleys. The we can observe the Bolivian capital from the top. In the middle of our walk, we meet a "apacheta" a sacred monument, dedicated to the "Pachamama" the mother earth, and gods from the mountains. We can also observe the fantastic "Valle de las Animas" the valley of souls.

After reaching the highest point of our day (4220 meters), we descend towards the "Muela del Diablo" (4220 meters) huge rock formation about 300 meters whose shape looks like a human molar. Opportunity to practice climbing on tracks equipped.

Return to La Paz in private transport in the afternoon. (4-hours walk / 4.5 km).

Hiking time: 4-5h;

Elevation gain/loss: +350m / -350m
Night at the Naira hotel***.


Departure from the hotel at 9 a.m. with a private transport. We will follow the Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real until Copacabana (3 ½ hours).
From Copacabana, we take the boat to the Moon Island, where we visit the temple of the "Ñustas", the temple of the virgins.

Then we take the direction of Sun Island and the southern part. We land at the Inca site of Pilkokaina, a former Inca palace.

There is still a 1h15 walk to the village of Yumani where we spend the night.
Private boat available for two days.
Night at the Puerta del Sol hotel*.
Dinner included.


We will return to La Paz in private transportation (about 3½-hour).
In the morning we will descend the 500 steps of the Fuente del Inca to the pier and take the boat to the Pilkokaina temple, south of the island. This palace was built by Inca Tupac Yupanqui for its pilgrimages on the island. We will then return to the boat and head towards the peninsula of Yampupata (20 minutes). Trek along the peninsula to the Virgin of Lourdes, passing the remote village of Zampaya (about 4 to 5-hour hike). Return to Copacabana.

Hiking time: 4h; Elevation gain: +350m / -550m
Night at the Naira hotel***.
The boat will take us back to Copacabana.


Pinaya - Puente Roto

Transport La Paz - Pinaya.
Ascent of the Illimani, 1st day :

Meeting the carrying team with the mules and start of the trek to the Illimani base camp, at Puente Roto.


Puente Roto - Condor's nest

Ascent of the Illimani, 2nd day :

Checking the equipment. Start of the climb from Puente Roto to the "condors nest" (5,450m el.) wich is usually the snow limit.
Approximately 5 hours walking on very steep slopes.


Condor's nest - Mount Illimani

Ascent of the Illimani, 3rd day :

Early start in the morning for the climb to the summit (approx. 7 hrs). Walk down to base camp at Puente Roto (4hrs).


Pinaya - Puente Roto

Transporte Pinaya - La Paz
Walk out to the Pinaya village.
Night at the Naira hotel***.


El Alto Airport -

A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.