Hiking the Taquesi Trail, Bolivia

Taquesi Credit: Richard McColl

Taquesi Credit: Richard McColl

High Altitudes Welcome Trekkers Keen to Stay Near La Paz

Prepare well, come with a guide, know the routes and above all, enjoy yourself while trekking a few short hours from the Bolivia de facto capital of La Paz. Just a few hours from the de facto Bolivian capital of La Paz, the Taquesi trek is a maneagable and popular option as an alternative the fabled Choro trail.

Using La Paz as your base, which is helps a great deal for acclimatisation given that the city sits in a bowl at 3800 meters above sea level, enough to wind even the most practiced high altitude afficionado, you will need to find transport to get you to the Taquesi jump off point at the town of Ventilla.

The Trek

The Taquesi trail is a very popular route given its proximity to La Paz and can easily be organized through any agency plying their trade on the gringo ghetto of Sagarnaga Street. It can be done over two or three days but if you feel any of the effects of altitude you’ll be advised to take the trek slowly as within the opening couple of hours from the start you will find yourself facing an extreme ascent and mountain pass at 4600 meters near to the Mina San Francisco.

The scenery here is one that is obviously treeless given the altitude and strewn with rocks which gives the valley something of a Hebridean feel to it. Once the pass is conquered you’ll become aware of a rapid descent and be grateful for it. Up at the pass the wind whips through bitterly and without mercy.

Taquesi, the Town
Taquesi Signboard Credit: Richard McColl

Taquesi Signboard Credit: Richard McColl

Passing an alpine lake, the edges of which are unfortunately dirty due to careless and thoughtless hikers leaving their discards, you continue on downwards to the town of Taquesi. Appearing like an Alpine hamlet except for the incongruous llama population and Quechua-speaking locals, just beyond the town is where you can camp on the first night.

Should you be short of basic supplies the thatched roofed, school bereft town of Taquesi may be able to provide you with perhaps a few eggs and of course the ubiquitous soda!

Day 2 – Day 3

Whether you are planning on making the trek over the course of two days or three days your trail will continue to descend over intricate Incan paving (slippery during and after a rainfall) which for the most part is original as this route was used by the population of the altiplano in its route to the jungles for trade purposes and vice versa.

The temperature rises as the descent continues and the flora and fauna alters from barren windswept mountain passes to lush jungle exuberance. Orchids and bird life abound. From here the trekker passes through the mining town of Chollja and then on to the final stage at Yolosa.

Things to Consider for the Trek
Trail

Trail

You must be aware of your limits, trekking over a mountain pass at 4600 meters can seriously affect even the most season high altitude professionals.

It has been said before and will be oft-repeated, but come prepared. The likelihood of a helicopter evacuation in case of an emergency is nil and you will either have to hike out as you came in or hire a donkey from a local.

If you harbour any doubts then come in an organized group with a guide. The guide will be known to the local population and more importantly will have organized your return transport from Yolosa to La Paz.

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