Bolivia Trekking - The Pre-Inca Apacheta Trail - 2020
Discover Bolivia's Pre-Inca Apacheta trail ("El Choro") with Alpine Guides. Located in the heart of the Andes mountains, this old commercial road is surrounded by 5,000 metre + peaks. Experience high altitude trekking on this 16-day expedition, while enjoying an ever changing scenery that will take you on a journey back through time. Ideal for people who enjoy multi-day tramping and "bush walking".
Alpine Guides and Bolivia Expe
As well as one or two AGL guides in your party, we are fully supported by local guiding operator Bolivia Expe. Bolivia Expe is a leader in supporting international mountaineering trips in Bolivia.
The Pre-Inca Apacheta Trail, Ex-La Paz, Bolivia
Trip 1: 25 June to 10 July 2020
Trip 2: 06 to 21 of August 2020
Our expedition begins and ends in the beautiful capital city of La Paz in Bolivia.
The trip will first take you to nearby Lake Titicaca where guests will discover some of the local treasures, allowing you to slowly acclimatise to the high altitude (roughly 4,000 m). You will then slowly climb up through the Condoriri Valley where you will be surrounded by 5,000 m + peaks.
This trekking expedition follows the Pre-Inca commercial road “El Choro”, used once upon a time to link the high mountains of the Andes to the Amazonian forest. The path is peppered with “Apachetas”; sacred stone cairns used as an offering to the Gods by the indigenous people for safe passage on the trail. You will also experience a variety of micro climates, from high alpine to rainforest, as you gradually descent approximately 3,500 vertical meters.
Trekking Condoriri - "El Choro"
El Choro is one of the most well-known Pre-Inca roads of the Cordillera Real. The well paved stone trail was constructed before the Inca Empire for the transport of food and goods from the lower subtropical area of the Yungas to the bigger cities in the mountains like today's La Paz.
The road extends through plateaus, valleys and mountain ranges and offers a mosaic of environmental and cultural diversity. The main part of the trail is on the outskirts of Lake Titicaca and crosses important ritual sites that remain, to this day, an active part of the local Aymara people’s traditions. You will also observe many “Apachetas’ along the way that the indigenous people have constructed as a sacred offering to the Gods for safe passage.
Alpine Guides’ 16 day trekking expedition is focused on maximising the outdoor and cultural experience of the Bolivian Andes, while allowing you to gently acclimatise to the high altitude. We believe that the best way to truly experience a country is by immersing yourself in its culture and landscapes of both past and present.
Departure: ex-La Paz, Bolivia
Our trip begins and finishes in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital city. It is one of the most important cultural cities in Latin America as it hosts several landmarks belonging to the colonial times. The climate has a mix of subtropical highland and sub-polar oceanic characteristics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Paz
Alpine Guides and Bolivia Expe
The trip will be lead by one of our Expedition Leader, bilingual IFMGA guide: Pablo Borjas. Pablo has led multiple expeditions in Bolivia over the years and even did his guide’s training there. If group numbers allow, there will be additional AGL guides. We also have assistance of local guides from Bolivia Expe. Porters will be employed for load carrying at higher elevations.
Bolivia Expe will provide ground transport and logistics, mules, porters, base camp services and VHF radio support. They offer high level service in the field of " sustainable " Adventure Tourism in Bolivia and beyond its borders . Founded by Sergio Gomez, they have led many international groups through their beautiful country.
Day 1 - Arrive in La Paz. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2 - Panoramic City Tour. Optional rock climbing in the Aranjuez Valley. 2nd night at the hotel.
Day 3 - La Paz to Lake Titicaca (3,800 m). Acclimatisation walk in the hills of Peñas - overnight in hotel in Copacabana.
Day 4 - Acclimatisation walk to the Yampupata Peninsula. Boat ride and walk on Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun). 2nd overnight in hotel in Copacabana.
Day 5 - Transfer to the intermediate camp in the Condoriri Valley. 1st overnight in tents.
Day 6 - Trek to Condoriri Base Camp. Walk around the Chiar Khota Lagoon or glacier. 2nd overnight in tents.
Day 7 - Day in Condoriri Base Camp. Ascent of Pico Austria (5,350m). 3rd overnight in tents.
Day 8 - Trek from Condoriri to Ancoma. 4th overnight in tents.
Day 9 - Trek from Ancoma to Botijlaca. Transfer by car to La Rinconada or Viscachani. 5th overnight in tents.
Day 10 - Trek from La Rinconada to Uma Palca. 6th overnight in tents.
Day 11 - Trek from Uma Palca to Zanja Pampa. 7th overnight in tents.
Day 12 - Trek from Zanja Pampa to Chucura. 8th overnight in tents.
Day 13 - Trek from Chucura to Challapampa. 9th overnight in tents.
Day 14 - Trek from Challapampa to Buena Vista. 10th overnight in tents.
Day 15 - Trek from Buena Vista to El Chairo. Return to La Paz. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 16 - End of trip. Fly home.
What's NOT included:
Guides fees and expedition organisation
Airport transfers Airport - La Paz –Airport
All land transport ex-La Paz
3 nights accommodation in La Paz
2 nights accommodation in Copacabana
All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
Group expedition equipment including: medical kit, oxygen, tents, stoves, and cooking gear
Airfares to La Paz and required Visa/passport fees, plus excess gear over airline limits
Insurance for travel, medical, and evacuation
Any costs incurred for early evacuation or abandonment of expedition
Personal clothing and gear
Any accommodation and meals outside of trip dates
Accommodation in La Paz prior to the start, and after the end of the expedition
Personal expenses in La Paz, and tips to guides and locals
We require a minimum of 4 people to confirm a trip. Please contact us to check what the current bookings are. If minimum requirements aren’t available, you will receive a full refund. The cut off for bookings is 90 days prior to departure.
Cost and Booking requirements
Price: US$ 5,050
All prices are quoted and paid for in US Dollars per person.
We require a completed expedition application form and a non-refundable deposit for US$500 to confirm your place.
Balance of payment is required by 60 days prior to start of trip Please make your payment into our US$ bank account and take note of our booking conditions.
BANK ACCOUNT FOR PAYMENTS
Account Name: Alpine Guides (Aoraki) Ltd
Bank of New Zealand Account: 836155-0000
Swift Code: BKNZNZ22
Use your family name as a reference for payments.
Bolivia Trekking Details
+ Passport and Visa Requirements
Passport – make sure it is valid and (if applicable) suitable visas for Bolivia and any other countries you are planning to visit. An entry visa is usually not required if staying less than 1 month.
It is important that you have at least 6 months left before expiration of passport as many countries will not let you in with less.
Departure Tax: Please note there is a USD $25 departure tax when leaving Bolivia. This is sometimes included in the airfare. Please check with your airline before departure.
Bolivia entry/exit requirements: Your passport must contain a Bolivia entry stamp, without this you’ll have to pay a fine when you leave the country. If you enter Bolivia overland ensure that your passport is stamped on both sides of the border, with an exit stamp from the country you are leaving and an entry stamp on the Bolivian side.
UK passport holders do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days and CAN, AUS and NZ passport holders do not need a visa for stays of up to 30 days.
+ Flights to La Paz return and Travel Agents
It is cheaper to book well in advance, but we strongly advise ensuring that the return section of your air travel is “flexible” - able to be changed with a small or no fee - to help work around with unforeseen exit circumstances – either earlier, or later than planned.
We recommend travel agents to do trip planning. There is a small surcharge, but over the years we have watched friends and guests who organised all their own travel go through a lot of grief and expense rearranging travel, while we make a single phone call or email…
On more than one occasion our agents have contacted us prior to complications arising.
+ Recommended Travel Agents
NZ Agent - Grant Lane House of Travel, Timaru
phone +64 3 688 4139
Australian Agent - Colin Hood, Melbourne
Phone Colin at Outdoor Travel in Melbourne - +61 3 5750 1441
It is a long way to travel to Argentina, so think ahead, and if you do have the time it can be a good idea to plan a week or two either prior or after the climb to visit Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, or Bolivia. Those flexible tickets and pre-arranged Visa will come in handy then.
+ Health and Immunisations
Check with your doctor about relevant immunisations for travel, especially if you are visiting more than one location on your trip. Most common vaccinations for Bolivia are typhoid and Hepatitis A.
Anyone with any medical conditions should ensure they have the appropriate medication and that it has not expired (for instance those people who use “twice a year” Ventolin for asthma).
We recommend a full medical examination by your GP, and will provide you with questionnaire. It will be useful for insurance purposes.
+ Clearing Customs
Be prepared (particularly if you are from NZ or Australia) to return via the Red, “something to declare” line at customs.
Prior to return you should do a thorough clean and check, before packing in Bolivia. Then write a list of all the suspect items you have: boots, tents, crampons, stoves, wood or fibre souvenirs, medical items etc.
State what you have, how you have cleaned/stored them. When you go through the red line on arrival, hand them the list. Most frequently they appreciate that and ask to see one item, then wave you through – usually you end up being processed much faster than the long line in the green lane.
A few phrases in Spanish are always well appreciated by the locals. The support crew we use generally speak some English, but outside of the big cities, most people do not.
It’s always good to know how to ask where the toilets are, or how to get a drink or food. MP3/IPod Spanish lessons are great ways to pass the time when tent-bound.
Bolivia uses Bolivianos as currency. There are Casa de Cambio (exchanges) in La Paz. It is useful to bring some $US in cash (other currency less frequently accepted). Our staff will get local advice when we arrive.
You can also check with your local bank at home and see if you can pre-order Bolivianos prior to the trip so that you have some of the local currency upon arrival.
Although there is no prerequisite tipping culture, like the US for example, it is appreciated by the locals to receive a token of gratitude for their efforts. Certainly the porters are used to it.
+ Insurance & Health
You must organise your own travel insurance and insurance for emergency purposes.
Insurance is available through:
Most standard travel insurance excludes expedition-related claims – but is essential for your basic travel needs.
Your AGL guide(s) have VHF radio support with Bolivia Expe, and also carries a satellite phone for emergency situations.
+ Fitness & Pre-requisites
Although Bolivian trekking is not a super-technical terrain, it is a very strenuous endeavour, and not to be underestimated. Altitude can and does affect everyone differently. This type of expedition is ideal for people with multi-day tramping and “bush walking” mileage, looking to experience overseas high altitude trekking.
While we will be trying to give each other the best chance for optimal acclimation, everyone will need to pay attention to what their own body is telling them - and let the guide know!
We have the ability to help with your successful ascents and acclimation, but only if we know what is going on.
We use pulse oximeters right through the expedition. These are small medical instruments that measure the oxygen saturation level of your blood - an indication of how you are acclimatising.
The food on offer at the base camps is plentiful and fresh. As with most dining in Bolivia, it will tend to be in the Central European style - big on the carnivorous element. The dining tents are large and comfortable with tables and chairs, plenty of snacks and brews.
If you are vegetarian or have particular diet requirements it is essential you let us know about this BEFORE the expedition starts. On the hill we will be cooking in small groups. Mostly lighter carbs/protein and veges of longer lasting variety.
The Andes of Bolivia has a dry and sunny winter season which lasts from April to October. At the campsites near glaciated mountains at an average of 4600m, the daytime temperature ranges from 12ºC to 18ºC, whilst the nighttime temperature ranges from ‑5ºC to ‑15ºC. The weather tends to be dry, clear and stable providing ideal trekking and climbing conditions.
The snow conditions also tend to be stable, being firm packed, making for ease of travel and navigation. La Paz and Lake Titicaca also follow similar weather patterns, with warmer clear days, little wind and cold nights.
+ Camps, Porters, and Mules
We will be staying in a mix of hotels (in the cities), small alpine tents (2-3people per tent) and mountain huts. We also have large mess tents where we will be having our meals.
We include the assistance of a local porters, cooks and mules. This allows you to hike/climb with light weights on your back so that you can focus on acclimatising and having a successful trip.
+ Other Logistical Information
Thirty days before the beginning of the expedition we will send general information such as hotels, contact details, and other logistical data.
+ Equipment and Clothing
Please bring all the gear listed. There is no facility to rent from Alpine Guides in NZ. You can rent equipment in La Paz from Andean Basecamp (+591 -7354 - 1860). After the exchange rate the prices are similar to shopping in NZ/AU.