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Best Hiking Trails in Bolivia

Overview

Known as the Tibet of South America, Bolivia is the perfect country for people who like their hikes and treks with a side of adventure.  With many peaks over 6000 m, there is stunning high altitude hiking to be had in Bolivia, including from the capital La Paz.  Some of the well known treks include the El Choro trek, Huayna Potosí and Cerro Austria.  Many of the hikes also involve climbing/mountaineering skills.  Hiking infrastructure is not as established as in neighbouring countries.  The best months to hike in Bolivia are May to October.  Read on for more details on where and when to go hiking in Bolivia.

Capital: La Paz/Sucre

When To Hike in Bolivia?

May – October: Driest
November – April: Rainy

Climate: Bolivia has a range of climates; in the mountainous regions, mostly arid.  The western cordillera is drier than the eastern cordillera. 

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: While there are some well-known areas, you’ll want to take a guide with you to most areas as there aren’t that many up to date resources to plan an independent hiking trip

Transportation required: Public transit; Car

Where to stay in Bolivia for hiking:

  • La Paz
  • Cochabamba

 

Most popular hikes in Bolivia

The mighty Andes is the mountain range in Bolivia, and it has many subranges (cordilleras). The Cordillera Real and Quimsa Cruz Range in the Eastern Cordillera are the most well-known areas for hiking. The Western Cordillera contains the highest peak and many lone volcanoes and is less visited compared with Eastern Cordillera. The 'altiplano' is the valley between the soaring mountain ranges where you'll find the majority of the cities and towns. The areas to hike are shown in the map by the various cordilleras. Highest Mountain: Sajama (6542 m)

Filter out hiking places of Bolivia by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Cordillera Occidental South

  • Southern part of the Western Cordillera isn’t as visited compared with northern part
  • Peaks include: Uturuncu, Tunupa

Cordillera Occidental North

  • Also known as Western Cordillera – forms border with eastern Chile
  • Mainly made up disparate volcanoes in the western part of the country
  • Parque Nacional Sajama, home to Bolivia’s highest mountain, the volcano Sajama is located amongst the northern part of the Western Cordillera
  • Other peaks in this area

Cordillera Tunari

  • Near Cochabamba, many 5000m peaks in this area but not visited much by hikers
  • Cerro Tunari

Cordillera Apolobamba

  • Northwestern more part of Bolivia, bordering on Peru, less visited compared with other areas
  • Ulla Ulla National Fuana Reserve
  • Apolobamba Trek

Cordillera Real

  • Southern part of this range seems to be more visited compared with northern part
  • Close to capital city of La Paz
  • Condoriri mountains which has peaks such as Cerro Austria and Huayna Potosi
  • Parque Nacional y Área Natural de Manejo Integrado Cotapata (Cotapata National Park & Integrated Management Natural Area)
  • Illimani
  • Cordillera Quimsa Cruz extension of Cordillera Real
    • Cerro Don Luis
    • Cerro Gigante

Long Distance Trails of Bolivia

  • El Choro Trek – 50 km, starting near La Paz
  • Muela del Diablo – hike near La Paz
  • Huayna Potosí Trek – very difficult climb to the peak 
  • Cerro Austria Trek – 2 day trek to this peak in the Condoriri mountains
  • Illampu Circuit – 110 km

Bolivia's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Bolivia Hiking Books: Most books are dated

  • Hiking & Trekking around La Paz Map 1 (East) Cotapata National Park, Choro & Takesi Inca Trails, Coroico, Palca Canyon Bolivia Andes Topographic Map…Hikes & Walks Topographic Map Bolivia, by Sergio Mazzito, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing – https://amzn.to/3wQ09iz
  • Hiking & Trekking around La Paz Map 2 (West) Tuni-Condoriri National Park, Nevado Huayna Potosi, Cordillera Real, Sorata Bolivia Andes Topographic Map…Trails, Hikes & Walks Topographic Map, by Sergio Mazzito, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing – https://amzn.to/3wYJp8W
  • Hiking & Trekking around La Paz Bolivia Map 3 (Sorata-Mapiri) Arapa, Pallayunga, Ingenio, Quiabaya, Rio Kaka, Charopampa, Yaycura, Guanay Topographic…Guide Hiking Trail Maps Bolivia La Paz, by Sergio Mazzito, 2018 – https://amzn.to/3IIqGBk
  • Hiking & Trekking around La Paz Bolivia Map 4 (Sorata-Charazani) Topographic Map Atlas Kalluhuaya, Carneta, Huarcamarca, Carijana, Sayhuani, …Trails, Hikes & Walks Topographic Map, by Sergio Mazzito, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing – https://amzn.to/3Tn7vSl
  • Hiking & Trekking around La Paz Bolivia Map 5 (Pelechuco-Charazani) Topographic Map Atlas Cordillera Apolobamba, Nevado Ananea (Peru), Apolo, Tuichi … Map (Travel Guide Hiking Trail Maps Bolivia), by Sergio Mazzito, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing
  • Peru and Bolivia, 8th: The Bradt Trekking Guide, by Hilary Bradt, 2002, Bradt Travel Guides – https://amzn.to/3TnA3ej
  • Trekking in the Central Andes by Rob Rachowiecki, Grant Dixon, Greg Claire, 2003, Lonely Planet Global Limited – https://amzn.to/3TfJsES
  • Trekking and Climbing in the Andes, Globetrotter Adventure Guide, by Val Pitkethly, Kate Harper, Victor Saunders, 2002, New Holland Publications – https://amzn.to/3Tkr8um
  • Lonely Planet Bolivia, 10th Edition, by Isabel Albiston, 2019, Lonely Planet Global Limited – https://amzn.to/3vpzybL

 

Best Hikes in Bolivia:

You can find more details on hiking these trails in the hiking guidebooks, official hiking websites from the country/region, trail maps/apps or other websites:

  • Illampu Circuit
  • Cerro Austria
  • El Choro Trek 
  • Huayna Potosí Trek
  • Cerro Charkini
  • Tunari Peak
  • Cerro Uchumachi
  • Toro Toro Canyon

Easy Hikes in Bolivia:

  • Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)
  • Palca Canyon

 

Bolivia Hiking Websites:

 

Bolivia Weather Website:

  • Servicio Nacional de Meteorologia e Hidrologia – Senamhi 

 

Bolivia Official Website: 

 

Bolivia Hiking Apps: 

 

Bolivia Hiking Maps:

What Else To Do

  • Salar de Uyuni (world’s largest salt flat)
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Vallegrande – the place where Che Guavara was brought after being killed

Other Important Points

  • High altitude; acclimatization is absolutely key before embarking on any serious hikes/treks.  La Paz is the highest capital in the world, at 3600 m
  • The Choqueyapu River (the river running through La Paz) is full of industrial sludge
  • Roads can be horrendous; the North Yungas road in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range is considered one of the the world’s most dangerous roads which has also become an attraction for mountain bikers and other tourists