Hike to PICO TUNARI, the Highest Point in Cochabamba, Bolivia
April 10, 2020
During our trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia a few years ago, we met Remy, who guided us on several different expeditions in the area. We are pleased to consider him a friend to this very day and continue to keep in touch. This article is a description of one of his tours, not one that we took, to the summit of Pico Tunari, the highest point in Cochabamba. Bolivia has one of the most stable mountain outdoor weather in the world, making it a great place for mountain trekking. If you visit Bolivia, we highly recommend using a guide, especially Remy (El Mundo Verde Travel).
We left early in the morning on the road to the villages Tiquipaya and El Paso, where we made a very interesting stop at the oldest church of Cochabamba. As a guide, I enjoy being able to explain many interesting things about the old history of the monument. Back on the road again the landscape changed quickly as we drove into the Tunari mountain range. On our journey we saw beautiful waterfalls, Andean lakes, farm lands, and encountered indigenes communities. The scenery was typical of the Andes landscapes and we stopped a few times in order to explain more about the country of Bolivia, which I’m passionate about, and the region that we were traveling through.
Our trekking began at a beautiful Andean lake called Laguna Taquiña, but before walking, I explained the practical things about walking in this altitude, 4300 meters above sea level, about the weather in the Majestic Andes, and the animals living in the region. We received a typical breakfast Api, a drink made out of corn that dates back from the times of the Incas, snacks, water, fruits and were ready to go!
Directly at the beginning of our hike there where two giant Andean Condors flying over our heads, the biggest flying creature in the world, how lucky we were!!!! We were also surrounded by hundreds of very curious llamas and Alpacas, many of them with little baby llamas. The trekking slightly ascends, we had beautiful weather and even a bit of snow on the mountaintops in the distance, which was really spectacular. You have the time to walk at your own pace, which makes this hike really nice and we took the time for the group to take pictures. At one point I took some stones from the ground and explained that there are incredibly old fossils in them. And yes indeed, we could see the shells all over the place, which was just unbelievable standing at almost 5000 meters above sea level. These fossils are between 500 and 600 million years old!!! Once there was an old ocean just where we are walking right now!
We hiked higher and higher and the trekking also became more and more strenuous. It’s just a fascinating feeling to hike at this incredible altitude, with landscapes around you like you are in a National Geographic documentary!! After trekking for about 3 hours, we finally reached our goal, and we stood at 5050 meters high (16404 feet). The view on the top was incredible, with hundreds of snowy mountain tops and endless views over the Andes. We were even able to see the Cordillera Real of La Paz, including the Illimani Mountain, 150 miles away! And of course we had a view of the city Cochabamba. On our way back we took a completely different trail and were able to see Vichachas, very funny animals, some kind of mix between a rabbit, squirrel and a kangaroo, it’s a typical animal from the Andes.
We came across some other unexplainable impressive viewpoints over this mountain range, and saw some other lakes with beautiful colors. We took a little rest at the Macho Lake, there was no sound at all, no cars, no planes flying over, no other trekkers, absolutely nothing, you are completely alone with Nature!
We were happy to be back at our 4 wheel drive vehicle, exhausted, the trekking itself was tough, but absolutely worth it, what a day we will never forget and recommend to all of you!!!!!