For nearly 1000 years this Inca road has been used as a commerce and trade link between the altiplano and the lowland goldfields. The Tipuani and Mapiri valleys were major sources of the gold that once adorned the Inca capital, Cuzco. While the upper route remains magnificient, the fields today are worked primarily by bulldozers and dredgers owned by mining cooperatives.

Fortunately, almost everything between Ancoma and Chusi has been left intact, including some wonderfully exhausting Inca staircases and dilapidated ancient highway engineering.

This trek is more challenging than the region's other well-known routes, the Takesi and El Choro; if you want to get the most from it, plan on six or seven days to walk between Sorata and Llipi, less if you opt for a 4WD to Ancoma. At Llipi, find transportation to Tipuani or Guanay to avoid a walking-pace tour through the worst of the mining destruction. Heads up: this is a rough part of Bolivia, and not many people are taking this trek at the moment. With wildcat (illegal) miners in the area, it can be quite dangerous. Also, now that there is less regular traffic on the trail, you'll need to clear parts of it with machetes. If you decide to go, it's highly recommended that you travel with a local guide.