Traversing the Cordillera Real and Parque Nacional Cotopata, the El Choro trek is one of Bolivia’s premier hikes. It begins at La Cumbre (4725m), the highest point on the La Paz–Coroico highway, and climbs to 4859m before descending 3250m into the humid Yungas and the village of Chairo (where most hikers end up taking a taxi down to Coroico).
Along the 57km route (which is in the best condition during the April to September dry season), you’ll note a rapid change in climate, vegetation and wildlife as you leave the altiplano and plunge into the forest. Energetic hikers can finish the trek in two days, but it’s a demanding walk more comfortably done in three.
Prepare for a range of climates. It can be pretty cold, even snowy, on the first day, but you’ll soon be in sweatier climes. For the lower trail, light cotton trousers will protect your legs from sharp vegetation and biting insects. The Inca paving can be pretty slippery, so make sure you’ve got shoes with grip and consider using trekking poles. For the best chance of good clear views of the stunning scenery, start as early as possible, before the mist rises out of the Yungas.