Also known as the Inca Trail, the Takesi trek is one of the most popular and impressive walks in the Andes. The route was used as a highway by the early Aymará, the Inca and the Spanish, and it still serves as a major route to the humid Yungas over a relatively low pass in the Cordillera Real.
The 45km trail conserves expertly engineered pre-Inca paving; it's more like a highway than a walking track. It has been suggested that this paved section was part of a long road that linked the La Paz area with the Alto Beni region. The walk itself is demanding and takes two days, but plan on longer because of unreliable transportation to and from the trailheads. On the first day you will ascend to 4650m, so spend a few days acclimatizing in La Paz before heading off. The trail is hiked by about 5000 people annually, more than half of whom are Bolivians, and suffers from a litter problem due to its growing popularity.
The May to October dry season is best for this trip. In the rainy season the wet and cold, combined with ankle-deep mud, may contribute to a less-than-optimal experience. Since the trail’s end is in the Yungas, plan on some rain year-round. The entire route appears on a single 1:50,000 IGM topo sheet: Chojlla – 6044-IV.
With a fully serviced lodge two-thirds of the way along the route, the hike is easily done with just a daypack, but agencies can arrange guides and mules if you want them.