The town of Coroico is set in an area of Bolivia called the Yungas, a subtropical valley that provides a nice respite from the high altitude of many other parts of the country. While Coroico isn’t firmly on the tourist radar, and there honestly isn’t a whole lot to do there, it deserves a stop, especially if you’ve just come from riding the World’s Most Dangerous Road. Bolivia is a country chock full of activities and adventure, so just sitting, chilling, swimming, eating, and drinking, all the while in a spectacular setting with beautiful scenery all around, is a great way to unwind and rest for a few days. If this sounds tempting, then Coroico is the place for you.
Bus-It’s about a 3 hour bus ride from La Paz, with several going every day. Expect to pay about $3US, and expect an uncomfortable, crowded bus with no bathroom. Just start always expecting this when traveling in Bolivia. It is what it is. The “bus station” is located outside of town a bit, and you will have to catch a taxi into town. The cost is minimal.
Bike-If you were in La Paz first and decided to take the plunge and do the World’s Most Dangerous Road bike ride, then you will finish a mere 4 miles (7 km) down the road from Coroico. If you want to stay in Coroico instead of going back to La Paz (which some of your group will most likely do), then your tour company should offer to pay for a ride up, where you’ll probably get dropped in the center of town.
Coroico is a pretty small town, but once you’re in the center, most hostels and places to stay are a nice walk up.
Taxis- There are taxis in town, so if you have a reservation already, hopping in a cab is a good idea as they are pretty cheap. If you don’t have a reservation, then have a few places in mind. The accommodations are pretty spread out along the hillsides around town, so walking is doable, but with all your gear it may be a bit of a pain. After walking from the center of town to our accommodations (with a clearly out of scale map), I wish we would have just bucked up for the taxi.
Where to Stay
One of the best things about Coroico is the accommodation options. Most are pretty nice, and since you’re in a small town in Bolivia, they’re also pretty cheap. Check out your guidebook, some message boards, or talk to people who have been there to see your options. We randomly chose a place, and it was pretty kick-ass.
Where We Stayed- We were with a few people from our group from the bike ride, so we randomly chose a place that looked close to the city center (it was about a 20+ minute walk straight up). I’m not sure if all Coroico accommodations are like this, but El Cafetal Hostel was fantastic.
Set on the side of a hill overlooking the luscious green valley, with white, snow-capped peaks in the distance, with a gorgeous pool, big, airy rooms (no a/c) and bathrooms, and a top notch restaurant (known to be the best in town), El Cafetal was a great place to unwind for a few days before the hellacious bus trip to Rurranabaque. We paid $16US for a private room with private bath and shower. No breakfast was included.
Food and Drink
Coroico is a pretty small, sleepy town, so don’t expect to come here for the nightlife (you can get plenty of that in La Paz). Remember, this is a place to come relax for a while, not party. While restaurant options are few, there are a couple recommendations.
El Cafetal- I’m not gonna lie, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food we received at our hostel. From steak to Italian to French to curry, they have many options, and everyone in our group was extremely satisfied with their food during our stay. It’s also quite affordable. Even if you don’t stay here, chances are you’ll hear about. Give it a try.
Snack Hawaii- This place is down on the plaza and is a basic snack bar with burgers, sandwiches, and tourist food. It was fine for what it was, a cheap meal that provided some decent food. Not great, but certainly not bad.
Things to Do
As already stated, Coroico isn’t exactly a mecca for activity. Aside from lazily swinging in your hammock falling in and out of sleep, swimming in your hostel/hotel pool, reading a book while looking out over the valley, or sipping a frosty beer or cocktail, there isn’t a whole lot more to do.
There are a few things though if you’re not the kind of person who can just sit and do “nothing” for days.
La Senda Verde Wildlife Sanctuary- If you read the World’s Most Dangerous Road post, you’d know that the bike ride ended at a wildlife sanctuary about 4 miles down the mountain from Coroico. We showered and ate lunch there, but we didn’t have time for much else. A visit may be worth your while as they do some wonderful things here, with all animals being rescued from illegal animal trading. They do have a few rooms as well, so if you’re interested in staying here for a night or two after your bike ride and before a visit to Coroico, that’s possible. You can also take a cheap cab from town.
Hiking/Walking- There are several little hikes in the area. I’m going to be upfront by saying we did none of these hikes. We walked around the main square and town a bit when heading in to buy bus tickets, but beyond that, we really did nothing short of the relaxation exercises described above, so these ideas come straight from research. Our guidebook did say that there have been incidents of rape on a few of these trails, so go at your own risk, and preferably not alone.
- Waterfalls- A cemetery is located off Calle Julio Zuazu Cuenca (near El Cafetal), where there are stations of the cross nearby. Following the stations of the cross will bring you to El Calvario, a chapel. A path will be on your left (when facing the town), which leads to the waterfalls that supply the town with their water.
- Cerro Uchumachi- This is a mountain that sits behind El Calvario. If you go the same route as before by following the stations, you will come across a faded white and red antenna behind the chapel. A steep walk from the antenna takes you to the top of this mountain in about an hour and a half.