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Price: From £900 per person
The Tomarapi Ecolodge is in the foothills of imposing Mount Sajama and near a small hot spring where it is possible to bathe after a long trek visiting the forest.
The ecolodge project was put together to improve the cultural integrity, regional development and environmental protection of the Sajama national park. It is located three kilometres from the nearest settlement, the tiny Aymara village of Caripe, which was less developed than the larger community of Sajama. The project has now achieved its aim of being owned and run by the local community.
Tomorapi has a legal status as a “Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada” (limited liability society) where decisions are made collectively at monthly communal assemblies.
Electricity used for heat and light is provided by 17 rooftop solar panels, although the lodge requires propane gas for hot showers and cooking and on a wood-burning stove to warm the dining room on cold nights. Water is pumped up from underground sources using using solar pumps. Waste plastic and metal are taken away to the capital city La Paz for recycling. Most food has to be brought from La Paz, as it is almost impossible to grow food on the high plain. Some vegetables are supplied from a greenhouse about one hundred kilometres away.
The community of Caripe was involved in the project from the beginning and was supportive, with 26 out of 41 families eventually agreeing to take part.
The ecolodge has a staff of five.
Tomorapi also sells alpaca wool products such as sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves made by the local community.
Weather: the climate is generally mild with a constant feel of spring though it can feel much warmer in the strong sunshine at this altitude. In the winter (May- August) the temperature can get very cold the the evenings so pack plenty of warm clothing. Sucre has a milder climate, but most other places on this visit are at or above La Paz’s altitude of 3,600 metres above sea level. For part of the Salt Lakes tour you will be at 5,000m (higher than western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, at 4,808m).