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Home > Activity > Trekking in the Sajama National Park - Bolivia

Trekking in the Sajama National Park - Bolivia




A visit to the highest forest in the world and community of Tomarapi.

Accommodation is in a lodge managed by the local community whose livelihood is based on exporting wool of their llama and vicuna herds to international markets.

HighlivesPrice: 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).

Itinerary

  • Day 1: La Paz
    Arrive in La Paz to rest and acclimatise
  • Day 2: La Paz
    Free day
  • Day 3: La Paz - Sajama National Park
    Leave La Paz early in the morning by private 4X4 vehicle to Sajama National Park (4-5 hours). Arrive to Tomarapi Ecolodge and relax. After lunch; walk to meet with local families and continue journey towards the queñua forest, the highest in the world, and geysers. Return to Tomarapi.
  • Day 4: Sajama National Park
    Morning begins with a typical breakfast. Then journey to Caripe to observe the development of handcrafting and the use of camelid wool. Optional - Trekking and hot springs. (extra day to do more trekking, bird-watching and photography)
  • Day 5: Sajama National Park - La Paz or extension to Chile
    Return to La Paz, On the way back to La Paz, visit to the Curahuara de Carangas, known as the Bolivian Sistine Chapel.
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