Bolivia’s Cordillera Real is the country’s central mountain range and stretches 125 kilometers (78 miles) down from the shores of Lake Titicaca and into the center of the country. The range is an average of 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide and separates the altiplano from the southern extent of the Amazon rainforest.
In general, hikers need to be in fairly good shape to hike in the Cordillera Real. While most of the hiking is non-technical, the altitude is always above 4,000 meters (13,100 feet).
Among the most popular short hikes are trekking to the top of Chacaltaya (5,500 meters/18,000 feet), from La Paz. The hike up to the top is of intermediate difficulty and the views from the summit out over the Cordillera Real and Huayna Potosi are simply stunning.
Other popular mid-range options include three-day excursions to Pico Austria and Acotango, also from La Paz, and traverses of Esperanza Lake. Both of these rated as intermediate and easy, respectively and take hikers through some incredible wilderness scenery.
For those who want to spend longer exploring the mountain range, numerous guides offer trips multi-week trips that take hikers from one end of the cordillera to the other, stopping and seeing all of the range’s most incredible sites along the way.
During the hiking season, average daily temperatures in the Cordillera Real hover between 5 ºC and 10 ºC (40 ºF to 50 ºF). The hiking season is also the driest time of year, with May through August receiving almost no rainfall and April, September and October receiving rainfall more frequently.
Any trip to the Cordillera Real will begin with a flight into La Paz International Airport (LAP). From here, the city center can easily be reached by gondola (yes, you read that correctly) or bus. Most guides will opt to meet you in La Paz and provide transport to the start of the trip.
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