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Cordillera Apolobamba, 19-day expedition in Bolivia

Discover the remote Cordillera Apolobamba in the Bolivian Andes with a certified local guide. Experience a unique 19-day expedition that will take you from the cultural center of Bolivia to the rugged wild. Use your mountaineering skills to explore untouched peaks with glittering lakes, gorgeous glaciers, and more!

Mountain RangeAndes
Duration19 days
Offer periodMay, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Skill LevelAdvanced
Fitness LevelExtremely fit
Type of tripPrivate

Highlights

  • Discover the unique and colorful mountain culture of Bolivia.

  • Join an exclusive trek in the remote Cordillera Apolobamba.

  • Enjoy awe-inspiring landscapes of glaciers and turquoise lakes.

  • Climb Chaupi Orco, the only six-thousander in the range.

Description

Would you like to explore a pristine and untouched mountain range in the Andes? Then join this 19-day expedition in the Cordillera Apolobamba and discover one of Bolivia’s secret jewels.

The Cordillera Apolobamba is one of the most remote parts of the Bolivian Andes, with wild and isolated landscapes. In this program, we will explore this beautiful location and come across breathtaking glaciers and lakes. We will also ascend Chaupi Orco, the only six-thousander in the range.

We will set off from La Paz. Before wandering into the wild, we will have the chance to visit a local sculptor and watercolor artist and some of the colorful markets. Then, we will progressively go deeper and deeper into the mountains, where we will discover the pristine Bolivian flora and fauna and idyllic camps on the way. You can find a detailed itinerary below.

Keep in mind that because we will be trekking in a remote and high altitude location, you will need to be very physically fit. Furthermore, you will also need prior mountaineering experience as there will be technical parts to the climb. Of course, we will be there to help and guide you every step of the way.

So, are you ready to discover one of Bolivia’s best kept secret mountaineering spots? Then contact us now and let’s start planning an unforgettable adventure in the Cordillera Apolobamba!

Or, if you prefer, you can join us on one of the other amazing adventures that we offer in Bolivia!

Details

Accommodation

hotel, tent

Meeting point

La Paz


Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: LA PAZ ARRIVAL (3,600 meters/18,100 feet asl)

Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Rooms are available starting from midday (or other time to be arranged upon request). Free day.

Day 2: LA PAZ - ARTISAN TOUR - FAIRY CHIMNEYS - COLORFUL MARKETS (3,600 meters/18,100 feet asl)

Departure to K’Illi K’Illi to enjoy a magnificent panorama of La Paz and the majestic Illimani mountain (6,400 meters/21,100 feet in elevation). Then we visit Ramon Tito’s studio, a sculptor and watercolorist from La Paz. He works mainly with stone he finds in the surrounding mountains, like basalt, marble, sandstone, alabaster, granite. Then we go to the Pedregal Canyon, where we can enjoy fairy chimneys, and finish the walk at the foot of the Muela del Diablo. For those that want to walk more (1h30 additional walk), you can go for a trek down the ridge to the edge of Calacoto. In the afternoon, we explore the colorful markets and historic center of La Paz city by foot.

Day 3: LA PAZ-CHUQUIÑAPI/ISLA SUNATA HIKE (3.820 meters/12,500 feet asl)

Departure to the village of Chuquiñapi located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We stop first in a Monastery overlooking the Lake. After lunch, we drive to the island of Sunata, from where we start an easy hike to explore the island. The we return to the monastery on foot. Possibility to continue hiking or relax and enjoy the tranquility of the place. Dinner at the monastery.

Day 4: CHUQUIÑAPI/CATAMARAN – SANTIAGO DE OKOLA (3810 meters/12.500 feet asl)

We drive to the bay where our catamaran awaits us for a tour on the lake surrounded by breathtaking views of the glacial massifs of the Royal Cordillera. Back to the monastery for launch and then leave for the village of Santiago de Okola. We settle with the families and go for a hike along the shore of Lake Titicaca to Tortuga Island, where we hike to the top to get a beautiful view of the bay. We return to Santiago de Okola and have dinner with our local hosts.

Day 5: SANTIAGO DE OKOLA – DRAGON DORMIDO

In the morning, we hike on the Sleeping Dragon mountain overlooking the bay and visit some cave paintings in the rock. Then we visit local artisans known for traditional weaving. For lunch, we try a traditional meal of the Andean countryside collectively prepared by local families, called Apthapi. It includes pancakes, donuts, shortbread quinoa, corn, potatoes and small fried fish from the lake. Possibility to sail on the lake in a traditional boat in the afternoon.

Day 6: SANTIAGO DE OKOLA – LAGUNA PUJO PUJO (4655 meters/15,300 feet asl)

We drive towards the Apolobamba Mountain. We arrive in the afternoon to the Lake Pojo Pujo. We will set up camp near by.

Day 7: LAGUNA PUJO PUJO – BASE COLOLO CAMP (4680 meters/15,400 feet asl)

From the lake, we continue on an easy path up to a first pass at 4950 meters/16,200 feet, then a second one at 5000 meters/16,400 feet. Here, the views of the Cololo and Huanacuni glaciers and the entire range are amazing. We continue walking and set up camp on the shore of a lake (4680 meters/15,300 feet above sea level). Trekking here can be a bit tricky because of the “bofedals”. Before heading back to camp, we reach the lake at the bottom of the Cololo glacier.

Day 8: BASE CAMP COLOLO (4680 meters/15,400 feet) – HIGH CAMP COLOLO (4960 meters/16,300 feet asl)

From the base camp, we make an easy ascent towards the valley then reach the lake at the foot of Cololo glacier, where we set up camp.

Day 9: HIGH CAMP COLOLO (4960 meters/16,300 feet) – ASCENT OF COLOLO/ANTA KJAWA (5925 meters/19,400) – BASE CAMP COLOLO (4680 meters/15,400 feet asl)

This is a technical and advanced ascent (D+/III). The climb to it is gradual (40º-45º) and has some technical crevasse crossings. After 3 hours ascent, and to get to the main peak, the ascent is steep (55º-60º). After about 2 hours, we reach the foot of the summit wall, which is 150 meters/492 feet high with a 70º slope.

Day 10: BASE CAMP COLOLO (4680 meters/15,400 feet asl)

Resting day.

Day 11: BASE CAMP COLOLO (4680 meters/15,400 feet) – BASE CAMP HUANACUNI (5020 meters/16,500 feet asl)

Trekking towards the valley, we take a llama path, offering an easy ascent to 4850 meters/15,900 feet above sea level. We continue up to a pass at 5250 meters/17,200 feet and set up camp.

Day 12: BASE CAMP HUANACUNI (5020 m a.s.l) – CROSSING OF HUANACUNI (5790 meters/19,000 feet) – BASE CAMP COLOLO (4680 meters/15,400 feet asl)

This is a technical and advanced ascent (AD+/III).
We start our ascent towards the glacial massif. The glacier slopes gradually go up to 5330 meters/17,500 feet. It gets progressively steeper (45º/50º). We ascend over the ridges and reach a plateau below the main peak at 5615 meters/18,400 feet, then continue until the summit (5790 meters/19,000 feet). We descend by the same route to return to the Cololo camp.

Day 13: COLOLO CAMP – HUANACUNI CAMP (4750 meters/15,600 feet asl)

We progress north (not technical) to a pass at the foot of the Huanacuni glacier (5790 meters/19,000 feet). There is a long descent taking us into a large valley. We pass through the main glen to reach a plateau at the foot of the glacial summits of Huanacani. We cross three green lakes, then a perpendicular valley, and we climb up to a large lake at 4750 meters/15,600 feet).

Day 14: HUANACUNI CAMP - PELECHUCO PASS – PALOMANI GRANDE CAMP (4730 meters/15,500 feet asl)

Our trek continues up to a pass at 5120 meters/16,800 feet above sea level. While descending, we have a gorgeous view of the Cerro Presidente, Azucarani and Palomani Grande mountain. We stop for a picnic on the lake shore, then hike up to a pass at 5230 meters/17.200 feet. The Chaupi Orco summit, the Cordillera’s highest peak, is visible at some point. The descent to our camp is beautiful, with views of the west face of the Palomani Grande and the eastern end of Lake Suches which borders Peru and has an important gold mine. We get to a stream-fed valley at the foot of the Palomani glacier where set up camp.

Day 15: CAMP PALOMANI GRANDE – HIGH CAMP CHAUPI ORCO (5135 meters/16,800 feet asl)

We continue towards a valley where we admire a small lake with turquoise water. Then, we climb above a bigger lake – Chucuyo Grande. The view of the glacial massif is unforgettable. we descend and set up camp at the foot of the glaciers (Chaupi Orco high camp, 5135 meters/16,800 feet asl).

Day 16: ASCENT OF PICO SUR CHAUPI ORCO (6044 meters/19,800 feet) – BASE CAMP CHAUPI ORCO (4895 meters/16,000 feet)

This ascent is moderately technical and fairly exposed (AD+/II)
Steep and rocky climb until a pass at 5300 meters/17,400 feet above sea level. The descent is through a moraine, along seracs and then we ascent to the ice field below the south peak of Chaupi Orco (5315 meters/17,450 feet,). A steeper slope (55º) brings us to the crests below the summit at 5850 meters/19,200 feet. We descend to the crests and take left through the glacial valley, until we get to the camp.

Day 17: BASE CAMP CHAUPI ORCO - CAMP PALOMANI GRANDE (4730 meters/15,500 feet asl)

We head to a pass at 5295 meters/17,350 feet that leads to the Chaupi Orco glacier, where the view of the glacier is gorgeous. In the afternoon, we head back to Palomani Grande camp. From the rocky barrier, we take the path on a ledge, as it is the only way our mules can take.

Day 18: CAMP PALOMANI GRANDE – LA PAZ (3.600 meters/11,800 feet asl)

We leave Palomani Grande camp towards the Pelechuco pass. We cross the high plateau. The panorama of all the Apolobamba range is amazing. We go towards Lake Titicaca and arrive to La Paz by the end of the day.

Day 19: LA PAZ - AIRPORT/ INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

Drop off at El Alto’s international airport (3 hours before the international flight departure time).


Equipment you will need to bring

Poles

Helmet

Goggles

Sunglasses

Avalanche equipment (beacon, probe and shovel)

Crampons

Ice Axe

Harness

Backpack

Water bottle


About the guide

guide profile img

Thaki Travel was founded in La Paz, Bolivia in 2011 by Anne BIALEK and Jérôme BENASSI, two adventurous friends, passionate about Bolivia and who fell in love with the kindness of the Bolivians.

During your trip in Bolivia, we will be all the time with you, we personally know all our co-workers from the receptionist of a hotel to a mule-driver of the Cordillera Real.

We like to explore and innovate. Every year, we invest in field expeditions to open new routes and build new original itineraries for our clients. We focus on building strong friendships with local communities giving us privileged contacts and access to off the beaten tracks, like the north part of the Cordillera Real where almost no one else goes.

We are very sensitive to responsible tourism. We have carried out several social actions to improve the lives of local communities and we build all our itineraries in a sustainably-driven approach.
We are very serious about altitude.

All our programs are carefully planned to comply with the acclimatization process, we have trained all our guides to Altitude sickness and we have a partnership with a French Institute about training and research in mountain medicine (Ifremmont). We are the only local travel agency that offers to their clients access to a medical platform (any client having health problems related to altitude can contact a specialized doctor 24/7 through our satellite phones)

We use high quality equipment for our treks and mountain expeditions: North Face VE25 tent (for 2 customers), .., IFMGA mountain guide for 2 customers (English speaking), Oxygen, oximeter, hyperbaric box, satellite phone.


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Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 9830 each

Group of 2

USD 5960 each

Group of 3

USD 5960 each

Group of 4

USD 5480 each

Group of 5

USD 5480 each

Group of 6

USD 4990 each

Group of 7

USD 4990 each

Group of 8

USD 4780 each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation

- Transport during the trip

- Luggage transfer during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

- Group porters (transport of tents, cooking equipment, etc. for the group)

- Drinks

- Mountain guide's expenses (lifts, meals, accommodation, etc)

- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Price details

Spot Connect, Satellite Phone, Oxygen Tank, Oximeter, Hyperbaric box. Food in La Paz is not included.


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