Chacaltaya is in the La Paz Department of Bolivia. This mountain, at an altitude of 5,486 metres (17,999 ft), has beautiful views and what was once the world's highest ski area. However, the snow disappeared due to climate change and the ski resort is now abandoned, leaving behind an eerily-beautiful mountain ghost town.
Going up to the mountain you'll see the earth change to every color imaginable, with the towering peaks of Huayna Potosi, Illimani and Mururata seemingly within reach. This is a mining area and the many different metals in the ground makes for the colorful scenery. In the distance you'll see El Alto and La Paz and, on clear days, even Volcan Sajama.
Flora and fauna
Domestic llamas, sheep and alpacas are plentiful and makes the otherwise dry and desertlike area come to life. Drive slowly as the animals often tend to jump in front of the car.
Winter is dry and sunny, although it turns very cold as soon as the sun is obscured by the odd cloud or mountain. Summer is wet season with snow and clouds lowering the daytime temperature.
- From the summit there are great views of the 6,088-metre (19,974 ft) Huayna Potosi.
- La Paz and El Alto glowing in the night is a spectacular sight if staying overnight.
Putting up a tent is possible, but it might take a while to find a good spot among the rocks. Water is available by melting snow from the glacier or from the refugio. El Alto is the nearest place to stock up on food.
Weather is the biggest issue up here. Warm clothing is a good idea for a day trip. A good sleeping bag and sturdy tent are musts for camping. In the wet season snow can make the road dangerous.