Coroico is a hill top town in the Yungas region of Bolivia and is a good place to spend a night before heading to La Paz, or further north toward the Jungle. Because of the lower elevation, the weather is quite nice by comparison to La Paz, and has a resort-like feel to it. Weekends are busier with Paceños.
Coroico new (as of 2006) highway is open to public use, It's a very scenic road and the best way to appreciate it is by using the Hotel Esmeralda express van (door-to-door, peak season only) or a local taxi-collectivo, which can be boarded at the Villa Fatima Bus Station. The route is only two hours. Alternatively get off the highway at Yoloso and take a collectivo up the hill for 5bol (15 mins).
From La Paz to Coroico you can also do "The Bike Ride" - the so-called, "Death Road." Look for the agency that allows you to bring your backpack along. Most agencies rather pay 5 bucks commission to the hotel your staying in La Paz, than to haul your luggage along. their Vans are stuffy. The most famous of these are Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking ($85 per person) and Madness Adventures' Downhill Madness ($75 per person), Calle Sagarnaga No. 339, (591-2) 2391810 . A good alternative is BarroBiking.com, Jose the owner does every ride, Calle Sagarnaga No 288, Zona Rosario, Galería las Brujas Of.10 Teléfono(s): 591)-735 10 270 (591)-2-231 5526. Another option is to contact the small Coroico agency [dead link].
There are also several two day walks which lead you to Coroico. See 'Do' section.
Coroico is a small town and just about everything is in walking distance. There are also taxis in town.
Soak up village life.
There is some good hiking in the surrounding. There are several one day hikes, which include going for a swim in wild and clear rivers, seeing local agriculture (coca, banana, coffee, citrus fruits), old Casas de Hacienda (the houses of the former landowners), virgin forests and Afro-Bolivian communities. A good website about excursions in the Coroico area [dead link].
Two interesting two or three day hikes go from La Cumbre (the highest point between La Paz and Coroico, 4700m) to Coroico (1700m). The most famous is the old Inca Road "El Choro", which was the most important connection between the Yungas and La Paz until the 1930s.
The other one is commonly called "Eco-vía". It is a road carved in the mountains, with the idea of having a train connection. It never did function, but as a train needs relatively flat terrain, it's a much more accessible option for people not used to walking. It can be done in two or three days, but come well prepared: the first two days you will not encounter any villages.
30 minutes away from Coroico there is a community project named “El Vagante” that offers canyoning and trekking for USD40-60 per day. Canyoning involves rappelling down 8 natural waterfalls with pure, fresh, crystal clear water in the middle of the Yungas Jungle. You can also enjoy trekking through the Yungas tropics appreciating nature and fauna, breathing healthy full of oxygen air.
For free trekking you can walk up to the phone masts, when you get to the church you could go left which takes you on an easy flat path toward three waterfalls (first two are not for swimming as they are the local water supply). The views of the valley are amazing and there are lots of wild flowers and the odd coca field. You could also go right at the church to the top of the hill (the highest point in the area).
CXC [dead link] offers mountain bike tours around Coroico for beginners to experts. Lonely Planet called them "a bit disorganized, but very friendly".
Most people just come to chill out at the pool, and at night go eat in one of the excellent restaurants. There is a large open air municipal pool (20m) above the bus terminal with space for sunbathing.
You can find guides in the Tourist Information Office on the Plaza, or you can ask your hotel to recommend one.
Yoga is available at Sol y Luna for BOB30 (See ´sleep´ section for web details)
- Try the comedor municipal for cheap food from Bs6.
- Pizzeria Erika has fairly cheap pizzas and pastas, but you can also go for a set meal.
- The best restaurant in town is the French owned El Cafetal [dead link]. It's an open air restauramt under a jatata roof, with an excellent view down the valley (obviously no view at night!). Expect lamb curry, llama goulash, trout lasagna and crepes amongst others. 40BS+ They are also a hotel.
- Best price/quality at the vegetarian Villa Bonita, also famous for its ice-cream.
- Hotel Esmeralda has a huge All-You-Can-Eat buffet with fresh salads, meat and chicken, fresh vegetables, soups and vegetarian food - The food is always fresh, no microwave food - no frozen lasagnas - buffet at Bs. 32.-- / 4 bucks. Service spotty and the owner is a grouch.
- Bamboo, one block from the plaza. Mexican restaurant favoured by local expats. The owner speaks English very well, so it is easy to get information!
- Cafe Arte, on the plaza. Great cakes, average coffee
- Empanadas, Main Plaza. 4pm+. Cheese empanadas appear at 4pm in the main square. No tiendas sell them. 2bol.
- La Casa (1 block uphill from plaza). Alpine food: Fondu and Raclet.
- Carlas Garden Pub, Calle Adalld Linares (take steps down from the plaza), ☎ . 19:00-00:00. Dutch owned and chef run terrace bar/restaurant/bakery with live music on weekends. Easily the coldest beer, best cocktails and incredible made-from-scratch meals in Coroico. The location is perfectly Dutch-Clean including the WCs. English spoken. Closed Sundays.
- Jugo ladies, randomly around the plaza. Fresh jugos, fruits and carrot
- Residencial Coroico (close to the Plaza). Plain but cheap. There is only a cold shower. Hot shower for 5 Bs. 20Bs.
- [dead link]Hotel Esmeralda, At the top of the hill by phone masts, ☎ . Check-out: 11:00. Amazing potential, has rooms with stunning views, a clean-(ish) pool, (scalding) hot showers, sauna, a book and DVD collection, cable TV, the fastest Internet connection in town (by satellite), pool tables, fussball and a restaurant that offers buffet-based breakfast, lunch and dinner. 660mL beers priced at BOB10 during happy hour 17:30-19:00 Dorm BOB75 (90 with brekkie), Shared bath BOB90, BOB120/140 incl breakfast.
- Sol y Luna (eco resort), even further up the hill (take a taxi or regret it). Reasonably priced independent cabins with kitchen and private bathroom in a paradisical garden or cheaper rooms in a big house or camping in grounds. Two pools set in woodland environment. You have to make reservations, especially on weekends. Amazing massages 120BS for 75mins. Yoga daily. 50bs+.
- Villa Bonita (600m from the Plaza (where?)), ☎ . Minuscule Villa Bonita offers high quality ice cream and vegetarian food in a pretty garden with a great view. The place has two cabins (for 2 & 4 people) and some rooms in their own house. It is run by a Swiss-Bolivian couple and their two small kids. Call ahead as it is often full on weekends.
- Hostal Para Ti (a few steps from the terminal). Beautiful panorama, areas for recreation and relaxing.
- Hostal L. de la Torre (close to the Plaza). Basic but clean, sunny and cheap, organised around a courtyard full of flowers. 25Bs.
- Hostal Kory. Best view in Coroico. A Little more pricey but everything in Bolivia is cheap. Worth the stay!
There are minibuses to La Paz running 03:00-17:30. These take the safe new road, but are a bit cramped. BOB15-18, 4 hours. For BOB25 you can get small micros 2 hours.
A private taxi to La Paz should cost around BOB300-350. Also, there are shared taxis that cost BOB25-35. They take the curves a bit too fast, so it's best to take them only if you have a strong stomach.
Buses to Rurrenabaque do not pass through Coroico, you have to catch them in Yolosita, a BOB5 minivan ride away. Buy your ticket (c. BOB110) in Coroico at one of the travel agency. On the day of departure, they will give you the description of the bus. Be in Yolosita at around 14:00 as the bus will not wait for you. The journey to Rurre takes around 13-14h in the dry season.