Visiting Bolivia is a life changing experience. The blending of ancient cultures with modernity, the immersion in a past that is still mysterious and fascinating, the thrill of being in a place of rich architecture, culture and history, with beautiful landscapes, majestic scenery and an immense diversity in ethnicity, music, dance, food and traditions, all these turn Bolivia in a must-have experience, as it is not a country you only see, but a country you feel, you taste, you live.
But Bolivia is not only about pre-Columbian and colonial mixture of civilizations, exploring ancient and lost cultures, enjoying the biodiversity and the mountain landscapes, but a land of deep exploration, where those who are set to test their own strength and passion can embark in long trekking and climbing trips that will not only show them the wild beauty of the country, but will indeed teach them a lesson or two about themselves. Let’s see three such trips in the heart of Bolivia that will test you trekking and climbing abilities and will make you wish to come back. The majestic Andes in Bolivia are every trekker and climber’s dream, but before you embark in this journey, make sure you have the proper climbing gear, as you will meet large portions of ice, snow and glaciers on your way up.
Jancohuma – altitude 6,427 meters
This is an average of six days trip you can opt for if you decide to trek and climb this Bolivian peak. Touristic agencies offering the possibility to try to climb and conquer Jancohuma will offer you the possibility to improve your fitness condition on the way and prepare you for the climbing adventure of Jancohuma. After five days in the heart of the country, where you will also set camp in Laguna Glacial (5,030m), very close to Jancohuma glacier, you will make your attempt to reach the top of the mountain. The good news is that this climb, although not very suitable for beginners, is less technical and difficult than other climbs you can experience in the country.
Parinacota & Sajama – altitudes 6,300 / 6,542 meters
Bolivian Andes circuit operators will recommend this climbing itinerary only to the experienced climbers, as these two mountains are hard to conquer and are not for the weak at heart and the untrained. The whole trip is said to take around 6 days and it is indeed a challenge: you will get to ascend rocky and icy terrains, and while Parinacota is maybe just for training, Sajama will require strength, motivation, climbing experience and endurance. If you reach the summit of Parinacota, take a good look around, as by climbing it, you just arrived in another country: Chile. This journey will also give you a sense of real Bolivian life, as you will meet in your way local villages, only to get a taste of some places where it seems that time have stood still.
Illimani – altitude 6,438 meters
This itinerary also includes a three hours trek from Estancia Una to base camp and another trekking session on rocky terrain until you reach high camp at 5,550m. It is a four day journey and it is recommended to experienced climbers and trekkers, because the final destination is represented by Illimani, a technically difficult mountain and the pride and glory of the Bolivians. Illimani is not just any other summit, but a true challenge for the strong at heart: while usually climbers choose the southern peak, the highest and the most accessible, the professionals and the courageous choose to traverse the entire three peaks massif, and that is not just a picnic in the park even for them.
Bolivia is a magical realm, either if you go for the history and culture, or for tasting adventure at its maximum levels. Mysterious, beautiful, unique in its diversity, Bolivia is a place you should not miss for a complete travel experience.