January 11, 2011


Located three hours from La Paz are the subtropical valleys known as the Yungas. The biggest town in the Yungas is Coroico, it sits on a small mountain slope just above a river with amazing views over the green forest-covered Andean foothills.
Coroico dates back to the colonial era and was used as a gold-mining outpost. Today, Coroico and the surrounding Yungas valleys are important agricultural areas. The Yungas is blessed with fertile land and excellent climate, which produce abundant cropsof coffee, fruits and coca for the markets of La Paz and the rest of the Altiplano region.

Also, Coroico and the surrounding villages in the Yungas valley make up one of the few places in Bolivia where you will see an African influence. Africans who were brought as slaves to work in the mines. When silver-mining declined they were moved to the Yungas to work on coca and other plantations. Slavery was later abolished in the 19th century and many remained in the Yungas growing fruit, coca and coffee on small farms. Many of these Afro-Bolivians communities are isolated in a handful of villages in the Yungas valley and are rarely visited by tourists.

Coroico is probably best known for its road that leads to it. Officially called the Yungas Road but also called Death Road or World's Most Dangerous Road because it once had more deaths on it per year than any other road in the world. But this road is now replaced by a new one and it is only open to bikers.
 Here are my two new friends, Charlie and Jeena!
 I love this picture because it shows the beautiful, poor cobblestone streets of Coroico and if you look to the left you can see the traditional dresses of the native women in Bolivia. (Ruth, me, Maria, Erin)
 I just liked the view with this photo with my friend Erin.  I love the yellow houses.
 This is all the girls in my group just hanging out at the main square (Plaza de Arma's).  Karen, me, Maria, Erin, Suzanne, Karly and Ruth in the front.  All these girls have been in the program with me.  They pretty much rock and have been so amazing to spend time with. 
 This is a tree that we thought was fun that we climbed before going canyoneering.  This tree is located on steep mountainside between bushes of Coca (which can be made into cocaine) and coffee, and platanos (type of banana and other things)
AFTER!  Here we are in our canyoneering gear.  as we will be canyoneering waterfalls and the river that carves right through the floor of the jungle surrounded by steep mountains. 
 Here I am getting ready for my turn to repel down this waterfall.

 Soooo fun!
 This isn't me, I didn't get one of myself, but this is one of the harder waterfalls to repel down because all your footing is behind the falls.  amazing.  The falls ranged from 10ft to approx 25-30ft.
 We came off conqueror!  After all the repelling, we floated down the river on our backs toward our lunch spot.
 After that amazing canyoneering, we had to climb one of the steepest hikes ever, to get back up the other side of the mountain to the cars.  So they could take us home on this narrow, dirt road carved right out of the mountain.  These people have no fear of heights whatsoever, I just closed my eyes or looked the other way at the wall instead of the floor bellow.
me in front of the beautiful landscape. 


Brooklynne and Steve said...

I LOVE YOU KIM!!!!! How I miss you so....

Sara McArthur said...

wow, I am so impressed you are blogging in Bolivia, that is awesome, the waterfall repelling looks amazing! All of the streets and houses and look so charming, everything seems so slopey and hilly, like SF! It looks like you are having a lot of fun with the girls from your program! Thanks for calling me on my birthday!
Love you!


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