Konani to La Paz

Konani – Quime – Inquisivi – Circuata – Irupana – Chulumani – Puente Villa – Unduavi – La Cumbre – La Paz

A beautiful, green route through the Yungas that takes in two high passes and lots of climbing in between. Most of the climbs are on nice gradients, and the ripio surface is generally fine, so this isn’t too tough a loop to undertake (in dry season anyway). To cycle this in 6 days, however, means long days with large altitude gains and losses each day.

Cycling in the Bolivian Yungas is a totally different experience to pedalling across the altiplano. The local people are less reserved, the food is more diverse, the weather less extreme, and if you’ve been up on the altiplano for a while this loop will come as a welcome break from the hardships of altitude. This route is easier than the loop from La Paz to Achacachi in the north Yungas, as the gradients are far more manageable and the road surface is much better.

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Total dist. Stage dist. Description
0km Konani (3,800m – GPS01) on main Oruro to La Paz road.
42.8km Climb out of Konani, passing through some small villages including Hornuni, then the larger village of Puchuni on the way to Tablachaca. All on good tarmac, some traffic.
42.8km Tablachaca (4,330m). Large village with pensiones and shops.
17.4km 3.7km climb to Caxata (restaurants and shops), then steeper for 3.2kms to high point at 4,590m. A couple of short descents before climbing to the pass.
60.2km Abra Tres Cruces – 4,729m (GPS02).
26.0km Steep descent on switchbacks to end of tarmac 2.8kms from the pass. Continue descending, crossing some streams. 5kms from end of tarmac arrive in the tiny village of Huayñacota (4,230m). Descend a further 11kms on landslide prone road to Pongo B2 (3,590m – village with shops), then continue descent to Quime.
86.2km Quime (3,030m). Pleasant town with accommodation options, restaurants, shops. Helpful locals are very eager to increase tourism.
21.4km Go through town and then continue traverse along pretty valley. Ups and downs, big drops off the edge of the road. Regular settlements.
107.6km Inquisivi (2,760m). Town with accommodation, shops, restaurants.
38.7km Descend from town on pretty switchbacks for 9.9kms to bridge over river at 2,070m. Then climb to a village 7.1kms from the bridge. Turn L at a junction in the village. Continue climbing on gentle gradients for 5.2kms to a pass at 2,830m. Descend through small village of Pullchiri, then to Charapaxi, a medium sized village 6.8kms from the pass. A further 9.7kms of descent brings you to the town of Licoma.
146.3km Licoma (Villa Libertad), town at 1,910m. Restaurants, shops and maybe accommodation (we didn’t ask).
44.7km Continue descent through town. 0.6kms from the centre, arrive at a small junction. R goes to Cajuata, we carried on straight (to Circuata), on the main road. Descend further 2.1kms to bridge (1,750m). Climb 6.8kms to high point (2,170m). Descend 6kms to stream crossing (1,940m). Climb 5.5kms to signposted junction (2,280m) where road from Cajuata rejoins. R goes to Cajuata, L (up) goes to Circuata. Climb 8.4kms more to pass at 2,640m. Very nice scenery. Descend 2.3kms to small village of Polea (no facilities), then further 13kms to Circuata.
191.0km Circuata (1,890m). Town with accommodation, restaurants, shops.
39.4km Descend 6.8kms to Cañamina (medium sized village, 1,380m), then to Puente Villakhora (1,240m), 13.6kms from Circuata. Go through the village, cross the river on a bridge, pass a few more small villages, then recross the river on a bridge at the low point of the whole route (1,060m, 8.7kms from Puente Villakhora). Here there is a larger village with shops, and the start of a steep 7.7km climb to a high point at 1,680m. Descend 9.4kms from high point to the big bridge over the big Rio Boopi. (Note that while there is water at regular intervals for most of this 6 day loop, we didn’t see any between the village at the start of the steep climb and La Plazuela – a good few hours of cycling.)
230.4km Bridge over Rio Boopi – 1,120m.
23.6km Climb to La Plazuela, village with pension, shops, no accommodation, 4.3kms from bridge. Then climb for 14.2kms to a pass at 2,240m. Stay straight/L at a junction soon after the pass, then descend on this main road to Irupana, 5.1kms from the pass.
254.0km Irupana (1,910m). Nice town with accommodation options, restaurants, shops.
31.0km Descend from town for 11.7kms to Puente Puri (1,260m). Carry on descending for 2.6kms to the turn-off for Chicaloma (stay straight for Chulumani). Descend for 1.7kms to a bridge over a river (1,120m), then begin climbing. In 4.9kms come to the turn-off for La Asunta, but stay L for Chulumani. Climb a further 3.1kms to a high point at 1,640m, then descend to 1,460m. Climb again to Chulumani, which is 7.0kms after the high point.
285.0km Chulumani (1,780m). Town with some tourist facilities. Turn R at the main junction soon after the start of town to continue to Huancane.
24.7km Climb for 3.5kms to a junction just after a church, just before Huancane. Go L (up) and in 0.4kms reach a high point at 1,840m. Road undulates for a while before descending. 20.8kms after high point by Huancane, reach Puente Villa.
254.0km Puente Villa (1,220m). Small and not particularly nice village with shops. Cross river and begin climbing.
50.8km Climb. passing through small village of Santa Rosa, to another small village, Sacahuaya, 13.3 kms from Pte Villa. Climb for 4.5kms more to La Florida (1,710m) a village with a few small shops. There is a junction to Yanacocha (6kms away uphill) in La Florida. Climb, with the odd descent from La Florida for 9.3kms to El Castillo (1,960m, hotel), then 3.5kms more climbing to Velo de la Novia waterfall at 2,090m. Cross the river soon after then apart from one 50m descent it is all climbing to the main paved road.
360.5km Junction (3,310m – GPS03). Reach main Caranavi – La Paz paved road. Turn L for Unduavi and La Cumbre.
21.6km Soon get to Unduavi (a few stalls selling food, though ask around if you need to stay the night – it’d be difficult to find a spot to wild camp on this road), then continue climbing to La Cumbre. 6.5kms from where you join the tarmac is Pongo, a small settlement with restaurants (3,720m).
382.1km La Cumbre (4,671m – GPS04).
23.9km Descend to La Paz, arriving in the suburb of Villa Fatima.
406.0km La Paz – Plaza Murillo.
Time taken – 6 days and amount climbed – 9,990m 7 hours: Konani – Quime (1,230m climb).
2 hours: Quime – Inquisivi (250m climb).
8 hours: Inquisivi – Circuata (1,970m climb).
7 hours: Circuata – Irupana (1,900m climb).
6 hours: Irupana – Pte Villa (1,040m climb).
12 hours: Pte Villa – La Paz (3,600m climb).
Traffic Some all route.
When we cycled Mid September 2010.
Difficulty 3
How much we had to push on this route Not at all

GPS Point Description Lat/Long/Altitude
GPS01 Konani 17.4383 S, 67.5178 W, 3,800m.
GPS02 Abra Tres Cruces 17.0745 S, 67.2992 W, 4,729m.
GPS03 Junction – main road 16.3095 S, 67.9030 W, 3,310m.
GPS04 La Cumbre 16.3431 S, 68.0389 W, 4,671m.

View Konani – La Paz in a larger map
Nearby routes:      Chachacomani to Panduro                North Yungas                La Paz to Sajama               Chacaltaya

5 Responses to “Konani to La Paz”

  1. Vaughn Fetzer 22/12/2014 at 02:58 # Reply

    I traveled this route in reverse in November 2014. If you’re based out of La Paz for a little, while reversing the route might make sense for you. A few notes:
    1. During periods of rain the route did not become horribly or impassably muddy, but during periods of sun it did get quite hot. This combined with high humidity severely impacts the ability to climb some of the grades involved during peak daylight hours. Summertime might be the wrong time to bike this route.
    2. Puenta Villa does have an option for staying overnight, the Hotel Tamampaya located across the river from the village. Just ask for directions, it’s easy to find. The owner and staff are quite friendly, if somewhat prone to excessive alcohol consumption.
    3. Stay in Chulumani for a day or two, it’s worth it. The Country House Hostal is located 5-10 minutes from the center of town. The owner Javier speaks English and is a great resource for information about the area, even if you don’t stay there. But once you see his place you’ll want to.
    4. Consider an alternative route from Chulumani to Irupana which avoids the main road, passing through the smaller villages of Ocobaya and Chicaloma before reaching Irupana. Javier can direct you this way, but it might be indicated on better maps of the area (although I didn’t have one). This is a nice route, it affords you the opportunity to go swimming, and you also get the chance to snap a picture of Klaus Barbie’s Bolivian hideout if you find the history of Nazis in Bolivia at all interesting, as you cycle right past it.

  2. Timothy Tower 06/10/2019 at 16:24 # Reply

    I cycled the S. Yungas Route in Aug 2019. I was alone. I started in EL Alto, above La Paz, and first cycled the Death Road to Choroico. This was excellent. From there I joined the Pikes’ route (going E instead of west) and cycled to Konani. I have included detailed daily logs and gpx tracks in my CrazyGuy blog http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/SAm19tim. For Pros and Cons, see http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=592426.

    Many thanks, Neil and Harriet, for all the trouble you have taken to create this website. It has helped me both in Peru ad Bolivia. I purchased your Huascaran guide book, which was well done and useful.

    Timothy Tower


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