Where: From La Paz to Corioco, West BoliviaWhen: Avoid December to March, the rainy season for safety, October and November recommended. Remember to Bring: Check your bike is fully roadworthy & get an experienced local guide who knows the roads Watch Out For: Dangerously narrow mountain passes
Where It’s At
The Yungas region is lush and tropical, filled with palm trees and cloud forests. It consists of deep valleys which are incredibly fertile due to the heat and the excessive rainfall; aside from growing sugar cane and coffee, the area is used to grow Bolivia’s biggest cash crop – coca leaves. The coca leaves here are the strongest in the world which leaves Bolivia in a confusion of fortune and trouble. Because of the production of coca tea, toothpaste and medicine, the leaves are produced legally. There is, however, another side to the story; illegal cocaine farming unfortunately brings in a lot of money to the country – each year the US DEA destroys around 2000 acres of illegal coca but due to the continuing demand cocaine continues to be produced.
On Your Bike
To visit the Yungas, you can take a day’s cycling trip from La Paz to Corioco, a tropical paradise. The trip costs about 100 dollars including the return bus journey and bike hire – you cycle for about 38 miles including a two-mile-drop in altitude. It is a challenging and an adrenaline stimulating trek so if you are a fan of bike riding and crave some satisfying and exhilarating exercise while on your travels, this is perfect for you!
Highs and Low
The trek begins on a paved section of road which allows some enjoyable riding until the journey brings you to a checkpoint; this is to stop the transportation of the processing ingredients to make cocaine from the coca leaves into the valleys.