Saturday, April 09, 2011

Chulumani

Chulumani is a village just over 100kms southeast of La Paz in the heart of the Yungas region which produces most of Bolivia's coca leaf crop. We spent 3 days there (without internet), enjoying the lower altitude of the Amazon Basin, the small town atmosphere and relaxing country rambles, but lamenting the loss of jungle habitat to coca farming. An added attraction is the bus ride in to Chulumani on nearly The World's Most Dangerous Road.

The landscape is very lush. It rained 50% of the short time we spent there, so we ended up not hiking as much as we had planned. At 6000ft, it has a very pleasant climate. No wonder the jungle flourished. However, on the hills, the jungle is giving way to sculpted coca terraces. Coca must be be very profitable; in fact, the area seem to grow hardly any fruits and vegetables. Being a small village we had trouble finding vegetarian food, so we ended up enjoying a tomato and avocado salad everyday. We could tell the cost of groceries is more than La Paz.

View down to Chulumani from above The Cross Mirador.
View from above The Cross to Chulumani, Bolivia

Another view back to Chulumani.
Chulumani, Bolivia

The sculpted terraces of a newly planted coca field. You can just see the small green plants.
Coca Field - Chulumani, Bolivia

And another view of some coca fields from across the valley.
Coca Field - Chulumani, Bolivia

Taking a break from a hike high up the mountain in a coca field.
Resting in a coca field - Chulumani, Bolivia

A finally, a shot from out the bus window on the Chulumani Road. I have to admit that on the most dangerous spots, my sweating hands were clutching the back of the seat in front of me, not the camera.
World's Most Dangerous Road - between Chulumani and  La Paz, Bolivia

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