The Main Square
Like most Latin American cities, Coroico has a plaza or main square, which is where things happen (we visited Coroico on Bolivia's independence day--August 6--so there was a parade going on that circled the square), and which is a great place for just quietly relaxing and people watching, or even meeting locals and practicing your Spanish! I have a Spanish professor who says that is her favorite thing to do in Latin America--to just in the main square (called Plaza de Armas in many cities) and strike up conversations with locals there. And of course they are generally surrounded by shops and restaurants too, so it's hard to run out of things to do around there! When I visited, this square was all decked out with balloons and streamers in the colors of the Bolivian flag for independence day. I also liked that they have a fountain and a rainbow that both have tunqui birds, the symbol Coroico, on them in their plaza.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- Budget Travel
Carmen Pampa & the UAC
Carmen Pampa is a small community about a half an hour outside of Coroico, Bolivia. It is most known for the Universidad Academica Campesina (UAC), which educates the local people in subjects like agronomy, nursing, tourism, and veterinary science at an affordable cost. The school is run by Catholic nuns, and there is an upper and a lower campus. I visited because my school's chapter of Engineers Without Borders has a clean water project there, so we went to install a chlorinator.
I really enjoyed my visit there, and I think it would be a great place to visit to get out of Coroico for a while. The people there are very friendly, and it's really impressive. They're so dedicated to useful education, and they're very eco-friendly--they have a recycling area, organic gardens, separate trash bins for things that will be composted or things that can't be, that sort of thing. They have a church, lots of classrooms, pigs and other animals for the veterinary students, a library, one room that has satellite internet, a place where they make coffee that you can tour, a small bee farm--all sorts of really interesting things. We were shown around by some "tourism" students--their degrees are basically English degrees. The whole thing is very impressive. I know there are volunteer opportunities there too and there's a guesthouse on the lower campus where the volunteers stay. There are also multiple hikes to other communities or different places near Carmen Pampa. We hiked a trail from the upper campus to a really pretty waterfall. I really had a great experience staying at the UAC, and I think it's a really great place to check out while in the Coroico area.
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
La Senda Verde Ecological Reserve
We visited La Senda Verde on our last day in Carmen Pampa, which was a Sunday and our free day. We took the bus down to the bottom of the valley, about a half hour to Coroico and then another half hour down to La Senda Verde. To enter the reserve, you cross a bridge over a river, and immediately we saw a few macaws and a black spider monkey in the trees. They hurried to get us inside, where we paid and then joined the tour that was just starting.
A Scottish volunteer gave us the tour, and we saw plenty of monkeys, macaws and parrots, a toucan, turtles and tortoises, and a caiman. The wildlife refuge mostly rescues animals that would have been trafficked as exotic pets or that weren't cared for properly--for example, the caiman was in a tiny tank in an Asian restaurant in La Paz. It's been permanently stunted by being in the tank and it had a skin infection when they rescued it, but now it can live in better conditions at the refuge. They also have two Andean (spectacled) bears, but we weren't there at feeding time, so we weren't able to see them. The monkey area is the big attraction, because they roam free and will climb on you and such. You have to take everything out of your pockets before you go into that section, and follow certain rules to make sure the monkeys stay calm (for example, no crouching because they see that as submissive). Unfortunately when we were there most of the monkeys were distracted, stealing food from the tortoises (volunteers have to place the tortoises at their food because they are so slow the spider monkeys will literally steal the food from their mouths). Anyway, when we went to the monkey section we saw quite a few capuchins up close, and a few further away, including one that they think has autism, but the spider monkeys that usually climb on people weren't over there, so we had a calmer experience than most. Afterward we shopped in the little gift shop and ate lunch there. The food was quite good. The eating area is screened in all around, so you can still see the monkeys and birds while you dine, and we even glimpsed a coati through the screen!
We just did the tour, but they also have eco-lodges where you can stay overnight (there's even a treehouse one), and basically live among all the birds and monkeys at the reserve. La Senda Verde was really cool, and I think it would be really fun to be a volunteer there in the future. They run mostly on volunteers and donations. If you want to volunteer, you must be over 18 years old. They ask a minimum of two weeks, and your room and board is very inexpensive while you're there. If you can spend 60 days, you can even be an adopted parent for a baby monkey!
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Enjoy This View
There is really not that much to do in Coroico except relax and enjoy the views. This picture was taken sitting on the end of my bed looking out on my balcony.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
- Beds for all Budgets!
- Hostelworld.com Sleep Easy on your travels Read 1 million+ ratings & reviews
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates