Berghotel Carolina can be a starting point for many different nature trails and hikes in the surrounding forests and hills. Among them is the Tunari “Condor” – 2 day Trek; two days and a night, which is one of the most exciting, diverse and least known routes in the country. It is very accessible from Cochabamba city center, an easy bus ride to the trailhead at Parumani or Combuyo. Besides having the maximum guarantee of seeing a condor – the bird with the longest wingspan on Earth and symbol of the Andes, the trek climaxes in the ascent of Tunari’s peak, at 5,035 m a.s.l. (16,519 ft a.s.l.) one of the highest peaks in central Bolivia.
Starting at an altitude of 2900 m a.s.l. the adventurer will experience a complete range of the different ecological strata existing between the Cordillera and Tunari, as well as enjoy numerous panoramic vistas of Cochabamba Valley, climbing to a high mountain camp of singular beauty below the towering rocks of crystalline Cajon lake.
The second day, turning away from the Valley, we cross a knife-blade ridge toward a fresh rugged panorama of the northwest Cordillera. Keeping to the llama path along the ridge, a steep 500-meter cliff on the left offers a respectable view of Pairumani river basin. The final ascent up loose gravel to Tunari peak is not too difficult. The summit looks over all of Cochabamba Valley, and on a clear day you can see the peaks of Quimza Cruz Cordillera and La Paz’s famous Cordillera Real with its snow-capped Illimani and Mururata.
We finish the trek at 4,600 m a.s.l. (15,092 ft a.s.l.) beside the picturesque Macho Lake at the foot of Mt. Tunari, after a harty, traditional mountain meal we climb into a 4WD van and head back down into Cochabamba.
The trek allows for optimal altitude acclimatization and can be a great warm up for future, higher treks in the Cordillera Real and Western Cordillera. The community of Combuyo is happy to rent us its pack mules for carrying food and equipment.