After our expedition to Tarata, we took a night bus to La Paz, arriving at 6 the next morning.  This bus wasn’t your typical Greyhound.  For only $10US each, we got a seat on a double decker sleeper bus from Cochabamba to La Paz: the seats were huge and they reclined completely, like a bed.  Needless to say, we slept pretty well.

Our awesome bus

Once we had eaten breakfast — a wonderful breakfast made by Oscar’s aunt and her cousin, who are from Mexico and prepared a traditional Mexican breakfast — we piled in the car to go to the grocery store for supplies for the weekend.  It was then I discovered that at 1 pm, we were to begin our drive to Coroico, where we would spend the next 2 days.

Situated on the side of the Andes mountains at the entrance to the Amazon, Coroico is a tropical haven, lush and green despite it being “winter.”  I put winter in quotations because wherever we go, it’s about 70 during the day and only gets down to about 40 at night: not the same winter I’m used to, even in Virginia!  At 10,000 feet lower than La Paz, the drive to Coroico was spectacular.  We went from the highland Altiplano — the rocky, barren terrain spotted with moss and shrubs, just below snowy peaks — to the warm, green valleys that begin the Amazon, Las Yungas, winding our way around the mountains, stopping only once halfway down in Pongo to enjoy a traditional Bolivian vegetable soup that is oh-so-good called chairo.


Gateway to Las Yungas

Chosen by one of Bolivia’s leaders as the tourist destination in Bolivia, Coroico is a popular vacation place for Bolivians and backpackers alike.  One of Oscar’s uncles has a vacation house just outside the town, so we took advantage of the time to relax, do some grilling, soak in the spectacular views just from the house, and paraglide.

Yes, you read correctly: we went paragliding.  One of Oscar’s relatives is an internationally certified paraglider, and he set us up for paragliding Wednesday morning.  Apparently, Coroico has a particular paragliding spot that is recognized by paragliders internationally, and that’s where we went.  And here is another case of Glennis is too small for extreme sports (I had another not-enough-weight experience scuba diving in Cairns).  After signing my life away and disclosing my weight, I noticed everyone else in the party trotting off to look for large rocks in case the wind was too strong and I needed more weight.  Luckily the wind wasn’t too strong.

While the other paragliders were unfurling the parachutes on the hill, Victor, the guy who would be steering my parachute, gave me a quick crash course in how to be a passenger paraglider.  It mostly involves sitting in my harness in front of Victor, however you do have to do all the running at the beginning.  See, how you start paragliding is you literally run off a mountain, letting the wind lift the parachute with you attached to it.  After getting strapped into my harness/seat, we did a few practice runs, in which we quickly found out that not only am I incredibly light, it seems my years of running track haven’t done much because I am apparently a weak paragliding runner.  When it was our turn to run off the mountain, we had to have a third person (not attached to the parachute) run with us.  Cute, I know.

Here we go!


The view was spectacular, what more can I say?  Literally floating up above even where the birds were flying, you could see for miles: the snowy peak on which La Paz is perched down the green valleys all around.  It was surprisingly eerily quiet floating up so high.  I decided not to take my camera with me because of the amount of activity/confusion of running and being pulled off a mountain at the beginning, however Oscar got an amazing video on his phone.  Once I become more technologically savvy, I’ll post that too!

The rest of the visit was really just eating and relaxing.  I have some great pictures of mountains, so enjoy the gallery below!


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