Upper South Yungas Road

Lawrence Rubey

This site offers a good selection of roadside birding. Many a birder has spent a pleasant morning stopping at various spots along the upper portion of South Yungas Road before heading to the lower elevations near Chulumani. The forest is still in good condition, with some excellent patches on the steep hillsides (for example at about 2500 meters). The road itself was constructed by Paraguayan prisoners of war during Chaco war.

Given the proximity to the Cotapata trail, the Cotapata list (see Appendix) is a good proxy for likely species, although the altitude is a bit lower.

Logistics: To reach the South YungasRoad (also called the ChulumaniRoad), leave La Paz, and head north on the Coroico. Sites La Cumbre, Upper Coroico Road , Choquetanga Valley, Cotapata trail, and Chuspipatacan be visited along the way. At 36.9 km from the Miraflores tranca, turn right onto the unpaved South Yungas Road (Unduavi). Re-set odometer to zero at the start of the South Yungas Road (0.0 km). Each of the stops highlighted above are on the first 23 or so km of the South Yungas Road:

former Acero Marka Resort: 5.3 km
Nice roadside forest: 13.7 km
Road uphill to Chuspipata: 16.7 km
El Castillo hotel: 22.7 km

A possible place to stay is El Castillo Hotel, strangely modeled on a French chateau. The hotel was constructed by Tejada Sorzano, a former Bolivian president. He died before moving in and it was boarded up until the 1970s. It is "delightfully shabby" or "unnecessarily rustic" depending on who you talk to. Some say it is haunted. But it has nice gardens that attract hummingbirds and parrots. Appeared to still be open in January 2006, but no one to answer the door.

GPS reading at start of South Yungas Road: S 16 18.588' W 67 54.146'