|— Town —|
|Department||La Paz Department|
|Time zone||-4 (UTC-4)|
Quime is a city in Yungas of Inquisivi region of La Paz.
About mid way between Cochabamba, Oruro and La Paz, Quime as in a deep forested valley surrounded by high peaks of the Andes. The region is one of the steepest in the Bolivian Andes and Dr. Marko Lewis, retired from the National Herbarium of Bolivia, calls it the center of biodiversity of both Bolivia and South America. Resident gringoes call it the "Shangra-la" of Bolivia. It is an area with practically no tourism of any kind, in 2008 less than 20 tourists found the place.
Flota Inquisivi has one bus a day from the main La Paz bus terminal.
Flota Inquisivi has numerous buses daily leaving from the El Alto bus terminal about one block south of the big gas station (Surtidor) in the Ceja. hard to find so call 22824734
Flota Apostal Santiago has numerous buses daily from El Alto. Their office is more or less accross the street (facing south) from the big gas station.
The scheduled bus trip is about 4 1/2 hours and costs $3.00.
For the adventurous, the very best way to get into Quime is by taking a any bus from Oruro or La Paz to a place called Conanai (about 95 km from Oruro towards La Paz), get off and catch an open air truck to Quime (about 2 hours). Be sure to bring heavy clothes as the road goes over a 17,000+ ft pass.
NOTE: Bus schedules can be variable.
There are numerous local trucks, buses and taxis that leave for just about everywhere in the province from the Alameda, a block from the central plaza. Mostly you get around on foot for day hikes, or use mules for expeditions and treks.
The name Quime comes from the Quechua word for "Place to Rest" and was a tradional stopping point for mules carrying coca and gold out, and food supplies in. One old resident remembers his grandfather bringing a gran piano in pieces via mule train. For the past 100 years it has been a commercial center for the numerous tin, zinc, wolfram, silver and gold mines which often cling to sheer cliffs.
The views, some over about 50 miles of Andean mountains and valleys, are spectacular from the upper edge of town or the surrounding mountainsides. Nearby are Elfin Cloud Forests laden with mosses, lichens, ferns and bromeliads. A number of rare birds inhabit the area, including the endemic Rufous-breasted Grosbeak. The reclusive and endangered Spectacled Bear lives in a refuge nearby but is seldom seen. Ornathologists and botanists continue to discover new species in the area.
From Quime, one can see the "Devil´s Slide". This is a 1000 m high landslide constantly producing plumes of dust reminescent of an active volcano.
The Quime area is for people who either want to take a break and sit around on a mountainside without a bunch of other tourists around, picnic and rest OR for adventurers and trekkers who want to do something no one else has ever done before.
Day hikes include the Naranjani Waterfall and the Naranjani glacial lake, local wolfram mines, or the Devil's Slide.
Two day hikes include the Huichincani Hot Springs. This is unique in that it has never been developed except by campesinos making rings of rocks around pools. The springs are on a steep mountain slope over looking the Miguillas River Valley and ringed by a cirque above. Also one can visit the Sacambaya Castle, a pre-inca castle in the immediate area where the Jesuits buried their gold after their expulsion from South America. According to archives, slaves built caves to hide the gold, then were buried alive with the gold under massive landslides. Major expeditions dating back as much as a century have falled to find the Lost Jesuit Gold of Sacambaya.
The owner of the Hummingbird Ranch, has a collection of maps and thirty years of experience in the area and will help arrange longer treks, including trips to the newly discovered Enchanted City of Choquercamiri, and still only partially discovered pre-inca Cotas culture ruins which are reminiscent of Macchu Picchu, but little known and unrestored.
Those on a low budget or hate shopping will love Quime since there is nothing much to buy unless you are interested in hand woven blankets and native costumes made by and for local people, or locally made aloe veroe shampoo.
You can buy lots of food to cook, as well as fruit and vegetables, especially at the local Sunday Fair. You can also get basic household things and pretty much outfit a minimilist rough-it expedition.
There are numerous "eat at your own risk" restaurants in the Alameda where the local buses stop for lunch. Cooking your own is the ticket. At the Sunday fair there are local dishes like Picante de Pollo, Fricase, Sajta de Pollo for about $2.00 a plate.
Quime's famous specialty is the huatia. This is meat in a mild chile sauce, cooking bananas, sweet potatoes, horse beans, sweet corn and potatoes buried in red hot rocks covered with earth and tree tobacco leaves then baked underground for an hour or so.
You´ll have to drink like the local Aimara people, that would be either beer or another Quime specialty.... the coktél. The coktél is made of 180 proof cane alcohol (perfectly safe and rather hallucigenic)mixed with fruit juices (orange, passion fruit, lemon/lime and/or herbs like coca, mint, lemon mint and/or chamomile. These are served hot or cold.
Whatever you do, don´t try the coktéls made out of kool-aid and cane alcohol they sometime serve at the almost constant weekend parties.
There are two or three nameless alojamientos near the plaza used by local travelers. These cost about $2.00 - $3.00 a night, although you can sleep on straw on the floor for $1.50 a night.
The Hotel Quime is a half block from the plaza. It is architecturally an ugly dusty white stucco with aluminum window frames and dirty burgandy colored curtains. It does have a sauna, and a restaurant that has edible food, once again, eat at your owen risk. Cost is $4.25 a night.
The Hostal Familiar Rancho Colibrí (Hummingbird Ranch) is four steep blocks up from the the mayor´s office on the main plaza and then one block to the right. You can tell you are there because it has the largest trees in town as a windbreak. It is a colonial type hacienda built with over 100 arches on a steep mountainside above town. The rooms have balconies overlooking 50 miles of the Andean Mountains. A half acre of pre-inca style terracing supports a hummingbird garden and bird refuge. $5.00 a night includes use of the kitchen and huatia, a look at the Ragdoll Museum, and free expedition planning from the owner (who, for a price, will cook international food for you or mix some coktéls). Contact is by Cell Phone or email. Intl. Code (591)77293606. It is helpful, but not required, to call the hostal cellphone to make a reservation.
Take one of about 6 or more daily buses leaving Quime to La Paz, or get off in Conani (two hours away) and catch a bus at the toll booth to any other destination in Bolivia including Oruro, Potosi, Cochabamba or Santa Cruz.
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