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Located four hours north of Caranavi, Guanay is a good starting point if you are up for a “backwoods Bolivia” type of trip. The town is one of many small pueblos that make up the Bolivian ecoregion called the Nor Yungas, situated just south of the Cordillera Apolobama. There isn’t much here, just a few restaurants, some basic alojamientos, a rather high ration of telephone call centers and a couple of shops which buy gold that has been panned in the local area. Guanay’s claim to fame--if it has one at all--has to be the gorgeous, albeit slightly uncomfortable, five-hour boat ride up the Rio Mapiri, to the bright and busy pueblo of Mapiri. You’ll have to get up early to catch the boat (which leaves at 7 a.m. from the dock a couple blocks west of the plaza), but the cool breeze and stunning scenery are well worth any discomfort. What’s more, it’s highly likely you’ll be the only gringos aboard (or any where in the vicinity, for that matter).


If you do plan to venture up to Guanay, the best place to grab a bite is Restaurant Pahuichi--a simple meat and rice spot set in a lovely cabaña behind the hotel of the same name (decent enough for a stay, with shared bathroom that could use a cleaning and beds at $3 / 20 Bs. per person). Pahuichi is located a half block west of the plaza on Calle Comercio.


Other options for sleeping include :Alojamiento Mexico--bare bones but cheap (Single: $1.50 (10 Bs.) / Matrimonial: $3.50 (25 Bs.) / Dorm: $2 (15 Bs.)) and with an extremely friendly owner, on the east side of the plaza, and Residential Ritzy--probably the best option in town, some private baths, some shared, fans, hot water, 50 rooms in total, balcony overlooking Plaza Principal (With shared bathroom--Single: $3.50 (25 Bs.) / Matrimonial: $5.75 / (40 Bs.)--prices are double for private bathroom).


For services, Guanay offers an Internet café (MultiCentro Guanay: $0.50/4 Bs. per hour) on Calle Comercio, the main street running through town, and an abundance of cabiñas for calling long distance and local, located on the Plaza. There is no ATM in town.




Other places nearby Guanay: Yanacachi, Charazani, Mapiri, Cordillera Quimsa Cruz, Around Coroico, Sorata, Caranavi, Cordillera Real, Chulumani and Around Chulumani.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
02 Jun 2009

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