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Words like paradise, oasis and haven pop up with regular occurrence when referring to Sorata and with good reason. Perched on the side of the semi-tropical foothills with the imposing snow covered peaks of the Cordillera Real visible from town, its positioning is hard to beat. It’s one of the best places to go trekking in the whole of Bolivia and is also the gateway to off-the-beaten-track adventures into the Apolobamba region, the Amazon and the surrounding hills.

Sorata was founded in 1590 under the name Corregimiento de Larecaja. Since then, the village has had a varied history. In 1791 it was the site of a siege by indigenous leader Andrés Tupac Amaru who washed the pueblo away with run-off water from Mount Illampu. Many of the fields surrounding Sorata were a major source of gold during the Inca Empire and were an important source of gold, rubber and quinine in colonial times.

A widely mis-reported blockade of the village in 2003, where police heavy-handedly stormed the community, did immeasurable damage to the tourism industry in Sorata, but the plucky village has managed to claw its way back and is now well on its way to retaining its position as one of Bolivia’s prime tourism destinations. Today gold, along with agriculture, remains an important source of income for the village and you’ll see signs displaying ¨compro oro¨ (gold bought here) in random shops all over town.

Sorata’s palm-filled plaza is a good place to get orientated and soak up a bit of village life. It’s possible to arrange treks in the village to any of the numerous trails in the surrounding hills and mountains. The five or six day Camino del Oro, from the Cordillera Real to the goldfields, is one of the most popular. The multi-day day hikes to the beautiful glacier lake (5,038 meters), with stunning views of the glaciers and surrounding valley, is another definite highlight.

There’s a good range of hotel options in town, from basic to comfortable, but you won’t find any luxury options. Most of the accommodation is close to the plaza or on the outskirts of town. Food options are more limited, with an inexplicable number of pizza and Mexican restaurants around the main plaza, but not many other international food options. There are a few places offering international food however, and plenty of Bolivian restaurants just down from the main plaza.




Other places nearby Sorata: Guanay, Santa Rosa, Chulumani, Cordillera Real, Mapiri, Around Chulumani, Caranavi, Coroico, Yanacachi and Cordillera Apolobamba.

01 Mar 2010

Things to do in Sorata

El Camino del Oro

The Camino del Oro, or Gold Diggers’ Trail as it’s often known in English, follows a thousand-year-old trail from the heights of the Altiplano to the gold mining villages of the semi-tropical ...
Sorata, Bolivia

Mapiri Trail

The six-to-seven day Mapiri trail will challenge you in ways you thought were not possible. Anyone harboring fantasies of Indina Jones will have a field day; the trek involves having to hack through ...
Sorata, Bolivia

Trans-Cordillera Trek

This trek is one of them most challenging in Bolivia, covering over 160 kilometers and 20 passes over 4,000 meters, traversing the entire Cordillera Real. You will experience the full range of ...
Hiking, Trekking
Sorata, Bolivia

Illampu Circuit

This challenging trek starts in Sorata and then circuits the Illampu Ancohuma massif, returning back to the Yungas village in approximately seven days. You’ll need to be well acclimatized to do ...
Hiking, Trekking
Sorata, Bolivia


Considered one of the most impressive mountains in Bolivia, Mount Illampu is also one of the most technically challenging. Known as the king of Cordillera Real by the locals, and the most northern ...
Hiking, Trekking
Sorata, Bolivia
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