Biking in Bolivia: The Trout Trail
Starting in the Andes snowcapped mountains at 5,000 m (16,000 feet) above sea level, we began to dress for the ride of a lifetime. Elbow pads followed knee guards, gloves went on after our windproof pants and jacket, and lastly, our trusty full-face helmet…which came in incredibly handy when I took a face-first dive off my mountain bike into the ground.
Clouds flew past so close we could practically touch them as we sped through deserted paths and roads left abandoned since the 1950’s. Our adrenalin pumped as we shot through hidden valleys and over stunning high passes.
The setting was stunning, and while we passed sheep peacefully grazing, and llamas galore, there wasn’t another soul in sight.
Tourism has not yet touched the trout trail – it remains largely undiscovered and well off the beaten path.
Aptly named for the quaint village the trail runs through where trout is hatched, we enjoyed a local specialty for lunch. Fresh, fried trout was on the menu, and it was both mouthwatering and delicious!
The trail was once a railway project intended to link La Paz with the Bolivian highlands, however after the project became too expensive it was abandoned.
The scenery is outrageously beautiful, and the setting is serene: void of cars, tourists and any sign of the modern world, we had the whole trail to ourselves. Though if we were to chance upon another soul, it was more likely our encounter would have been with smugglers than tourists.
The trout trail runs through the Bolivian Yungas; a good coca growing region. And while most of it goes to traditional consumption, there will always be those who aim to use it for illegal purposes. In order to smuggle any illegal product in or out of the valley, the abandoned roads which form the mountain biking trail may be used from time to time.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
Banjo Tours are the only tour operator in Bolivia currently offering this day trip. We were picked up and dropped off from our hotel in La Paz, and had a phenomenal tour with their incredibly professional guides.
Bikes were high-end, full suspension mountain bikes, and all the the safety equipment provided was in fantastic condition. Having also traveled with Banjo Tours for a kayak adventure on Lake Titicaca, we booked with them again because they truly excel in providing unique, meaningful and unforgettable adventures. They believe in taking travelers away from the regular tourist trail, and we really loved the opportunity to discover the undiscovered Bolivia.
We also booked with them to ensure the local community benefited when we opened our wallets. Recently founded by a young tourism major, Ben Montevilla, all Banjo Tours staff are 100% Bolivian, and work to connect travelers with the local community in a sustainable way.
Each and every one of their tours have a local focus, and they “firmly believe that travel and tourism is a great way for travelers to enrich themselves for life. However, the local communities and local people that inhabit those communities should always benefit from this and what is more important: be participants of tourism themselves in order to create an experience that is meaningful and fulfilling for both travelers and hosts.”
An incredibly innovative and 100% local tour company, Banjo Tours will take you off the beaten path, and away from overcrowded destinations, and we cannot recommend them more.