Cerro Uchumachi: Hiking High Above Coroico

There are many adventures to be had directly from Coroico, making this little town a great place to spend some time exploring the jungle. Climbing Uchumachi peak makes for a great day in nature, and the hike can be reached easily from the town. This hike can also be done without a tour, making it simple to hike as long as you want, whenever you want. Above all, the views from Uchumachi are wonderful!

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Bright and beautiful flowers blooming as a result of the recent rain

Getting to the Trailhead

We left our hostel early in order to be on our way before the heat of the day and potential afternoon storms. From the main central plaza in Coroico, we headed up the street towards Hotel Esmeralda. As we neared the hotel, we saw a large stone structure on the right side of the road with a sign that shows the hike to Uchumachi. Here, there was a path that lead off the main road and connected with another small road.

Uchumachi map
The sign that marks the beginning of the path to Cerro Uchumachi

Hiking up Cerro Uchumachi

The path lead past the top of Hotel Esmerelda and up to a clearing with a chapel and many radio towers. From this clearing, there are various paths and a road, which created some confusion. We chose a wide path to the right of the chapel and left of the tourist center and continued on our way.

Uchumachi Cathedral
The simple, but pretty chapel in the countryside

The sun was already hot and the air was muggy as we climbed up the hill. There are various paths that stray away from the main path, but we think most of them lead to the same place and often meet up again. If you seem to have any doubt, keep your eye on the top of Uchumachi and make sure that you are continuing to head that way. You can either take the switchbacks leading up the hill or the small path that goes straight up.

After some of the switchbacks, we came to a couple benches and a small shelter. Some people take in the views, then turn around here to head back to Coroico. However, you can still continue to the summit if desired.

The views over the Yungas valley certainly were beautiful!
The views over the Yungas valley certainly were beautiful!

From here, the hike became slightly steeper. The trail went through small patches of dense jungle before coming back into the fields under the baking sun. Despite the vegetation being dense at points, the trail seemed generally easy to follow. In addition to the beautiful flowers along the path, we saw a variety of birds and large insects.

Small, but mighty ants carrying flowers and leaves
Small, but mighty ants carrying flowers and leaves

As we climbed higher, the view of the Amazon and tiny Coroico became increasingly beautiful. We could also see the snowy peaks of Cordillera Real in the distance. It was incredibly hot at that point in the day, so we were glad that we brought plenty of water. We came across a few red plastic flags, which we assume marked the trail.

One of the red flags along the trail
One of the red flags along the trail

The last bit of trail was pretty steep and rocky, but eventually it plateaued. We weren’t sure that we were at the top until we came to a little metal sign that stated the elevation of Uchumachi. The vegetation was thick at the top, but it looked like you could possibly continue to hike the ridge. However, we didn’t want to get lost and we saw some ominous rain clouds in the distance, so we opted to head back to town.

Uchumachi summit

The hike down was more brutal because we were in the hottest part of the day and our knees were pretty tired while stepping down the rocks. We went back down the trail the same way we came and making it back to town for a late lunch.

Notes on Hiking Cerro Uchumachi

Hiking Cerro Uchumachi isn’t a mind-blowing hike, but it does provide some nice views and a great opportunity to get some exercise while exploring the area. The hike isn’t particularly difficult, but it can get very hot and steep at points, so it is important to stop and drink plenty of water.

We recommend wearing sturdy shoes because the trail is rocky and sometimes muddy after a rain. Whether or not you are there in the rainy season, it’s always smart to bring a rain jacket. This is the jungle after all, and rain here is common.

Seemed like we could get lost in the dense jungle
Seemed like we could get lost in the dense jungle

We have been warned of the occasional mugging of tourists while they are hiking more remote trails in the area, so it is best to hike with a buddy.

One great aspect of this hike is that it can be done at your own leisure. Though we recommend going in the morning to beat the heat, you can go at any point in the day and hike as far in as you want.

Uchumachi Hike Overview

Cost: Free

Hike Distance: 6 kilometers (just over 3 and a half miles) round trip starting from the yellow chapel

Hike Time: 1.5-3.5 hours, depending on hiking speed and picture breaks

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