Hello World :) - First Night in Coroico, Yungas Bolivia
by Miranda Kay
View from the Balcony of Death, I mean the balcony outside of our slanted rooms built on a slope on a Bolivian mountainside
First of all, welcome to my blog! I am delighted you took the time to be here and see what I have to say. I hope my stories and the adventures of my family here in Bolivia can inspire any of those who wish to move to South America or even Bolivia one day or entertain others by seeing a new and interesting culture.
We planned a trip to visit the beautiful Yungas, Bolivia. I tried booking in advance to either Castillo Del Loro or at the Rio Selva Resort. We really wanted to stay in the castle, which was in Chulumani, the southern part of the Yungas. I called twice on Skype and received an answer but due to the sound, the person could not hear me. I had a friend try the same number and no one answered. I tried many days in a row before our trip at that same number and never got an answer the whole time. People local to the area said it was definitely open at this time. We discovered later that a bus went over a mountain side on the road from Chulumani a day or two after we made the treck home, I think God looked out for us that I could not make contact.
We decided there were enough options in Coroico that we would be alright to just go and find a place. A lady at the bus terminal gave me a pamphlet to Hotel Esmerelda. It was not a promocion that showed only certain dates, rather it had prices for each person and it was supposed to be 160 Bs. The lady even told me they had available rooms, like she worked for them. When I arrived at Hotel Esmerelda, the lady at the desk was impossible. She wanted more than double the printed price and for my dad to pay for two people, because a full size bed can sleep two people. I showed her the flyer with prices and she said they are up for the holidays. Don't get me wrong, if it was nice I would have stayed, but it didn't have much to offer for that price (think 3 star quality at 5 star prices). So, we decided to pass and continue up the hill to a beautifull eco-hostal I heard great things about, Sol Y Luna. Unfortunately they were booked until Sunday most likely :(
We decided to check out a small hostal I found online a little outside of town. We made our way up the hill a little outside of the small tropical town of Coroico and we found the original hostal, El Cafetal. I am not hard to please and since everything was full and this was cheap with a pool, we went for it. No TV, but price was cheap, 80 bs a night per person. The rooms were a little scary - we got the ones with private bathroom *shared bathroom rooms are only 50bs a night* and the rooms were on a actual slope with an big crack in the floor. Bathroom was good sized and the room had good sized shelves for putting your stuff.
The restaraunt served excellent food. View from both restaraunt and pool were phenomenal. The staff wasn't exactly the friendliest - but that seems to be the norm for many restaurants in this area it seemed :(
Wifi is advertised and I had work to catch up on and could not have stayed without wifi. Wifi never happened. Once I picked up the router but there was no internet. I paid for two nights, but once the wifi failed, I said I would only stay the one night. Next day they did give us our money back when we said we were checking out a day early with no issues or hassle.
They did get really crowded both lunch and dinner with a lot of locals because the food is impressive. Nice selection of French and other international foods. Weird things like trout lasagna were served, but the plates were piled high like you would expect from a good Bolivian restaurant. Plus, there was a big menu selection - even picky eaters could find some "safe" food on the menu. If you are not into trout lasagna, no worries, they had three other types of lasagna.
I liked that the pool is only available to guests with rooms and not open to people that eat at restaurant and there are only 7 rooms so it would be easy to get the pool to yourself. There were other guests as there are dorm rooms for like 50 bs a night a person.
I wouldn't say I would never go back, if it was the only option. It was cheap, had a clean pool, great restaraunt food and surrounded by beautiful walking trails, etc - but I would rather not return. It rained a bit that night and I was afraid the building was going to wash down the hill. Literally it's just a matter of time before the crack in the floor breaks off completely. If you are looking for a cheap stay with decent sized rooms - go for it. If you are a drinker, beware! There are lots of steps leading down to the hostal and the slanted rooms make you feel drunk even when you are not.