Tomarapi, between tradition and exceptional scenery

5 October 2021


The community project continues

Thaki has always been a partner of numerous communities, each as different as the next and located throughout Bolivia, from the southern plains to Lake Titicaca, and from the Amazon to the arid lands of the Sajama or South Lipez. Our aim is to offer our customers the chance to immerse themselves in a totally different and unprecedented way of life, in traditions dating back thousands of years and in activities that seem to have come out of another time – or another world. Thaki also wants to help these communities to develop their tourism offer, thanks to our experience in this field.

A land of alpacas and lamas

Last week, Alice and Loan set off to meet the small community of Tomarapi, located in the heart of the Sajama National Park, on the slopes of the volcano of the same name, the highest in the country. Majestic and constantly covered in eternal snow, the Sajama and its illustrious neighbours, the twins Pomerape and Parinacota, as well as Acotango and Capurata, dominate the arid landscape of the national park. At an altitude of 4,300 metres, and located in a region where it rains very little, almost nothing grows in the region, apart from the mosses and small shrubs that provide food for the various camelids of the region, alpacas and llamas, domesticated by man and used, the former for their meat, the latter for their wool, but also wild animals such as vicuñas, which are also sought after for their wool, considered to be the finest in the world. The 3 different camelids are the real stars of the park. Thousands of them graze peacefully on the vast plains, and raising them is by far the main activity of the region’s inhabitants.

A unique community experience, all in comfort

The Tomarapi community, made up of several llama and alpaca-breeding families scattered across the region, has been running an eco-lodge for several years now, located in the centre of the village, next to a magnificent little colonial church. Tomarapi Eco-Lodge is by far the best accommodation in the Sajama National Park, offering a high level of comfort, heating and hot water thanks to the community’s own solar panels, as well as quality catering and other services such as mountain bike hire for exploring the region in a different way.

Climbing, trekking and more...

The region is mainly visited by mountaineers and hikers, in search of a first ascent to an altitude of 6,000 metres on the Acotango, a real adventure on the ridges of the Sajama, or exceptional isolation on the many hikes in the region. But a visit to Sajama National Park is also a step back in time, to isolated villages where livestock is raised to the rhythm of the sun and the seasons, with almost no cars or technology. It would be a shame not to take the opportunity during your stay to discover a little of these traditions, by taking part in a weaving demonstration, for example, or learning how wool is dyed using only plants from the region, or why not learn how to shear an alpaca? The community guides will explain all the secrets of raising alpacas and making alpaca wool clothes, as well as the region’s culture, fauna and flora, which are discreet but quite unique in the world!