The communitarian tourism projet in Chuquiñapi, 110 km away from La Paz, has been initiated by an italian priest, Padre Leonardo Giannelli, from the parish of the village Santiago de Huata, by the Titicaca Lake.
When he arrived from Italy in 2003, he noticed the growing exodus of young people from villages to cities.
He started to think about a touristic project to enable creating local employment and avoiding this migration.
In 2007, he brought one of his fellow countrymen with a sailing boat of 7m long and started teaching locals how to navigate. Then, with the help of italian engineers specialized in shipbuilding, they built 2 magnificent catamarans with a capacity of 10 passengers (excluding the crew) : the Titicat I, operational since may 2011, after 9 months of work, and the Titicat II, two years later, after 6 months of work.
This success has been a big proud for the people of the village, they could barely believe they did it with their own hands.
This project has as well enabled to create various employments in other sectors, such as carpentry, mecanics, agriculture, etc.
The young people of the community have been trained to navigation. Not only they can maintain the sailboats in good conditions, they can as well take you on a very pleasant trip on the Titicaca Lake.
Navigating on this absolute inland sea at 3800m altitude is at the same time unsual, relaxing and unforgettable.
You will enjoy a beautiful trip in this pretty bay with striking views on the imposing glaciar massif of the Cordillera Real.
The second pilar of the touristic offer developed by the priest Leonardo is the Casa de Retiro “José Ferrari”, in Chuquiñapi. Former monastery that was used as a retirement place, it has been renovated to host tourists.
The community will welcome you warmly with very good mood.
The place is magical and relaxing. We feel very quickly like at home : colonial style, very well kept garden with colorful flowers, simple but confortable rooms, delicious meals and a very professional service.
The beauty of the place, the welcome and the kindness of the people will put you straight away in a unique peace. A very sweet connection with locals and an unforgettable moment.
A beautiful hike is as well organized with local guides from Isla Sunata, 30 mn away from the monastery by car. Isla Sunata will surprise you by its shape; it will give you the impression to be on a peninsula.
According to the seasons and the level of water; you will sometimes have to cross the Lake by foot to access the island; and get water until your calfs. We call it the « Moses way ». The walk lasts 3 hours approximately and goes by the lake shore, all the way back to the monastery.