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La Phia Community: Protector of the kewinas long-lived forests

La Phia is a community at the Tunari National Park, in Cochabamba, in the heart of Bolivia. This community, made up of 72 families, has decided to bet on ecotourism to protect the famous centenary Kewinas (Polylepis besseri) forests. The site is located 25 kilometers from the Tiquipaya urban center, in the Quillacollo province.

Since 2022, the community members have implemented the “La Phia Agroecological Tourist Circuit”, which includes walks through ancient trees forests, boat rides, organic orchards, and ancestral medicine tours.

Here we share a list of the community’s tourist attractions and services:

  • Eucalyptus “El Jefe”: It houses three large ancient trees, the third being considered the community guardian, with 45-meters height and 2.5-meters thick in radius.

Its location: https://goo.gl/maps/PVtqjJLnMHm3kwXQ6

  • Kewinas Forest: It is the largest in Cochabamba and has more than 69 years of age groves and the oldest tree with more than 100 years. It is the community’s natural heritage site and also a survivor of a forest fire that occurred years ago.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xMzJrL8v7fcLhmK56

  • Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon): This attraction is considered a sacred water source and has two dams built by the community members on the hills’ shores. It is propitious for wild fauna observation such as foxes and eagles.

Location: https://maps.google.com/?q=-17.281874,-66.237937&entry=gps

  • Quri Allana Sinkhole: It is a natural mystical cavern, approximately 50-meters deep. The trail that leads to this place has a wide medicinal plants variety, such as Muna (Minthostachys mollis), which is used to treat stomach pain and altitude sickness.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hzNX1dYvQzM9cjLHA

  • Quri Allana Mayu River: It is another natural attraction in order to enjoy crystal clear waters and exuberant vegetation. In addition, it is at the community’s crops irrigation source.
  • La Phia viewpoint: It is a pleasant place located on a hill in the community at 3,312 meters above sea level, from this place you can enjoy the natural panoramic view and also you can see Cochabamba city.
  • Agroforestry Orchards: In this place, the community members produce apples with organic fertilizers and artisanal techniques.

Travel services:

  • Currently all services are communal, it has people trained in food handling, guidance, transportation, and tourist attention.
  • Food: It offers a variety of dishes, but its specialty is llama pampaku. (A dish cooked underground in a pit surrounded by rocks, which works as an oven).
  • Local guide
  • Transportation

Location: http://bit.ly/3LUL1pT

La Phia is located 25-km from the main Tiquipaya square, in the Quillacollo province, Cochabamba department.

The entrance road to the community is a gravel road. Accessible, except in the rainy season, because in order to get there the Tolapujru river must be cross.

Best time to visit:

  • From March to November. Visits can be scheduled for any week day, prior coordination with the respective authorities and community involved.

Way to get there:

  • Hiring a tourism service or package from an agency or on your own. In both cases, you must coordinate the visit with the community and take the tours with local guides.

Essential clothing and accessories:

  • Comfortable sports walking clothing
  • Boots suitable for walking
  • Cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • An extra clothes change
  • Garbage storage bag.
  • Camping, a blanket and flashlight, in case of hiring the 2-days and 1 night package.

Costs: The circuit cost may vary depending on the time of visit. Usually 2 options are offered:

  • 1 day (Full Day): Bs 100 per person. ($15)
  • 2 days and one night: Bs 150 per person. ($22)

Includes

  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Local guide service
  • Souvenirs

Contact:

  • Productive Development and Tourism Directorate: 591 61682771

This content is taken from the “Soy Bolivia” verified guide, prepared in April 2023 with information
provided by organizations and communities involved. This guide is updated annually to ensure its
validity. In order to suggest a community tourism venture, free of charge, you are welcome to send a
WhatsApp message to the number (591) 70079347.

•   Note: Prices are updated to May 2023.

Warning. The images in this guide were provided by representatives of the involved communities, who assured that they use these photographs for the respective promotions of their ventures.

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