The Great Web of Percy Harrison Fawcett. This logo is a trademark of "The Great Unknown, The Great Explorers" and "The Great Web of Percy Harrison Fawcett" - All Rights Reserved

The Great Web of Percy Harrison Fawcett. This logo is a trademark of "The Great Unknown, The Great Explorers" and "The Great Web of Percy Harrison Fawcett" - All Rights Reserved

Madidi Expediciones © treks & trips

The route of 1911 from La Paz to Pelechuco and Apolo


Trekking Expedition from the Andes to the Amazon

Following the footsteps of Percy Harrison Fawcett in a 13 days trip

This is a wonderful trekking routing by genuinely wild territories and whoever wants to participate must have good physical state, spiritual strength and great determination. A great adventure in the beginning of the XXI century; the trek follows the same routing Colonel Fawcett did in 1911. The Mojos - Virgen del Rosario (2 days) is really wild and hard, it is precise to walk by water and cross rivers and is possible to find poisonous serpents and jaguars. We know this trek and our first time to cross it was in the year 2000. This routing covers anyone who wants to live strong emotions in the middle of an overflowing nature.

The map shows details of the route from Pelechuco to Apolo.



Pelechuco is a lovely colonial village with strong Spanish flavor located beneath the snowy peaks of Cordillera Apolobamba.  It is a place where one can enjoy the magnificent mountain views to the west with breathtaking scenery. Pelechuco was founded in 1560 at the cross roads of Amazon and Andean trade and is a very important mark in the history of Bolivia, firstly the place where the old times was the home of the Great Condor of South America, and second it was the place where senor Carlos Franck, a German-Bolivian, offered his kind hospitality to Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett who had visited Pelechuco several times during his expeditions and his boundary delimitation work between Bolivia and Peru, particularly during his Fifth Expedition to the Roof of the World in 1911.

One day in Pelechuco is enough to learn about his long important history in the last 80 years so relax and try to orientate with this peaceful surrounding as well as you can, taking advantage of this rare opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.


Pelechuco’s main square                                   Courtesy of Gianguido Furnari 


Day 1 La Paz-Pelechuco

7:00 hrs: We will depart from the hotel you are lodged in La Paz in a 4-wheel drive car with destination Pelechuco.

-     Panoramic view of the city of La Paz and the Cordillera Real of the Andes from the freeway going to El Alto

-     Crossing of the city of El Alto located at the altitude of 4000 meters. We will cross the Bolivian Plateau, an immense plain of height, to an average of 3,800 meters above the sea level. View of the Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world

-     Crossing the towns of Huarina and Achacachi, doors to enter the Andean world.

-     Crossing the Keka River and enjoy a wonderful view of the highest mountain of the Cordillera Real, the impressive Illampu, at 6421 meters. We make a stop in front of the well-known stony formation as the "Sleepy Dragon" in Ispaya and the colonial church of Carabuco. We make another stop in front of the Christ de Huallcapayo and the El Sapo, great rock with form of amphibian honoured by the local settlers.

-     Ch'allas: offerings to the Mother Earth, Pachamama for the original inhabitants of the Andes, asking for permission to enter its dominion and good auguries for the trip we initiated

-    We enter the Biosphere Reserve of Apolobamba declared by UNESCO in 1977. Snow-covered view of the Mountain range of Apolobamba and the more outstanding peak of the Akamani, and we’ll visit the zone of the famous herbal doctors of South America, the Kallawayas

-    Lunch at the camping area in Ulla-Ulla with Pijcheo (chewed) of cocaine leaves to avoid effects of the altitude sickness. View of vicunas, wild species of American camelidae that runs at the speed of fifty kilometres per hour

-     Arrival to Cololo Lake, and to the town of Antaquilla

-    Crossing the mountain range of Apolobamba. Make a stop in the Barrow of the Katantika hill, at the altitude of 4900 meters. Ch'alla

19:00 hrs: Arrival to Pelechuco, head of the high valley at the altitude of 3520 meters above sea level and preparation in Llajtaymanta Hotel, property of our local coordinator, Don Reynaldo Vázquez. Basic services at the bar and Supper


Day 2 Pelechuco


"Pelechuco was our next stop. This place contrasted most favorably with the villages on the Puna or high plain, for here was abundance of green, and in spite of being 12,000 feet up, geraniums, fuchsias, pansies and roses grew wild and in profusion. The great Condor of South America is at its best near here"             

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


"Pelechuco is the most laborious and progressive town"

Nazario Pardo Valle, Historical and writer from Apolo, 1948


-     Day of acclimatization and short trekking

-     Pelechuco (Phuyu Kuchu or foggy corner in the language of quechua), was founded by the Spanish missionaries on the 25th of July 1560

We will get to know its historical patrimony:

-     Visit the House of Franck, whose old proprietor was a landowner and German retailer called Carlos Franck who lodged in the same house the English explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett in 1911. The place is where the historical photo of Colonel Fawcett was taken and today displays its book of memories.

-     Visit the archaeological site of Wamán, old agricultural establishment of the Mollo culture and soon occupied by the Incas to constitute themselves in a strategic site in the route that united Cuzco, the Incas state capital of the Tawantinsuyu, with cocaine the producing center of the valley of Apolobamba (today Apolo).









Carlos Franck's house in down Queara's community, a property whose proprietor, Carlos Franck, lodged the British explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett during his trips by the zone in 1910-11


Day 3 Pelechuco-Queara


"Living in these isolated places, very close to Nature and away from the rush and bustle of the outer world, one experiences many things which an outsider might consider fantastic"                                                               Carlos Franck (1911)


8:00 hrs: Breakfast in Llajtaymanta Hotel.

9:00 hrs: Departure by foot towards the Keara (Queara) community. The backpacks will be loaded to mules or Llamas.

-     Crossing the Pelechuco river and passed by the old Aduana Seca (area) of the cocaine of Pelechuco. We will follow the course of the Pelechuco River until we’ll arrive at the confluence with the Makara River.

-     Ascent by the gorge the Makara River, leaving back the communities of Upini and Makara, until we reach the Passage of Sanchez at the altitude of 5,000 meters

-     Ch'alla in barrow of Sanchez; view of hanging glaciers of the Katantika hill

Lunch at the camping area

-     After lunch we will enter the Madidi National Park, a territory of almost 19,000 square kilometres and one of the biggest biodiversity park in the world.

-     Descending until Keara (Queara) community, crossing Puna with its high lagoons, the area of Vizcacheras where Vizcachas, (a rodent mixture resembling of a rabbit and a kangaroo) are abundant and bofedales (high marshes) with birds specially, the wild geese of the Andes

16:00 hrs: Arrival to Keara (Karkapampa sector).

Lodging in houses.









The Sanchez Pass from our previous expeditions while taking a picture of the magnificent Katantika glaciers.                                      

There is a side trip to Puina from Queara to visit the Madidi National Park, walking for a long distance. The Madidi basin is the home of many Indian tribes and among them is the Guarayos, a tribe that dealt a lot with the Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett during his border delimitation work and his effort to establish friendship with them. For more details, please contact us.


Day 4 Queara-Quemado


"The farm of Franck was in our route, near Queara, and here we enjoyed another taste of his hospitality. Here, too, we were serenaded by a large band of drunken Indians"   Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


7:00 hrs: Breakfast in camping.

8:00 hrs: Departing for a site named Quemado

-     Descending to the Franck’s Property - a gasket and a constructed chapel in the years of the rubber book industry in the north of Bolivia where Fawcett was lodged

-     From here, we will begin to descent in the mountainous humid forest of the Yungas, territory of Jucumari, the Andean bear (the only species in its type in the entire South hemisphere of our planet, flora variety and source that comprise of the great river basin of the Amazon.

Quick lunch in the way

17:00 hrs: Arrival to Quemado


Supper and overnight


Day 5 Quemado-Pajonal (Lagunillas)


"Of all the hair-raising trails I have encountered in the Bolivian Andes, that from Queara to Mojos is the worst. We lost twelve of our twenty-four cargo mules through accidents during this trip"  

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


“You can see more of the cloudy forest of height from here that what remains of it in Central America" 

Charles Munn- biologist of the National Geographic (March of 2000)


7:00 hrs: Breakfast in camping.

8:00 hrs: Departing for the site of Pajonal.

-     In the far distance, we will view for last time the snowed mountain range of Apolobamba. We will continue journeying by the mountainous forest where we will be able to observe giant ferns, multicolor flowers, passages and tunnels of up to 5 meters of depth that were journeyed by the Incas, Spaniards who looked for El-Dorado, missionaries, rescuers of Peruvian bark and rubber, miners and thousands of caravans of mules like ours.

Quick lunch along the way

17:00 hrs: Arrival to Pajonal.


Supper and overnight










Mojos's main square with the bell tower



Day 6 Pajonal-Mojos


"The establishment sometimes was prosperous in the commerce of corn and cattle, but people already have let venture themselves in the arduous way to Mojos"

Steve Kemper, National Geographic (2000)


"All the country in the neighbourhood of Mojos is rich in gold and it is difficult to understand why the village itself was abandoned. High above it on the mountainside was another abandoned village, where the climate was superb and the view incomparable"

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


7:00 hrs: Breakfast in the camp

8:00 hrs: Departure to Mojos.

-     We will undertake a long walk by a more enthusiastic forest until we’ll arrive at the wooden bridge from Yanaloma.

Bath and lunch in the Sanjuanillo River

-     Ascent by lomadas and pass through Karajata and Maukallajta, the old town; arrival to Mojos an old colonial town founded on the 12 of June, 1616 by the Spanish Captain Pedro de Leguí Urquiza under the name of San Juan de Sahagún de Mojos.

-     The convent of the fathers Agustinos, conserves the tower and the skull of two missionaries, one of which belongs, presumably, to Fray Pedro Vaez de Urrea, the first Christian monk in venturing himself by the territories of "Chunchos", as it was denominated to the set of tribes who inhabited these regions to the arrival of the European conquerors.

Camping or spending the night in the school of the town

Supper and overnight



Day 7 Neutralization in Mojos


"Mojos. Founded on the 12 of June 1616 by captain Pedro Leguí Urquizo, with the name of San Juan de Sahún, at the altitude of 1570 meters and 100 km. to the Northeast of Pelechuco, in the middle of splendid vegetation. It is the oldest journey between Pelechuco and Apolo. The town consists of few houses and its general state is of absolute decay and its 120 inhabitants of this jurisdiction."

Nazario Pardo Valley (1948)


Day of rest


Day 8 Mojos-Sompulo


"From this villa [Mojos] to the valley of Suana, where two rivers born on the same mountain range join together; the one at the right hand meets Pelechuco, and the other one on the left, the Chocoata. It passes ahead of Tuiche here: I passed in rafts this meeting, and walking the course that brings to the east, I was opening other twenty leguas of way until I arrived at the famous valley of Apolobamba"

Juan Recio de Leon (1623)


"The insects can be intolerable here but the butterflies are impressive”

Yossi Brain (1999)


"We followed the river, raising, lowering, crossing it by a difficult footpath, that makes you nervous" 

Del Diario de viaje, 2000


7:00 hrs: Breakfast in the camp

8:00 hrs: Departing for Sompulo

-     From Mojos, local porters will take the collective load; the personal equipment will be carried by each one of the participants

-     We will follow the course of the Queara River, by steep and dangerous footpaths, through a forest more and more closed. Recio de León characterized it with "greater amount of the cinnamon trees, moscada nut, walnuts of Castile, cañafístula, balsam, incense, guayacán, cedars and cacao in much abundance". The area is also known by the existence of the "Palo Santo", a tree populated by thousands with ants that in the past were used to torture or to kill prisoners. You must deal with not taking hold of no tree nor being called on no plant to avoid damages or annoyances.

Quick lunch near the borders of the river

17:00 hrs: Arrival to the beach of Sompulo, next to the Queara River.

-     Camping. In the river, it is possible to sight tapirs and anteaters.

Supper and overnight


Day 9 Sompulo-Virgen del Rosario


"Climbing mountains and dropping down into the lush valleys we followed the course of the Queara River to its confluence with the Pelechuco, where it becomes the Tuiche"

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


"Known are the jaguars that live in the jungles of the environs, and you must hear your distinguishing whisper" 

Yossi Brain (1999)


"In the night, we saw tapir in the river, steep and aggressive footpath, small section within the river, high cane plantations and black sand beaches until Chaquisapa. Beach, cruising water obstacles, more cane plantations until Virgin del Rosario"

Del Diario de Viaje, 2000


7:00 hrs: Breakfast in the camp

8:00 hrs: Departing for the community of Virgen del Rosario or Pata del Tuichi.

-     We will follow the course of the Queara River, passing by the site called Suañani; we will have to walk by and cross a river in several parts of the passage.

Lunch at Chaquisapa, wharf on the Queara River, a site characterized by its trees of papaya and bananas.

-     Ascent by slope of low vegetation until arriving at the summit from where we will observe the confluence of the Queara river and the Pelechuco river having conformed the Tuichi river.

-     Long walk along the beach of the river until arriving at Virgen del Rosario.


Supper and overnight


Day 10 Virgen del Rosario-Pata


"We scrambled up a steep trail high above the river to the little village of Pata. There were only four small farms and about a dozen inhabitants, but the Corregidor (Head-man) made us welcome and accommodated us in a hut”

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


8:00 hrs: Breakfast in the camp

9:00 hrs: Depart to Pata.

-     Crossing in a raft the Tuichi River.

-     Ascent and arrival to Pata, founded like San Juan de la Buenavista on the 24th of June 1680 by Pedro de la Peña with 200 families of Indians Pamainos and Siliamas.


Late resting.


Supper, zampoñada and overnight






Rio Tuichi



Day 11 Pata-Apolo


"The place lay in the heart of a fine coffee country and fruit was to be had for the picking, but rattle-snakes were everywhere and a constant danger. We camped in the doorway of a church far grander than seemed appropriate to such a tiny place, and a few remaining villagers, miserably poor though they were gave us the usual generous conception" 

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


8:00 hrs: Breakfast in the camp

9:00 hrs: Departure by a 4-wheel drive car with destination Apolo

-     Arrival to the Mohima community and the Eastern limit of the Madidi National Park

-    Then we’ll stop at Santa Cruz del Valle Ameno, on the foot of the Bilunto hill, founded by the Franciscans on the 14th of September 1692 and found again on its present location by the P. Esteban de Aramburu on the 4th of May 1720.

Lunch and visit the local church.

-     Arrival to Apolo locality of about 3,000 inhabitants and capital of the province Franz Tamayo

Preparation in lodging on a local monastery; good beds and baths (with hot water), very clean and very calm

Excellent food

Supper and celebration








Santa Cruz del Valle Ameno


Day 12 Neutralization in Apolo


"(Apolo) was once the centre of an extensive Indian population and was the first forest mission of Old Peru, after the Conquest" 

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1911)


We arrive at the final point of the routing called Apolo, a small jungle town that lays at the edge of the Amazon basin several hundred kilometres north of Lake Titicaca. The hospitality and the generosity of the town of Apolo is incomparable.


Free day at rest


Breakfast, lunch and supper in the monastery of Senor de Nazaret.


Day 13 Apolo-La Paz


6:00 hrs: Breakfast

6:30 hrs: Departing on a 4x4 car to La Paz

Lunch in Charazani

19:00 hrs: Arrival to La Paz. Transfer to your hotel or inn. End of our services

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