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Chapels of Curahuara and Sajama

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November 2012
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Albergue and Capilla Tomarapi

Capilla Tomarapi

To my mind, there are two places you can stay in the Parque Nacional Sajama.  The best is your own tent.  A close second best is the Albergue Tomarapi.  The difference between the two is not as great as you might initially think.

Albergue Tomarapi

Fine Dining – Anyone for Fried Alpaca?

The Albergue is a lovely little guesthouse, with small rooms in a semi-rustic style.  It costs about $100 for a double room, and includes full board.  Since there are no restaurants anywhere nearbye, the full board is necessary if you are not going to make your own meals.  We found the food to be plentiful and tasty, though a bit exotic (both good and bad).  The breakfasts were very extensive.  They can fix a bag lunch if you plan to be out during the day.  Dinner was also good.  We had never eaten alpaca meat before, but it was very tender and tasty.  The dining hall is very nice, and the fireplace is very useful since nights are cold.

The Cabins Are Set Around Cute Courtyards

The facilities are basic, but it is supposed to have heated rooms, hot showers, and electricity.  While we were there, the heating in the rooms worked at night (after lots of effort by the staff), but was not sufficient to keep them at a comfortable temperature — good for sleeping, but not for sitting up after dark.  Hot water is available

View From the Bell Tower

only when they turn on the heater.  They did ask us upon our arrival if we would shower, in order to turn on the water heater.  The electricity and hot water did not work the first night/morning, but did work the next night/morning.

The Albergue is a project of the local community, which owns it in common and shares in the work and profit.  While the price and facilities do seem to be out of sync, it is pretty much your only option, so I guess they charge what the market will bear.  In that sense, maybe it is a very capitalist socially-owned operation.  I don’t resent that, but, honestly, would probably prefer my own tent, especially since I can bathe in hot water in the Termas Manasaya.

Capilla Tomarapi

Even if you don’t stay in the Albergue, you still want to visit the very small village (the Albergue is probably as big as the rest of the village).

Altar of the Capilla de Tomarapi

The Capilla Tomarapi is a beautiful little church which the U.S. Embassy helped to restore in 2010.  It has the stone construction and separate bell tower of the churches of the region.  The bell tower is open, so you can climb up for the beautiful view.  You want to get access to the interior of the church, too, as one of the last church murals of the colonial period is inside (the other is in the church in Lagunas).

Detail of Mural and Straw Roof Construction

Definitely worth a stop, and Tomarapi, in any case, is on the route back to La Paz (via the old road) described in the final post on the Parque Sajama.



The next installment of the Guide to Sajama is Sajama Hike (Climb), Sajama National Park, pt. 5.

If you want to see more photos of the Capilla de Tomarapi, go to my photo site.


Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Termas Manasaya, Sajama pt. 3
Time November 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

[…] For the next installment of the Guide to Sajama National Park see, Albergue and Capilla Tomarapi, Sajama pt. 4. […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » The Churches of Curahuara de Carangas and Sajama: In and Near Sajama National Park
Time February 16, 2016 at 9:27 pm

[…] Albergue Tomarapi is probably your best bet for a place to stay in Sajama National Park.  It is a community-run albergue, or shelter, a cute place to stay with small, clean, function and very cold, rooms, showers, and  a small cafe/restaurant.  If you are planning to stay there, you might be well to make a reservation.  Not that it is often full, just that if you are unlucky and they don’t have room, there is pretty much nowhere else to stay. […]

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