Now that the children are a little bit older we feel that we are able to explore a little more of the amazing natural beauties that abound within this country. The country is not very well set up for tourism or at least not those who are travelling with children. The majority of places worth visiting involve an hour or more hard walking.
ToroToro is a place that Ed has visited a number of times in recent years as he has been involved in various evaluations of the work that FH is doing in the area. Having seen the photos and heard a lot about it, it was on our list of places we really wanted to see as a family. When friends of ours were talking about going we jumped at the opportunity of doing a joint family trip which worked out just great, as the extra people helped to keep everybody moving along during the long, long, hikes.
We weren’t disappointed with what we saw. In recent years there has been a great effort to improve tourism within ToroToro national park and there are now many guides available just waiting to take you around the spectacular wonders of nature, though I don’t think many would have quite so happily taken on our band of 5 small children, however Emilo our guide was fantastic. He was very encouraging and helpful and readily took a slower pace to cater for small legs.
The children were amazing, they did so well walking and climbing and clambering over rocks and into caves stopping at every place where there was sand or water for a play.
During our time we visited 5 major sites, the first was the ‘Ciudad de las Itas’, a city made of huge stones with caves at every turn. A lot of climbing and clambering but well worth the breathtaking views.
Site number two was down into the caves, we weren’t able to do the complete cave route as it was too dangerous to do with the children, however we were able to get a good way down into the caves to 70m below the surface, so everybody got a good taster of what its like to be inside a cave, there were a few occasions when the children were not so sure but with a bit of encouragement, they were happy to press on.
Site number 3 was the Mirador, a metal balcony structure that was built by FH a few years ago that overhangs one of the canyons and provides a beautiful view of all around.
Site number 4, from the mirador we made our way slowly down into the canyon, going down 850 rough stone steps then along the canyon floor to the ‘Virgil’ a beautiful oasis of a waterfall cascading down the mountainside creating a sudden flood of green amongst the barren rocks. There was a smaller pool just to one side which was just perfect for us to while away a couple of hours splashing in the clear water and exploring a small tunnel and cave off to one side. The water was lovely but the climb back up the 850 steps almost finished us off.
Site number 5. As we headed our way back to Cochabamba we stopped at another recommended site 18km out of ToroToro, ‘Las Pozos de las Golandrinas’. As series of cool, fresh water pools that spill down into what is a very hot and dry valley. After an hours walk in teh very hot sun, we were very glad of those pools to cool down in and refresh ourselves, before returning the remaining 4 hours to Cochambamba.
ToroToro is your original Jurassic park, there are dinosaur footprints wherever you go. Every year more are discovered as the process of erosion takes its toll over the land. That in itself was pretty awesome.
So if you have the energy we would highly recommend paying a visit, and we have been able to prove that it is also possible to do it with children. ToroToro also has a very unique petrol station which we made use of.