Grutas San Pedro (Cave of San Pedro). 24 km, 6 hours + 1 hour in the cave, 280 m elevation difference.
There is a small entrance fee.
On the very first day we went to the San Pedro caves and planned to hike up a lovely hill with a view point after visiting caves. We left hostel rather late, the sun was very strong already. It is good 11 km walk to the cave (according to Google maps, and 16 km according to Bolivian maps, which I stopped to trust after several hikes ), without a significant difference in altitude. The most difficult thing was to find the beginning of the trail – routes are marked in this country quite bad. The owner of our hostel explained us how to find a trail in the woods – and then we walked along the main road all the time. Local people greeted us, many tried to chat a bit – the atmosphere in Sorata is very friendly, although before, they say, it was unsafe here.
On the way to the caves we have seen only one village (from which you should start a hike to the view point on the very steepy large hill) – in this village we didn’t encountered any shop. There was a small shop right near the caves, which was closed.
Why I’m telling it to you… Take more water and a couple of fruit for a snack.
Visiting the caves is possible only with a guide (who was walking behind us at the beginning of tour and on a narrow section of the route he left us alone and we could enjoy exploring dark parts of the cave on our own).
The cave was very humid and stuffy. We climbed up slippery stairs, almost in the dark (I had to use flash light all my way to not to slip). We reached the other side of the lake. Eyes got used to the lack of light and color of the lake changed to very beautiful deep blue. Without guide for about 20 minutes we checked small passages, which, however, very quickly became narrow and it was impossible to fit in them.
The main attraction here is a big lake, along which you can ride a catamaran or walk along it by a paved route. Sadly, swimming is prohibided (it would be nice after long hot way here)
The cave is huge, and the road to the caves by itself is picturesque (with a view of the town and mountain peaks) – in my opinion, Grutas de San Pedro is must do, if you suddenly find yourself in Sorata and will have extra days before or after longer hike.
Next 11 km back home were not that fun. We approached the beginning of the ascent to the view point on the hill, walked 100 meters and turned back. Visit this two attractions in one day is not easy, and we didn’t want to get tired before a main hike to the glacier.
The rest of the day we lay on the terrace in the hostel. We were almost alone here, with a couple of hippies from Chile, who spent days and nights weaving bracletes.