• Villazon – Tupiza, 95 kms/ 57 miles: First 55 kms (33 miles) very slightly uphill, about 120 meters/ 360 ft total till right after the town of Arenales (there’s a small store, but hard to find). Then a pretty steep downhill for about 10 kms (6 miles) after which it goes up and down till Tupiza. In Tupiza we stayed in Hotel Mitru; relatively expensive, but very nice. There’s real hot water, wifi and a swimmingpool. Also, breakfast is included.

• Tupiza – Uyuni (till 5 km, 3 miles, after Salo): take the exit to Atocha, 4 kms after Tupiza. Road is unpaved from here and goes up and down with some steep parts. The road is bad with a lot of washboard. There is a comedor in Salo where you can eat lunch. You can also buy drinks and water there. After Salo it goes up. The first km slowly, but then steep. You climb 400 meters (1200 ft) in 4 kms (2,5 miles). Then it goes up another 400 meters (to 4000 meters, 12.000 ft), after which there’s a long section of up and down, going back to 4000 meters (12.000 ft) every time. We went back to Tupiza.

• Tupiza – Cotagaita (85 kms, 51 miles): The first 17 kms (10 miles) uphill, to 3610 m (10.800 ft). Then 10 kms (6 miles) downhill after which 18 kms (11 miles) (steep) up and down. Then 30 kms (18 miles) downhill. Last 10 kms (6 miles) to Cotagaita, 5 kms (3 miles) up and down and the last 5 kms (3 miles) downhill. There are a few hospedajes/ alojamientos in the town.

• Cotagaita – Vitichi (84 kms, 50 miles): A very hard stretch, 1550 m (4650 ft) uphill and 1215 m (3650 ft) downhill. After Cotagaita the road goes up immediately, 350 m (1050 ft) in 7 kms (4 miles) after which a descent of 10 kms (6 miles). Then everything up and down till Tumusla (43 kms, 26 miles), pretty long ascents and descents. Before Tumusla it goes up till 3100 m (9300 ft) and then downhill to the village (2650 m, 5000 ft). Right after the village back up t 3100 m (9300 ft) and after a short descent back up to 3200 m (9600 ft) (a total of 14 kms, 8,5 miles). Then up and down to Vitichi. In Vitichi there’s alojamiento.

• Vitichi – Khuchu Ingenio (53 kms, 32 miles): Uphill again right outside Vitichi, then up and down. Last 15 – 20 kms (9 – 12 miles) up till 3700 m (11.100 ft). There’s a hotel in Khuchu (up the hill, we discovered it the next morning), but we slept at the gasstation. Bad beds (matrasses), but with own matrasses and sleepingbags it was alright (B$10,- pp).

• Kutchu – Potosi (40 kms, 24 miles): First 14 kms (8 miles) up, to 4265 m (12.800 ft). Then 10 kms descent to 4145 m (12.400 ft) after which you go up again, to 4385 m (13.250 ft) in 10 kms (6 miles). Last kms are downhill.

• Potosi – Sucre (165 kms/ 100 miles): From the center of Potosi, you can take a sideroad which leads you back to ruta 5. This saves you from having to go uphill again. The first 40 kms is downhill, then uphill to Betanzos (100 meters/ 300 ft). After Betanzos another 10 kms (6 miles) of downhill before going up again (200 meters/ 600 ft). Then about 18 kms (11 miles) up and down and another downhill of 10 kms (6 miles) after which you go up again immediately. Another descent and climb. After Millares it goes up again, 650 meters (200 ft) in 19 kms (12 miles). Then down again and the last 10 kms to Sucre are uphill again, but very gradual. When you reach Sucre you have to go up again (steep uphill) to reach the old center.

• Sucre – Aiquille (145 kms, 85 miles): From Sucre you go up another 150 m (450 ft) (through the city), then a little descent and another 100 m (300 ft) up; a total of 12 kms (7 miles). Then downhill for about 25 kms (15 miles) and then a bit up and down, but pretty flat till km 100 (mile 60). From km 100 (mile 60) the road is unpaved and goes back up all the way to Aiquille. In total it’s 1900 m (5700 ft) ascent and 7100 ft descent. Accommodation available in Aiquille, between Sucre and Aiquille there’s no accommodation. Maybe it’s possible to sleep in a school or church, we camped.

• Aiquille – Mizque (45 kms, 27 miles): Unpaved but good road. First 10 kms (6 miles) ascent to 2460 m (7380 ft) (Aiquille on 2292 m, 6900 ft), then 16 kms (10 miles) descent to 2130 m (6400 ft). Another 4 kms (2,5 miles) uphill and the rest is downhill to Mizque. Accommodation available, we stayed in pleasant Recidencial Mizque.

• Mizque – Totora (52 kms, 31 miles): Unpaved, good but hard road. Ask in the town for directions to find the right road, there are no signs. Cross some water a few times, there are no bridges. First kms pretty flat with some hills. Then 10 kms (6 miles) ascent (400 m/ 1200 ft up), the last part is steep. Down through a nice canyon. After a little town (km 26/ mile 15) you go up again. Very steep; 6 kms (3,5 miles) with an average gradient of 10%. The last 20 kms (12 miles) are up and down with yet a few pretty steep ascents. The last bit before Totora you get on to the cobblestone road from Aiquille, but you can cycle most of it on the shoulder. There’s accommodation in Totora.

• Totora – Epizana (14 kms, 8  miles): Paved again, first you go up another 150 m (450 ft) and then back down to Epizana where you hit the road Cochabamba – Santa Cruz. There are accommodations, shops and restaurants in Epizana.

• Epizana – Cochabamba (140 kms, 84 miles): 23 kms (14 miles) up and down with long ups-and-downs. Then 32 kms (19 miles) ascent, to 3663 m (11.000 ft). Then downhill and flat to Cochabamba. There’s accommodation in Tiraque (km 70/ mile 42).

• Cochabamba – La Paz: we took the bus. Till Caracollo it’s very hard, a steep climb that never seemed to end (first to 4000 m/ 12.000 ft and then to 4500 m/ 13.500 ft). Then you’re on the altiplano and it gets flatter, but it keeps going up.

• La Paz – Copacabana (155 km/ 91 miles): From La Paz it’s a 12 km (7 mile) climb to El Alto (Autopista). Slightly downhill through El Alto. Then pretty flat/ up and down en from Huarina on steeper up and down. We camped at the marina in Huatajata (90 kms/ 58 miles). Before you reach Tiquina there’s a climb to about 4025 meters (13.000 ft) and then descent to Tiquina. There you take the ferry across. On the other side it starts climbing immediately, for about 200 meters (600 ft) and then long stretches up and down till the top at 4285 meters (12.800 ft), total of 30 kms (18 miles). Only 12 kms (7 miles) downhill to Copacabana.

• Copacabana – Puno: Hilly til the border (10 kms/ 6 miles), then flat with just a few small hills.

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