General – The road is nearly all graded and paved. It is two hours from Conani to Quime as of December 15, 2011. Blockades practically never effect Quime.
The road to Quime starts in Conani. From Conani it crosses over the high altiplano passing the villages of Puchuni, Tablachaca and Caxata. It passes deep canyons on the left and in about an hour finally reaches the summit of the Tres Cruces Pass, at well over 5000 m. in altitude. From the Tres Cruces pass it drops steeply for about an hour, reaching Quime, which is at 3000 m altitude.
Along the Road – Puchuni
About a half hour after leaving Conani you will be crossing a large, flattish plain and arrive at a village called Puchuni where, on the left you will see the head of the Grand Canyon of the Sapahaqui… rather reminiscent of what La paz valley looked like before anything was built in it.
The geological story is that much of this area was covered in an extensive lake behind glaciers which covered the Illamani and Tres Cruces mountain ranges. The glaciers melted and, in the sort of geological things that still happen in Alaska, the giant lake broke through and drained out into the Beni, in one fell swoop… leaving massive amounts of debri hundreds of miles from its source near Puchuni.
Along the Road – Tres Cruces to Quime
The Tres Cruces Pass marks the area (to your left about 5 km from the pass) of the southernmost tropical glacier in South America. Over the past ten years this has mostly melted, as have many of the more than 100 glaciers in the Cordillera de Quimsa Cruz. The Andes at this spot make an almost 90 degree bend making the canyon which leads to Quime one of the steepest in the world. It takes about 40 km to make the 9 km horizontal distance to Quime. What this means to the visitor is that it is one of the most spectacular roads in the world (a fact confirmed by many of my guests).