How to Hike to Maragua Crater

At the heart of Bolivia lies one of the most impressive geological formations, the Maragua Crater. This enormous crater was created over thousands of years by erosion. And believe it or not but you can, actually, see the different layers of rock. So, how do you get to this wonder? Of course, you could take a day trip but, if you’re up for an adventure, the hiking to Maragua Crater is for you. This epic three-day hike will take you through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Bolivia. You’ll pass villages where very few tourists have ever ventured, visit dinosaur footprint excavation sites, and walk an ancient Incan Trail. In fact, the hike to Maragua Crater is one of the best things to do in Sucre. And to help you plan your trip I’ve put together a complete guide. It has everything you need to guarantee an amazing adventure.

Large Dinosaur Footprint on the Hike to Maragua Crater in BoliviaPin
Dinosaur Footprint!

Table of Contents

Do You Need a Guide to Hike to Maragua Crater?

The hike to Maragua Crater passes through remote sections of central Bolivia where locals only speak Quechua. Not only that but there are so many trails, it’s impossible to know which one you should take. Even maps.me doesn’t have the complete trail. This combined with the fact that there are no signs means it’s easy to get lost.

There are stories of hikers who managed to find their way, but not without getting lost or having to do a significant amount of road walking. So, taking a guide is the easiest and safest option.

The Best Maragua Crater Tour

There are not a lot of options when it comes to tour companies. I decided to go with Condor Trekkers because they are the most well-known in Sucre and they responded to all of my questions. In fact, I can’t say enough good things about this agency. The guides are excellent, the hike was fantastic, and it was the experience of a lifetime.

Practical Information

Location: The hike starts Chataquila and ends in Potolo. But, with Condor Trekkers you’ll meet at Condor Café (102 Calvo, Sucre, Bolivia) and travel to Chataquila with your guide.

Distance: 34 kilometers (21.2 miles)

Time: 3 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Signage: There are no signs and maps.me only has sections of the hike recorded.

Terrain: The trail is a footpath made of dirt, rocks, and sand. There are flat sections as well as rolling hills.

Elevation: Lowest point – 2500 meters (8202 ft.), Highest point – 3000 meters (9842 ft.).

Accommodation: There are hiker huts for Condor Trekkers. Showers and toilets are also available. If you decide to hike alone, be aware that wild camping is not appreciated.

Resupply points: In Maragua Crater there are a few local shops selling snacks. Otherwise, Condor Trekkers provide three large vegetarian meals per day.

Interesting fact: In fact, Condor Trekkers provide a vegetarian cooking course for all their guides. Their goal is to promote sustainable tourism while giving back to the community. So, it’s a win-win!

Water: Filtered and/or boiled water is provided every day by Condor Trekkers.

Electricity: There is some electricity in the villages where you will be staying, but don’t rely on it.

When to Go: The hike to Maragua Crater can be done from April to October. This is Bolivia’s dry season and the best time to hike.

Cost:

  • Condor Trekkers offer several hikes to Maragua Crater. A 4-day trek costs 800 BOB ($117 USD). A three-day trek costs 650 BOB ($95 USD). And a two-day trek costs 550 BOB ($80 USD). All meals are included. The three-day trek is the best option, and that’s what I did.
  • Maragua Crater Entrance Fee: 10 BOB ($1.50 USD)
  • Dinosaur Footprint Entrance Fee: 10 BOB ($1.50 USD)

Hiking Itinerary for Maragua Crater

Maragua Crater Hike – Day 1

Stunning Landscapes on the Hike to Maragua Crater in BoliviaPin
Beautiful Landscapes

Total Distance: 15.7 kilometers (9.8 miles)

7:00 am – Meet outside Condor Café, where you’ll be greeted by your guide and fellow hikers.

7:15 am to 9:00 am – From here you’ll take a van to Chataquila where you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast and pay your respects to Mother Earth.

9:00 am to 4:00 pm – The hike begins behind the stone chapel along a stone path that was once used by the Incas. The trail slowly descends, and, as it turns to turns to dirt, you’ll arrive at your first viewpoint. Here the vast mountainous landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see and are a glimpse of what is to come. The dirt trail continues, winding through small villages and mountains painted in hues of blue, green, and red. At mid-day, you’ll have lunch at another viewpoint that is even more breathtaking than the first. Afterward, you’ll continue hiking until you reach the entrance of Maragua Crater. This is where you’ll be spending the night, but before heading to your abode, you’ll do a little more hiking. You’ll walk around the crater, taking in the views, and visit some impressive rock formations, like the Devil’s Throat.

5:00 pm – Your guide will prepare dinner and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the town. Showers are available if needed.

Maragua Crater Hike – Day 2

Dinosaur Footprints Observed on the Hike to Maragua Crater in BoliviaPin
More Dinosaur Footprints!

Total Distance: 18.3 kilometers (11.4 miles)

5:00 am to 6:00 am– You’ll wake up before sunrise and eat breakfast prepared by your guide.

6:00 am to 3:00 pm – Then you’ll make your way out of Maragua Crater. It’s a steep uphill climb, so get ready for an early morning workout. At the top, you’ll have one last view over the crater before heading to the dinosaur footprints site in Ninu Mayu. It’s a few hours to the excavation site and the terrain is a continuous series of rolling hills. But it’s worth it. These dinosaur footprints have been perfectly preserved and they are without a doubt some of the most impressive. After an hour at the site, you’ll have a steep climb before descending into another small village, where you’ll have lunch. From here, it’s no more than two hours to Potolo. Make sure to have your camera ready, the remote landscapes on this part of the hike are jaw-dropping.

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – In Potolo, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the village before dinner. Make sure to head to the main square to catch a glimpse of daily life in this small town. You’ll find the locals are warm-hearted locals and the vibe is even more relaxed than Sucre.

Maragua Crater Hike – Day 3

7:00 am to 12:00 pm – After a wonderful night’s rest, you’ll take the bus back to Sucre.

Some guides organize a final lunch with the group. If you’re up for it, definitely, suggest it!

Packing List

Check out my ultimate hiking gear checklist for the specifics of each item listed below.

Hiking Gear

  • Backpack (40-50 Liters) – check out my guide on choosing the right backpack.
  • First Aid Kit (Band-Aids, disinfectant, and pills (ibuprofen, anti-nausea, and anti-diarrhea))
  • Water Bladder/Bottle (3 Liters)
  • Dry Bags (or rain cover for your backpack)
  • Trekking Poles

Clothing

  • Trail Runners (Hiking boots are not necessary)
  • Quick-dry T-shirt (2x)
  • Standard Hiking Pants (x1)
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Warm Hat
  • Warm Fleece
  • Gloves
  • Thermals
  • Hiking Socks (2x)
  • Underwear (2x)

Personal Hygiene Items

  • Wet Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Extra Contacts and Contact Solution
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Face/body soap

Electronics

  • Phone (with maps.me downloaded)
  • Camera Gear
  • External Battery
  • Head Lamp

Food

Snacks: trail mix of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate

Tips for Hiking to Maragua Crater

  1. Pack light. You will need to help your guide carry food.
  2. Bring extra layers. During the day, temperatures soar, but then, at sunset, it plummets.
  3. Be aware of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness occurs when you go from sea level to elevations over 2500 meters (8202 ft.). Symptoms range from a throbbing headache to extreme nausea. Since you will hike higher than 3000 meters (9842 ft.), you should be acclimatized beforehand.
  4. Waterproof everything. When it rains, it rains. You can line your backpack with trash bags if you don’t have waterproof gear.
  5. Avoid taking photos of the locals. It’s considered offensive. Don’t be disrespectful.
  6. Leave no trace. What you take in, take out.
  7. Bring extra cash for the entrance fees to Maragua Crater and the dinosaur footprints.

The hike to Maragua Crater was one of the first guided hikes that I enjoyed. The guides are knowledgeable, the landscapes are magnificent, and the food is outstanding. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is an absolute must if you’re in Bolivia. So, use this guide to help plan your hike!


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    • Yeah, it was really cool to see them in person. I’m quite surprised they were so many! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂