24-days Top 5 National Parks Trip

  • N.P. Amboró (south side), walking in subtropical area 3 days
  • N.P. Torotoro, hiking in valleys area and visit a cave 3 days
  • N.P. Madidi, tropical jungle, a mix of hiking and boating 4 days
  • N.P. Avaroa and the fantastic salt flats of Uyuni 3 days
  • N.P. Kaa Iya, safari and/or hiking 4 days

During this specially composed trip to the 5 most beautiful national parks of Bolivia you will see an enormous variety of landscapes, plants, birds and mammals.

From Santa Cruz you first visit the N.P. Amboró. The eco lodge where you will spend the night is beautifully situated between red sandstone mountains covered with subtropical forest.
Then you travel to Cochabamba to visit N.P. Torotoro. You will see valleys, the longest cave in Bolivia, a deep canyon and well-preserved dinosaur foot prints of various types of dinosaurs. Then you travel from La Paz via Rurrenabaque to the fantastic N.P. Madidi in the Bolivian Amazon. The park is known for its enormous amount of bird species (1000+) and is home to many species of mammals such as monkeys, jaguars and tapirs.
The next tour will take place on the Plateau of Bolivia. From Uyuni there is a 3-days Jeep tour on the program. The tour starts with a visit to the Salar de Uyuni, the second largest salt plain in the world. In N.P. Avaroa you will see geysers, deserts, volcanoes, coloured lakes, flamingos, llamas and vicuñas.
For the final tour you go to N.P. Kaa Iya, located in a very hot part of Bolivia, called the Gran Chaco, bordering Paraguay. Here you go looking for wildlife, the jaguar, the puma, tapirs, monkeys and other mammals and many bird species. 

Compile your own National Parks Trip.
This is an example trip; you can adjust this trip in consultation. You can stay for more days in N.P. Madidi or expand your trip with a visit to the pampas and leave out a visit to N.P. Kaa Iya.

During this trip you will travel at high altitude. To prevent you from suffering from altitude sickness, we have built the trip in such a way that your body can gradually get used to the altitude as much as possible. We advise you to read information about altitude sickness.

Route: Sa. Cruz - N.P. Amboró, Sa. Cruz - Cochabamba - N.P. Torotoro - La Paz - N.P. Madidi - La Paz - Uyuni - Salar de Uyuni & N.P. Avaroa - Uyuni - Sucre - Sa. Cruz - N.P. Kaa Iya - Sa. Cruz

Day 1: Arrival in Santa Cruz (450 m)
After arrival you can rest from your journey and get an impression of the city centre with its cosy Plaza. In the Manzana I you can view a temporary exhibition of art.
Stay overnight in Sa. Cruz.

Day 2: Santa Cruz - El Refugio Los Volcanes, N.P. Amboró (900 m)
You travel in about 2 hrs. to the beautifully situated nature reserve El Refugio Los Volcanes, on the border of N.P. Amboró. The lodge is surrounded by red sandstone mountains and dense subtropical forest. You can go hiking here with a local, Spanish speaking companion and explore the beautiful nature. A small river meanders through the reserve and you can take a refreshing bath at the waterfalls. Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in the eco lodge.


Day 3: El Refugio Los Volcanes, N.P. Amboró (900 m)

When you wake up in the Ecolodge you are surrounded by the sounds of nature. You have whole day in El Refugio to go hiking. There are several paths you can choose from. There are hammocks in the lodge, so you can also relax for a while. Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in the eco lodge.

Day 4: El Refugio Los Volcanes - Santa Cruz (450 m)
In the morning there is time again to take a nice walk and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

In the summer months there is also a huge variety of butterflies and insects.

After lunch you will be picked up at the exit of El Refugio and you will travel back to Santa Cruz.
Today lunch is included. Stay overnight in Sa. Cruz.


Day 5: Santa Cruz - Cochabamba (2,550 m)

After a short flight you arrive in Cochabamba. Here you can explore the city centre or go to the statue of Christ from where you will have beautiful views of the city. If you like markets, you can indulge yourself in the huge La Cancha market. Cochabamba is a student city and has a fascinating nightlife. Stay overnight in Cochabamba.

Day 6: Cochabamba - N.P. Torotoro (2,000 - 3,500 m)
During the 4 to 5 hours car trip over mountains and through valleys to Torotoro, the landscape constantly changes. After arrival in the town of Torotoro (2,675 m) you will move into the hotel and you will have lunch. Then the first challenge awaits, called Umajalanta. This is one of the deepest caves in Bolivia, of which only 7 km have been discovered. During the walk to the cave you can admire the first spectacular footprints of dinosaurs. The circuit that you will cover in the cave is approx. 350 m. That does not look like much, but you have to descend 180 m. To enter and leave the cave you will use a rope. You will also have to crawl to get through a few narrow spaces. You will be provided with a helmet and a head lamp. Inside the cave you will be able to admire a beautiful spectacle that will stay with you for a long time. There are spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as an endemic blind fish species.
Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in Torotoro.

Day 7: N.P. Torotoro (2,000 - 3,500 m)
Today, a visit to Ciudad Itas, the stone city, is on the program. After about 1½ hours driving with beautiful views of the Torotoro valley you reach the starting point of your walk.
You will see interesting rock formations and caves, including some with rock paintings, formed by water erosion millions of years ago. It will make a physically strenuous effort that will certainly be rewarded when you have an excellent view over the entire park with its valley, canyons and mountain ridges. You also have a good chance to spot a condor or see a vizcacha. On the way back to Torotoro you will visit the area that is exposed to the natural elements called Carreras Pampa. The short walk here is easy and here you can also admire footprints of dinosaurs.
Today, a pack lunch and dinner are included. Stay overnight in Torotoro.


Day 8: N.P. Torotoro - Cochabamba (2,550 m)

After having seen a large number of huge footprints of carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaur species just outside the village, you start your hike to the Torotoro canyon. A fantastic walk over by erosion flattened stones and rocks and with spectacular views of the canyon. Along the way you can see even more dinosaur tracks. Through a naturally formed stone bridge you come to a lookout point above the canyon from where you have a fantastic view. This is where the red-headed macaw that is threatened with extinction lives, and the condor can often be seen as well. A bit further you descent hundreds of steps to the bottom of the canyon to visit the waterfall El Vergel. Once you have arrived at the waterfall, you will probably not be able to resist the chance of a refreshing bath in the crystal-clear water that is supplied by underground caves. You will have to go up the same steps to cover the last part of your walk. You return to Torotoro and then the return trip to Cochabamba starts. Today lunch is included. Stay overnight in Cochabamba.

Day 9: Cochabamba - La Paz (3,650 m)
After a short morning flight with spectacular views of the majestic mountains of the Cordillera Real, you arrive in the government city of La Paz. The rest of the day you can explore this fascinating city full of contrasts: rich, poor, modern, traditional, old, new, high, low, all mixed up. You can take a look at some small museums on Calle Jaén, take the cable car to El Alto, go see the articles offered on the witches' market or visit the Coca Museum.
Stay overnight in La Paz.


Day 10: La Paz - Rurrenabaque - N.P. Madidi (250 m)

A spectacular flight of only half an hour brings you from La Paz along mountain peaks of more than 6,000 m high and over N.P. Madidi to tropical Rurrenabaque. Here begins your 4-days tour to the jungle of N.P. Madidi. The park of almost 19,000 km² is with, among others, the N.P. Apolobamba and Peru's Manu Biosphere Reserve one of the largest protected areas in the world. Because the park is wedged between the high Andes mountains and Amazon rivers, biodiversity is immense. The flora is abundant with 20,000 plant species, and the fauna has more than 250 mammal species, 1250+ bird species, more than 400 amphibians and reptiles, almost 500 fish species and 120,000+ insect species. In short, you are in a paradise.

After arrival in Rurrenabaque you go to the Beni river and sail by boat to the Chalalán Eco Lodge in N.P. Madidi. The trip on the Beni and Tuíchi rivers takes about five and a half hours. Along the way you get a lunch (package). The boat moors in the harbour of Chalalán and you take a walk of about 25 minutes through the jungle to the eco lodge. In the afternoon, you can go out for a walk in the area. From a vantage point you have a beautiful view of a lake, the mountains and the impressive tropical rainforest of Madidi. By canoe you sail along the shores of the lake to spot birds and monkeys. You get an explanation about the use of hardwood and animal life. After dinner you can take an evening walk to see nocturnal creatures, such as frogs, snakes, spiders, moths and other insects. Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in the eco lodge.


Day 11: N.P. Madidi (250 m)

After breakfast you will depart for an interpretation walk on theme paths. You return to the eco lodge for lunch. Then you have time to rest or swim in the lake before you make another walk in the area. In the evening after dinner you can go in a canoe on the lake to see amphibians, night birds and the glistening eyes of alligators.
Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in the eco lodge.

 

Day 12: N.P. Madidi (250 m)
You make a full day walk to the rivers Rayamayo and Eslabón where you can fish.
Along the way you may see spider monkeys, deer, wild boar, tapirs and perhaps a jaguar.
You can use your pack lunch on the banks of the river. You walk along the river bank to see insects and birds. Then you return to the eco lodge. You can go by canoe along the shores of the lake to see birds, monkeys and the tropical vanilla plant.
In the evening you will enjoy a dinner with typical fish dishes and folkloristic music and dance.
Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in the eco lodge.

 


Day 13: N.P. Madidi - La Paz (3,600 m)

On the last day of the tour you will have breakfast early, then walk to the little harbour of Chalalán on the Tuíchi River. By boat you will return to Rurrenabaque. On the way you will certainly see many bird species again. Then you will be taken to the airport for your flight to La Paz. Today lunch is included. Stay overnight in La Paz.

Day 14: La Paz - Uyuni (3,600 m)
You have a day at leisure in the cultural metropolis. You can make it a relaxing day or visit one of the museums. You can also visit the Moon Valley, an eroded landscape that contains the largest hummingbird in the world. In the evening you fly from La Paz to Uyuni. Stay overnight in Uyuni. (You can also take the night bus, then you will stay overnight on the bus.)

Day 15: Uyuni - Salt flats of Uyuni - Tahua (3,600 m)
You will depart around ten on this wonderful tour through the Salar the Uyuni.
First you will visit the Train Cemetery, and then Colchani, where handicrafts made of salt can be seen, as well as the process of making domestic salt, and the Salt Museum.
Then you will enter the salt flats and you will see Ojos del Salar; here bubbling gases escape from underneath the salt flat, the Salt Hotel and Incahuasi, where you can go for a short walk to observe giant cacti and volcanic rocks.
You will spend the night in Tayka Hotel de Sal (Salt Hotel) in Tahua. Lunch and dinner are included today.


Day 16: Tahua - Ojo de Perdiz (4,600 m)
You cross the immense salt flats, extending in all directions as far as the eye can see. You can walk up the Tunupa Volcano to one of the viewpoints from which you will have an excellent view over the salt flats.
After that you will visit the archaeological site of Chullpares, pre-Inca mummies, in Coquesa. Just outside the village you might spot lamas and maybe also flamingos.
You will cross the salt flats one more time and you will visit the caves Cueva del Diablo and Galaxy Cristal.
Than you will travel through the Salar de Chiguana to reach a viewpoint from where you will have a splendid view at the semi-active Ollagüe Volcano.
The journey continues driving through the Silolí Desert and you will get to see Cañapa Lagoon, Hedionda Lagoon and Chiarkota Lagoon. You will end the day in Ojo de Perdíz, where you will spend the night in Tayka Hotel del Desierto.

  Day 17: Ojo de Perdiz - N.P. Avaroa - Uyuni (3,600 m)
The departure of today will be very early. On your way to visit Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) you will pass the Stone Tree; a rock formation of over eight meters high.
After seeing Laguna Colorada your next stop will be at the geyser Sol de Mañana, and a bit later on you will have the opportunity to warm up when you take a bath in the natural thermal water of the hot springs (Polques).
The journey goes on through the Salvador Dalí Desert and you will arrive at Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) with the close by Licancabur Volcano, and next you will see Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon).
On the way back to Uyuni you will visit Villa Mar, the Valley of the Rocks and San Cristóbal.
It will be a tiring but beautiful day. If you have more time available you can consider adding an extra day and dividing the program in two days. Then you spend the night in Villa Mar.
Today lunch is included. Stay overnight in Uyuni.


Day 18: Uyuni - Sucre (2,750 m)
In the morning you take the bus via Potosí to Sucre, the beautiful capital of Bolivia where you arrive at the end of the afternoon. Stay overnight in Sucre.

Day 19: Sucre - Santa Cruz (450 m)
You have most of the day time at leisure in Sucre. You can walk through the beautiful colonial city centre and enjoy the beautiful white buildings and churches or visit the largest local market of Sucre, the Mercado Campesino, or visit the ASUR textile museum. At the end of the afternoon or in the evening your flight to Santa Cruz is planned. If this day falls on Sunday and the flight schedule allows it you can make an excursion to the famous traditional Sunday market of Tarabuco. From surrounding villages people come here to buy and sell merchandise and you can find beautiful souvenirs. If you want to be more active, you can take a walk on an Inca path. 

 Day 20: Santa Cruz - N.P. Kaa Iya (200 - 500 m)
What you need to know in advance:
* It can be extremely hot, temperatures above 40° C are normal.
* In addition to large mammals and birds, there are also many mosquitoes and small stinging flies (polvorines). You will not leave the park without insect bites.
* It is mandatory to bring a park ranger.
* The meals in the camp are very basic.
* You will spend the night in a tent, if possible and available we try to arrange a room.
* The travel to and from the park is long.
If you take these things into account, it is certainly worthwhile to go there and you will greatly enjoy the fantastic experience of being in the park. The national park Kaa Iya with an area of ​​3.441.115 ha. is located in the Gran Chaco, and is the largest national park in Bolivia. It is a unique area where you have a reasonable chance to spot the jaguar, the puma, the tapir, monkeys and other mammals.


The tour starts from Sa. Cruz, you will have the opportunity to buy some more in a supermarket before you start your journey to San José. In N.P. Kaa Iya and in the camp you cannot buy anything. Once you are out of the city you will enjoy the lowland landscape. After 4 driving hours you arrive in the Jesuit Mission San José de Chiquitos. After that it will take about 3 hours before you arrive at the camp in the park. During this part of the ride you can see animals that also live in the park. The same evening, if you still feel like it, you can make your first trip to spot animals. Depending on your preference, you can also travel by car or on foot.
Lunch and dinner are included today. Stay overnight in a tent in the park.

Day 21: N.P. Kaa Iya
In the coming days, every day, in good consultation with your guide and the park ranger, you can go on a discovery trip with your guide and park ranger in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. Whether by car or on foot, to use as many opportunities as possible to see the jaguar or your favourite animal species living in the park. During our 5-day inspection tour, we recorded more than 100 bird species. Between the excursions you have the opportunity to rest and relax. Lunch and dinner are included today. Overnight in a tent in the park.

 

Day 22: N.P. Kaa Iya
Another full day in the national park. In consultation with your guide and the park ranger, you compile the program for today. The park ranger often has good information about where animals were spotted for the last time and that can help with planning the day and finding the animals. Lunch and dinner are included today. Overnight in a tent in the park.

Day 23: N.P. Kaa Iya - Santa Cruz
In consultation with your guide you can make a short final ride or walk in the national park in the early hours before starting the drive back to Santa Cruz. Today lunch is included. Overnight in Sa. Cruz.


Day 24: End of journey - return flight

Your beautiful varied National Parks Travel is over. You will be picked up and taken to the international airport for your return flight home.