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Amboró National Park



Bolivian travel literature is filled with stories of travelers lost in the jungle. Some miraculously make it through, like Yossi Ghinsberg, who made it back to civilization after nine days lost along the Tuichi river in Madidi. Some were never to be seen again, such as the plucky British surveyer Col. Fawcett who apparently became lost shortly after embarking on his last quest to find the lost city of Atlantis (maybe he found it and decided to stay). Even the briefest excursion to Amboró National Park vividly demonstrates how easy it is to get lost in the wilds of Bolivia; it also explains why the intrepid and adventurous are drawn here.



Located in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia, Amboró comprises three distinct ecosystems: the Amazon River basin, the foothills of the Andes Mountains, and the Chaco desert. The small villages of Buena Vista to the north and Samaipata to the south and west are the staging areas for a variety of treks, from short one-dayers to a seventeen-day trek that traverses the entire park. Day trips cut through fern forests, heading towards condor nesting sites and secluded waterfalls. A two-day trek might include dozens of river crossings, captivating vistas of volcanic lakes, tunnel gorges, ridge walks, and field crossings—all this as the trail winds past small farms located in the managed resource portion of the park.



Fabled among birders as an avian paradise, the Amboró National Park contains more species of birds than all of North America. Even the unseasoned birder may spot condors, parrots, boa birds, and parakeets. Veteran birders will undoubtedly add to their life lists as they make their way through even a small corner of the park.



The park is also home to numerous insects, mammals including big cats such as pumas and jaguars, the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, the tapir, and reportedly more types of butterflies than any place on earth. In the area surrounding the campsite sponsored by a local community, no fewer than a dozen varieties of butterflies dip and dive around summer flowers. The elusive Blue Morpho darts among flowers in open fields and along dim forest paths.


Little wonder that even a short visit to the park may result in sensory overload. The Spanish, after all, despised it, calling it Infierno Verde or “Green Hell.” Of course, they wanted to pass through it on horseback and were quickly mired and lost going up and down gorges, hills, and canyons that lurk beneath the thick tropical and subtropical forest. In the end, the same hellish green may be what saves the park, both dissuading new settlements and attracting voyagers who relish such natural sanctuaries.

Did you like this article? Then you'll like these: Madidi National Park, Pachamama, Cal Orko, Samaipata, Tupiza, Coroico, Salar de Uyuni, Lake Titicaca and the Island of the Sun, Potosí and Authentic Rurrenabaque: Sustainable Tourism At Work.

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