Madidi National Park

Chalalan Tour - 5 Days / 4 Nights

Madidi National Park Bolivia created Madidi National Park in 1995 in order to protect a full array of ecosystems from the high Andes to the Amazon basin. Spread over a vast wilderness of 1.8 million hectares in the northwest region, the landscapes range from cloud forest to dry tropical forest, humid lowland rainforest to savannah, and wild rivers to lakes. Ancient geological and glacial processes have shaped these landscapes, endowing the park with such exotic scenery you must see to believe! Madidi is a planetary treasure of flora and fauna. The sheer numbers of species is gigantic: 1,000 kinds of birds, 44% of mammals native to the Western Hemisphere, and 38% of amphibians, which inhabit both North and South America live here. Exciting new discoveries include a colorful titi monkey and a night roaming tree toad. Large Latin American mammals, like the jaguar, speckled bear, manned wolf, vicuña and giant otter dwell in the park. Madidi is particularly rich in native plant species, which do not grow anywhere else. One rare blue orchid has only been found five times. Potential plant species in the reserve is estimated at 5,000.

Our clients can experience Madidi National Park at Chalalan Ecolodge in the heart of the park, the new Tacuaral Lodge, a great small lodge conveniently located, on the River Tuichi, or San Miguel del Bala Lodge near the fabulous Bala Gorge out side Madidi. All destinations are reached by motorized canoe travel on Madidi Park's wild, scenic Tuichi River.

Chalalan Ecolodge One of the many communities we support as operators is the village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas, a Quechua-Tacana ethnic group. Since 1998 America Tours has been part of Chalalan´s success since we have been selling 60% of their sales year by year and since 1998 we participated on training women and men. The community of San Jose de Uchupiamonas owns and runs the Chalalan Ecolodge. The Ecolodge has been built using the philosophy of minimum impact, using local materials and traditional techniques. The design also includes the treatment of all wastewaters and the use of solar energy.

The San Jose community hopes that by participating in responsible tourism, it can be successful in the preservation of thousands of hectares of pristine rainforest that belong to them and were inherited from their ancestors. Therefore, their operations were developed under standards that respect local culture, traditions and the amazing natural surroundings.

Day 1: La Paz / Rurrenabaque

Most people prefer to fly, so a 45-minute flight to Rurrenabaque takes you over the Andean Cordillera Real. Welcome and transfer to hotel and explore this colorful town on the Beni River bank

Day 2: Rurrenabaque / Chalalan / Madidi National Park

Travel early up the Beni River in a dugout canoe, navigating the spectacular Bala Gorge. We enter the wild Tuichi River, a Madidi Park gateway and access to Chalalan. It takes about 5 hrs followed by an easy 30-min. hike from the river bank to the lodge, nestled in the rainforest on Lake Chalalan´s shore. You will have all afternoon to explore forest trails, including a stop at El Mirador, a super view of the lake and central mountain ranges of the park. After dinner, take an optional night walk or look for wildlife by canoe on the lake, such as black caimans, frogs and nocturnal birds. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Chalalan / Madidi National Park

After breakfast, take an early trek through the rainforest. You may observe macaws, guans, antbirds, trogons and other birds, as well as troops of brown capuchin and squirrel monkeys, or with more luck cross a tapir or herds of white-lipped peccaries. Our local guides will share their rich knowledge of plants and their uses, natural history and animal behavior. Back at the lodge after lunch, you might relax in a hammock, go for a lake swim or hike another Chalalan trail in search of more wildlife. After dinner, you will learn about the San Jose Community, its history, stories and traditions. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Chalalan / Madidi National Park

Today you will penetrate other rainforests further from the lodge. On trails that pass through primary rainforest, you will behold beautiful tall and columnar trees on the way to the Rayamayo and Eslabon Rivers. With some luck on this half-day hike, you will see red howler and black spider monkeys and other wildlife, as well as learn more about our rainforest ecology. After a box lunch return to the lodge, relax, and join a guide handicraft session to make traditional objects such as a chonta seed ring. Dinner is a feast, featuring "dumoquavi", traditional river catfish wrapped in leaves, a great last night! (B,L,D)

Day 5: Chalalan / Rurrenabaque / La Paz

After an early breakfast walk to the Tuichi River, where you board the boat to return to Rurrenabaque. The down-river return trip is fast, about 3 hrs. Transfer to Rurrenabaque´s airport and flight to La Paz. (B)

2016 Prices per person: Prices are available upon request.

Tour includes: 1 night accommodation in Rurrenabaque, airport transfers in Rurrenabaque, Chalalan Ecolodge 3d/2n, meals and accommodation in Chalalan, boat transport to Chalalan and local bilingual guide.

Not included: Rurrenabaque meals, sodas, alcoholic drinks, insurance, airport taxes US$ 3/person each way; Madidi National Park entrance fee US$18.00/person or Bs. 125.00 and personal expenses.

  • Luggage:
  • 1 backpack or dufflebag
  • small day pack
  • Clothes:
  • long-sleeved shirts, preferably cotton (to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the sun)
  • long cotton pants, shorts
  • T-shirts, sweater or fleece/polartec (to be prepared for a cold front)
  • windbreaker/rain poncho
  • pair of hiking boots
  • pair of sneakers
  • pair of sandals or Tevas (river crossings, casual wear around the lodge)
  • swimsuit
  • socks
  • underwear
  • sleepwear
  • casual clothes for Rurrenabaque
  • waterproof folding sun hat with brim
  • Others items:
  • binoculars, best 8x or 10x
  • camera film (ASA 50, 100 and 200 are recommended)
  • sun block
  • mosquito repellent (30% DEET -100% DEET could be too much for your skin)
  • flashlight sunglasses
  • pocket knife
  • a bandanna
  • plastic bags (for your camera in the boat and for dirty clothes)
  • a photocopy of your passport
  • water bottle
  • cigarette lighter (even if you don't smoke it will come in handy - candles, etc.)
  • bottle of aspirin and any other medications and vitamins you normally use