Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
It is a spectacular biological reserve of 1.5 million hectares located in the northeastern corner of Bolivia, with more than, in the Department of Santa Cruz. Due to its unique bio-geographical location and the rich and extraordinary diversity of species and habitats found in the park, Noel Kempff attained status as a World Heritage Site in 2000.
With an evolutionary history dating back a billion years to the pre-Cambrian period, Noel Kempff Park provides ideal conditions for the study of evolutionary processes. Its Cerrado habitats have been isolated for millions of years, enabling a rich investigation of the evolution of this ecosystem.
Nowhere else in South America can you see such a wide variety of habitat with so little effort - humid tropical rainforests, seasonally flooded savannah, Brazilian Cerrado, gallery forests, thorn scrub, dry forests, and large expanses of wetlands similar to the Pantanal areas found in Brazil. The landscapes within the park are spectacular - numerous beautiful waterfalls cascade from the Huanchaca Plateau to the humid rainforests below.
Noel Kempff is believed to contain some of the highest levels of biological diversity in the world. For example, the park currently has a bird list of over 630 species, and about 130 mammals have been identified, including abundant populations of the giant otter, river dolphins, jaguars, giant anteater, and the very rare and endangered manned wolf.
Flor de Oro
The "Flor de Oro" lodge is the canter of ecotourism in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. It is easily accessed, and offers comfortable accommodations. There are large expanses of cerrado vegetation, periodically inundated savannas, riverine forests, terra firme and igapo rainforests, oxbow lakes, semi-deciduous woodlands, and the majestic Arco Iris and Ahlfeld waterfalls of the Paucerna River
"Los Fierros" is the name given to the gateway for the large expanses of cerrado, periodically inundated savannas, terra firme and periodically flooded rainforests, semi-deciduous woodland, the savannas and gallery forests found on top of the Huanchaca Plateau, and the spectacular waterfall, El Encanto. Here you have another lodge, which gives access to the southern parts of the park.
Day 1: Santa Cruz - Los Fierros
In the morning you will be transferred from your hotel to "Km. 7" Airstrip, on the road to Samaipata. The flight will take you to the southern part of the national park until Los Fierros Lodge. Upon arrival to Los Fierros, you will spend the afternoon exploring the forests and expansive grasslands found close to the lodge. These forests have an Amazonian affinity and with regards to birds, are incredibly diverse - more than 350 bird species have been recorded within walking distance of Los Fierros alone! Plants have played an integral role in the history. Walks in always prove to be one of the more interesting educational aspects of trips to Los Fierros. Optional night hike will be offered. Night at Los Fierros (L,D)
Day 2: Los Fierros: Periodically Inundated Savannah, Terra Firme Forests, and the Caparush Plateau
The early morning will be spent traveling to the Caparush, hilly forests that are found on the way to the Caparush Plateau. The hike will take you through some excellent pristine forest and after negotiating a gradual climb, you will reach the foot of the Caparush Plateau. Visitors in excellent physical condition will have the option to continue the hike in search of the ultimate view of the surrounding forests, while those that stay back will relax while enjoying an incredible view and the sounds of a small waterfall close by. The return trip to Los Fierros will be equally exciting as the area supports an abundance of large mammals. You will have a very good chance of seeing a large cat (Jaguar and Puma are surprisingly numerous in the area!), Tapir, or Crab-eating Fox. This day promises to be one to remember! Night at Los Fierros. (B,L,D).
Note: During the wet season, due to rains, DAY 2 will be an extra day in Flor de Oro Lodge.
Day 3: Los Fierros: El Encanto Waterfall and the Savanna
After breakfast you will travel crossing the savannahs near Los Fierros on your way to visit the El Encanto Waterfall. You will have the chance to see some species that you may not have seen during the previous day and will travel the best rainforests found in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. Large and playful spider monkeys travelling in the high canopies and also herds of white-lipped and collared peccaries might be seen. This trip to El Encanto is very good for landscape photography and birding. Big raptors such as the Harpy Eagle are commonly sighted. After the drive through the savannahs and the tall forests, a nice walk under the forest will gradually take you to the El Encanto Waterfall; an 80-meter waterfall that spills over the side of the Caparush Plateau into an inviting pool of water that has formed at its base. The late afternoon will be spent returning to Los Fierrros with a planned evening arrival, giving you another opportunity to see a large cat, Tapir or the very rare Maned Wolf - an example of the many rare and endangered mammal species that thrive in the national park. Night at Los Fierros. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Transfer from Los Fierros to Flor de Oro
Your final morning in Los Fierros will take you in search of the species that may have eluded you during the previous three days. Flight to Flor de Oro Lodge. This center of ecotourism in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is located right on the banks of the Iténez River in the extreme north section of the park. Therefore, you will fly over hundreds of kilometers of pristine rainforest, as well as the magnificent Caparush Plateau with its steep cliffs and two very impressive waterfalls Ahlfeld and Arco Iris. An optional night hike will be offered. Night at Flor de Oro. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Flor de Oro and Las Torres
Oxbow Lakes, Gallery Forests, and Periodically Inundated Savannah. Your first full day in Noel Kempff Mercado will be spent exploring some of the oxbow lakes, gallery forests, and periodically inundated savannahs located near Flor de Oro. During the morning hrs you will walk through savannah and some pristine riverine forests en route to one of the bays located close to Flor de Oro where motorized boats will be waiting to take you on an expedition of the black waters of the local system of lakes and rivers; if lucky you may spot a family of Giant Otters. The afternoon will be spent traveling to the Iténez River to Las Torres, providing amazing views of the Caparush Plateau. Night at Flor de Oro. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Flor de Oro and Mirador de los Monos
This day at Noel Kempff Mercado will be completely spent further exploring the periodically inundated savannahs and tall humid tropical rainforests that lie between Flor de Oro and the Campamento Lago Caiman. More than 300 bird species have been recorded within walking distance of Flor de Oro. There are two options for this day: (1) exploring the trails during the early morning hrs and then returning to Flor de Oro in time for lunch; or (2) hiking all the way to Lago Caiman (an old scientific research station), which provides access to the Caparush Plateau. It is important to note that this is a long hike (10 hrs in total). The late afternoon may be spent once again on the rivers looking for fresh water dolphins, families of Giant Otters, or endangered Black Caiman. Night at Flor de Oro. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Noel Kempff Mercado National Park - Santa Cruz
Your final morning in Noel Kempff will take you in search of the species that may have eluded you during the previous three days spent at Flor de Oro. That means that you could be visiting any of the trails located around Los Flor de Oro in search of monkeys, before your flight back to Santa Cruz. Following an early lunch, you will depart for the city of Santa Cruz with the balance of the day for relaxing or preparing for departures later this evening or the following day. Transfer to your hotel in Santa Cruz. (B)
2017 Prices per person: Prices are available upon request.
Tour includes: transfers in/out from hotel to FAN's airport in Santa Cruz, 7d/6n in Flor de Oro Ecolodge and Los Fierros, meals, local guide, accommodation and boat transport.
Not included: entrance fee to Noel Kempff National Park ($Us 20.00 per person), airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, sodas, insurance, laundry and personal expenses.
- 1 backpack or dufflebag
- small day pack
- 2 pairs of long pants (loose, fast-drying, cotton is ideal)
- 1 light, long-sleeved cotton shirt
- 4 short-sleeve cotton shirts
- 1 pair of walking/swimming shorts
- 4 sets of underwear (cotton is best; avoid heavy synthetics)
- 6 pairs of socks (avoid heavy synthetics)
- 1 pair of sneakers or thongs for use around the lodge
- 1 waterproof folding sun hat with brim (very important for travel along the river and on top of
- the plateau)
- 1 rain poncho (if desired)
- 1 bandanna or handkerchief
- Others items:
- 1 pair of binoculars (these will prove to be one of your most important pieces of equipment)
- 1 camera, flash and film (400 speed is recommended for use under the canopy, 100 in the savanna or on top of the plateau)
- 1 flashlight for night hikes and canoe rides (plus several sets of batteries)
- 1 pocket knife
- 1 cigarette lighter (even if you don’t smoke it will come in handy - candles, etc.)
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- a photocopy of your passport
- 1 bottle of insect repellent (those with 90-100% DEET will be the most effective)
- 1 bottle of Sun block (the sun near the equator is VERY strong
- 1 water bottle (it is important to drink plenty of fluids)
- 6 large plastic bags (to protect equipment)
- 1 garbage bag (to transport wet clothes)
- Bottle of aspirin and any other medications and vitamins you normally use