Bolivia is fast earning a reputation as a world-class nature lover’s playground. Its wide array of spectacular national parks are capable of leaving even the most seasoned outdoor enthusiast in awe. Read on to discover the steamy Amazonian jungles, snow-capped glacial mountains, and remote high-altitude deserts, that form the incredible tapestry of Bolivia’s unrivaled naturaleza.
Amboro is renowned for its extremely varied climate. This 1,709 sq mi (4,425 sq km) park spans three distinct zones; the temperate Andean foothills, the dry northern Chaco, and the humid Amazon Basin. Just 24 miles (40 km) from Bolivia’s largest city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Amboro is a popular spot for Bolivians and international visitors looking to escape the big city and reconnect with nature. The park is best visited on foot with a local guide, who will point out some of the 3,000 plant species, in what is one of the most botanically rich regions in the world. Tours depart from both Santa Cruz and Samaipata.
Noel Kempff is a lush outdoor paradise hidden well off the beaten path. In fact, chartering a private plane is sometimes the only way to get there. Those who do make the journey will be greeted by some of the most pristine, untouched nature on earth. This magical place has a variety of ecosystems including Amazon rain forest, flooded savanna and wildlife rich grasslands. It is home to an impressive array of animals such as river otters, dolphins, giant armadillo and howler monkeys, to name but a few. Perhaps most spectacular of all are its majestic waterfalls, some of which are up to 260 feet (80 meters) high.
This is another great option for the outdoor adventurer who wants to veer far away from the well trodden gringo trail. Kaa Iya is a remote, semi arid national park right on the border with Paraguay. This little-visited region is not particularly impressive for its flora. Rather, it’s the animals that people come here to see – most notably the jaguar. Among the best places in the world to spot jaguars in the wild, Kaa Iya is a must for any big cat enthusiast. The park is managed entirely by local indigenous tribes and is very difficult to visit without a tour.