The Madidi National Park and Integrated Management Area are incomparably beautiful natural expanses that provide habitat to some 3,235 documented species of flora and fauna that live in harmony with indigenous tribes that maintain their ancient Amazonian traditions. Madidi´s magnificent landscapes are bordered on one side by the soaring Andes Mountains, cloud forest and trackless lowland jungle. The Madidi has the greatest biodiversity of any protected area on the planet, also due to its altitude that varies between 5,600 meters and 180 meters. The park covers an area of 18.900 km2 and beckons to nature and outdoor adventure lovers.
The Chalalán Eco-touristic Lodge, in the Madidi Park, is the oldest and best-known community-owned enterprise in Bolivia. The San José de Uchupiamonas community is made up of Tacana ethnic-origin members and some Quechua migrants who live about three hours away (by motor-boat) upriver on the banks of the Tuichi tributary, initiated this enterprise with the desire of being pioneers in community-based tourism in Bolivia.
The Ecolodge stands on the shore of the magnificent Chalalán Lagoon and combines elegance and comfort using local materials to respect the traditional building styles of our community, San José de Uchupiamonas.
Day 1: La Paz – Rurrenabaque
Flight La Paz (El Alto International Airport) - Rurrenabaque (50 mins.). The flight is a fabulous opportunity to see the Andes Mountain Range and have a panoramic view of the Amazon rivers and forests. Our staff will be waiting to transfer you from Rurrenabaque airport to the Chalalán office by bus where you will fill in the forms to enter Madidi National Park and receive information about your trip to the Ecolodge. Accommodation in a tourist class hotel (e.g. Hotel Oriental). Afternoon free in Rurrenabaque.
Day 2: Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge
06:45 Continental breakfast at hotel
07:15 A guide will pick you up at the hotel to take you to the River Beni where you will get on the boat to Chalalán. Our boats are equipped with: roof, comfy seats, life jackets, raincoats and a first-aid kit. Maximum seating room on the boat is for 10 people.
07:30 Travel by motor boat to the Chalalán Ecolodge. The trip is a great way of seeing the Bala Canyon on the River Beni and getting to the Madidi by going up the River Tuichi. On your way you’ll see different animals and get a feel for the spectacular landscape of the Bolivian Amazon. We recommend you take binoculars. The trip takes around 5½ hours during the rainy season and 6 hours in the dry season, mainly in July, August and September.
10:30 Packed lunch mid-way.
13:00 Arrival at the port of Chalalán. 25 minute walk to the Ecolodge along a wide, easy jaguar path. Welcome snack on the shores of Lake Chalalán. Our logistics staff will help you with your luggage. Settle in at your cabin or room.
14:00 Welcome lunch in Ecolodge. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.
15:45 Short walk along the Paraba path to the viewing point where you can see the beautiful landscape across Lake Chalalán, mountains and Madidi rainforest. Your guide will explain about plants used for building, hardwoods, palms and the traditional and sustainable use of natural resources. Here your guide will talk about the park, our Ecolodge and community. Return to the lake to go on a canoe ride along the shores of Lake Chalalán where you will be able to enjoy the sunset and see monkeys, birds, insects, bats, etc. Return to the Ecolodge for a snack.
19:30 Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.
20:30 Short night-time activity (1 to 2 hours). Night trip by canoe to see amphibians, nocturnal birds, fish-eating bats and caimans easily spotted because of their glowing eyes.
Day 3: Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi N.P.
7:00 Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers.)
7:30 Morning walk along the Tapacare path or another of similar length where you can see and learn about the forest and the wildlife surrounding you. Optional themes: natural interpretation of the forest, natural history, ecological processes, medicinal plants and hardwood trees, animal behavior and bird and mammal watching. Return to the lodge, have a snack.
12:30 Lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.
15:30 Short walk along one of the theme paths to learn about medicinal plants and more about personal interests. Return to the Ecolodge and choose from the following optional activities: Handicrafts, canoe trip, videos about the community and the Madidi National Park.
19:30 Traditional “dunucuabi” dinner of catfish wrapped in leaves or fish á la “tacuara” inside bamboo from the Bolivian Amazon. *This traditional dinner depends on the availability of the fish and may be offered any night during your stay.
20:30 Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path to see amphibians, reptiles, insects, tarantulas, rodents, birds and nocturnal monkeys. This is a great chance to hear the sounds of the jungle. Upon your return to the Ecolodge you can take part in a traditional Quechua – Tacana night with music and dances from the San José de Uchupiamonas community. Your guide will explain the traditions of the Uchupiamonas people. *This activity will depend on the number of guests staying at the Ecolodge and may be offered any night during your stay.
Day 4: Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz
7:00 Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room and then a short walk to the river Tuíchi to take the boat back to Rurrenabaque. The return walk along the Jaguar or Wichi path can be adjusted to take into account your interests. Please coordinate with your guide.
8:00 Return by boat to Rurrenabaque (only 3 hours). The time is subject to the availability of the boats and flight times. We recommend you stay alert during the boat trip so that you can see the animals along the way.
11:30 Arrive at Rurrenabaque. Transfer to airport and return to the city of La Paz.
All of the walks described above are rated as easy. The activities and times may change depending on the weather, the interests of our guests or other factors.
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