The Amazon is widely regarded for its lush vegetation, complex biodiversity, vibrant colors, and hidden secrets. This magical landscape is one with many wonders, some out in the open ready to take your breath away while others merely visible to the keen and patient eye.
This is Amboró, this is Bolivia's Amazon!
Lush, vibrant, pristine, magical
Where, geography, flora, fauna
Located to the west of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, this national park makes up part of what is Bolivia's amazon. At 4,425 square kilometers in size, this area is home to 912 species of birds and 177 mammalian species but more on that later. Being a national park, the area is protected from human settlements, mining, logging and hunting but incidents violating these protections are a common occurrence. Elevation can vary from a low of 300 meters above sea level to as high as 3,338 meters in the western region known as Siberia. This great variation of elevation in such a relatively small area gives Amboró its very diverse flora and fauna.
"The landscape is sprinkled with all colors from the deep blue sky, rich browns and reds of the soil, & vibrant greens of the dense vegetation"
Some birds found in this area include the Harpy eagle, the largest bird of prey in the world, the helmeted currasow and the military macaw.
Mammals include the giant ant eater, jaguar, puma, ocelot and a very rare species of bear called the spectacled bear.
Weather and when to go?
Summer spans from August to the January and is when you the amazon's high heat and humidity can be felt. However, the best time to visit will definitely be during the slightly cooler and drier months of March through June. The weather will be much more tolerable and much less humid given that humidity levels in the amazon car reach 80-90% in saturation in the summer and as high as 77% in the dry season.
Mosquito repellent is highly recommended along with proper attire including quick drying pants, waterproof jackets and footwear as you can expect to cross rivers, creeks and trek through muddy undergrowth.
While challenging, your treks will reward you with unparalleled beauty that the amazon has to offer. While visiting be sure to visit Mataracu where, if lucky and patient, you can spot the giant sloth, go fish and kayak on the Cajones del Ichilo river, horseback ride in Chonta Carones, cool down in the in the Jardin de las Delicias waterfall and much more!
Tours are only offered by certified guides and park rangers and in the city of Samaipata and Buena vista you will find plenty of tour operators who can arrange the tours.
The tours run at about $100 per person for a 2 day and night tour that includes all accommodations, food, park entrances and transportation, not bad at all! With the tours being so affordable, it is highly recommended that you tip your guides and hosts!
The fight for the amazon
"At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rain forest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity."
Unfortunately, the amazon has been under ever increasing encroachment and devastation for its land, timber, and exotic animals. It was pretty surreal to see first hand how land that was once covered with dense vegetation, towering trees which provide a canopy for the diverse wildlife underneath it were no more. Instead only bare land remained that was cleared for livestock and its trees cut down by illegal loggers. It is estimated that about 18 millions acres of pristine amazon are lost every year!
While most of us are not in the amazon to directly protect it, there are steps we can take to minimize our impact on our environment. One of the main ways to reduce our footprint is by way of managing our buying power. Demand for products that have disastrous effects on our ecosystem is the driving force that incentives the suppliers and propagates illegal activities. We can strive to be mindful about the products we use. For instance, switching to recycled and manufactured furniture, using recycled paper products, consuming less beef and opting for palm oil free products which is behind the mass clearing and burning down of rain forests all over the world which leave Orangutans and other species dead or with no where to go. Support the companies and industries that support and care for our environment. This is and will be the driving force for a change for the better in our economies and more importantly, our world.
Alone we cannot do everything but collectively, we can accomplish a whole lot.