Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
Located a staggering 700 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, this park lies in the far northeast corner of the Santa Cruz department and borders Brazil. The park covers an astonishing 1,523.446 hectares and varies in altitude from 100 to 750 meters above sea level. The average temperature is 25º C and the average rainfall during the wet season is 195 mm, almost six feet! In the driest month of July only 18mm of rain fall on average.
The Park’s main river is the powerful Iténez that unites with the massive Mamoré, which flows into Madera river, a main tributary of the largest river in the world, the Amazon. The Verde and Pauserna rivers develop over the Caparú mesa and form the gorgeous Fawcett waterfall, as well as the Federico Ahlfeld and Arco Iris waterfalls. The park features innumerable lakes of varying sizes, the largest being the Chaplín Lake which covers 12,500 hectares and the Bella Vista which covers a vast 19,600 hectares.
The park is a conjunction zone of several distinct biological-geographical regions such as the Amazonia to the north, Dry Subtropical forest to the south, the Brazilian Cerrado to the east, and the Chiquitano Dry Forest to the west. The park also forms part of the “Escudo Brasilero” one of the highest plateaus in the region.
Flora and Fauna
The Park contains an amazing array of wildlife and plants, some are them unique to Bolivia. This incredibly remote and inaccessible park offers visitors the chance to see what may be the most pristine Amazonian jungle left in the world. The Park boasts an estimated 4,000 species of vascular plants, 139 species of mammals (33 of which are on the endangered species list), 621 cataloged birds (21% of South America’s total bird species!), 74 species of reptiles, 62 species of amphibians, and 347 species of insects (with thousands more remaining un-classified by science).
Visitors can arrive via land or air. Via land the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitania make an ideal stop along the way. Once in the park the main ecotourist facilites are camp Flor de Oro and Los Fierros where visitors can launch off for incredible jungle tours.
Flor de Oro, located in the northern section of the park along the Iténez river, is a perfect place to linger and enjoy birdwatching or take a river trip to see the remarkable pink river dolphins. In the rainy season (November to May) the magnificent Ahlfeld and Arco Iris waterfalls make a stunning visit. In any season there are marvelous walks along trails to the camps "Las Torres" and "Lake Caiman".
About 35km from the Florida community in the south of the park visitors can explore the Caparú mesa, described in 1909 by the renowned British explorer Percy Fawcett (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle supposedly based his novel, The Lost World upon Fawcett’s description of this mesa). Tourists can enjoy fascinating views over the huge extensions of Amazonian rainforest from above the Caparú mesa, as well as a visit to the marvelous waterfall "El Encanto", an 80 meter high waterfall.
For information about tours to the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, please visit our tours section.