Have you visited Madidi National Park? Experiencing the magical sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest, the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystem, is on almost every traveler’s bucket list. The Amazon basin spans several countries, with the majority of it located in Brazil, but sections also located in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Each country has beautiful and unique jungle areas that are worth visiting, so you may be wondering where the best place to plan a trip is. Allow PowerPAc plus to argue for Bolivia and its crown jewel, Madidi National Park.
How do you understand about this park
Madidi National Park is a national park in Bolivia’s upper Amazon river basin. Madidi was established in 1995 and has an area of 18,958 square kilometers. It is part of one of the world’s largest protected areas, along with the nearby protected (though not necessarily contiguous) areas Manuripi-Heath, Apolobamba, and (across the border in Peru) the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
Madidi’s weather varies greatly due to the park’s complex topography, ranging from cold and blustery in the alpine regions to hot and humid in the northern lowlands. Madidi has two seasons:
- Rainy season (summer) from November to March
- Dry season (winter) from April to October
Most visitors spend the majority of their time in the tropical lowlands, where the weather is hot and humid all year. The temperature usually ranges from 25oC to 33oC, except in June and July when Arctic winds can cause temperatures to drop by 7 to 10°C. Because it is a rainforest, the park receives a lot of rain, averaging between 800mm and 4000mm of rain per year. The dry season is the best time to visit the park. Despite the cooler weather, this is the time of year when most of the park’s wildlife is drawn to the river, trails are less muddy, and mosquitoes are less active. Travelers should be aware that activities and flights are limited between December and March.
Madidi National Park is the most biodiverse nature reserve on the planet. It has cloud forests, lowland jungle, rivers, streams, and swamps and covers an impressive 19000 square kilometers (about 7336 square miles). There are even glaciers there. This Bolivian national reserve is home to over 8000 species. The Madidi covers 1.8 million hectares, or less than 0.0037 percent of the planet’s surface, but it is home to 3% of the world’s plants, nearly 4% of vertebrates, and 9% of the world’s birds, according to data from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Life in Madidi National Park
It is home to 46 indigenous communities representing six distinct tribes. The Quechua and Aymara groups of Bolivia’s Andean highlands have been migrating to the Madidi region for the last 50 years, competing with native lowland tribes such as the Chamas, Maropas, Chimanes, and Tacanas who have lived in the park’s south and southeast regions for the past three centuries. While the majority of Madid’s indigenous communities continue to practice ancient Amazonian traditions, tribes are increasingly combining their traditional way of life with modern technologies.
Many locals now make a living from Madidi’s expanding ecotourism as well as small commercial ventures like handicrafts, fishing, and agriculture. Living in harmony with the environment on which they rely, indigenous communities use their earnings not only to improve their living conditions, but also to ensure a sustainable future, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable nature of Bolivia’s Amazon.
Plant and wildlife
Madidi National Park, known for its diverse flora and fauna, is a must-see for botanists and animal lovers alike. The park is an ecological marvel, with thousands of species of birds, insects, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as over 20,000 plant species. Jaguars, sloths, vicuas, pumas, spectacled bears, pink river dolphins, and the newly discovered titi monkey are just a few of the animals that can be found within the jungle’s green walls.
The park also serves as a haven for a sizable portion of Bolivia’s avifauna. Madidi is estimated to have 1100 bird species, accounting for 11% of all species worldwide. Cruising along the muddy riverbanks of the Tuichi River is one of the best ways to experience Madid’s wildlife. Many animals emerge from the dense forest along the lake’s shores to drink and feed, making it an ideal location to see turtles, catfish, giant river otters, capybaras, macaws, and monkeys.
A night walk through the jungle is another excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing, as you can see the park’s nocturnal creatures. Madidi is also an excellent place to learn about the Amazon’s diverse medicinal plants, as well as traditional and sustainable uses of its natural resources. With so many new species being discovered each year, it’s no surprise that Madidi National Park is a popular destination for the world’s top biologists, entomologists, and researchers.
What Makes Madidi National Park Unique?
Madidi and its surrounding parks are among the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Some experts believe it is the most biologically diverse place on the planet, but this is still debatable. What is undeniable is that Madidi National Park is home to over 8,000 vascular plant species, and those are just the ones we know about so far. Madidi is home to more than 270 species of mammals, 200 reptile species, 210 amphibian species, and over 120,000 insect species. Madidi is thought to have more birds, butterflies, plants, and mammals than any other park or protected area on the planet.
Sloths, pumas, pink dolphins, jaguars, spectacled bears, and possibly even a Madidi titi monkey may be seen on a trip to Madidi (a species of titi monkey recently discovered in Madidi). There are also over 1,250 bird species in the park, which accounts for about 14% of the world’s total bird species. Madidi National Park also serves as a home to 46 indigenous communities. These communities are made up of six different tribes, including the voluntarily isolated Toromona. Many of these communities still practice traditional ways of life and have a strong connection to the land.
How to get to Madidi Park
The way to access the Madidi National Park is from the city of Rurrenabaque. From this city you can navigate the Beni River and the Tuíchi River.
From La Paz: a 40 minute flight across snow capped mountains into the green Amazon.
From Santa Cruz: a 1 hour flight leaving 4 times daily.
We do not recommend trying to reach Rurrenabaque by bus. The roads are in a bad condition and can easily be swept away by floods.
Tours in the Madidi National Park
There are several options for excursions and tours.
- Full day excursion
One-day tours from Rurrenabaque are ideal for those with limited time and include river navigation and entry into the Madidi, lunch, and a hike. The advantage is that it is less expensive than sleeping in a park. However, the majority of the excursion’s time is spent traveling to and from the park.
- Multi-day tours
These tours include spending one or more nights in a park enclosure or lodging, as well as meals. They allow you to go for longer walks and get to places that are further away. Nighttime activities are also planned to observe nocturnal animals.
The scenery appears to be amazing and a perfect picturesque location, but behind the scenes, this place is home to some of the most poisonous and aggressive fauna in the world. Contact with any of the plants growing in this park can result in severe itching, rash, and dizziness. Tropical parasites can infect any cut or wound, no matter how small.