Villa Tunari, Cochabamba
The Tropical Area of Cochabamba is located in the center of Bolivia, in between the Andes Mountain Range and the lowlands of the Amazon. It has an enormous ecological diversity spread all across its rivers and forests. It is also a natural sanctuary for all sorts of wild animals.
There are several native tribes such as the Yaracares, Yuquis, Sirionos and Trinitarios that inhabit this area. These diverse groups of people have retained their traditional ways of life and customs.
Aside from the wealth of flora and fauna, there are rivers, lagoons and natural pools, many of which overflow and cover the lowlands, all of this combines into a spectacular landscape.
Villa Tunari (Tunari Village)
Villa Tunari has very beautiful scenery, typical of the valley, a very varied landscape that changes at every turn of the Amazon's basin. It also has many bushes covered with strange yet gorgeous flowers, ferns, exotic flowers, multi-colored butterflies, iridescent hummingbirds and thousands of beautiful birds. All of these species could be found all throughout the trip.
This area also has several natural bathing resorts, surrounded by mountains; beautiful canyons made of a reddish stone; waterfalls; natural lagoons; camping areas; hiking trails that they run thru the middle of the woods.
There are also flocks of parrots and gallitos de roca (rock roosters) besides the other wild species.
The San Francisco Port is the main starting point of the ecological tours that take visitors to some of the indigenous communities of the area. The most famous is the Wildlife Sanctuary, known as the Caverns or Caves of Repechon. It is a diurnal refuge for bats and guacharos (Guacharno: Species of nocturnal bird - Scientific name: Steatornis carpensis), both of these species guide themselves with a very sophisticated sonar system and are protected in the Carrasco National Park.
There are many other parks typically used for entertainment and adventure, such as the Marchia Park, La Jungla (The Jungle) and Los Ceibos (The Ceibos - Ceibo: A species of silk cotton tree) these are wonderful attractions for anyone who loves trees and nature in general.
This town has several natural spaces, rivers, forests, white-sand beaches which are surrounded by thick and diverse vegetation. This area is perfect for hiking and strolls along the shores of the river and through some of the paths of the region.
Other attractive places include the Vinchuta and Coni Rivers, which are surrounded by extremely thick vegetation, natural water pools and white-sand beaches. The Ene River is another area which is perfect to take baths and to go swimming, and there are additional areas that are perfect for camping.
Chimore - Old Mission of San Antonio de Papua
The name of this place comes from the Yuracare dialect, and it means "almond tree". More specifically it refers to a particular type of almond tree that produces bitter almonds - this species of tree is abundant throughout this area. In the past, and as a result of the Evangelistic missions, Chimore became the Mission of San Antonio de Papua. The entire area is famous for its natural and agro-industrial wealth.
Chimore is a region that is perfect for agricultural tourism, as well as recreational activities and adventure. It offers to all visitors hikes going across the "Senda Abecedario" (Alphabet's Trail) and "Senda III"(Third Trail). In the part of the forest where these two trail run, there is a primary forest, which has exuberant natural beauty. It has been formed by several ports, which include the following: Aurora, Cochabamba, Aroma and Chimore Ports. All of them are located on rivers that could be navigated, and they are all surrounded by lots of vegetation and paradise-like places. Some of these rivers take visitors to small towns of indigenous tribes, ruins or parks.
Here, visitors can find small ecological systems that are inhabited by different species of fish, alligators and turtles.
In the "Valle de Sacta" (Valley of Sacta) there is a latifoliated forest (forest with plants that have broad leaves), this area is dense, with very tall trees, and of great complexity and volume. This forest is considered to be one of the rarest and of greatest importance in the world. The trees in this area have an average height of 55 meters, and the volume of wood is approximately 100 to 300 cubic meters per hectar.
This is also the most important commercial port of the area. It is formed by a series of smaller towns. From this port visitors can travel by boat all the way to Trinidad, and to other smaller towns in Beni. The trip could be done in small boats called pontones (Pontoons: A type of boat that has a flat-broad deck, usually used for cargo), this boats are used to transport merchandise and cattle.
While navigating the river, visitors can observe the Original Land of the Community of the Yuracare. This is a town that has produced a great amount of artistically designed textiles, while using natural fibers. The people of this town are also famous for the manufacturing of furniture made of bamboo branches; this has been one of their main sources of income. From this town, visitors can also travel to the Original Land of the Community of the Yuqui, Bia Recuate, which is located at about an hour and a half on boat. There are several sanctuaries that protect primary forests in that area.
This town, which is located in the lowlands, is surrounded by large rivers and a large amount of vegetation. It is also a zone traditionally known for its livestock production and one of the main areas of hydrocarbons production. This is also the border line with the Department of Santa Cruz.
There is also a dirt road that leads visitors close to the Carrasco National Park, more specifically, to the town of "Tres Palcas", then travelers could continue their journey, along the road they may also encounter gigantic and multicolored macaws, Mochis (Agouti Paca), deer and reptiles.
In the surrounding areas of "Puerto Andino" (Port of the Andes), there is a town close to Entre Rios where visitors can see the primary forests. There are some additional attractions which are a little bit out of the ordinary, including the pineapple farms, cattle farms and lumber companies. There are also forests, rivers, beaches and hiking trails. During the dry seasons on the beaches of this area visitors can see nutrias or river wolves (Scientific name: contra longigaudis) and herons basking in the sun.
What to do
Observe the fauna
Contact with native groups
When to go
This area could be visited all-year-round
Vaccines against yellow fever and tetanus are required.
Visitors should bring along the following things:
First aid kit.