World Heritage: Noel Kempff National Park

Program of 4 días to the National Park, departure from Santa Cruz by small airplane to Lodge Los Fierros at the southern part of the park.
Catarata Federico Algfed

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is a biological reserve located in the northeastern corner of Bolivia, sharing an international border on the north an east with Brazil.  The park is situated in an ecological transition zone that bridges the rich, wet Amazon Basin from the north and the drier ecological communities of the Gran Chaco and Cerrado to the south and west.  As a result of its remote and unique biogeographic location, the relatively unstudied 3.8 million acres of Noel Kempff are believed to contain some of the highest levels of biological diversity found in the world.

The most outstanding physical feature of the park is the Huanchaca Plateau, a Precambrian sandstone escarpment which represents the southern most limit of the Amazon rainforest.  The plateau rises abruptly from the thick, wet rain forests approximately 1,800 feet to an elevated plain of grasslands and dry Cerrado forests, which are similar in appearance and structure to the savannas found in Africa.  The Huanchaca Plateau is drained by numerous perennial rivers which flow over the plateau, giving rise to more than 20 spectacular waterfalls.  In combination with its waterfalls, this unique formation framed by the rugged backdrop of mesas, rivers, and dense forests has blessed Noel Kempff with some of the most awe inspiring scenery found in Latin America.  The impressive size and landscape of Noel Kempff is matched only by the flora and fauna found within its borders.

The wide range of habitats and geologic formations found in Noel Kempff has resulted in an extremely high diversity of bird species residing within the park.  To date a total of 613 bird species have been identified.  However, experts estimate than once a comprehensive bird study of the entire park is completed; more than 700 species of resident and migratory birds will be recorded.  This translates into one fourth of all existing bird species in the Neotropics!  Without a doubt, the avifauna is one of the parks main attractions.  With little effort, one can sight and hear many species:  from small hummingbirds to harpy eagles, toucans, macaws, over 20 species of parrots, multicolored tanagers, and at least 7 species of cracids, a group with many threatened species throughout the Neotropics.  Other species of special interest include the Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Red-necked Aracari, Black-girdled Barbet, Flame-rested Manakin, Black and tawny Seedeater, and the Yellow-billed Blue Finch.

There is also an incredible rich fauna found within the parks borders which is indicated by the frequent sighting of large mammals during hikes into the parks savannas and forests or while traveling along the extensive river and lagoon systems.  An extensive species list of over 150 mammals includes such notable species as the South American Tapir, Capybara, Jaguar, Spider Monkey, Black Howler Monkey, Silvery Marmoset, Bush Dog, Giant Armadillo, the rare Maned Wolf, and a number of cat species including the Margay, Jaguarundi, and Ocelot.  The rivers are equally as rich with common sightings of freshwater dolphins (pink and gray variations), Giant Otters, and both Spectacled and the endangered Black Caiman.


There are two comfortable lodges in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park; one is Flor de Oro in the northern part and the other is Los Fierros in the south.  Also available is an extension of two days in the Huanchaca Plateau.  Another thing bear in mind is that there are two seasons, with their own programs.

- “wet season” from November to May.

- “dry season” from May to November.

There are many programs available depending in the time of the year, a practical one any time of the year is this Flor de Oro (4 Days/3 Nights):


Charter flight to Flor de Oro, over pristine rainforest and Caparu Plateau with its red cliffs and waterfalls.  Afternoon to explore gallery forests found along the Itenez river and the large savanna.  An optional night hike will be offered (L, D)


Visit some of the oxbow lakes, gallery forests, and periodically inundated savannas located near Flor de Oro.  Exploring these 3 distinctly different habitats should provide good looks of birds, or a family of Giant Otters.  (B, L, D)


Continue exploring periodically inundated savannas and tall humid tropical rainforests.  An optional night hike. (B, L, D)


Final search of some of the species that may have eluded you.  Flight back to Santa Cruz.  (B)

parque nacional noel kempff
Program Code: Parque Nacional NKM
Duration: 4 days
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World heritage sites , National Parks