13 December 2017
"Noel Kempf Mercado National Park"
Reviewed by EdinburghAnnieB
Before coming to Bolivia, I was determined to visit Noel Kempf Mercado National Park. It’s one of the last, great wildernesses on earth. And that’s exactly what I wanted to experience. It is not as easy as it used to be to visit this park and one agency after another turned be down flat. But Marcos told me it was possible. We exchanged a few emails while I was still in the UK and we spoke in person when I arrived in Santa Cruz. This sort of trip requires planning. But Marcos organised everything and I left at the end of October for an 11 night tour which included overland travel to and from the park.
I had 2 guides with me which is essential for this type of trip. They picked me up in a taxi from my hotel and we took an overnight bus to San Ignacio de Velasco. And from there we took a couple of private taxis to El Refugio. A beautiful lodge on Río Paraguas. The wildlife there is amazing. The birds especially. But I also saw Giant River Otters, Tayra, Agouti and many Yacaré Caiman close to the lodge. It is possible to take a canoe onto the river which is well worth it.
We then spent 6 nights in the bush. We walked through pampas, then spent 2 nights in the jungle where I saw Black Spider Monkey, Capuchin Monkey, White-Lipped Peccary, so many signs of Tapir and so, so many birds - hummingbirds, toucans, macaws, guans... The range of butterflies is quite astonishing and they come in all colours of the rainbow. We then climbed up onto the Meseta. The views back over the jungle are incredible. We spent 2 nights on the Meseta. I saw Pampas Deer and many signs of Giant Armadillo, Giant Anteater and Tapir. From the second camp we visited the pool at Huanchaca Dos where we’d intended to swim but were put off by the 5m Green Anaconda! On the way back we spent one more night in the jungle and one in the pampas before returning to El Refugio.
The walking was tough and it’s not easy coping with an environment where so many things want to bite and sting you. However, it was an incredible experience. One of the toughest things I’ve ever done but one of the most rewarding. I’ve written up the entire trip in my blog. If you would like to read it, please send me a message as TripAdvisor won’t allow me to include the link.
"Paraiso natural es el parque nacional Noel Kempff Mercado"
El investigador biólogo Noel Kempff Mercado ahora se denomina lo que antes era la meseta Huanchaca.... Los ríos Itenez y Paraná nos acercan a las cascadas Arco Iris y Alfeld.....Anímense a ir.... Claro todo debe estar planificado... con el vehículo que les transporta, la lancha que ya está esperando, las vituallas y el conductor que ya esperan.... claro es un viaje de aventura.... ya que hay que dormir en tienda de campaña bajo una carpa y en bolsas de dormir.... Es mejore llevar agua o sino píldoras para purificar el agua del río antes de beber.. Las comidas secas son ideales ya que no se echan a perder en el ambiente húmedo y caliente.... Linda decisión de ir al lugar.....El botiquín de primeros auxilios es mejor prever aunque no se utilice.... y por seguridad la avioneta debe estar esperando a la salida de la lancha con motor fuera de borda.... Es una experiencia única....
Es un lugar espectacular para ver y conocer la biodiversidad de flora y fauna que tenemos en Bolivia, lugar hermoso pero hay que estar acompañado de algún guía para mayor seguridad ya que los animales son silvestres y están en su habitad así que es mejor prevenir
BoliviaTrips, Manager at Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, responded to this review, 11 May 2017
El parque Noel Kempf Mercado es cada vez mas dificil de visitar, almenos el lado sur. Un guia y una buena organizacion es necesario. No por los animales silvestres si no por que hay señalizacion y en epoca seca el agua no se encuentra en cualquier parte ademas que para optimizar el tiempo invertido en el parque es necesario no perderlo. Recomendamos contactar a un operadora con experiencia en este lugar como ser Amboro Tours
5 Sep 2016Reviewed by Simone C
Um lugar tranquilo e agradável para ir com a família. Uma infinidade de espécies de animais. Lobos, macacos, papagaios e muito mais. A natureza está presente em todos os ambientes.
"El Refugio - An absolute privilege to visit."
12 Apr 2016 Reviewed by CocoaBerkshire
El Refugio is at the edge of Noel Kempff and sited on the bank of the river Paragua.
It has its own airstrip and is just under 2 hours from Santa Cruz de la Sierra by light aircraft.
The wildlife in the area is incredible, in the river there are Caymen, Giant otters (I have seen both) and if you are lucky, fresh water Dolphins and Anaconda.
In the air the list of birds there is endless, with huge varieties of Maccaws and Parrots, Hawks, Eagles, Kingfishers etc etc etc. PLUS the Hoatzin an almost prehistoric bird.
On the land and in the surrounding jungle and wetland it is possible to see a great variety of wildlife, which includes Monkeys, Anteaters, the Maned Wolf (there is a study going on at present based in El Refugio).
There are also a great variety of insects and reptiles.
On my last visit we caught and then ate Piranha!!
The accommodation is basic but ok, considering you are literally miles from anywhere. Supplies are flown in with vacationers and you are able to bring in food and drink for your own consumption.
Activities include, accompanied trips on the river, short walks in the area and the use of a hide overlooking the river with chairs and hammocks to enjoy an evening sundowner, watching Fireflies.
The night skies are also incredible with no light pollution whatever.
I have visited El Refugio twice and consider it a privilege. There are very few totally unspoilt areas left in the world and this is one of them.
It is not for everyone and it takes an effort to get there but believe me it is worth it.
"Contact with nature"
28 Dec 2015 Reviewed by Jade N
This park is a real gem in Santa Cruz. you'll have the opportunity to stay in touch with the tropical jungle and see closely the local fauna such as crocodiles, monkeys and jaguars.
i took the panoramic flight over the park and was a great experience. You must bring your own food since there are not restaurants.