Speaking about diversity, Madidi National Park is one of the most biologically diverse protected areas on the Planet, known by scientists as a "Biodiversity Hotspot".
It is located in the Northwest region of the Department of La Paz, in the provinces Franz Tamayo, Iturralde and Abel Bautista Saavedra, Bolivia. See it on the map.
With a total area of 18,957.5 km², it is composed by 12,715 km² corresponding to the national park itself plus 6,242.5 km² categorized under IMNA - Integrated Management Natural Area.
Madidi embraces several ecosystems, from high altitude grasslands to clouds forests, lowland tropical forests to pristine lowland savannas, in the transition zone between the Amazon rainforest and the Amazonian "pampas", located to the West and to the East of Beni river, respectively.
This stunning biodiversity is protected through three different reserves, Madidi National Park , Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve and Indigenous Territory and the Pampas Reserve (Beni savannas). At the same time, the region forms part of the international corridor of protected areas that extends from Vilcabamba (Peru) to Amboró (Bolivia). In addition, the region is home to the indigenous Chimane, Moseten, Tacana and Quechua people.
As recent as 2012, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) released a report compiled by over fifty scientists from around the world, counting a total of 1,868 vertebrates, including 1,088 species of birds. Only eleven countries have more bird species than Madidi, and the entire United States contains less than 900 types of birds.
Madidi's diverse life also includes 60 species of hummingbird, more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish and 12,000 plant species. It's been also reported that, despite significant efforts from the scientific team, about two-thirds of the park's total biodiversity has yet to be observed.
Unfortunately, despite existing protections, some life in the area is threatened by development such as road construction, logging and agricultural expansion, a problem that affects the Amazon rainforest as a whole. For more info on this, please visit Amazon rainforest deforestation.
Madidi national park is one of the top tourist attractions in Bolivia, administered by SERNAP - Servicio Nacional de Areas Protegidas - the institutional body that regulates all activities within Bolivia's protected areas.
Be prepared for humid, tropical weather, both in terms of clothing as well as a "survival" kit to make the best of your wilderness experience...
Do not forget to bring a proper ID as well as a copy of vaccination record, especially yellow fever and tetanus.
Madidi National Park is reachable from Rurrenabaque, located at around six hours by boat on the Beni river. If coming from abroad, you are likely to land at El Alto Airport (La Paz) and then a connection flight to Rurrenabaque (RBQ) -forty minutes. Please find more info at Airports in Bolivia.
You could also reach it by bus, around eighteen hours in total. There are several ways to get there, via Totai and Yungueña, via Yolosa or via Yucumo, San Borja and San Ignacio de Moxos. Take into consideration that during rainy season - October to March - some roads are not passable, so you are better off by choosing dry season - May to September - for your journey.
For a deeper jungle experience, you may choose to stay at one of the eco-lodges scattered in the region, combined with tour packages of several days duration...