P.N. Noel Kempff Mercado |
[Flor de Oro and Los Fierros Lodges]
AVAILABLE PROGRAMS: 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 - “wet season” from November to May and “dry season” from May to November - each with their own programs. One that works most of the year is this:
DAY 1 / Flight SANTA CRUZ / FLOR DE ORO. Charter flight to Flor de Oro, located on the banks of the Itenez River, you'll fly over pristine rainforest, as well as the magnificent Caparu Plateau with its red cliffs and two impressive waterfalls Ahlfeld and Arco Iris. The afternoon will be spent exploring gallery forests found along the Itenez River and the large expanse of savanna. An optional night hike will be offered.
DAY 2 / OXBOW LAKES, GALLERY FORESTS, AND PERIODICALLY INUNDATED SAVANNA. Visit some of the oxbow lakes, gallery forests, and periodically inundated savannas located near Flor de Oro. The exploration of these three distinctly different habitat types should provide good looks at a large variety of birds, could also spot a family of Giant Otters while traveling along one of the bays. Then another one of the attractive bays located close nearby.
DAY 3 / PERIODICALLY INUNDATED SAVANNA AND TERRA FIRME FORESTS. Continue exploring periodically inundated savannas and tall humid tropical rainforests that lie between Flor de Oro and the campsite Lago Caiman. Following a return to Flor de Oro by tractor, an optional night hike to look for some of the owls and nightjars that can be found.
DAY 4 / Flight FLOR DE ORO / SANTA CRUZ. Your final morning in Noel Kempff will take you in search of some of the species that may have eluded you during the previous three days. That means you could be visiting any of the bays or trails located around Flor de Oro before your flight back to Santa Cruz. (B)
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Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado 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 results 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 park’s 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 park’s borders which is indicated by the frequent sighting of large mammals during hikes into the park’s 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, Silver 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.
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