Parque Nacional Carrasco

National Park in Chapare Region

Created in 1988, this 622,600ha park has some of Bolivia’s most easily explored cloud forest. It skirts a large portion of the road between Cochabamba and Villa Tunari, and also includes a big lowland area of the Chapare region. The rainforest hides a vast variety of mammal species, together with a rainbow of birds, crawling reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.

The most popular way to visit is to do the hike to the Cavernas del Repechón (Caves of the Night Birds), where you’ll see the weird, nocturnal guáchero (oilbird) and six bat species. Access is from the village of Paractito, 8km west of Villa Tunari. This half-day excursion involves a short slog through the rainforest and a zippy crossing of the Río San Mateo in a cable-car contraption.

For more details on this contact Kawsay Wasi (www.facebook.com/EcoturismoKawsayWasi), the organization of indigenous guides who work in the park. You'll find them waiting at the park entrance, or you can book a multiday trip with them in advance through Tusoco Travel, a La Paz–based organization that brings together indigenous Bolivians around the country and helps them develop responsible tourism in their regions.

Access to the rest of the park is much more difficult and potentially dangerous as it's become a haven for hidden coca farms. The Conservation International–backed Camino en las Nubes (Walk in the Clouds), a trek descending from 4000m to 300m along the old Cochabamba–Chapare road, is now largely used by drug traffickers and is unsafe for tourists.

Advertisement