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Madidi National Park: a must-visit for nature lovers

Madidi National Park is a massive protected area in Bolivia, stretching from the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real to the Amazon rainforest. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of ecosystems, the Madidi National Park is a must see if you are in Bolivia.

The biodiversity of the Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park is known for its incredible biodiversity and untouched wilderness. Experts have dubbed it "the most biodiverse piece of earth." With its intact ancient Amazonian rainforest, Madidi offers a glimpse into what the region looked like before humans inhabited the area. It is the last piece of untouched nature in the Amazon.

Madidi National Park offers a great variety of ecosystems, ranging from snow-capped peaks to tropical rainforest. The park is home to the Rio Madidi River, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The park's great differences in elevation provide visitors with stunning views of glaciers and mountains in one area, while tropical rainforest and rivers lie just a few miles away.

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Wildlife in Madidi National Park

The natural beauty of Madidi National Park is its main attraction. The park is known for its incredible birdlife, with 14% of the world's bird species residing in the park. Visitors can also spot a variety of mammals, reptiles, fish, and insects. The park is home to the Titi monkeys, a species found only in Madidi National Park.

Here are our most important tips for visiting Madidi National Park:

Go in the Right Season
The best time to visit Madidi National Park is during the dry season between May and October. Trails are more passable during this time, making it easier to explore the park. The rainy season can make travel challenging, with many areas becoming difficult to navigate. June and July are particularly festive months to visit the park, with the Fiesta de la Santisima Trinidad and the San Ignacio de Moxos festival taking place during this time.

Prepare for Insects
Madidi National Park is situated in the middle of the jungle, and visitors should be prepared to encounter many insects. Mosquitoes are particularly active early in the morning and late at night, so visitors should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves to avoid bites. Lightweight cotton clothing is recommended as it can get quite warm in the park. Visitors should also bring insect repellent and mosquito nets to protect themselves from bites.

Book an Organized Tour
Visitors should book an organized tour to explore Madidi National Park. Before booking a tour, visitors should do some research on for example Tripadvisor and choose a reputable tour operator. The minimum number of days required to explore the park is a two-night tour. Visitors can also book a tour with an English-speaking guide. Costs for a two-night, three-day tour usually start at around 900 Bolivian bolivars (110USD).

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What to do

There are plenty of activities to do in Madidi National Park, depending on the tour booked. Visitors can spend days walking through the jungle, boating on remote rivers, and spotting wildlife. Here are some of the most popular activities to do in the park:

- Book a multi-day nature tour and spend the night in the jungle
- Take a sunset canoe trip along the shores of Lake Chalalán and spot monkeys, birds, capybaras, and the elusive jaguar
- Go birdwatching and spot a wide variety of bird species
- Explore the park at night to appreciate the sounds of the jungle and observe nocturnal animals
- Swim with pink river dolphins

Where to stay

If you are looking for a place to stay with people who have grown up in the area than you should go to Madidi Jungle Lodge. Madidi Jungle Ecolodge is a low-impact, rainforest eco-venture created and sustained 100% by indigenous people who live in the heart of Bolivia's Madidi National Park.

They also offer tours and since they grew up there they know the animals, flora and fauna really well. The accommodation is pretty basic, but it has all you need and the food is delicious.

How to get there

The main entry point to Madidi National Park is through the small town of Rurrenabaque, a popular starting point for many of the jungle tours and treks. The Amazon border town can be reached by land or by air.

By Plane 
From La Paz book a 40-minute flight over snow-capped mountains to the lush Amazon jungle. A one-way ticket from La Paz to Rurrenabaque will cost you about €90. Flights depart about six times a day. 

By Bus 
A cheaper, more sustainable, longer and not so comfortable option is the bus ride between La Paz and Rurrenabaque. This bus trip takes about 20 hours, and longer if the weather is bad. We suggest you break the trip in half by staying overnight in the picturesque town of Coroico, which is only 3 hours from La Paz. 

The bus ride will cost you only 10USD per person for a one-way ticket. The only tour bus operating on the La Paz - Rurrenabaque route is Turbus Total. Their office is on the corner of the bus station at Villa Fatima, accessible by minibus about 30 minutes from downtown La Paz.

This article was last updated on May 12, 2023.