The Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is located 600 Km northeast from Santa Cruz city. It is one of the largest ( 1.523.000 ha ) and most intact parks in the Amazon Basin. The Noel Kempff Mercado park is wonderful, has a unique beauty and is one of the most protected and bio diverse places on earth. This is why it has been declared ¨Natural Patrimony of the Humanity¨ by UNESCO in 2000.
The date of its foundation was June 28 1979. Its original name was Parque Nacional Huanchaca, but was then changed to Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado in honor of the late Dr. Noel Kempff Mercado, for his research and discoveries in the Park. In 1986 Dr. Noel Kempff Mercado, and two men with him had flown into the Park inadvertently landed at a clandestine cocaine laboratory, where they were killed by drug traffickers.
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park includes a large section of the Huanchaca Plateau and surrounding lowlands. The plateau is 150 km long and 50 km wide, and covers a total area of 6.800 square kilometers. The largest river in the area is the Iténez River which marks the border with Brazil, to the north of the park. It meets with the Mamoré River which, at the same time, meets with the Madera River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. The park is part of the drainage system of the Iténez River Basin which includes the sub-basins of the Verde, Paucerna and Paraguá rivers. The Verde and Paucerna rivers have their origins on the plateau and their watercourses form beautiful falls such as the Fawcett, Federico Ahlfeld and Arco Iris. The Paraguá River dominates the lowlands to the west. This river flows into the Iténez and in the rainy season it overflows large extensions of flooded forests and savannah wetlands. To the west of the plateau, and in the lowlands, there are three great fields that become flooded at varying levels during the rainy season, and several lagoons of different size.
The story says that hundreds of years ago, a group of natives called Guarasug´we -originally from Paraguay- populated these Bolivian lands. On the north side of the Noel Kempff Mercado Park, several stones are found that show human facial characteristics, but have not been rigorously studied (yet)
With an altitudinal range of 200 m to nearly 1,000 m, Noel Kempff is a site of a rich mosaic of habitat types including evergreen amazon rainforests, palm forests, cerrado, swamps, savannahs, gallery forests, and semi-deciduous dry forests. The cerrado habitats found on the Caparú Meseta have been isolated for millions of years providing an ideal living laboratory for the study of the evolution of these ecosystems. An estimated 4,000 species of flora as well as over 621 bird species (21% of the total for South America), 74 species of reptiles, 62 species of amphibians and fish, 347 species of insects and viable populations of many globally endangered or threatened species live in Park Noel Kempff Mercado.
Park Noel Kempff Mercado is blessed with such convergence of different biogeographic characteristics that it houses a diverse array of plants and animals, which in some cases are unique to Bolivia and due to the isolation of the Caparú Plateau some are still waiting to be discovered!!
The Caparú plateau (980m), discovered by the English adventurer Percy Fawcet and later inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his famous novel ¨The lost world¨, is an imposing and isolated table mountain of Precambrian origin (over a billion years ago), formed by sandy rocks and cuarcits and laced by crystal clear creeks and numerous waterfalls on a landscape characterized by open grasslands and forest islands.
How to get to this spectacular Park?
We offer different kind of programs for visiting both the North and the South side of Noel Kempff. All tours start from Santa Cruz and will take you by plane or over land to:
1. Noel Kempff Flor de Oro (North Side, by private charter airplane).
2. Noel Kempff Los Fierros (South Side).
Please read a letter of acknowledgement we received from the administration of Noel Kempff Mercado N.P.
´In July of 2008, my husband and I travelled to Bolivia with the express purpose of visiting Noel Kempff Mercado, a Bolivian national park listed as both fascinating and virtually inaccessible. After much research, we decided upon traveling with the tour company, Ruta Verde, as they came highly recommended by various books and other sources, particularly as pertained to meeting the needs of ...'
´Gijs, we had a fantastic time in both Flor de Oro and Refugio Los Volcanes. The organisation of the trip was first rate and totally efficient. The pilot you chose for us was amazing. We were particulary glad that you were able to be so flexible and tailor the trip to our requirements. We had no idea that the flight would be such fun. Thanks again.´
´Having umed and ahed about whether or not to attempt a visit to Noel Kempff on a budget that couldn't afford a plane we made the decision that we would go with our friends to Santa Cruz and see what was on offer. What we found was that out of the 4 companies we asked about tours only 2 came anywhere near what we could afford and only one of those was straight up about the costs. That company ...'
´It is a lot of hassle and trouble to go to Noel Kempff National park independently. I went with Ruta Verde. It is a great tour operator in Santa Cruz . The guide is a biologist who works in the park and knows a lot about the nature. During the trip we drove up to 2 Jesuit missions before we went on to the park. The night before we went in we slept at Campemento Florida and our guide took us ...'
´I had a very nice and adventurous trip with Ruta Verde in the remote national park noel Kempff. On the way there we visited the impressive Jesuit missions. So it became a very mixed trip with nature, adventure and culture. The friendly guide (a biologist) could tell a lot about the nature, area and the people. He also happened to be a good cook, a perfect driver and an awful singer. The help in ...'
Ha Gijs, de tour naar Noel Kempff was echt geweldig! De locatie was goed, het eten en drinken perfect en het park zelf vonden we echt prachtig! Ook de vlucht er naartoe is heel spectaculair!Fernando sprak geen woord Engels, en wij geen woord Spaans, maar toch heeft hij ons goed kunnen begeleiden tijdens de tochten. We hebben veel gezien: kaaimannen, pink river dolphins, otters, vier ...'
Hi gijs, before heading on to sucre while Nathalie is on her flight back home I just wanted to mention that we had a magnificent time in the park, been lucky with the weather and also with wildlife, seen so many animals that this trip will possibly be my most interesting time in the jungle for my entire life. Fernando was a good guide (though sometimes hard to understand his mumbling 😉 ), had ...'