Noel Kempff National Park, Los Fierros

Noel Kempff National Park, Los Fierros

One of the main attractions of Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is the Caparú Plateau, a Precambrian sandstone table mountain that rises abruptly from the thick rainforests approximately 1,800 feet to an elevated plain of grasslands and cerrado woodlands. The plateau was first described by the legendary British Colonel explorer Percy Fawcett who discovered the plateau in 1910. Later, his descriptions were used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his book ¨The Lost World¨.

The Paragua river with its dark waters and El Encanto waterfall where you can observe the rare black spider monkeys climbing the rocks are a few samples of the many different attractions part of this expedition to the South side of Noel Kempff N.P..

4000 species of flora, more than 620 species of birds, 130 species of mammals, 127 species of reptiles, 62 species of amphibious and246 species of fish.

National Park declared ¨Natural Patrimony of Humanity¨ by UNESCO.

REFERENCE PROGRAM

4 Day

4 Days National Park Noel Kempff Mercado: Los Fierros by private airplane and private transport 4×4 in the park

DAY 1 Santa Cruz – Florida (or Los Fierros)
The flight will take about 2 hours. Florida is a small community (about 20 families live here) on the border of Noel Kempff N.P.. We will have lunch in Florida. We may spend the night in Florida (in that case you can go for a canoe tour or a bike ride in the afternoon) or we made head off in the afternoon to the camp site Los Fierros, about 35 km from Florida. Los Fierros is closer by the main attractions in the park which are the Caparu Plateau (table mountain) and the waterfall El Encanto.

DAY 2 Florida (or Los Fierros) – La Meseta
Early in the morning we drive towards La Meseta , followed by a 4-hour hike that traverses both humid and deciduous forest habitats on the lower slopes of La Meseta. Walking up La Meseta , you will have spectacular views of the lowlands surrounding La Meseta.

La Meseta. La Meseta is a spectacular 100×60 km rock/platform (80% belongs to Bolivia ). From the Meseta there are impressive views of the tropical forest and pampa with islands of forest. There are some places appropriate to observe potential fauna (Specially early in the morning and at sundown): gama (white tailed deer), ant eaters, pumas and other large mammals like tapirs, peccaries, jaguars and maned wolves seen with some frequency. If possible we will spend the night on the Meseta.

DAY 3 La Meseta – Los Fierros
Early in the morning we will walk back to where we left the car (approx. 4 hours) and drive to Los Fierros. We will have lunch here. In the afternoon there is time to explore the forests and expansive grasslands found close to the lodge. We will spend the night in Los Fierros.

DAY 4 Los Fierros – Florida
In the morning we will drive back to the community of Florida. We will have lunch in Florida and afterwards we will fly back to Santa Cruz.

It may also be possible to visit waterfall El Encanto in this 4 day program. It depends on the infrastructure in the park.

Of course it is possible to extend the 4 day program in the park.

Please take a look at the Noel Kempff packing list. We expect from you to keep the physical impacts on the park’s natural resources to a minimum by respecting the flora and fauna sharing this beautiful place on Earth with us.

7 Days

7 Days National Park Noel Kempff Mercado (Los Fierros in a 4×4)

DAY 1 Santa Cruz – Concepción.
Departure at 08.00 am to Concepción (passing by the Jesuit Mission San Javier), by 4×4 vehicle; This trip will take approx. 8 hours including lunch time and visit to the church of the Jesuit Mission of San Javier.

DAY 2 Concepción – Florida (entrance to the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park )
We leave at about 8:00 am to Florida. This is an ecological transect spanning savannas, dry forest, and Amazonian forest. Along the way, you will see new migrant colonist villages and modern cattle ranches; the threat to biodiversity and the reason the park is so important . We will spend the night in the community of Florida where you can take a canoe tour in the easy waters of the river Paraguá. You can also fish if you like.

DAY 3 Florida – La Meseta
Early in the morning we drive 40 km to La Meseta , followed by a 4-hour hike to that traverses both humid and deciduous forest habitats on the lower slopes of La Meseta. Walking up La Meseta , you will have spectacular views of the lowlands surrounding La Meseta. This night we will sleep in tents on La Meseta.

DAY 4 Exploring La Meseta
La Meseta is a spectacular 100×60 km rock/platform (80% belongs to Bolivia ). From the Meseta there are impressive views of the tropical forest and pampa with islands of forest. We will hike to and swim in spring-fed creeks and pools; There are some places appropriate to observe potential fauna (Specially early in the morning and at sundown.): gama (white tailed deer), ant eaters, pumas and other large mammals like tapirs, peccaries, jaguars and maned wolves seen with some frequency. Observe blue and yellow macaws on daily migration from palm swamp nesting sites to feeding ground in lowland forest to the west of the Meseta.

Later this day we will take off to the camp side Los Fierros. Or depending on the time/your wishes/ energy left, we will drive to the camp side of the El Encanto waterfall.

DAY 5 Los Fierros – catarata El Encanto – Florida
Early in the morning we will drive towards the camp side Los Fierros. From there it´s about a 5 km walk towards the waterfall El Encanto. By the waterfall we will take a break, relax and enjoy the beauty of this place, bathing and swimming in crystal clear waters at foot of the 80 m waterfall. Often you can see spider monkeys climbing up the cliffs.

Afterwards we drive back to Florida where you can make a canoe trip in the tannin-stained waters of the Paraguá River. At night you can fish (piranhas and other fish). The canoe trip and the fishing can also take place the 2 nd day.

DAY 6 Florida – Concepción
We start our return to Santa Cruz via Concepción (approx. 9 hours).

DAY 7 Concepción – Santa Cruz
Return to Santa Cruz (approx. 6 hours).

The best season do take this tour is the dry season (May – November). The rest of the year we have to check first the weather and road conditions to see if the tour can take place. Due to the already mentioned conditions, the reference program might vary, this always in the best interest and safety of our clients.

Please keep in mind that travelling to Park Noel Kempff Mercado is more like an expedition than a tour. Many of travel to the Park takes places over unpaved roads.
Please take a look at the Noel Kempff packing list. We expect from you to keep the physical impacts on the park’s natural resources to a minimum by respecting the flora and fauna sharing this beautiful place on Earth with us.

REVIEWS

  • ´In May 2007, Ruta Verde organized a wonderful trip for us to visit the missions and Flor de Oro, the lodge in the north of Noel Kempff Mercado national park.The original plan was to visit the missions, Los Fierros and Flor de Oro, but after flooding knocked out a key bridge and various roads near Los Fierros, Gijs efficiently re-organized everything, arranging a week in the north after our mission visit instead, and to our good fortune, accompanied us.A simpatico guide drove us from Santa Cruz up to the mission area, where we stayed in a beautiful hotel (Chiquitanos) in Concepcion. After walking around Concepcion, visiting the church and museum, we headed to San Ignacio, where we stayed two nights, so that we could tour the nearby mission "circuit". The mission churches are very beautiful, interesting and well worth visiting. The relative remoteness of the mission towns, which surprised us, really added to the experience of being there.A small plane picked us up in San Ignacio and took us to Flor de Oro, a journey of about an hour and a half over miles of pristine jungle, ´la Meseta´ and 2 big waterfalls.Flor de Oro is remarkable, and a week was almost not enough! The staff are wonderful and the food fabulous. We spent three days up one of the side rivers hiking to, and swimming in, two enormous, exquisite waterfalls. En route we saw myriads of birds, butterflies, turtles, caiman, monkeys, an anaconda and a tapir. The rest of the time we were based at the main lodge overlooking the Itenez River. Each day, when Roger, our guide, took us walking or by boat, we learned a little more about Amazonian fauna and flora. There were capybaras, various monkey species, extraordinary birds, big and small, huge termite nests, tarantulas, and of course, many pink river dolphins. Giant water lilies were in bloom and orchids poured off the trees.There is always an animal sighting highlight on a trip like this, and ours was when we perched on a small viewing platform and watched 70 peccaries clacking their teeth and rolling about in a salt lick a few feet below´.

    Ronda Klevansky South Africa
  • 'Independent travel on our own schedule has always been our preference. Earlier this year we made the wise decision of allowing Gijs and Maria Eugenia of Ruta Verde to make all our travel arrangements for us to Noel Kempff Mercado. Even though we had four weeks in May to explore Eastern Bolivia it was immediately apparent that a trip to the park would require much planning and coordination of services. We were not disappointed. Words cannot describe this national treasure and it is our sincere hope that this unique area will remain protected. Although the animal and plant life are incredible we were also impressed by the dedication of the stewards of the park, the park rangers. The services arranged by Ruta Verde far exceeded our expectations. Our pilot for the two and a half hour flight was superb. Count yourself among the lucky few should you have the good fortune to visit this remote and pristine corner of the earth. Very few places compare.On the spur of the moment we also asked Ruta Verde to make arrangements for a short trip to the Jesuit Missions. Our only regret is that we did not have more time to explore La Gran Chiquitania in more depth. The landscape is breathtaking and the architecture of the missions astounding. Next time we would like to visit all the missions.'

    Nina Lara and Jerry Clark USA
  • ´In May 2007, Ruta Verde organized a wonderful trip for us to visit the missions and Flor de Oro, the lodge in the north of Noel Kempff Mercado national park.The original plan was to visit the missions, Los Fierros and Flor de Oro, but after flooding knocked out a key bridge and various roads near Los Fierros, Gijs efficiently re-organized everything, arranging a week in the north after our mission visit instead, and to our good fortune, accompanied us.A simpatico guide drove us from Santa Cruz up to the mission area, where we stayed in a beautiful hotel (Chiquitanos) in Concepcion. After walking around Concepcion, visiting the church and museum, we headed to San Ignacio, where we stayed two nights, so that we could tour the nearby mission "circuit". The mission churches are very beautiful, interesting and well worth visiting. The relative remoteness of the mission towns, which surprised us, really added to the experience of being there.A small plane picked us up in San Ignacio and took us to Flor de Oro, a journey of about an hour and a half over miles of pristine jungle, ´la Meseta´ and 2 big waterfalls.Flor de Oro is remarkable, and a week was almost not enough! The staff are wonderful and the food fabulous. We spent three days up one of the side rivers hiking to, and swimming in, two enormous, exquisite waterfalls. En route we saw myriads of birds, butterflies, turtles, caiman, monkeys, an anaconda and a tapir. The rest of the time we were based at the main lodge overlooking the Itenez River. Each day, when Roger, our guide, took us walking or by boat, we learned a little more about Amazonian fauna and flora. There were capybaras, various monkey species, extraordinary birds, big and small, huge termite nests, tarantulas, and of course, many pink river dolphins. Giant water lilies were in bloom and orchids poured off the trees.There is always an animal sighting highlight on a trip like this, and ours was when we perched on a small viewing platform and watched 70 peccaries clacking their teeth and rolling about in a salt lick a few feet below´.

    Ronda Klevansky South Africa
  • ´Gijs, we had an awesome time up in Flor de Oro! We already want to go back in the wet season! The staff did a great job showing us around, and, as you said, the food was excellent.´

    John Byers USA
  • ´Cette année, nous avons décidé d'effectuer un grand voyage en famille pour faire découvrir à nos enfants la Bolivie, pays où nous avions vécu plusieurs années auparavant. Vu son caractère unique et fascinant, nous avons décidé d'inscrire au programme le Parc Noel Kempff Mercado malgré son éloignement, avec les coûts et les complications qui en découlent.Six mois à l'avance, nous nous sommes adressés à la Direction du Parc, à l'ONG qui fut chargée de sa gestion et à toutes les agences de voyages qui proposent de visiter Noel Kempff.Vu notre connaissance préalable du pays et le fait que nous voyagions avec des enfants, nous avons été très exigeants à tous points de vue et spécialement quant au programme de visites. Outre la zone nord (Flor de Oro), nous tenions en effet à visiter la zone sud (Los Fierros), ce qui n'était pas simple vu le manque d'entretien des infrastructures et la rareté des visiteurs.Ruta Verde Tours s'est révélée l'agence la plus à l'écoute de nos souhaits, la plus compétente et la plus flexible, tout en étant la plus économique. Tous les préparatifs se sont déroulés par son intermédiaire à notre plus grande satisfaction.Le voyage lui-même a été une expérience exceptionnelle de toute beauté que nous recommandons vivement à tous les amoureux de la nature sauvage. Ceux qui ont un esprit pionnier et aventurier ne manqueront pas la partie sud, ceux qui rêvent de jours plus calmes au milieu d'une faune aquatique paradisiaque privilégieront la partie nord et ceux qui comme nous veulent tout connaître combineront les deux et ils ne le regretteront pas.Ruta Verde Tours et son directeur Gijs Dijkshoorn nous ont très bien conseillés pour mettre sur pied ce voyage hors du commun et ils ont tout organisé, de l'hôtel à Santa Cruz à la poursuite du périple vers le Parc Amboró, en passant par l'incorporation successive de deux parents qui nous ont rejoints en cours de route.Nous les remercions chaleureusement et recommandons leurs services à tous les voyageurs qui cherchent un opérateur attentif à leurs souhaits qui maîtrise parfaitement le programme et les coûts.´

    Laurent, Christine, Aixala et Océan Gaillard (Suisse)
  • ´Hola Gijs; El Parque nos ha parecido una maravilla, todo es precioso, hemos visto varios muchos animales, y nunca habíamos visto tanta variedad de vegetación. Las cascadas son excepcionales, tal y como habíamos previsto.Me queda por resaltar la dureza de la caminata por la selva hacia la cascada Arco Iris. No todas las personas pueden hacerla. Tiene partes de subida muy difíciles, y mi padre casi no la pudo acabar. Fueron casi 5 horas por trayecto! Pero pese a la aventura creo que mereció la pena. La selva es muy bonita, y las cascadas, espectaculares. En resumen, el viaje nos ha parecido duro, pero precioso al mismo tiempo.Ahora nos vamos a pasar un par de días a Samaipata, a descansar, antes de volver a España. Gracias por todo.´

    Noelia Iglesias y familia España
  • ´Hola Gijs, te escribo para felicitarte por la organizaciòn del viaje que hicimos en agosto a Noel Kempf.Todo fuè perfecto y el lugar es maravilloso. Si me lo permites te irè enviando algunas fotos. La comida, la atención, las excursiones...todo bièn. Tendremos que repetir para ir a las cascadas.Un abrazo´

    José Manuel Lahuerta y familia España
  • 'Independent travel on our own schedule has always been our preference. Earlier this year we made the wise decision of allowing Gijs and Maria Eugenia of Ruta Verde to make all our travel arrangements for us to Noel Kempff Mercado. Even though we had four weeks in May to explore Eastern Bolivia it was immediately apparent that a trip to the park would require much planning and coordination of services. We were not disappointed. Words cannot describe this national treasure and it is our sincere hope that this unique area will remain protected. Although the animal and plant life are incredible we were also impressed by the dedication of the stewards of the park, the park rangers. The services arranged by Ruta Verde far exceeded our expectations. Our pilot for the two and a half hour flight was superb. Count yourself among the lucky few should you have the good fortune to visit this remote and pristine corner of the earth. Very few places compare.On the spur of the moment we also asked Ruta Verde to make arrangements for a short trip to the Jesuit Missions. Our only regret is that we did not have more time to explore La Gran Chiquitania in more depth. The landscape is breathtaking and the architecture of the missions astounding. Next time we would like to visit all the missions.'

    Nina Lara and Jerry Clark USA
  • ´In October 2006, we visited Bolivia, Santa Cruz, and met Gijs, a friendly, cheerful Dutchman, and his wife Maria Eugenia. They enthusiastically told us about Noel Kempff and the tour they could arrange for us. We were quickly convinced as we saw pictures of previous tours and we understood the program and the conveniences with which we would be fitted.The first day of our tour we met our guide. He lives in Santa Cruz and visits Park Noel Kempff a few times a year as tourist guide and as a biologist studying the maned wolf in the park. He picked us up in the morning at our hostel in Santa Cruz with a 4x4. This convenient pick-up was full of necessary equipment for the trip: gasoline, water, spare tires, cd-player and a cool box. That day we drove to Concepcion for our first overnight stay. Along the way we stopped at a Jesuit Mission church in San Javier.After a very short night we continued our journey along the dusty roads to La Florida, a picturesque village at the border of the park. We enjoyed a nutritious meal at one of the local families before getting drunk on Singani (very recommendable spirit) at the waterside of the Rio Paragua.The next day we pitched our camp and headed for El Encanto, an amazing waterfall, surrounded by steep high cliffs. Heated by the long walk, we fancied a swim, but after discovering a 2 meter Python, we decided dipping our toes would cool us enough. On our way to El Encanto we were shadowed by a group of Spider Monkeys, curiously throwing branches down at us.During our time in the park we also visited La Meseta, a table mountain in the middle of the park. This climb is challenging 800 meters, but with the help of coca leafs and peanuts, offers extraordinary and magnificent views from the top. During the trip you will encounter jungle at base level and tundra and dry land on the top. On top of La Meseta there is a second base camp. Be sure to bring a really cold beer to celebrate accomplishing the mission to the base camp.The next day, we were able to really discover the Meseta and found a motorcycle and a crashed airplane, the heritage of a former secret coca laboratory, which Noel Kempff discovered and caused his death. We walked a couple of hours to a beautiful waterhole for a swim and a drink. We needed a rest before struggling back to the base camp.The next day were went back to La Florida to get the necessary sleeping hours in hammocks and at night we went for fishing and alligator spotting in a canoe. We caught our breakfast for the next morning.This tour was a great experience, but after 6 days without shower, we very much looked forward to the two day trip back to Santa Cruz. We have had 8 unforgettable days!´.

    Jan en Arjan Udding The Netherlands
  • ´Hi Gijs, got back from Noel Kempff today and wanted to let you know we had a great time. The accomodation and meals were great but most importantly our daily tours were fantastic. Fernando was a briallant guide and great bushman. Pepe the pilot was very friendly and always had a smile on his face. We saw many interesting birds, mammals, snakes, frogs and insects and took many great pictures. Thank you for all your assistance and I will recommend the trip to anyone heading to Bolivia in the future.´.

    Carlie Bronk Australia
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