Red-fronted macaw nature reserve lodge
Red-Fronted Macaw Nature Reserve
The Red-Fronted Macaw (Ara rubrogenys) also known as Red-cheeked Macaw is a parrot endemic to a small semi-desert mountainous region of central Bolivia between the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. It is listed as a critically endangered species and it can be found nowhere else on Earth. There are only about 1,000 Red-fronted Macaws left in the wild.
The Red-Fronted Macaw Reserve was initiated in an effort to protect this emblematic bird. The Quechua indigenous communities of San Carlos, Amaya and Perereta in Omereque in the department of Cochabamba, Bolivia, directly and actively participate in this bird conservation project. The ecolodge within the reserve is run by these local indigenous communities.
The Red-fronted Macaw lodge is located in Omereque. The unique desert like flora, fauna, high cliffs, river valleys and rocky mountains of this region makes this place an unforgettable experience.
The spectacular cliff face that dominates the landscape view from the large outside deck of the lodge is the main breeding site of the red-fronted macaw. For much of the breeding season (November to early May), the area is full of activity as the macaws are joined by Mitred Parakeets, Yellow-chevroned Parakeets, Blue-fronted Parrots, and Cliff Parakeets, as well as visiting Andean Condors and Peregrine Falcons.
The reserve is home to 185 bird species and many are easily spotted flying back and forth from the cliff face. Check out the recent Red-fronted Macaw Reserve bird checklist on eBird.
The Red-Fronted Macaw lodge
3 or 4 DAY STAY
On departure day we will pick you up at 7:00 am from your hotel in Santa Cruz. The distance from Santa Cruz to the lodge is 302 kilometers, it takes aprox. 6 hours to get there. We will have lunch on the way.
We recommend to wake up early to enjoy birdwatching to the fullest during your stay. The Reserve is home to 185 confirmed bird species of which many can easily be spotted and photographed along the trails.
During the breeding period (November to early May) of the Red-fronted macaw you can enjoy the arrival of the parrots at the cliff and hear their wide range of communicative vocalizations.
Besides birdwatching the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve offers other activities such us:
- Archeology walks: you can explore several cave paintings and visit the preInca archaeological site of the Omereque culture: the ancient fortress of Tunas Mok’o. The fortress was fortified with an extensive rock wall structure built in stone following the landscape features.
- Walking Trails: A local guide from the local communities (Spanish speaking only) will assist you to reach the most beautiful locations of the reserve to ensure the full wildlife experience (Optional: English speaking bird guide on request).
- Swimming in the Mizque river.
- Cultural encounters with friendly Quechua people of the nearby local communities.
The outdoor dining area of the Red-fronted macaw lodge, overlooking the garden with several feeders that attract the local birds, is ideal to enjoy nature up close. So don’t forget to bring your binoculars to spot some wildfile while enjoying your meal.
The Red-fronted Macaw lodge is located within the rugged mountains of the dry Andean valleys of Omereque. From the large outside deck, you are overlooking one of the most important Red-fronted Macaw breeding cliffs.
The lodge can host up to 14 guests with comfortable accomodations: 7 cozy bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with running water and hot water showers, and a large resting room to explore the small library.
Outdoor dining area is overlooking the garden and it is ideal to enjoy nature up close.
Cuisine: Staff from the local community provide an excellent and varied menu offering delicious combinations of international and local dishes of the region (vegetarian options included).
The reserve is located at 1500 meters above sea level, in the dry Andean valley habitat, which is characterized by their low annual rainfall.
Overall average day temperatures are around 21 – 26 degrees Celsius (69 – 78 Fahrenheit). During the night the temperatures significantly drop to 15 -17 degrees Celsius (59 – 62 Fahrenheit).
The best time to visit the reserve is during the breeding season (November to early May), as the macaws are constantly present and seen flying in pairs, families, and groups. Outside of the breeding season the Red-fronted Macaw is less common, but groups are seen daily as the birds forage near the river and group for a communal roost at dusk.
- Private transport hotel – lodge – hotel.
- Experienced Spanish speaking local guide.
- Overnight stay in the lodge.
- All meals starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day.
- Snacks and bottled water during the walks through the reserve trails.
Optional: English speaking bird guide.
What we recommend to take with you:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Insect repellent
- Sun block
- A hat or cap against the sun
- Light clothes (like cotton) and shirts with long sleeves
- Bathing suit
This parrot destination is a must see for all birders and nature lovers looking for a unique wildlife-watching experience. It’s also a great travel opportunity if you would like to support eco-tourism projects benefiting conservation efforts. You will be directly helping to save this emblematic macaw, while empowering indigenous communities that are now involved in this effort to help preventing it’s extinction in the wild.
Please contact us for more information or for making a reservation.
Flocks of charismatic Red-fronted Macaws nest in spectacular sheer cliffs right just beyond the lodge’s door!
'Dear Gijs, the tour to the Missions was great! The guide Iver and the driver Franc were great company and we had a good time together. Iver did a terrific job of explaining not only the missions and their history but also, the social history and culture of the indigenous people, the geology of the region, economics and much more. We would have missed so much without having him along to explain everything. The restaurants we visited were great and the hotel in Conception was wonderful. Franc did a great job of safely navigating those treacherous roads. I would recommend the tour to anyone! Thank you for treating us so kindly. When we get to Bolivia again, we hope to do another Ruta Verde tour.'
'Dear Gijs, I just wanted to thank you for arranging an excellent tour of the Missions. Jose was delightful company and a very good driver. The visits to the Missions churches were fascinating. I particularly enjoyed looking around the museum and mission complex with Milton, who was a close colleague of Hans Roth. We had a very good guide for San Miguel, San Rafael and Santa Ana. The hotels were all comfortable and the food good. I just hope that these sites receive more visitors in the years to come - they definitely deserve to be at the top of any tourist´s agenda for Bolivia. Many thanks and kind regards, Simon'
'Ruta Verde is a Tour Operator based in Santa Cruz , Bolivia , run by a charming Bolivian lady, Maria Eugenia and her very efficient Dutch husband, Gijs Dijkshoom. Last august we (my wife and me), while visiting this beautiful country, called on Ruta Verde as to organize a tour to the Jesuits Missions region, east of Santa Cruz. I knew the Missions for having visited the place in 2002. During that trip I had met a man in Santa Anna who told me that there were some descendants of Alcide d'Orbigny in the area. D'Orbigny (1802-1857) was a very important French scientist, father of the micropaleontology, and had been sent by the Paris Muséeum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Southern America as to make a complete inventory of the natural resources of this continent. He spent 8 years of his life (1826-1833) visiting Brazil , Argentina , Chile and Bolivia where he stayed 3 years, riding his mule from west to east and north to south. During the wet season, the country being impossible to travel, he used to settle his base in the Missions region. He was 28/30 years old, rather handsome and the natives being very pretty he obviously left behind one or more descendants. It happened that A.d'Orbigny was my grand uncle and being short of time in 2002, as to deepen my quest of cousins, I decided to come back this year and proceed with my quest. Ruta Verde, in the person of Gijs, took us in one of their very comfortable 4 WD Toyota to San Javier, San Ignacio, Santa Anna, San Miguel, all jewels of the Missions churches built by the locals under the control of Jesuits during the 18th century. I strongly recommend the visit, even if you have no cousins to meet there, but who knows? Thanks to Gijs, we found a "nest" of d'Orbigny at San Ignacio. It was very exciting and touching to meet these people who were far from thinking meeting one day some cousin from overseas after 176 years. Thank you Gijs for your very efficient help and your smooth driving across the "Chiquitania". I will never recommend strongly enough the readers of these lines to use Ruta Verde's services. These people are great!'
´Trip was wonderful, mostly because of the guide Iver! He is so knowledgeable and quite gracious. I felt a special kindred spirit with him because of his love and commitment to the environment, his independent spirit, his knowledge of language, history, culture, and his personal experiences that he shared with discretion and respect. The car was very comfortable, the hotel beautiful and the ride over the train bridge was very fun!! Keep up the good work and may God be with you as you struggle in your country for calm and justice.´
´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´.
´Any mention of Ruta Verde brings a smile to my face. Let me say first that I am a university Spanish instructor (Indiana University Southeast) accustomed to roam the world, particularly, although not at all limited to, where Spanish is spoken. So we can say that at 60 yrs, of age, with some 50 countries under my belt, I've been around the block a few times. Gijs and his lovely wife Maria Eugenia are definitely keepers. From where I sit I can not overstate their value. Knowing something of the obstacles of functioning in South America, I can honestly say that the 2 of them have all the right stuff to deliver a wonderful experience. Maria Eugenia is a university educated crucena native to Santa Cruz who has lived in Europe and Gijs is a delightful, big, quality orientated Dutchman. You can't beat his prices. My own time to visit the missions was limited to only 1 day due to my work commitments in Paraguay so we made the longest trip to only one destination. I would definitely recommend at least 3 days and arrange them according to Gijs' suggestion. He knows the route and details very, very well´.
´I had a wonderful experience. The Missions were amazing, especially as have seen the ruins in Paraguay and one Mission in Argentina (in the modern town of Alta Gracia). Your tour was as promised. The car was very comfortable and the guide attentive. The meals were ample. I was able to go to Mass every day. Sucre was the jewel. Lourdes is among the best guides I have ever had and she tailored everything to my interest. Sucre as a city was a destination in itself. The Hotel Glorieta was very comfortable and there were lots of dining options. Potosi was worth seeing and Lourdes saw that I saw every Church which was possible to see. I shortened the Mines part (I'm a little claustrophobic) but am very glad that I saw Cerro Rico. I am glad I followed your advice and did not try to do Sucre/Potosi in one day. Two nights/two days was just perfect (in fact, Lourdes took me a short tour on Monday morning to the City colonial museum). I came home amazed at the Bolivian people. They are much more diverse than I expected, very gentle and warm and easy to speak with. The setting seems much more secure than other places I have been (like Guatemala and parts of Mexico) in that there was little overt police, private guards and bars on all windows, etc. I am very happy to have sampled Bolivia and feel much richer for it. Again, Gijs, I would give Ruta Verde all "As" (or stars or meets and exceeds expectations). May more Americans sample your marvellous (adopted) country. Thanks.´.
´Hi....we absolutely loved the tour, every bit of it...well done..wonderful guides and driver...wonderful all in all...the guide was SENSATIONAL...gracias por todo..mkt´
´Nos han gustado mucho los dos tours. Los chóferes y guías muy bien en ambos casos. Los hoteles nos gustaron mucho y todo ha salido muy bien. El Salar y Lagunas espectacular. En general muy bien todo. Muchas gracias!'
'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.'