The Amazon

Shutterstock/35093164/Thomas HeinzeBeyond and beneath the great cordilleras, Bolivia's Amazon lies in the north of the country. This vast region, covered by steamy jungles and flat savannah lands, is bursting with all manner of wildlife. Beni department alone has over half the country's birds and mammals. This natural paradise is threatened by colonization and logging but, although destruction of forest habitat is proceeding at an alarming rate, parts of the region have embraced ecotourism as an alternative.

Rurrenabaque is the single most popular destination. It can be reached from La Paz by road or, more conveniently, by air, and provides access to two large and spectacularly diverse protected natural areas: Madidi National Park and the Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve. Here are several highly regarded and successful community tourism projects that allow visitors to experience life in the jungle and on the
pampas
.

Vast as they are, Rurrenabaque's surroundings represent but a small fraction of the immense and sparsely populated area that stretches north and east to the Brazilian border. Largely ignored by tourists to date, this region offers opportunities for exploration and demands the utmost respect if its natural treasures are to survive.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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