The Chapare is one of Bolivia’s most beautiful regions, situated to the north of the department capital of Cochabamba. The Chapare presents the traveller sub-tropical and tropical climates as well as a range of vegetation zones: From the mountains of the cordillera with its wild grases - “paja brava” and “thola” bushes, passing the Yungas - a vegetation of lower trees and bushes, which are covered with lichen, moss and interesting hanging flowers like exotic-colored orchids and bromeliad, a subregion peppered with giant ferns, where butterflies, hummingbirds and thousands of birds with colored plumage have their home, till we reach the lowland parts with its giant trees hundreds of years old.
The Chapare region includes two National Parks: The Isiboro Secure National Park, and the Carasco Nacional Park.
This Amazonian town lies just 150 kilometers from Cochabamba and is the centre of Cochabamba´s Chapare region, with an average temperature of 30ºC. It lies at the foot of the mountains from the where the immense Amazonian lowlands sprawl to the north, between two rivers - Espiritu Santo and San Mateo, ideal for fishing and boating. Its surroundings offer a large gamma of sights and outdoor activities: Jungle trekking to see wildlife and flora, swimming in natural pools within exuberant vegetation, exploring indigenous communities, as well as activities like fishing, canoeing, rafting, rappelling and canopy.
Villa Tunari provides a robust range of hotels, good road access, phones and internet. It is also the centre to access the near parks like Machia, Isidoro Sécure and Carrasco.
Located a short walk to the east of Villa Tunari, the topography presents splendid views of the Andean Cordillera Oriental and of the lowland region. The bountiful wildlife and pleasant breezes make this an ectourism hot spot. You will meet cheerful foreign volunteers who work with the animals sent to the park for rehabilitation. Here you can watch monkeys play with each other and let them climb on you if you want. Be careful not to carry anything in your pockets into the monkey area as they love to snatch wallets, cameras, and anything that looks interesting to them.
Carrasco National Park
The Carrasco Park boasts incredible cloud forest and mountain scenery, deep valleys and canyons, torrential rivers, waterfalls, and exuberant vegetation. There are reports of an uncontacted indigenous group called the Tuki who may live deep within the inaccessible regions of the park.
Some of the main attractions of the Park are the wildlife sanctuary "Cavernas del Repechón" (access point for a visit is Villa Tunari), which is home to the "Guacharos" or oilbirds and different species of bats, both living in cavern. To reach the caverns you have to cross the San Mateo River by a suspended cable pulley, which is quite an adventure too.
Other sights are: The natural pools of the rivers San Rafael and San Mateo make for a relaxing dip. And higher in the mountains - a place called Sehuencas offers access to the Park from the high valley of Cochabamba, where you can find giant ferns and countless species of orchids (for more information please click here).
The Indigenous Territory of Isidoro Sécure National Park
This is a protected area home to several indigenous communities that hunt and fish in the fertile cloud forest and lowland regions. The area is speckled with swamps, lagoons, and a bedazzling array of flora and fauna.
Hosts exuberant vegetation of cloud forest with a range of beautiful waterfalls, semi-subterranean cascades, and natural springs gurgling with fresh water.
Located in higher part of the Chapare. Its where the clouds from the tropical lowlands spill over the rim of the Cordillera and create a truly magical atmosphere. It is also a transition zone of subtropical and high andean vegetation. The lake is a popular spot for fishing and weekend recreation.
For information about tours to the Chapare, please click here.