Bird Watching: Red-Fronted Macaw (3 days, from Santa Cruz)

In the San Carlos area of the Omereque municipality in the Cochabamba Department of Bolivia, on the banks of the Mizque river, BirdLife International has identified one of the key places for observing the now-rare Red-fronted macaws (Ara rubrogenys), that are endemic to the highvalleys of the Cochabamba Department, and that are threatened with extinction. In a joint project with three local communities, a lodge has been planned and built to satisfy the requirements of bird-watchers, a very specific tourist segment.
The lodge is situated across the river from a massive hard rock breeding cliff which serves as the most important breeding area for the Red-fronted Macaw, and was recently converted into a 124 acre (50 ha) natural reserve protected by Asociacion Armonia (BirdLife Bolivia). For much of the breeding period the area is full of activity with not only Red-fronted Macaws, but also Mitred Parakeets, Yellow-chevroned Parakeets, Blue-fronted Parrots, and Cliff Parakeets flying back and forth from the cliff face. The area is frequently visited by Andean Condors and Peregrine Falcons. 184 birds have been found in the area. The lodge is located in a particularly beautiful area, framed by red-toned mountains, a river with crystalline waters, and the typical vegetation of the dry valleys. Tthree distinct hiking trails that cover both valley and high outlooks. Especially known as a nature lover’s paradise, the area also boasts preIncan archeological remains. Many cave paintings and the Omereque culture’s best-preserved site, the Tunas Mok’o fortress, are found in the region. A glimpse of local lifestyles and agricultural practices lead to a greater understanding of how the region’s inhabitants interact with nature. All proceeds from tourism directly benefit conservation efforts and improve the livelihoods of these local communities.
The Red-fronted Macaw is present at the cliff throughout the year, but the best time to visit the site is from January to early May while there is all day breeding activity.

Accommodation

The Red-fronted Macaw Lodge is located among rugged mountains in the dry Inter-Andean Mizque River valley. Situated by one of the most important breeding cliffs for the Red-fronted Macaw, a large deck provides spectacular views of this rare endemic macaw. The surrounding gardens and walking trails provide perfect opportunities for observing and photographing some of the 184 recorded bird species, unique plant life, and scenic landscapes. The lodge houses fourteen guests in 7 cozy bedrooms and 4 bathrooms equipped with hot water. A large common area includes a small library. The outdoor dining area brings nature up close, and menus combine local specialties and international fare. Guests are attended by local Quechua residents with support from Asociación Armonía; proceeds from tourism empower their communities and provide sustainability to conservation programs.

Program

First day

In the morning pick up from the hotel in Santa Cruz (or Cochabamba, or Sucre) and trip by private transport to San Carlos (Duration 7-8 hours from Santa Cruz), incl. lunch at the beautiful village of Samaipata

Second day

Observation of the Red-Fronted Macaw by hiking along the banks of the Mizque river (In the morning hiking trip along the top of the cayon enjoying the panoramic look-out over the whole valley of the Mizque river and the agricultural producing areas of the local farmers, in the afternoon hiking trip along the river Mizque to the “Pucara Canyon”)

Third Day

Bird watching in the early morning, and later return to Santa Cruz, or continue travelling to Sucre or Cochabamba.

Included in the package

- Private transport
- Specialized local guide (Spanish)
- Optional: Guide in English/German (Price on request!)
- Two nights accommodation in a logde/cabin with shared bathroom
- Full board

Reservation

Please do not hesitate to contact us for price requests, reservation, general question, and individual tour inquiries, at: contact(at)landmarktravelbolivia.com

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