Visit the Northern Tiquipaya Wildlife Reserve

Travel With Us In 2013

Yunga Perdida is traveling to the Northern Tiquipaya Wildlife Reserve again next summer. 

The nine-day trip we have planned provides an opportunity for travelers to not only explore Bolivia's wild places but its vibrant cities as well. Our itinerary is paced to make sure we have the opportunity to experience Bolivia's dramatic diversity, but not without stopping to catch our breath and enjoy it. We will begin in the city of Cochabamba, using it as a base to visit the wildlife reserve, where we will spend four days exploring its canyons, cloud forests, and alpine lakes. Upon return to Cochabamba, we will rest and prepare for our departure to Bolivia's bustling capital of La Paz, which we will explore for a day before boarding our flight home.

Besides offering visitors a chance to experience Bolivia first-hand, a trip with Yunga Perdida helps support the Northern Tiquipaya Wildlife Reserve's eco-tourism project. Tourism at the reserve provides local communities with alternative incomes that help ensure the long-term viability of the reserve and the many plant and wildlife species which depend upon it. Yunga Perdida is a non-profit organization and the costs involved with staying in the reserve go to participating communities.

Our tentative 2013 travel itinerary is as follows:          

Day 1: Depart for La Paz via Miami International Airport

Day 2: Arrive in La Paz at 6 am. Buy tourist visas and sip on coca tea during short wait for our connecting flight to Cochabamba. After a thirty-minute flight over Bolivia’s sub-tropical Yungas Region, we arrive in Cochabamba, check into our hotel and rest before optional city exploration in the afternoon. Dinner in downtown Cochabamba.

Day 3: Continental breakfast and walking tour of historic Cochabamba until lunch. Afternoon visit to "La Cancha," Bolivia's largest open-air market with ample opportunities to buy local handicrafts and supplies. Watch sunset from high above the city from the feet of El Cristo,  the world's largest statue of Christ.

Day 4: Early breakfast and departure for Yunga Pampa eco-lodge in 4x4 Jeep. Four-hour jeep ride through the Andes arriving at Yunga Pampa at approximately 11 am. Lunch at Yunga Pampa lodge. Introduction to Bolivia’s cloud forests by local guides. Afternoon hike around lodge with visit to qhewiña forests.

Day 5:  Enjoy sunrise from the eco-lodge viewing balcony. Hike into Northern Tiquipaya’s cloud forest, and set up camp for the night.

Day 6: Return hike to eco-lodge. Relax and enjoy the afternoon and final sunset from the eco-lodge observation balcony.

Day 7: Early departure from eco-lodge. Jeep ride to village of Huari Pucari where we will begin four-hour hike to Rumi Plaza and nearby lakes. Excellent chances to view Andean condors. Visit to rock art sites with local guides. Return to Cochabamba in evening for dinner.

Day 8: Early flight to La Paz. Opportunity to explore Bolivia's high-altitude capital city, including the Witch Market and Coca Museum.

Day 9: Departure for Miami International Airport.

Yunga Pampa Eco-Lodge

A symbol of unity between the Municipality of Tiquipaya, CIDEDER and the seven rural communities living in and near the reserve, the Yunga Pampa eco-lodge began hosting tourists in 2009. Funds for its construction came from the Municipal Government of Tiquipaya and the World Wide Wildlife Fund, while local communities donated labor and materials.

Located high in the Andes with spectacular views of the Amazon Basin, the eco-lodge was designed to act as a sustainable source of income for participating communities. In accordance with reserve goals, the lodge was designed to have minimal impact on the landscape. Villagers co-managing the lodge with CIDEDER gain experience in small business and tourism management.

Yunga Pampa eco-lodge, inspired by the ancient symbol of the Chakana, or Andean cross, was designed with four small wings, each facing a cardinal direction, extending outward from the lodge’s central dome.  The remote lodge, which can accommodate up to ten people, contains five simply-adorned guest rooms, each with a private bathroom. In addition, the lodge has a large dinning room and a scenic balcony where visitors can relax and enjoy dramatic views after a long day's hike.

Exploring Yunga Pampa

Yunga Pampa eco-lodge offers a variety of different hiking and camping options depending on visitor’s interests and hiking abilities. The possibilities are impressive considering the lodge’s superb location, set slightly above the upper fringes of nearby cloud forest. Within hours visitors can be standing atop alpine peaks or descending through moss-covered forest.

Due to seasonal weather variations, the best time for hiking at Yunga Pampa is between May and November. Because the chances of spotting wildlife are usually good, guests are reminded to bring cameras and binoculars when hiking. Although the probability of rain is slight during the dry season, rain gear and sturdy hiking boots are always recommended. 

Hiking Options


Yunga Pampa                                                                                                                                                                       Beginning at the eco-lodge, guests depart on a four-hour  hike headed for a natural viewpoint with spectacular views of nearby mountains. Due to the relative ease of this hike, guests will have the chance to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace. Sightings of North Andean deer, Andean foxes, and especially condors, are fairly common during the walk.

A favorite haunt of local condors, this dramatic canyon, known locally as Infiernillo, is reached after a relatively easy hour-long hike from the eco-lodge. Natural embankments along the way to Infiernillo provide excellent overlooks, offering visitors panoramic views of both the Altiplano and the Yungas Regions. Upon reaching Infiernillo’s edge, hikers are treated to dizzying views of waterfalls and expansive vistas into the surrounding sub-tropical valleys.

Rumi Plaza (Rock Plaza)
Mysterious and remote, Rumi Plaza is the principal site of prehistoric artwork in the NTWR. The pictographs here, which have remained largely undisturbed, are in a nearly pristine state. Besides its cultural treasures, Rumi Plaza offers visitors unparalleled views of the Altiplano and the opportunity to visit some of the regions many alpine lakes. The trip to Rumi Plaza is difficult and last a total of eight hours. Andean foxes, vizcachas (a close relative of the chinchilla), and condors are spotted along the way.

Calzon Cocha Orcko
Calzon Cocha Orcko is one of the harder hikes offered near the eco-lodge, the final destination being a high mountain lake with unsurpassed views of Bolivia’s unspoiled Altamachi region. In addition, hikers will visit a qhewiña forest (thought to be the highest growing tree in the world) and little-known fossil remains. Spectacled bears, vizcachas and condors are observed in the vicinity of Calzon Cocha Orcko. The round trip tour lasts about six hours, beginning at the eco-lodge.

The D'Orbigny Trail
The D’Orbigny Trail, Yunga Pampa’s most difficult and adventurous hike, follows the ruins of a Pre-colombian road down into the Yungas, passing through the tiny village of Totolima before eventually reaching the isolated hamlet of Carmen Pampa after a two-day hike. As the cool highlands give way to the moist cloud forest, there are excellent opportunities for observing native flora and fauna, including orchids, butterflies, birds and Spectacled bears, among the many unique species found in this bio-diverse region. Completing the entire D’Orbigny circuit takes four days.

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NTWR's First Tourist

First Tourist

The French naturalist Alcides D'Orbigny visited Bolivia in 1830, during his monumental seven–year journey through South America. Fascinated by the what he saw, D'Orbigny conducted a series of scientific investigations in Bolivia, studying the botanical, anthropological and biological characteristics of the fledgling nation.

Stirred by his zeal for exploration, D’Orbigny sought out a new, direct overland route between the city of Cochabamba and the tropical plains of Moxos in the Bolivian state of Beni. He set off from the town of Tiquipaya on the morning of July 3, 1832; his first destination being the village of Totolima.

The trip through Tiquipaya provided him with a kaleidoscopic view of the area’s varied geography and scenery. D'Orbigny described the beginning of his journey by writing, "... in one day I’ve passed from arctic ice to tropical regions . . . perhaps the exact location of paradise has been lost to time, but the traveler exploring some of Bolivia’s more enchanting regions will no doubt exclaim in the thrill of the moment: Eden, at last, has been rediscovered."
(D'Orbigny: Voyage dans l'Amerique Meridionale)

The Spectacled Bear: King of the Cloud Forest

Named for the stripes of gold fur encircling its eyes in a glass-like fashion, the Spectacled bear, or Jucumari, as it is locally known, is the only bear species found in South America. While the Spectacled Bear, a natural wanderer, can survive in a surprising variety of different habitats, it prefers cloud forest habitat, which teems with bromeliad hearts, its favorite carbohydrate-rich food. Although these reticent bears are rarely seen, increased human settlement in South America's cloud forests have given rise to conflict as livestock deaths are commonly attributed to the bears. At present no one knows exactly how many Spectacled bears remain, however, scientists agree that their numbers are dangerously low. Some estimates put the number at three thousand. The NTWR protects a large tract of excellent bear habitat and these mysterious animals are occasionally seen by local inhabitants.