Beautiful National Parks and Natural Wonders in Bolivia
Bolivia is a land-locked country located in South America that shares borders with Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay and Chile. Bolivia contains a number of ecological zones ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to Amazon rainforests in the east. There are great natural wonders located all over Bolivia and most of them are protected inside national parks but two of Bolivia's most famous natural wonders Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni are not. Presented in this article are the beautiful national parks and natural wonders in Bolivia.
Madidi National Park
Madidi National Park is located in northwestern Bolivia in the upper Amazon River basin and encompasses almost 10,000 square miles of very varied terrain. The park contains glacier covered mountains in the Andes Mountain Range and also contains tropical rainforests all of which supply water to the mighty Amazon River. Madidi National Park was established in 1995 and contains a number of eco-lodges which use the money generated from tourism and tourists to protect and conserve more land and to help the local indigenous people. Madidi National Park has been and still is threatened by industrialists who would like to build a large dam which would flood much of the park and also build a road to exploit the timber reserves located in the park. Madidi National Park is probably the most visited and famous of the national parks in Bolivia.
Lake Titicaca is shared by Bolivia and Chile with the eastern side of the lake being in the La Paz Department in western Bolivia. Lake Titicaca is a gorgeous natural wonder in Bolivia that is 12,500 feet above sea level and the largest volume lake in South America. The lake is one of the most visited tourist sites in Bolivia and there are plenty of tours, hotels and accommodations available along the lakes shores for travelers especially in Copacabana, Bolivia which has has an airport to fly into.
Tunari National Park
Tunari National Park is located in the Cochabamba Department in central Bolivia and contains beautiful scenery like Lake Wara Wara pictured above.
Cotapata National Park
Cotapata National Park is located in western Bolivia about 20 miles northeast of the capital city of La Paz. Cotapata National Park was created in 1993 to protect the Yungas which is a forest area in Bolivia that contains cloud forests where beautiful animals like the Ocelot and the spectacled bear live. Tourists visiting Cotapata can stay at the hotels and accommodations located in La Paz.
Sajama National Park
Sajama National Park is located in in western Bolivia in the Andes Mountains along the border with northern Chile in the Oruro Department. Sajama National Park contains Nevado Sajama which is an extinct volcano that is the tallest mountain in Bolivia at an impressive 21,463 feet. Also located in Sajama National Park is the Nevados de Payachata which is two potentially active volcanoes that are both over 20,000 feet in height. Visitors and tourists love the scenery and great natural wonders located in this national park in Bolivia.
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is located in eastern Bolivia right along the Brazil border in the northeastern part of Santa Cruz Department. The park is named for the late Bolivian conservationist Professor Noel Kempff Mercado who was murdered in the park by drug traffickers when he accidentally found their secret cocaine laboratory in a remote location in 1988. Noel Kempff Mercado National Park has five different ecosystems and is home to 130 species of mammals, 620 species of birds, 70 species of reptiles and over 4,000 species of vascular plants. The park is an eco-tourists dream and also contains awesome scenery including magnificent waterfalls like the 262 foot high cataratas Arcoiris pictured above.
Otuquis National Park
Otuquis National Park is roughly 6,000 square miles large and is located in southeastern Bolivia in Santa Cruz Department in the provinces of German Busch and Cordillera along the borders with Brazil and Paraguay.
Torotoro National Park
Torotoro National Park is located in central Bolivia in northern Potosi Department and is situated in the eastern mountains and foothills of the Andes. Torotoro National Park contains the largest caves in Bolivia as well as lush canyons with waterfalls, dinosaur bones and fossils and beautiful unique rock formations. The park is located about 84 miles south of the city of Cochabamba. Tourists wanting to see the park can take tours from the city which is large and has plenty of hotels and restaurants. Adventure travelers can hike and camp in the park but the accommodations are rough. Torotoro National Park is a great natural wonder in Bolivia.
Salar de Uyuni or Salt Flats
Another great natural wonder in Bolivia is the Salar de Uyuni or Salt Flats located in southwestern Bolivia. Salar de Uyuni is located at an elevation of almost 12,000 feet and is the largest salt flat on earth with an estimated 10 billion tonnes of salt of which less than 25,000 tonnes is mined annually. The salt flats are just that very flat and so in addition to salt mining the flats are also used as a highway. In recent times as more and more people learn about Salar de Uyuni tourism from around the world to the area has grown rapidly and hotels have sprung up in the area to accommodate the tourists. A hotel was even built on the flats out of salt and was a popular place but had to be torn down for environmental reasons but other salt hotels exist closer to the shores.
For more see 8 Beautiful National Parks in Brazil