Amboró National Park
Amboró National Park, said to be the wilderness home of more floral and faunal species per acre than anywhere else on earth, is the unique, imperiled, near-pristine convergence of vast areas of Amazon River basin and Andes foothills on more than 1,560 square miles (4,050 km2) just three hours’ drive west of Santa Cruz between two of Bolivia’s most heavily traveled roads.
Rare spectacled bears with white or buff eyeglass-markings forage at all elevations but prefer humid fruiting trees. Three kinds of spotted jungle cats are here—jaguars, ocelots, and margays— along with most mammals native to the Amazon region: capybaras, collared and white-lipped peccaries, tapirs, howler and capuchin monkeys, orange-brown agoutis, red and gray brocket deer.
More than 700 bird species exploit every avian niche, notably cock-of-the-rocks and nearly extinct blue-horned curassows, along with harpy and crested eagles, heavy-billed cuvier toucans, and chestnut-fronted macaws flashing brilliant scarlet underwings in flight, among a breathtaking variety of bromeliads and orchids in lush jungles of giant ferns and bamboo.
This wilderness gem in central Bolivia is threatened by a wide range of human activity, from poaching and slash-and-burn agriculture to squatting pressure which already has caused both de facto and official shrinking of park borders.
Access is just off the main highway at Samaipata, three hours’ west of Santa Cruz, where buses, taxis, and 4WD rental are available. Guided hiking, driving, and motor tours, also camping, can be arranged there and at Buena Vista just outside the park. Lodging is available at both.
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