Day 1 Depart UK
- OOn arrival at Santa Cruz de la Sierra we are met at the airport and driven to our hotel. In the afternoon we visit Santa Cruz Botanical Garden, a perfect introduction to the Bolivian birds.
- Accommodation: Santa Cruz, 2-nights on full-board basis.
- We spend a ull day exploring Lomas de Arena National Park, where as many as 250 species have recorded, including tinamous, comb duck, Brazilian duck, burrowing owl, white-eared puffbird, white woodpecker, chalk-browed mockingbird, chotoy spinetail and a great variety of raptors. The area also harbours some rarities like toco toucan, and red-legged seriema.
- After an early departure we head west for a couple of hours to Refugio Los Volcanes on the south side of Amboró National Park. Due to its position at the point where several major ecological regions meet, it is home to a wide variety of birds, bromeliads, and more than a hundred species of orchids.
- Accommodation: Refugio Los Volcanes, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Today we head west to the Samaipata area, great for common garden birds, including white-bellied hummingbird, glittering-bellied emerald, blue-and-white swallow and the stunning blue-and-yellow tanager.
- After lunch we continue to Comarapa, where lies the Mizque Valley, the best area to see the rare red-fronted macaw, as well as numerous raptors. This region varies from humid tropics to Bolivian desert and the vegetation becomes drier as the altitude increases.
- Accommodation: Comarapa, 3-nights on full board basis.
- Today we visit the Mizque Valley, a dry and dusty area in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains. We hope to see the rare but endangered red-fronted macaw, which usually flies down the valley in the mid-morning.
- We also search out the distinctive ‘Cliff’ form of monk parakeet and the endemic Bolivian blackbird as well as the striped woodpecker, and various warbling-finches.
- A short drive takes us into the mountains to some of the southernmost deciduous forest in the eastern Andes. We enter the Siberia Forest (so named because of its cold wet climate for much of the year), whose avifauna is quite different from what we have seen so far.
- We can expect to see scaly-naped and black-winged parrots, violet-throated starfrontlet, bar-bellied woodpecker, pearled treerunner, unicolored tapaculo, red-crested and chestnut-crested cotingas to name but a few. Harder to find species may include blue-capped puffleg, the stunning crested quetzal and rufous-faced antpitta.
- Today’s transfer to the pretty city of Cochabamba takes most of the day. Crossing an extremely scenic pass through the high mountains near Siberia Forest we look for the endemic black-hooded sunbeam along with blue-capped puffleg and the red-tailed comet. We drop through a series of valleys and ridges to reach slopes covered with gnarled, red-barked polylepis of high altitude forest. This habitat is the site of a number of species including the olive-crowned crescentchest, spot-breasted thornbird, rufous-bellied saltator, rufous-sided and rusty-browed warbling finches.
- We also look for Maquis canastero, the endemic Cochabamba mountain-finch, and a handful of delightful hummingbirds that include giant, sparkling violet-ear and red-tailed comet, before finally descending to the historic city of Cochabamba, home to Bolivia’s largest concentration of indigenous Quechua people.
- Accommodation: Cochabamba, 1-night on full board basis
- Today we drive up from Cochabamba and climb to Puna Ridge, before dropping down to rich montane temperate forest. We follow the road to upper Chapare, well known as one of South America’s best birding sites. Here we look for black-winged parrot, amethyst-throated sunangel, great sapphirewing, black-hooded sunbeam, the fabulous golden-headed and crested quetzals, white-throated quail-dove and crimson-mantled woodpecker to name but a few!
- We isit Cerro Tunari at dawn looking for the endemic Bolivian warbling finch in the valley, along with dazzling hummingbirds. Located just to the west of Cochabamba, the various dry habitats on Cerro Tunari are a plethora of local specialties unlikely to have been seen before especially the grey-hooded parakeets.
- We continue to a treeline forest with rushing mountain streams where torrent ducks and white-capped dippers feed, amongst other species.
- Above the treeline, the scenery changes dramatically. Sheep and llama farmers here live in houses unchanged since the early 1500s, giving this place a very medieval look.This is also prime habitat for the rare short-tailed finch.
- After an in-depth visit to Cerro Tunari, ticking off many new species from our list, we head back to Cochabamba in time for our afternoon flight back to Santa Cruz, connecting to our overnight flight home.
Day 12 Arrive UK
- After departing Cochabamba and flying to Santa Cruz with the rest of the group, we says our goodbyes and transfer to our hotel..
- Accommodation: Santa Cruz, 1-night on full board basis
- This morning we head to the airport and board our scenic flight going north to the bustling city of Trinidad, home to one of the top destination for birders: The Beni. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel before heading out on our first quest in the palm savannah for the critically endangered and endemic blue-throated macaw.
- Accommodation: Trinidad, 4-nights on full board basis
- Over the next three days we explore the whole area visiting different places and trails, combining a mix range of habitat with dry woodlands, riparian gallery forest, grasslands, and palm savannahs. Beside the stunning blue-throated macaw, another highlight to lookout for is the impressive crowned-eagle, regularly seen in this region.
- We also target species like softtail and velvet-fronted grackle, chotoy spinetail, white-wedged piculet, straight-billed woodcreeper, red-billed scythebill, chestnut-backed and great antshrikes, rusty-fronted tody-flycatcher, great-billed seed-finch, Hudson’s black-tyrant, blue-and-yellow macaw, capped heron, great rufous woodcreeper, white monjita, red-crested and red-capped cardinals and orange-backed troupial.
- During our stay we visit the grasslands and seasonally flooded woodlands which are reminiscent of the more open parts of the famous Brazilian Pantanal or of the Venezuelan llanos and harbour the same rich and spectacular variety of birds.
- We also explore the woodland and forest enjoying an incredible diversity of local species including the gilded and swallow-tailed hummingbirds, pale-crested woodpecker, green-barred and spot-breasted woodpeckers, gray-lined hawk, hoatzin, turquoise-fronted parrot, to name a few.
- Accommodation: Santa Cruz, 1-night on full board basis
- Today we have some time to explore the superb colonial town of Trinidad before heading to the airport for our flight home via Santa Cruz.
Day 17 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in hotels and lodges, all with en suite bathrooms.
All main meals are included.
The diverse habitats of Bolivia are rich in bird life and from the moment we arrive in Santa Cruz we will be bird watching, hoping to see greater rheas and red-legged seriemas. Our bird list should be phenomenally high by the end of the tour.
- Andean cock-of-the-rock
- Olive-crowned crescentchat
We will visit a rich diversity of habitats, amongst them the lowlands and foothills of the Andes, amongst cloud forests and dry savannahs; sandstone mountains and forest clad valleys; highly transitional regions, from humid tropics to Bolivian desert, the aptly named Siberia Forest and the last stretch of ancient inland sea – Lake Titicaca.
Walks will be mostly easy and taken at a slow pace, covering no more than five kilometres a day. A few trails can be rocky and uneven in places.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Santa Cruz – London, and domestic flights Cerro Tunari – Santa Cruz.
Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.
This tour starts at low altitude, and only reaches higher altitudes at a later stage, giving you time to adapt slowly to the altitude. Walks are gently paced and mostly easy if at high altitude.