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by June 7th, 2023

Wildlife watching in the Amazon

Pampas del Yacuma – Bolivia

Wildlife watching in the Amazon – In all Amazonian countries there are good opportunities to explore this fantastic habitat. Bolivia is no exception, especially Madidi National Park, which is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The starting point for exploration is the small town of Rurrenabaque, just 40 minutes by plane from La Paz. By land, it can be reached in about 12 hours from La Paz or 5 hours from Trinidad. The national park itself is covered by dense forests, so animal observation is not so easy.


Pampas of the Yacuma River

East of Rurrenabaque are humid savannas, known in Bolivia as pampas. The municipality of Santa Rosa de Yacuma founded the 600,000-hectare protected area “Pampas del Río Yacuma” in 2007. Due to annual flooding, diverse habitats such as flooded savannas, gallery forests, forest islands and wetlands were created here. Until the end of May, large areas are still flooded, so wildlife observation is not as productive. Now the water level gradually decreases from month to month until the beginning of the next rainy season. In the months of September to November, the water level is the lowest. Many animals now flock to the river bank, both prey and hunters.

Rio Yacuma


Our third visit to the Pampa was this time at the end of May, not the most ideal time but nevertheless we were able to observe more than 50 species of animals in only three days. During my first visit, more than 20 years ago, camping was still the main activity. Now there are many simple lodges. The trip from Rurrenabaque to Santa Rosa takes about three hours. From the port all the excursions to the various lodges leave, which are reached upriver after another three hours. Even from the port it is possible to observe wonderful pink river dolphins.


Boat trip

During the trip, sunscreen should be used and plenty of water should be drunk due to the heat. At lunchtime, pampered western stomachs will have to do without salads, although the local cuisine is already very tasty. Don’t forget insect repellent, which is readily available in Rurrenabaque. Especially in the months up to the beginning of June, rain is to be expected. They are also available in Rurrenabaque for little money. Be sure to ask the agency if rubber boots are provided for overland excursions.


Sighted animal species

  1. Amazon Kingfisher
  2. Amazon wiptail (Ameba Ameba)
  3. Aninga, Aninga
  4. Caiman de anteojo, Spectacled Caiman
  5. Caipivara
  6. Caracolera de cuello negro, Black colored hawk
  7. Cardenal de capa roja, Red cap Cardenal
  8. Carpintera de corona amarilla, Yellow tufted Woodpecker
  9. Chachalaca, Specklled Chachalaca
  10. Cormoran neotropical
  11. Gallareta purpura, Purpur gallenot
  12. Garza Cocoi, Cocoi Heron
  13. Garza estrillada, Estriated Heron
  14. Hoatzin
  15. Hornero, Rufus hornero
  16. Jabiru, Jabiru
  17. Jacana de agua, Watlled Jacana
  18. Limpkin
  19. Mono ardilla boliviano, Bolivian squirrel monkey
  20. Mono aullador negro, Black howler monkey
  21. Mono aullador rojo, Red howler monkey
  22. Pato de vientre negra, Black belly whisteling duck
  23. Perezoso de tres dedos, Three fingered sloth
  24. Piranha de vientre roja, Red belly piranha
  25. Benteveo, Social Flycatcher
  26. Southern Screemer
  27. Tortuga de escama amarilla, Yellow spot river turtle
  28. Turdus de pico amarillo, Yewllow billed trush
  29. Vagre
  30. Viutre negro, Black vulture
  31. Ani, Smooth bill ani
  32. Ara azul y amarillo, Blue and yellow Macaw
  33. Caiman negro, Black Caiman
  34. Cara Cara, Southern Cara Cara
  35. Delfin rosado, Pink river dolphin
  36. Gaviota de pico largo, Large billed tern
  37. Guira cucook
  38. Loro de ojo blanco, White eyed parrokid
  39. Martin pescador grande, Ringed King Fisher
  40. Monja de cara Negra, Black fronted Nunbird
  41. Mono Capuccino, Brown Capuccino monkey
  42. Garza nocturna, Black capped night heron, Nachtreiher
  43. Paloma de frente gris, Grey frionted dove
  44. Pato cabeza seca, Woodstork
  45. Pato de Orinoco, Orinoco goose
  46. Perequito de ala azul, Blue wing Paralett
  47. Pio, Greater Rhea
  48. Rayador, Black Skimmer, Scherenschnabel
  49. Toco Tucan, Toco Tucan
  50. Trepador de pico recto, Straight billed Woodcreeper
  51. Trogon de corona azul, Blue crowned Trogon
  52. Viutre cabeza roja, Turkey vulture