Birding Tour Bolivia: The Andes and Chaco Lowlands October 2018

Tour Details

Duration: 19 days
Group Size: 2 – 6
Date Start: October 24, 2018
Date End: November 13, 2018
Tour Start: Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Tour End: La Paz

Accommodation: 
Good hotels in Santa Cruz, La Paz, Laguna El Volcan, and at Lake Titicaca. The hotels in Camiri, Cochabamba, and Tarija are more orientated toward business and local people, but they are comfortable. The accommodation in Trinidad is basic but with private bathrooms; there are no twin rooms available. The accommodation in Comarapa is basic, with private rooms and bathrooms, but there is not much service provided in such a small, remote town. But this is the only option in town and has worked well during our last tours.

The dates for the extension are 13 – 15 November 2018.

Tour Costs

Price: Main tour: US$6,980 / £5,301 / €5,977 p/p for 5-6 participants,
US$8,179 / £6,212 / €7,004  p/p for 3-4 participants,
US$10,597 p/p / £8,048 / €9,074 for 2 participants.
Extension: US$1,301 / £988 / €1,114 p/p for 5-6 participants,
US$1,581 / £1,201 / €1,354p/p for 3-4 participants,
US$2,167 / £1,646 / €1,856 p/p for 2 participants.

Single Supplement: Main tour: US$881 / £669 / €754,
Extension: US$149 / £113 / €128

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Price includes:
Domestic flights
Meals
Accommodation in twin/double rooms
Guiding fees
Entrance fees
All transport while on tour
Bottled water throughout the tour

Price excludes:
International flights
Airport taxes
Items of a personal nature, e.g. laundry, gifts
Drinks
Personal insurance
Tips

Eduardo's BioEduardo's Bio

Bolivia, Land of Endemic Macaws: The Andes and Chaco Lowlands 2018

This tour is now closed for booking. Please consider booking our 2019 Bolivia tour at Birding Tour Bolivia: The Andes and Chaco Lowlands 2019 or ask us about a private trip this year.

Bolivia may be one of the less frequently visited birding destinations in South America, but it has truly great potential and magnificent birds. The country holds 1432 bird species, the sixth country with the largest number of birds after Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Indonesia, and Ecuador. There are 18 endemic species, but Bolivia also holds several range-restricted and 48 globally threatened birds that are very difficult to find somewhere else. The reason for this avian biodiversity probably is the large number of different ecosystems found in this country. From Amazon rainforest through cloudforest (Yungas) mountains, tropical savannas, cerrado, flooded savannas, Chiquitania forest, and Chaco to high Andean mountains and Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, Bolivia is most likely the most diverse landlocked country on earth.

The revised itinerary of our Bolivia birding tour gives you the opportunity to explore in 19 days the most important birding ecosystems in search of the best birds the country has to offer.

Our trip start in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a lowland city surrounded by native woodlands of Acacia-like trees and other xerophytic vegetation (the Chiquitania region) and vast grassland plains and savannas reminiscent of the Brazilian cerrado, allowing us to see most of the bird species endemic to and typical of this ecosystem, such as Toco Toucan, White-wedged Piculet, Chotoy Spinetail, Chopi Blackbird, White Woodpecker, White-bellied Nothura, Red-winged Tinamou, Red-legged Seriema, Green-cheeked Parakeet, the near-endemic Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, and others.

We will then fly to the town of Trinidad north of Santa Cruz, located in the province of Beni, which is surrounded by grasslands and wetlands similar to the Brazilian Pantanal. We will look for the endemic and critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw, one of the most representative birds of Bolivia and one of the most endangered species of parrots in the world, with only 110-130 individuals. Other species include the endemic subspecies of Plain Softtail and Grey-crested Cacholote, Velvet-fronted Grackle, Mato Grosso Antbird, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Chestnut-fronted, Blue-and-yellow, and Red-and-green Macaws, as well as large numbers of Jabiru, Woodstork, Wattled Jacana, Limpkin, and Plumbeous and Bare-faced Ibises on the area’s lagoons.

After flying back to Santa Cruz we will drive south towards the border with Paraguay to explore the Chaco, a vast and impenetrable deciduous thornbush-like ecosystem that covers large parts of Paraguay and Northern Argentina and reaches into southern Bolivia. The Chaco holds several very special bird species, like the most-wanted Black-legged Seriema, Chaco Earthcreeper, Little Thornbird, Many-colored Chaco Finch, Crested Hornero, and others. Black-legged Seriema is more reliably seen here than in any other country that contains Chaco.

Transferring back to Santa Cruz, we start our drive towards the inter-Andean valleys, on the way passing through the lush tropical forest of the Bermejo canyon, where we should find species such as Bolivian White-crowned Tapaculo, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Military Macaw, Rufescent Screech Owl, Two-banded Warbler, Dusky-green Oropendola, and more.

We will explore all the dry valleys between Samaipata and Saipina in search of several Bolivian endemics and hope to find Bolivian Earthcreeper, Bolivian Blackbird, Cliff Parakeet, and the endangered Red-fronted Macaw. Other species include Dusky-legged Guan, Giant Antshrike, Grey-crested Finch, and Chaco and White-eared Puffbirds, among others.

Even though many people think Bolivia conjures up mainly the idea of high Altiplano, the country actually holds a lot of lowland ground, including Amazon, Chaco, and the savannas of Beni. But once we reach the town of Cochabamba, we seriously start our climb into the high Andes and the Altiplano.

Leaving the dry valleys behind, we will drive through the cloudforest of the Siberia area, where we will look for the endemic Black-hooded Sunbeam and Black-throated Thistletail, but also for other species such as Grey-hooded Parakeet, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, Trilling Tapaculo, Light-crowned Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, and Fulvous-headed Brush Finch.

The city of Cochabamba, in the center of the country at 2550 meters (8366 feet) above sea level, will be our base for the next few days to explore the slopes of the snow-capped Cerro Tunari, where several endemics occur, such as Cochabamba Mountain Finch and Bolivian Warbling Finch. We will have a chance to see the gorgeous Red-tailed Comet, Andean Condor, and several Polylepis specialists including Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, and Giant Conebill. The beautiful mountain scenery is a picture in itself with images of Andean Gull, Andean Goose, and Andean Lapwing.

The cloudforest and upper tropical foothills hold several range-restricted species that are otherwise found only in the extreme southeast of Peru and are hard to get there, such as Hooded Mountain Toucan, Orange-browed Hemispingus, and Yungas Tody-Tyrant. We will also look for the endemic Yellow-rumped Antwren, White-eared Solitaire, Straw-backed Tanager, Blue-banded Toucanet, Crested Quetzal, and more

In order to save time we will fly to the city of La Paz and skip the long whole-day drive from Cochabamba, with only few species to see. From La Paz we will explore two more sights.

First we will visit Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, located at 3800 meters (12 468 feet) with a depth of 281 meters (9 222 feet), which is the home of the near-endemic, flightless Titicaca Grebe. We will also have a chance to see Andean Avocet, Chilean Flamingo, Puna Teal, Crested Duck, Yellow-billed Teal, and Many-colored Rush Tyrant here.

Finally we will explore the lush cloudforest and foothills above Coroico town. We will drive through a spectacular Andean mountain road, once called the death road due to the high rate of truck accidents, but since truck traffic is not allowed anymore these days, the road to Coroico has become a paradise for birders and mountain bikers. We will be busy for two days looking for species such as Rufous-bellied and Grey-breasted Seedsnipes, Scribble-tailed Canastero, and Giant Coot, which are mostly restricted to the high passes of the mountains, and also descend to the forest, where many species are possible, including mega mixed flocks of various more wide-spread tanagers, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Versicolored Barbet, Upland Antshrike, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Hooded Mountain Toucan, Citrine Warbler, Glossy-black Thrush, Scarlet-bellied, Chestnut-bellied, and Hooded Mountain Tanagers, and many more.

We then will return to El Alto (the La Paz international airport) to connect with our international flights home or fly for a short extension to the southwestern part of Bolivia in the province of Tarija to spend two days in the tropical mountain forest near the Argentinean border in search of Rufous-throated Dipper and Red-faced Guan.

Our Bolivia birding adventure gives you the opportunity to explore this fabulous country, which offers 20 endemic birds, two endemic macaws among a large list of over 20 species of Psittacids for parrot lovers, the two South American dippers, both seriemas, over 40 avian families, and a sizeable number of range-restricted species.

 

Itinerary (19 days/18 nights or 21 days/20 nights)

Day 1. Arrival in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, birding around the airport
Arrival at Santa Cruz de la Sierra in the afternoon.
We will spend a couple of hours birding around the airport, looking for species like Chotoy Spinetail, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Chopi Blackbird, Orange-backed Troupial, Plain Inezia, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Rufous Casiornis, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Toco Toucan, White-wedged Piculet, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, White-bellied Nothura, Campo Flicker, and Greater Rhea.
Overnight: Hotel Cortez, Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Day 2. Lomas de Arena Reserve, flight to and birding at Trinidad
We will have an early start to explore the Lomas de Arena Reserve, where we will focus on Red-legged Seriema and White-eared Puffbird.
Then we will transfer to the airport to connect with our flight to Trinidad in the Beni province. The wetlands of Trinidad provide good numbers of Jabiru, Woodstork, Roseate Spoonbill, Limpkin, and Wattled Jacana. We will also look for Snail Kite, Black-collared Hawk, Long-winged Harrier, the local subspecies of Plain Softtail, and Velvet-fronted Grackle, Gray-crested Cacholote, White-bellied and Rusty-collared Seedeaters, and more.
Overnight: Casa Lucia Hotel Boutique, Trinidad

Day 3. Birding the Trinidad area
We will depart early in the morning to look for our main target here, the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw. Until 1992 the natural habitat of this species was completely unknown, and with no more than 73 – 87 mature individuals it is one of the most endangered avian species in the world. Around Trinidad there is an accessible site, where three pairs live.
We will also look for other species like Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Red-and-green Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Undulated Tinamou, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Solitary Cacique, White-tailed Goldenthroat, and more.
Overnight: Casa Lucia Hotel Boutique, Trinidad

Day 4. Flight to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, birding the Botanical Garden
After a last morning of birding around Trinidad we will get a flight back to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Here we’ll spend a couple of hours in the Botanical Garden, looking for Amazonian Motmot, Blue-crowned Trogon, the handsome Green-cheeked Parakeet, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, our first chance for the endemic Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, and many others.
Overnight: Hotel Cortez, Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Day 5. Transfer to and birding in the Chaco
We will leave Santa Cruz de la Sierra and drive south toward the Chaco, one of the largest and least explored ecosystems in South America. The Chaco holds an interesting bird community with birds that can be found elsewhere only in the Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay.
On the way to the Chaco we shall look for Military Macaw, Stripe-backed Antbird, Black-capped Antwren, Ringed Teal, Least Grebe, Scaly-headed Parrot, Turquoise-fronted Parrot, and others.
In the afternoon we will start exploring the Chaco itself, where our main target is the most-wanted Black-legged Seriema. Other species we might encounter are Lark-like Brushrunner, Crested Hornero, Chaco Suiriri, Cinereous Tyrant, Little Thornbird, and Chaco Earthcreeper.
Overnight: J R Hotel, Camiri

Day 6. Birding the Chaco
We will have another day in the Chaco to look for species like Short-billed Canastero, Many-colored Chaco Finch, Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, Great Antshrike, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Checkered Woodpecker, and others. Time permitting, we can scout a new site, where the enigmatic Black-bodied Woodpecker has been recorded in 2014.
Overnight: J R Hotel, Camiri

Day 7. Transfer to Bermejo, birding en route
Today we will start our drive back to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, exploring some habitat north of the Chaco, where we can find Grey-crowned Warbler, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Black-bellied Antwren, Black-capped Antwren, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Gilded Hummingbird, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Golden-collared Macaw, and with a lot of luck we may encounter Solitary Crowned Eagle.
This will be a long drive, having as our final destination the comfortable Laguna Volcan Golf Eco Resort at the edge of Amboro National Park.
Overnight: Laguna Volcan Golf Eco Resort, Bermejo

Day 8. Birding Bermejo, transfer to Comarapa, birding en route
We are going to spend some hours birding around the lodge, looking for species like Two-banded Warbler, Black-goggled Tanager, Dusky-green Oropendola, Plush-crested Jay, Purplish Jay, Masked Duck, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, and many others.
After a few hours we start our drive towards Comarapa. During the drive we will look for Gray-crested Finch, Dusky-legged Guan, Striped Woodpecker, Black-and-rufous Warbling Finch, Striped Cuckoo, White-fronted Woodpecker, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Spot-breasted Thornbird, and more.
Overnight: Hotel Paraiso, Comarapa

Day 9. Search for the Red-fronted Macaw
Today we have an early start to drive to Saipina and look for the endemic Red-fronted Macaw. Other birds here include Cliff Parakeet, Cliff Flycatcher, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Spot-backed Puffbird, Giant Antshrike, Black-capped Warbling Finch, Rufous-sided Warbling Finch, Striped Woodpecker, and more.
Overnight: Hotel Paraiso, Comarapa

Day 10. Birding the Comarapa area
Today we will explore the humid patch of montane forest above Comarapa, looking for Azara’s [Buff-browed] Spinetail, Light-crowned Spinetail, Trilling Tapaculo, the endemic Rusty-faced Antpitta, Common Bush Tanager, Fulvous-headed Brush Finch, White-browed Brush Finch, the endemic Black-hooded Sunbeam, Black-winged Parrot, Gray-hooded Parakeet, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, and more.
Overnight: Hotel Paraiso, Comarapa

Day 11. Birding the Comarapa area, transfer to Cochabamba
Today we will focus on birds of higher elevations like Black-throated Thistletail, Darwin Nothura, Thick-billed Siskin, Bolivian Brush Finch, the endemic Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, and the endemic Wedge-tailed Hillstar.
Later in the day we will drive to Cochabamba.
Overnight: Cochabamba

Day 12. Birding the Chapare area
The Chapare area, well-known in birding circles, is home of several exciting birds, including Rusty-faced Antpitta, Black-throated Thistletail, Trilling Tapaculo, White-eared Solitaire, the localized Hooded Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, Superciliaried and Orange-browed Hemispingus, Band-tailed Pigeon, Barred Antthrush, and Streaked Xenops among many others.
Overnight: Cochabamba

Day 13. Birding the Chapare area
Today we will focus on the lowest parts of the Chapare with birds like Crested Quetzal, Yellow-rumped Antbird, Straw-backed Tanager, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-backed Fire-eye, Yungas Manakin, Red-billed Parrot, Scaly-headed Parrot, and many more.
Overnight: Cochabamba

Day 14. Birding Cerro Tunari
Today we explore the Cerro Tunari, looking for Cochabamba Mountain Finch, Bolivian Warbling Finch, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Puna Tapaculo, Maquis Canastero, Cordilleran Canastero, Rusty-vented Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Black-hooded Sierra Finch, Greenish Yellow Finch, White-capped Dipper, Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, and Tufted Tit-Tyrant, and if we are lucky we may find Giant Conebill and Citron-headed Brush Finch
Later we will check some wetlands near Cochabamba to look for Rosy-billed Pochard, Plumbeous Rail, and Grassland Yellow Finch.
Overnight: Cochabamba

Day 15. Flight to La Paz, transfer to and birding at Lake Titicaca
We will take a flight to the city of La Paz and then transfer by car to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Here we will look for the flightless Titicaca Grebe, and also for Silvery Grebe, Puna Teal, Crested Duck, Yellow-billed Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Andean Negrito, Andean Flicker, Peruvian Sierra Finch, Chilean Flamingo, Spot-winged Pigeon, and more.
Overnight: Lake Titicaca

Day 16. Search for Berlepsch’s Canastero
Today’s excursion will take us to Sorata to look for the endemic and localized Berlepsch’s Canastero and other high-Andes species. We then will drive back to La Paz for an overnight.
Overnight: La Paz

Days 17 – 18. Birding the Coroico Road
We spend two days exploring the Coroico Road in the Yungas region of Bolivia. Here we will have a chance to find Rufous-bellied and Grey-breasted Seedsnipes, White-winged Diuca Finch, Scribble-tailedand Puna Canasteros, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager, Diademed Tapaculo, Masked and Moustached Flowerpiercers, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Hooded Mountain Toucan, White-collared Jay, Cabanis’s Spinetail, Versicolored Barbet, Yungas Tody-Tyrant, Upland Antshrike, and many more.
Overnight: Coroico

Day 19. Departure
After a last morning birding on the Coroico Road we will drive back to El Alto International Airport to connect to our international flights.

RUFOUS-THROATED DIPPER EXTENSION

Day 19. Flight to Tarija
Today we will fly south to Tarija near the Argentinean border.
Overnight: Tarija

Day 20. Searching for the Rufous-throated Dipper
We will have an early start to drive to and explore the Tariquia Flora and Fauna National Reserve, where we can find the localized Rufous-throated Dipper. This bird is normally included in Northern Argentina tours, and few people realize that here in southern Bolivia it is not difficult to find. There are two species of dippers in South America, and this trip gives you the chance to see both. Other birds here include Tucuman Parrot and Red-faced Guan. 
Overnight: Tarija

Day 21. Flight to La Paz, departure
After birding the area some more we will fly back to La Paz, where we will connect to our international flights.

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

Download Itinerary
Bolivia: the high andes and chaco lowlands October 2017

This is a sample trip report. Please email us (info@birdingecotours.com) for more trip reports from this destination.

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