National Natural Park of El Tuparro Travel Guide
The National Natural Park of El Tuparro is one of those natural wonders hidden in Colombia’s Orinoquia. Today, Colombiabybus brings you a complete travel guide for you to visit this spectacular place in the Colombian rainforest. Join us in this journey to the mythical El Tuparro!
Located in the Vichada department, in the eastern region of Colombia, lies the National Natural Park of El Tuparro. Surrounded by the Tomo, Tuparro and Caño Maipures river, the park is a natural treasure. The landscape in El Tuparro is one with a green savannah flooded with big and mighty rivers. As we get lost in El Tuparro we may find some beaches and little streams of sweet water. This place hosts a lot of different flora and fauna species in the region. Within El Tuparro more than 300 bird species, including some aquatic ones, are born and live.
The park has four different ecosystems. It was declared a natural heritage and biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Many say the credit for that acknowledgment comes from the ancient inhabitants of El Tuparro. In fact, many anthropologic studies point that this is one area with very old indigenous presence. During colonial times, the Guahibo people settled in this area given the convergence of water, mountain and rainforest ecosystems. Those where natural elements worshiped by the Native Americans. During the conquest period, this territory remained untouched, due to its difficult access. That’s why it is so well preserved nowadays.
It is an important territory for the Guahibo, to such extent that they still inhabit some of its areas. There are also Cuiba tribes in the central area of the park, well preserved and isolated.
How do I get to El Tuparro?
From Bogota, the journey begins at the bus station of El Salitre. The trip to Puerto Carreño is approximately 20 hours long. The ticket fee usually rounds the $120.000 and $150.000* pesos. The best option for you is to travel with two stops minimum. That’s because it’s a very long trip to do in one journey. Some travelers recommend to split the trip like this: Bogota-Puerto Gaitan, and the next day, Puerto Gaitan-Puerto Carreño.
Once in Puerto Carreño you must take a special vehicle to the town of Casuarito. In Casuarito you have to take a ferry through the Orinoco river to Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela. In this port many boats depart to the Tomo river. A couple of minutes walking from there, you will find the administrative center that signs the entrance to the park. That route has an approximate duration of one hour and a half.
Where to stay?
After the whole odyssey to reach El Tuparro, we recommend to stay within the Park for at least three days. It’s enough time to see some of the treasures that the park has to offer. The park has a visitor center with three lodges that can host up to 18 people. We advise you to schedule your trip on time and ask for hosting availability with the park administration.
What to do?
There are some touristic ventures that offer some three-day travel packages. Generally, the trip is divided among different zones and ecosystems within the park. However, there are some mandatory plans if you want to properly enjoy the park:
- Indian cemetery: some of the already extinct indigenous population are the Maipure. The park preserved the last resting place of this Native American tribe.
- Guajivo mount: from here you can see the wonderful sunset in the Orinoquia. For safety reasons, it is only advisable to climb in dry season. During rainy season the climbing is certainly a dangerous trek.
- Tuparro River tour: once inside the park there is a water flow where travelers can delight with the beautiful waterfalls up to 50 meters high. Some plans include boat river descent, advisable only in summer.
- Stone slide: one of the funniest attractions in the park. Don’t miss the chance to reconnect with its inner child as you slide in this attraction.
- Autana hill lookout: from the Autana hill you can see the whole region, the Orinoquia savannah, the Maypures torrents and the Orinoco river. The sunset is worth seeing from this lookout. It is recommended to make this tour with a certified guide, who can help you descend.
- Anaconda walking trek: to enjoy the savannah landscape, a tour by the Anaconda trek is the best choice. You can do some bird-watching and visit the blue ponds.
The first recommendation when you travel to Tuparro is to vaccine against the yellow fever and tetanus. Due to the different ecosystems, there is a great variety of insects and mosquitoes. Given the location of the park there is not an easy way to the hospital in case there is an emergency. That’s why it is advisable to take mosquito repellent and a whole first aids kit.
Also, it is advisable to pack some rubber boots and exploration footwear. Search some boots or shoes that are comfortable and safe to walk amidst nature. Besides, take some cotton shirts and long sleeve pants. If you are in the wet season, try to take with you some raincoats and easy dry clothes. In any time of the year take a hat, a cap and sunscreen. Remember this place is one of the hottest regions in the country and the sun is way more aggressive than everywhere else.
If you wish to hire a touristic guide with a travel agency, make sure it is legal and certified. If your tour involves visiting indigenous communities, treat them with respect. Ask the guide first if you want to meet them and make sure photos are allowed. It’s way preferable to ask than to pay a fine or face consequences.
Remember that in this area it’s very unlikely to get cell phone and web coverage. Seize this as an opportunity to disconnect from the technology and enjoy nature. Reconnect with yourself and the earth as you travel in the El Tuparro National Natural Park!
If you want to know more about El Tuparro, National Natural Parks and Colombia, we invite you to visit our blog!