Torotoro National Park in Bolivia – Surrounded on all sides, Bolivia is one of South America’s most remote countries. Because of this seclusion, it’s often overlooked when putting together a travel itinerary. Brazil, Peru, and Argentina have overshadowed Bolivia’s astounding beauty. Of course, those countries all offer those bucket-list destinations you simply can’t miss – and while Bolivia is famous for the Salt Flats, most travelers who come to see the flats don’t stay for anything more. In your haste to jettison to those bucket list destinations, take a moment to discover the greatness Bolivia has to offer – a greatness that could match or even surpass that of any country in South America.
Bolivia’s national parks are a testament to the natural beauty of this part of the world. The protruding spine of the magnificent Andes to the west and the Amazon’s depths to the east, this is one of the world’s most diverse geographical countries. Each of the country’s national parks pays homage to this diversity in a striking manner.
If you ever watched the movie Jurassic Park, you’ve probably wondered where on earth could be so pristine and untouched – Central Bolivia. Torotoro National Park has no voracious predators, but you’ll immediately get the sense as you walk the dry, red ground that dinosaurs did once roam here.
A 5.5-mile trail leads from the village here to Torotoro Canyon. Along the canyon in the village of Vergel, you’ll see the footprints of dinosaurs that are up to 20 inches long. The trail begins to widen as it reveals a drop so intimidating you’ll feel as though you’re at the ends of the earth – the canyon has revealed itself. Your initial fear transforms into sheer awe as you embark on the 800 steps that lead down to the canyon’s bottom – a ripe and fertile valley of green watered by falls that cascade down to a beautiful lagoon. Here, you can opt to explore the waters or trek into the Humajalanta Caves. This cave system is impressive, and to reach some of the portions you’ll have to crawl through tiny nooks being wary of the sharp stalactites suspended from the cave ceiling. It’s an incredible look at the development of underground life. And then, in fascinating manner, the cave opens into a room of wall paintings – revealing that dinosaurs were not the only ones who once roamed this area.
Bolivia is beckoning – will you heed her call?