Villa Tunari

Books About Hiking In The Jungle

According to our original itinerary, we were to visit the jungles of Rurrenabaque after our stint in Cochabamba. But after looking at the map, we altered our plans and instead checked out the jungles of the Chapare province, much closer to Cochabamba and less frequented by tourists. The capital of Chapare is Villa Tunari.

We spent five days in the jungle climate of Villa Tunari, and had an incredible time. The village is tiny, hot and dusty, but surprisingly easy to adapt to. We found a perfect lodging, Las Gardenias, with a pool, kitchen and comfortable rooms. And the town’s internet shop even allowed us to plug our laptops into their network, providing us with surprisingly fast internet.

Villa Tunari can be thoroughly explored in a couple hours, but we found more than enough to occupy our five days. Jungle excursions are easily arranged, and the lack of tourists is nothing short of miraculous. The great majority of foreigners are volunteers who work at Parque Machía, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of wild animals, and they almost never leave the park’s premises.

Over the next couple days, we’ll be going into detail about the experiences we had in Villa Tunari:

La Jungla in Chipiriri – A fun and probably dangerous “adventure” park near the city

Jungle Trek through the River – Quicksand, fly bites and soaked shoes, oh my!

Hiking in Parque Carrasco – Up into the clouds, with an incredible view of the fog-bathed jungle.

Parque Machía and Inti Wara Yassi – Volunteers help rehabilitate wild animals for release into the jungle; a noble non-profit endeavor, or something else?

Location on our Bolivia Map

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Silène

    Wow! It looks like you had an amazing trip! My sister and I are planning on travelling to Bolivia in May, and will be spending a day or so in Villa Tunari. Did you spend any time at the Orquidario in the town? Also, what were your impressions of the Parque Machia? Would it be worthwhile to go? One last question: Do you know of a website for Las Gardenias? Or did you simply book on arrival?Thank you for your blog! This is truly inspirational. The town looks so picturesque; we are super excited to go!

    1. Mike Powell

      Yes, we had a great time in Villa Tunari! To answer your questions, I don’t remember the Orquidario, so I think we must have missed out on that one. Parque Machia was certainly interesting… worth walking through, for sure. But we were more than a little skeptical of the Inti Wara Yassi organization who use the park to rehabilitate animals (you can read more about why in our post dedicated to them). I think for Las Gardenias, we called in advance and booked a room. It was a recommendation from friends in Cochabamba, and we were totally happy with it. Unfortunately, I can’t find the phone number right now. They’re on Trip Advisor, so you could possibly book a room that way. (

  2. William

    Hey mike, I volunteered for 2.5 months there in 2006 and unless things have changed drastically, I’m unsure where all the scepticism comes from. There are a lot of animals and that takes a lot of money, not to mention meds. The land is owned by the state not the park thus conflict with town, I don’t think the town has ever been too keen on idea (don’t know why, possible loathing of stoners (weed is banned for volunteers)), so iwy has had to buy new parks, which again is why they have to make money. There’s no health and safety which is bloody marvellous and you raise an excellent point about unqualified peope working with animals and brief stays…one can only hope that genuine love for these beauties is at least something

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