© iStock/Jekaterina Sahmanova
© iStock/Jekaterina Sahmanova

Madidi, the most biodiverse place in the world

3 minutes to read

Madidi is a natural protected area, located in the northern part of La Paz department, in Bolivia. In 2018, it got the designation of "The National Park with the greatest biodiversity in the world."

Madidi National Park, La Paz
Madidi National Park, La Paz

The discovery

In June 2015, twenty Bolivian and foreign scientists started an exploration, looking for new species in Madidi Park, while focusing only on some specific locations of it. After more than two years of research on the site, the results overpassed all expectations. The experts started the investigation aiming to find at least ten new candidate species for science; instead, they found 124, among plants, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles, and mammals. The findings were sent to the corresponding global wildlife scientific research organizations. After the corresponding verifications, in 2018, the Bolivian media shared the journey of the scientists and announced that the most biodiverse place in the world was eventually found in the country.

© iStock/claudiio Doenitz
© iStock/claudiio Doenitz

Incomparable biodiversity

Nowadays, after this two-year exploration, we know Madidi hosts the 3% of plants, the 4% of vertebrates and the 9% of birds among all species known in our planet, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The locals of this region confirm that no matter the direction you take, you will surely end up finding some natural wonder. The more one gets into the park, the stronger the feeling of the immensity of nature gets.

© iStock/Alenkar
© iStock/Alenkar

Why is it so biodiverse?

There is one specific reason why Madidi is so biodiverse- this is also one of the main reasons why the national park is widely known: it is the place where the Amazon jungle meets the Andes mountains. This means that the park’s altitude range goes from 183 to 6100 meters above the sea level. This fact results in the creation of a  wide variety of soil and atmospheric conditions, where it is possible to find in a relatively small area, dry forests, cloud forests, lowland jungle, swamps and even glaciers, which can host the most diverse species.

© iStock/nicolasboivin
© iStock/nicolasboivin

Visiting Madidi

Since the park is mostly untouched and full of wild species, any visit must be done with the company of a licensed guide.

© iStock/SL_Photography
© iStock/SL_Photography

The most common starting point to explore Madidi is the town of Rurrenabaque, where several options of food and accommodation can be found.

Rurrenabaque Pampas
Rurrenabaque Pampas

Once in Rurrenabaque, there are several options. You can go on excursions on wooden boats across an area called Pampas, and observe wild animals in their natural habitat, some from far and some from very close! If you feel more adventurous and are ready to leave modernity behind, you can stay at an eco-hostel inside this area, in the middle of nature and far away from any internet connection. There are also walking-excursion options in the jungle, which hosts a different ecosystem than the one in Pampas. Camping in the wilderness is also possible for as many days desired, accompanied though by a specialized guide. People from different points of the world come to this area seeking for rest and healing.

© iStock/DC_Colombia
© iStock/DC_Colombia

The world has chosen a special place to save some of its most precious natural treasures, and it is called Madidi- a site that is waiting for you to come and be one with nature. A place we must always respect and protect because it can not be replaced.


The author

Vanesa Zegada

Vanesa Zegada

I am Vanesa and I am from Bolivia. I am in love with my homeland. It never stops surprising me, even if I am a local. It is a place full of diversity, traditions, interesting spots that I want to share with you through my stories on itinari.

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