El Tuparro could be describe in landscape terms as an extensive green savannah surrounded by large rivers with powerful torrents and golden beaches, small …

El Tuparro National Natural Park is the only one in the whole of the Colombian National Natural Parks System that protects a sample of the Llanos Orientales (Western Plains) eco-region. The German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was not mistaken in his ecstatic appreciation of the beauty of the Maipures rapids on his visit to the area in the early XIX century, which he did not hesitate to call the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.


Visitors to the El Tuparro National Natural Park will find wide grass lands watered by the River Orinoco and its tributaries. The Park embraces a sea of grass with hardly a tree or bush scattered with groves of mori-che palms and saladillo trees.

The complex landscape of El Tuparro could be described as a wide, slightly undulating, natural green savannah criss-crossed by large rivers with powerful rapids and golden beaches, complex lagoons and ponds, small, crystalline streams overarched by woods, flood plains, and groves of moriche palms and saladillo trees, not to mention the bare rock outcrops of the Guiana Shield forming round hills.


The Park’s hydrographic network forms part of the Orinoco basin, the main tributaries of which in Colombia are the rivers Guaviare, Vichada, Tuparro, Tomo, Meta and Arauca. Numerous rivers and rivulets drain east-west towards the Orinoco, forming the sub-system of the River Tomo within the hydrological area of the Colombian Orinoco. This has resulted in the formation of numerous meanders, oxbow lakes and lagoons.

In an area of 360,000 hectares the River Tomo has 12 lagoons, the Tuparro 42 and the Tuparrito some 45 with an average area of around 50 hectares. The largest is the Guaipe lagoon with an area of 150 hectares, which is situated some eight kilometres from the Park’s Administration Centre. TheTres Lagunas lake complex is situated at the southern end of the Park on the River Tomo.

Tuparro National Natural Park


There are two basic kinds of savannah in the Park: flood and non-flood savannah. There are also five kinds of woodland. Other vegetation types include the wooded swamp, in which the saladillo tree predominates.

Other high plain woods called in Spanish altillanura or rodales de bos-que are also found, as well as other vegetation types like pasture savannah and, especially, flood or seasonal savannahs and different kinds of lowland flora. There are also fire-prone areas, dunes and wooded marshes.

There are two basic kinds of savannah in the Park: flood and non-flood savannah. There are also five kinds of woodland. Other vegetation types include the wooded swamp, in which the saladillo tree predominates.

There are some 557 flowering species belonging to 330 genera of 104 different families. This wide diversity includes lichens and algae, grasses, herbaceous plants and gramineae, thorn bushes, palms, legumes and timber trees.


The different environments in the Park provide habitats for 74 species of mammals, 112 bird species, 17 kinds of reptile and 26 fish. The major diversity of amphibians is thanks to the variety of aquatic ecosystems in the area. Mammals include primates like the spider monkey, and carnivores like the jaguar, puma and ocelot are also found. There are rabbits and aquatic mammals like the river dolphin and the giant otter.

It is reckoned that there are some 200 species of birdlife in the Park, although only 112 have so far actually been recorded, including herons, parrots, hawks, ducks, wild turkeys and dwarf woodpeckers or piculets.

Seventeen species of reptiles have also been recorded, including turtles, caimans, rattlesnakes and anacondas.

Ornamental fish like the raya are found in the Park, although no systematic species diversity studies have been made.


The presence of semi-nomadic indigenous ethnic groups has been identified in the protected area, belonging to the Guahibo language families of the Sikuani-Cuiba and Amo-rua peoples around the Park’s area of interest. Curripaco and Puinave people settled on the island of Carestía and Pedro Camejo in Venezuela opposite the Maipures Visitor Centre. These peoples have traditionally made use of the area’s resources, having lived in the region well before the Park was established.

The southern end of the park also has permanent settlements of Sicuani people at the communities of El Guamito, San Luis and Marimba. The territory is also used by the Piaroa and Piapoco people, who inhabit the Mataven forest, as well as indigenous peoples settled in the Venezuelan municipalities of Autana and Isla Raton, and in the surrounding areas.

Tuparro National Natural Park


  • Established: 1970
  • Area: 548,000 hectares
  • Altitude: Between 100 and 300 metres above sea level
  • Climate: Warm
  • Average temperature: 27°C


  • LOCATION: The Park is located in the Llanos Orientates region in the Department of Vichada
  • HOW TO GET THERE: There are various different routes:
  • By air: From Bogota you may take a plane to Puerto Carreno and then follow any of the fluvial or overland routes to the Park
  • Overland routes: The protected areas can be reached overland only in summer, when waters are low, as the road route crosses numerous headwaters, and the dynamics of these areas is easily altered by the passage of vehicles in the high water season, 4×4 vehicles must be used in summer and the low water season (December to March).
  • Mixed routes from Puerto Carreno: Puerto Carreno – El Burro (Venezuela) 15 minutes; El Burro – Puerto Ayacucho – Venezuela (one hour); Puerto Ayacucho – Montana Frfa, Campamento Orinoquia (Venezuela) – Parque Tuparro (one and a half hours), A passport stamped with a valid visa and identity card must be shown on leaving Venezuela and entering Colombia.
  • WHERE TO STAY: The Maipures Visitor Centre provides accommodation in shared cabins.
  • WHERE TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: The nearest clinic is in Puerto Ayacucho (Venezuea and the nearest hospital in Puerto Carreno.
  • WHERE TO EAT: Visitors must bring all provisions with them, Food can sometimes be bough: a nearby settlements.
  • HOW LONG TO STAY: Four days and three nights.
  • WHEN TO GO: The rainy season lasts from April to November and the dry season from Decente to March.

Tuparro National Natural Park


The attractions of the Park include several places of unrivalled beauty. The first of these is the Maipures sector, which includes the Maipures rapids on the Orinoco River and River Tuparro, the pools and rapids of the Lapa River; the Laguna Azul lake, the mins of the Sar Jose de Maipures Mission and the River Tuparro landing, as well as the indigenous pictogrammes of the rapids area and the Maipures interpretation trail, The visitor infrastructure is also located in this sector. The meteorological station, Mirador lagoon, Cerro Thomas hill, Pozo Azul well, Piedra Caras and Valle Escondido, Cerro Peinillas hill and Cano Peinillas stream (indigenous pictogranmes and cemetery), and the Guaipe lagoon are all located near the Administration Centre.

The archaeological and cultural treasures of the region include the pictographs of Cerro icJ etc Cerro Peinillas, and a number of rocks in the Cerro Thomas sector. There are also inctgencus cemeteries at Cerro Peinillas and on Isla Carestia (Venezuela). Finalfy, the pottery shards fare – 1e vicinity of Pozo Azul are also worth consideration, as are the ruins of San Jose de Matures mrere visitors can observe the remains of an old railway and the hulk of an old ship that flowers n su—b nearby the Tuparro River rapids.


El Tuparro is a privileged area for eco-tourism given its exuberant natural attractions, which offer visitors a range of options and activities during their stay, at all times within the bounds of respect for nature and cultural diversity. The main such activities are hiking, observation of wild fauna and flora, appreciation of the local cultural heritage, photography and video filming, and environmental research and education. The inner trails established to facilitate these activities are the following:

  • Cucurito or Attalea Trail (Maipures): Length: 3 km – Description: The route follows a guided trail over the nearby rock outcrop.
  • Administration Centre bird watching trail: Length: 2,500 m – Description: The trail follows a guided itinerary over the nearby rock outcrop,
  • Flood forest trail: – Length: 3 km – Description: The trail follows a guided itinerary through the flood forest.


  • The best way to enter the area is via Venezuela. Venezuelan consulates will provide information about the necessary requirements.
  • Rubber boots should be worn in the high water season to avoid the risk of snake bites.
  • Valid vaccination cards for yellow fever and measles must be presented (required in Venezuela).

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