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Bolivia’s Toro Toro National Park

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man stunning views Torotoro Bolivia

Bolivia’s Toro Toro National Park

On her recent Bolivia trip, Kat was keen to include a visit to little visited Toro Toro National Park.

 

Kat writes:

“Travelling to Toro Toro National Park certainly felt like a proper adventure, starting with a bumpy 4-hour journey after my guide picked me up at Cochabamba airport. I had been dreading the journey a little as I had heard it would be bumpy gravel roads, but once in the 4×4 I actually really enjoyed it, and  there was plenty of wonderful scenery to keep me distracted and pass the time.

Arriving in the town of Toro Toro was like stepping back in time – a little sleepy village, no tarmac on the roads, locals going about their everyday business, donkeys in the streets. Welcoming visitors but not changing their entire way of life for them. It had a lovely feel about it. Every night we ate in small local restaurants, local food without much fuss but so very tasty indeed.

But we weren’t here to just see the village – no, the real gems lie in close proximity so every day we ventured out to see what makes the national park so special.

 

Ciudad Itas Torotoro National Park

Ciudad Itas, Toro toro National Park, Bolivia

 

Caves, dinosaurs and blind fish

We started off by caving in the enormous Umajalanta Cave, not far from town. We had the cave to ourselves and set off with helmets and head torches to admire stunning stalactites and stalagmites, rock formations, underwater rivers and blind fish that have adjusted to life in the dark.

The next day took us a little further afield, travelling to higher ground to enjoy some fantastic views over the iconic rounded hills of the park, which have been pushed up from the bottom of the sea dozens of millions of years ago.

In fact, the whole park is a haven for those interested in geology, but even a geology heathen like me can get excited about 80 – 100 million years old dinosaur footprints that seem to be just simply everywhere! No need to be an expert or a dinosaur aficionado to be well and truly impressed by the fact that you can place your hand in an enormous dino print.

I loved the visit to a place called “Ciudad Itas”, high above Toro Toro and with some fun rock formations to scramble around – as well as some impressive hollows and cracks, complete with rock paintings. One of my favourite picnic spots to date, with plenty of views around.

 

Canyons and waterfalls

And of course there are the canyons. Plenty of them, but sadly we only had time for one – El Vergel. Mind you, if you have to pick one, this one seemed a pretty good choice – one of the deepest canyons of Toro Toro (and in fact South America) with a lovely water fall at its bottom. A great chance to have a refreshing dip – or so they tell me, I must admit I declined after dipping my big toe in. Turns out it may be refreshing to some, but it felt freezing to me!

Before I knew it, three days had passed and we were bumping our way back to Cochabamba, full of great new travel experiences. I think what I loved about this place was not only its landscapes but also the fact that where ever we went we were virtually on our own.

Not many have discovered this jewel yet, or find the time to visit – but I can promise that if you do, you won’t regret your decision.

Making time for Toro Toro should definitely be part of any Bolivia trip, and do it before the roads get tarmacked and everybody arrives by shuttle bus!

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