El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area

In Bolivia, sheltered by an impressive tropical jungle, lies the unmatched El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area. This extraordinary, biodiverse destination, with its fabulous tourist attractions and nature-based activities, is an ideal spot for ecotourism.

Introduction to El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area

El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area

Geographical Location

Situated in the Santa Cruz region, the El Palmar Natural Area extends across an immensely biodiverse expanse. This region is a biological treasure that must be explored with care and respect.

Located to the north of the Chuquisaca department, in the Zudañez Province, encompassing the municipality of Presto in Bolivia, its reference geographical coordinates are:

  • South Latitude: 18° 28′ 53.15″ to 18° 51′ 3.53″
  • West Longitude: 64° 59′ 9.71″ to 64° 44′ 55.55″

History and Designation as an Integrated Natural Management Area

The El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area was established on May 20, 1997, through Supreme Decree No. 24623, granting the park the name in Spanish, "Área Natural de Manejo Integrado El Palmar". This legal designation provides it protection and official recognition as an area dedicated to conserving its rich biodiversity and endemic species. Since then, it has become a significant center for conservation and sustainable tourism in Bolivia, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in natural beauty and discover the diversity of life that inhabits this exceptional park.

Objectives of Creation

  1. Specific protection and conservation of the Parajubae torallyi palm (anchi coco) and Podocarpus parlatorei (pino de monte), two plant species of great importance and endemic to the region.
  2. Protection and conservation of pristine ecosystems representing the Inter-Andean Dry Valleys, ensuring the preservation of these natural environments in their original state and highlighting their ecological value.
  3. Protection and conservation of the existing fauna in the area, including emblematic species such as the puma, jucumari (Andean bear), red-fronted macaw, peccary, anteater, spectacled bear (oso de anteojos), condor, and serere curassow.
  4. Safeguarding and contributing to the protection of archaeological and cultural heritage in the area. This entails protecting and preserving historically and culturally significant sites, promoting a comprehensive conservation approach that encompasses both biodiversity and the cultural legacy of the region.

Protected Area Size

According to the Creation Decree, the area covers 59,484 hectares. According to digital Geographic Information System (GIS) records, the area measures 60,313.8 hectares.

Geography of El Palmar


It belongs to the Cordillera Oriental – Central physiographic province, which is composed of mountain ranges. The physiographic units present in the region are transitional landscapes between the elevated Andean block and the low, hot plains.

Due to different characteristics such as elevation, shape, slope, relief, and drainage, several units of Great Landscape can be identified in the Area. These particularities determine the existence of various ecosystems and life habitats. Two of the identified physiographic units are:

  1. Mountain Range: This unit is characterized by its elevated areas with mountain ranges and rugged reliefs. This is where mountains and ranges are found, providing diverse habitats for a wide variety of flora and fauna species.
  2. Valley: Valley areas are plains and flatter terrains compared to mountains. These areas can host different types of vegetation and often offer suitable habitats for various forms of life.


It is part of the Amazon River macro basin and the Grande River basin. This hydrological location is of great importance, as the waters flowing in this region eventually integrate into the vast Amazon River system, one of the world’s largest and most significant hydrographic basins.

Within the Grande River basin, in which the Area is included, several river sub-basins contribute to drainage and water flow in the region. Some of the most important sub-basins within the El Palmar Natural Area are:

  1. Rodeo River.
  2. Presto River.
  3. Rumi Cancha River.
  4. Algodonal River.
  5. Zudañez River.

These sub-basins play a vital role in maintaining water balance and contribute to water supply for the flora and fauna inhabiting the region. They also provide important resources for local communities and wildlife that depend on water resources.


The area has a temperate mesothermal climate, meaning that temperatures are moderate throughout the year.

The average annual temperature is 16.2°C, with an average maximum temperature of 24.1°C, while the average minimum temperature is 8.3°C. These moderate temperatures contribute to a favorable environment for the diversity of flora and fauna in the area.

Regarding precipitation, the annual average is 498 mm. The highest amounts of precipitation occur during the months from December to March, which correspond to the summer season in the region. During this period, rains are more frequent and abundant, promoting the growth of vegetation and the vitality of the ecosystems present in the Area.

Biodiversity in the Integrated Natural Management Area


The El Palmar area encompasses two main ecoregions, both characterized by temperate to dry climates. These ecoregions are:

  1. Inter-Andean Dry Forests: Characterized by its temperate climate and the presence of dry forests. It is located in the inter-Andean zones of the region, between the mountain ranges of the Andes. The inter-Andean dry forests provide important habitats for a variety of flora and fauna species adapted to drier climatic conditions.
  2. Chaco Serrano: It features a temperate and dry climate. Characterized by its hilly landscapes and transitional areas between plains and mountains. The Chaco Serrano hosts a diversity of ecosystems and species that have developed adaptations to survive in these specific conditions.

Both ecoregions are essential for biodiversity conservation in El Palmar, each contributing its richness and peculiarities to the variety of habitats and species present in the region. If you have more questions or need additional information, feel free to let me know. I’m here to help.


A total of 313 species of higher plants distributed across 81 families have been recorded in El Palmar. Some of the most representative families include Compositae, Graminae, Leguminoseae, Acanthaceae, Cactaceae, Anacardiaceae, and Cyperaceae.

The vegetation is distributed across three ecological zones, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level. In this altitude range, vegetation is adapted to withstand extended periods of drought. During the dry season, micro-leaved and deciduous plant species predominate.

Among the most representative species in the Natural Area are:

  1. Schinopsis haenkeana, known as soto.
  2. Loxopterigium grisebachii, known as sotomara.
  3. Piptadenia boliviana, known as chari.
  4. Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco, known as k’acha k’acha.
  5. Anadenanthera colubrina, known as willca.
  6. Thorny acacias (various species).

Near rivers, it is possible to find other species such as:

  1. Prosopis spp., known as algarrobo.
  2. Acacia furcatispina, known as munchuelo.
  3. Coccoloba tiliaceae, known as bandor.
  4. Celtis spinosa, known as satajchi.

These species are an important part of the rich plant biodiversity found in the protected area. If you have more questions or need additional information, feel free to let me know. I’m here to help.


A total of 155 species of vertebrates have been recorded. These are distributed across different groups, and the specific numbers of species are as follows:

  • 24 species of large and medium mammals.
  • 112 species of birds.
  • 6 species of amphibians.
  • 12 species of reptiles.
  • 1 species of fish.

It’s important to highlight that the presence of this diversity of vertebrates indicates the richness of fauna in the Area and its significance as a habitat for various animal groups. The variety of mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, and fish species contributes to the complexity and balance of the present ecosystems.


  1. Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus).
  2. Cougar (Puma concolor).
  3. Andean cat or titi cat (Leopardus jacobita).
  4. Collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu).
  5. Brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira).


The most representative birds include species from the families Tyrannidae, Columbidae, Furnariidae, and Psittacidae, such as:

  1. Andean condor (Vultur gryphus).
  2. Andean guan (Penelope dabbenei).
  3. Squirrel cuckoo (Piaya cayana).
  4. Woodpeckers.
  5. Red-fronted macaw or Kaka parrot (Ara rubrogenys).
  6. Monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus).


Prominent reptiles include:

  1. Snakes such as Crotalus durissus and Waglerophis merremii.
  2. Lizards such as Tupinambis rufescens, Cnemydophorus cf. Ocellifer sp.


In the amphibian group, species from the families Hylidae and Leptodactylidae have been recorded, including Hyla andina, Pleurodema cinereum, and Leptodactylus spp.


One species from the genus Trichomycterus has been recorded.

Threatened Species

Among the threatened vertebrates in the Area are:


  1. Tremarctos ornatus (Spectacled bear) – Threat Category: VU (Vulnerable)


  1. Ara rubrogenys (Red-fronted macaw) – Threat Category: CR (Critically Endangered)
  2. Vultur gryphus (Andean condor) – Threat Category: VU (Vulnerable)

The threat categories are based on Threatened Species of the Flora of Bolivia (Beck and Meneses, 2005).

Attractions and Tourist Activities in El Palmar

El Palmar offers a wide variety of activities for the enjoyment of all visitors. From hiking to nature photography, everyone can find their own way to experience this natural park.

Cerro de Pucara Puta (Pucara Punta Hill)

This hill holds significance for rituals and offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth) to request rain for good agricultural production. Visitors can find fragments of ceramics and circular constructions that may have been pre-Hispanic tombs.

K’ala Rumi

From the El Palmar community, a non-steep trail leads to K’ala Rumi, where pre-Hispanic petroglyphs and chullpas can be observed.

Rodeo – Condor Bañana Trail

The trail starts in the Rodeo community and crosses the Kesera River. It allows you to appreciate various native wildlife species and observe condors in their habitat. During the ascent to the viewpoint, you can capture scenic photographs.

Yanacocha Tourist Interpretation Trail

Located in the El Palmar community, this trail is approximately 2,584 meters long and offers the chance to observe part of the area’s biodiversity, especially the Janchicoco palm. Visitors can also enjoy the waters and pools of the El Palmar River.

Cañón Misión (Misión Canyon – Rodeo Community Trail)

Starting from the Rodeo community, an 8 km vehicle ride takes you to the Thuru Thuru community, from where a hike begins to reach the panoramic viewpoint and observe the palms. The area features pools that create natural pools of clear and pure water.

Casa de Juana Azurduy (Juana Azurduy’s House)

In the Presto municipality, you can find the house where Juana Azurduy de Padilla, a Patriot heroine of the War of Independence, lived. This house served as her headquarters to prepare the resistance of the 1809 Revolution and was the site of two significant battles: Canal Pampa and Kespillajta.

Festivals and Fairs

The most important annual fairs in the communities coincide with religious celebrations: July 25th in honor of Apostle Santiago, October 8th for the Virgin of the Rosary, and December 8th for the Feast of the Conception.

How to Get to El Palmar in Bolivia

Visiting El Palmar is easier than you might think, and there is a variety of accommodation options to suit different needs and budgets.

Where to Stay Near the Natural Area

Doña Elsa Torrez (Presto) Sucre Street, No. 25 beds, singles, doubles, triples, and quadruples Bs. 30.-
Doña Fell (Presto) Sucre Street, No. 5 beds, doubles, and triples Bs. 30.-
Don Jhony Juana Azurduy Square, No. 45 beds, doubles, triples, quadruples, and matrimonials Bs. 40.-
El Palmar Lodge El Palmar Community 6 double beds Bs. 40.-
Community Houses El Palmar Community 10 beds Bs. 30.-

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the El Palmar Integrated Natural Management Area in Bolivia is during the dry season, which extends from May to October. During these months, rainfall is less frequent, and temperatures are moderate, creating an ideal environment to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the lush natural beauty of the area.

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