Wildlife of Bolivia

Wildlife of Bolivia

Bolivia is a resplendent land of contrasts: from the glistening waters of Lake Titicaca to the soaring peaks of the Andes, and beyond to the tropical Amazon basin. Ecosystems and wildlife here are as rich and varied as the stunning scenery that surrounds them. With over 20 national parks providing a safe haven for many species, and remote terrain being the habitat of others, Bolivia is a fantastic destination for animal enthusiasts, twitchers and eco-warriors alike. Come with us and take a walk on the wild side as we explore the diverse nature of this land-locked South American country.

Llama | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

[Phil Whitehouse, ‘Llama’ via [Flickr] [CC BY 2.0]

Spectacled Bears

Also referred to as the Andean Bear, these mighty mammals are South America’s only species of bear. Now seriously under threat, it is unclear how many of the beautiful beasts are left but it is believed it may be as few as 3,000. Working with neighbouring countries, there are now great strides being taken to try and protect the remaining population. Like many endangered species, spotting this much-loved bear can be difficult. However, if you head to Madidi National Park, you may be in luck. A trip here can be incorporated into a wider itinerary, with eco-lodges such as Chalalan providing excellent Amazonian accommodation. It may surprise you, given their size, but these bears are often found lounging above ground in trees so keep your eyes peeled!

Spectacled Bear in Bolivia | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

Spectacled Bear in Bolivia | Pixabay


The elusive Jaguar is unlikely to be a creature you come across without trying to find it. The best way to see these fascinating felines outside captivity is to book yourself onto a guided tour. Sadly, due to their beauty and their choice of natural habitat the Jaguar has been subject to catastrophic poaching as well as falling foul to some farmers, trying to protect their cattle. It is, however, still possible to find them, thanks to places like San Miguelito Jaguar Conservation Reserve, just a few hours’ drive from Santa Cruz. Here you can learn to track the animals and although sightings are not promised, hopefully get to see these creatures for yourself. In lieu of any Jaguars, other wildlife here is bountiful including Capybaras, Monkeys and even Giant Anteaters.

Jaguar in the Amazon | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

Jaguar in the Amazon | Pixabay


The Salar de Uyuni is surely one of Bolivia’s most recognisable landscapes, though it is also home to thousands of Flamingos; three different types, in fact. A trip to the world’s largest salt flats is an amazing experience in itself but with the Flamingos also frolicking about, it becomes an even more sublime place to encounter. Often associated with more tropical climes, these birds are hardy to say the least, with the temperature sometimes dropping below freezing and weather sometimes being challenging, yet these fragile-looking birds are in fact unflappable. Of course, the Salar de Uyuni can be explored on a day trip from your local hotel; we highly recommend the Palacio de Sal, which has been constructed entirely from salt – an apt experience for your stay in Uyuni!

Flamingos in Uyuni | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

[Thomas BONNIN / “Laguna Colorada”[CC BY-SA 2.0] 

Pink River Dolphins

Surely one of mankind’s favourite marine mammals, the Dolphin can also be found in Bolivia. Pink River Dolphins, also known as Bufeos, live in the Amazon’s waterways amongst the exotic flora and fauna that resides here, with adult males measuring up to 3 metres. While it is possible to swim with the Dolphins, be sure to only do this as part of an organised excursion – after all, the Amazon is not the kind of river you want to be jumping into without guidance! As you cruise through the water, these River Dolphins are not the only creatures to spot, as there are countless colourful birds, creeping Caimans and even Turtles all inhabiting the area. In the typically playful manner that they are known for worldwide, you may be fortunate enough to have a Dolphin follow your boat, leaping from the water; a sight not to be missed.

Pink River Dolphin in the Amazon | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

[Gordon Wrigley / “Pink Dolphin”[CC BY 2.0]

Bolivia’s Birdlife

Seeing as the country flaunts an array of ecosystems that teem with all kinds of creatures, it is therefore hardly surprising that Bolivia’s birdlife is spectacular. This is where the national parks really come into their own, offering refuge for literally thousands of species of our feathered friends. Macaws of all shapes and sizes, Toucans and Hummingbirds are just some of the birds that can be found in this area of the world. The mighty Condor, meanwhile, must be Bolivia’s crowning glory, with an impressive wing span of up to 3 metres; the Condor is so treasured, in fact, that it features on the national coat of arms. If you are lucky enough to see one, it’ll be something you won’t forget in a hurry. The eco-lodges dotted all over the country are perfect places to see birdlife large and small from the comfort of your own balcony, so you will not have to go far to find the wild and wonderful birds of Bolivia; their sweet chirps and cheeps will no doubt become the soundtrack to your trip here.

Toucan in the Amazon | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

[Rocco Lucia / Photo Title: “Tucan”] [CC BY-SA 2.0]

More Wildlife of Bolivia

All these incredible animal species are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wildlife in Bolivia. Huge Anacondas of the rainforest, Maned Wolves, super cute Viscachas in the highlands (think chubby bunnies) and the beguiling Rhea bird are just some of the other animals that thrive here. It may be surprising, but the wealth of wildlife in Bolivia is rich indeed. The only way to see them all is to come and visit yourself!

Rhea Bird in Bolivia | Bolivia Wildlife Blog

Rhea Bird in Bolivia | Pixabay

Discover the incredible wildlife of Bolivia on a luxury tailor-made tour; select one of our itinerary templates and start planning your trip today. Handpick the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations depending on how long you want to stay in each place, and have fun in the process! Surtrek is always at hand to help out. Call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!

Read more about Bolivia on our blog: check out our article on the country’s top five landscapes, or read our travel guide on the best things to do in La Paz.







Leave a Comment