May 2017

Toro Toro


By: Rebecca Nielsen
Projects Abroad Volunteer

Photos by: Rebecca Nielsen

If you are the one who enjoys adventures, beautiful landscapes, and wild experiences, you will like Toro Toro. It is difficult to say what is the most incredible thing in the Toro Toro National Park. Maybe it is the way to be a tourist, which is an adventure tourist. Toro Toro is not a place with many facilities, and the activities are risky and require specialized skills and physical exertion. Nothing is built for tourists, even though it is a really touristic place. It is an active itinerary; you are really meeting nature because of the difficult walking and jumping from one stone to another. That is a big experience not only for geology and natural history lovers, but also for those who want to step off the well-trodden path to discover an extraordinary place totally off the beaten track in Bolivia. It is perfect for those looking to explore a more hidden part of Bolivia and visit one of the country's most scenic and exciting national parks before the crowds get there.

Incredible waterfalls, a large cave with stalactites and stalagmites, some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in South America, and a "city of rocks" are among other attractions you can experience in the stunning Toro Toro National Park. At the waterfall site, it is possible to bathe just like a under natural shower. It is so beautiful to watch!

The cave called Humajalanta is an adventure; it is 4,600 meters long and 164 meters deep. It is filled with stalactites and stalagmites from the Cretaceous period and they are well preserved, but you should not fear the dark! When you turn off your flashlight it is totally dark inside and you can see nothing. Also, you better not have claustrophobia; you have to crawl through small holes between stones. The cave also has waterfalls, which can be heard and seen with a powerful beam of light.

The dinosaur footprints can be found in several locations. There are more than 2,500 footprints from different kinds of dinosaurs (biped and quadruped dinosaurs, theropods and sauropods); the largest footprint is one meter across. It is amazing how clear you can still see it, even though it is 145 million years old.

Photos by: : Rebecca Nielsen

Incredible waterfalls, a large cave with stalactites and stalagmites, some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in South America

Photos by: Rebecca Nielsen

The "city" made of stone is indeed an incredible experience. You will hike for some hours and see stones looking like animals such as an elephant, a turtle, and a fish. Additionally, you will see wall paintings on the rocks, which are millions of years old. That was the way you communicated with each other in the time before there was an alphabet.

The paintings are drawn with animal blood and color from plants and it are just like a tattoo: they will never disappear. On a tour to Toro Toro, you will visit breathtaking views and explore fascinating, memorable, and unique natural attractions. It is very challenging for adventure lovers and is well worth a visit.

Next to the town is Toro Toro National Park, which was founded in 1989. The park covers an area of 164 square kilometers.
Photos by: Rebecca Nielsen

The park also offers scrubby woodland with wildlife flocks of parakeets. It has lush and tropical vegetation with many different sorts of plants and animals. For example, if you are lucky, you will see the only species of endangered red-fronted rainbow macaws found in South America. The park is an extraordinarily authentic paradise with deep canyons and valleys. Panoramic landscapes eroded by wind and waters make it even more extraordinary.

Small charming houses, buildings, hotels, museums, and narrow streets made of stones make up the small town. The town itself has a small area with shops and places to eat; however, there are no pharmacies and no internet cafés and that makes it somewhat primitive.

Toro Toro has a population of 10,700. Almost everybody knows each other and everybody is really kind and open minded, it makes for a good atmosphere. In Toro Toro the language is not only Spanish, but Quechua as well as the culture. The Quechua people are the indigenous peoples of South America who speak any of the Quechua languages. The women wear colorful traditional clothes and both men and women wear bowler style hats.

Toro Toro is an ancient town in Bolivia founded about 250 years ago. Next to the town is Toro Toro National Park, which was founded in 1989. The park covers an area of 164 square kilometers. It is situated in the northern Potosí department, 140 kilometers south of Cochabamba. You can only come to Toro Toro from Cochabamba. There are buses that travel from Cochabamba to Toro Toro and viceversa. The roads are mainly old cobblestone ones most of the way but well worth the travel. In travel books about Bolivia, you will found more information as how to get there and what to do and so on. Maybe the book will recommend an agency you can use to get transportation, lodging, and a guided tour.

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