Madidi and the Serere Reserve Travel Guide

Located in a flood plain forest in northern Bolivia, Serere is located in a strategic area both ecologically as well as in plans to expand the Madidi Mosaic..

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Madidi & Serere Reserve Travel Guide 2.78 MB 7 downloads

All the info to prepare your trip to Serere Reserve. How to get in, maps, activities...
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Madid Travel came to be as a result of the conservation work we were doing through Eco Bolivia Foundation in the Madidi Mosaic. Decades of travelling and working in the area, of enjoying the beauties of the region, of falling in love with it, convinced us that this was something to be shared with people of sensibility.

We started inviting friends to the area and word spread out. We started being visited by scientists, artists, photographers, film makers, and everyone raved over their experiences. As our conservation work took root, we decided that we would create infrastructures that would not only be useful for protection, but also for visitors. We were encouraged by our visitors to open up to tourism, so we decided to do so in the hopes that tourism would help us fund our conservation work. We established infrastructures throughout the mosaic that included lodges, observation towers and platforms, bridges, boardwalks, interpretive trails, and others. This has enabled our visitors to see fauna up close with complete safety.

Eco Bolivia Foundation and current members of Madidi Travel were responsible for the protected area with the greatest biodiversity in the world: the Madidi National Park. We were also instrumental in establishing many of the protected areas in the Madidi Mosaic (see map). Our current efforts are concentrated in consolidating the protected area of Serere, a four thousand hectare private reserve owned by Madidi Travel and functioning as the cutting edge to the expansion of conservation northward in the Madidi Mosaic.

Profits generated by Madidi Travel are invested in conservation and community work. Some of our investments have been the land titling of indigenous lands in the Madidi Mosaic, the empowering of indigenous community leaders, the establishment and strengthening of their organizations, establishing basic services such as potable water, communication networks through short wave radios, and monitoring and protection work.

Tourism with Madidi Travel is special not only because of our ability to help you see fauna in ideal conditions, the comfort and safety with which we operate, the cutting edge of the conservation work you will be able to observe, but also because you will be served by the people from the Madidi Mosaic who will share with you their life experiences in the area and their evolution from communities that, only a few years ago, had been living in a very basic way with an economy of barter, to their integration into the twenty first century without losing the values or knowledge of their ancestors.

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No protected area on earth has a greater variety of life than the Madidi Mosaic. This fact alone demonstrates the urgency of protecting this area. Since the creation of the Madidi National Park in 1995 funding for international non governmental organizations to work in these areas has poured in. Unfortunately, these past ten years have demonstrated the increasing degradation of these areas, as well as the growing disempowerment of its native peoples.

True conservation work requires on the field work, not glamorous studies and publications resulting from brief forays to the area from those who live in the cities, studies that do not reflect the reality of the conditions of the local population and that are used for others to patent the flora and fauna of the area (based on local knowledge), leaving the original inhabitants of the area in conditions of poverty. True conservation work is risky, tiring, and requires dealing with conflicts with economic interest groups such as mining companies, lumber companies, oils companies, land hoarders, etc. It also requires penetrating deep in the rainforest and jungle to explore the values that exist there, and to identify the richest and most fragile places that require protection.

While carrying out monitoring and protection work in Serere, Rosa Maria Ruiz was attacked by an over four meter long caiman which entered Serere after escaping from a property where caiman are raised in captivity, and therefore made hostile, for commercial reasons. These are the risks run when true conservation and protection are taking place.

Ecobolivia’s successful conservation efforts were rewarded by previous governments with the destruction of all of its eco tourism networks within the Madidi National Park and by the attempted assassination of its director. These types of abuses were obviously not limited to Eco Bolivia and eventually led to a popular uprising that forced former president, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, to flee the country.

Bolivia’s current president, Evo Morales, who received over 50% of the vote in national elections and whose popularity reached up to over 80%, has won this support because of his commitment to recover Bolivia’s natural resources for Bolivia. This provides an important opportunity for conservation work to be intensified in the country. Through our private sanctuary of Serere, we hope to develop a conservation model which can be replicated in Bolivia and internationally. We consider that conservation requires not only protecting what remains in good shape, but also actively recovering areas that have been damaged through re-forestation, re-introduction of endangered fauna, and other activities.

However, one thing is clear: conservation will not be successful while we do not provide means of subsistence to the local population. Tourism can be one contribution for this subsistence.

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The Serere Reserve

Located in a varzea (flood plain) forest in northern Bolivia, Serere is located in a strategic area both ecologically as well as in plans to expand the Madidi Mosaic. This four thousand hectare private area (owned by and with exclusive use of Madidi Travel) contains many eco systems and four very different lakes.

Home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, it has also become home to sister institutions such as Eco Bolivia Foundation (, the Organization of Indigenous Tacana Communities of Ballivián, Franciscans International (, Franciscan Peace and Justice Movement (www.movfra/jpic/, all working with us towards conservation, peace, and justice. Retreats are held here with these partnerships, indigenous community leaders, and others striving towards these common goals.

To the north, Serere borders with an indigenous territory (over 250,000 hectares) that Eco Bolivia helped to establish. Most of the communities in this territory are interested in working in partnership with us in tourism, and are therefore eager to see this sanctuary become consolidated quickly. The same holds true for the community lands to the east and south of us (17,000 hectares) which, with the help of Eco Bolivia Foundation and the Pastoral Social (a Catholic Church organization that assists indigenous peoples in their land titling), were titled for the community of Rio Viejo.

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Madidi Travel is an organization dedicated to conservation and sustainable tourism within the Madidi Mosaic, in Amazon Jungle. We believe tourism can greatly aid conservation efforts if done in a responsible and sustainable manner. 100% of our profits go back to conservation work and empowering local communities. We offer tours inside Serere Reserve, where one of the best eco- lodges of the country is based. You will be based in our office in the friendly town of Rurrenabaque, where hammocks are the way of life.

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3 hours away from Rurrenabaque, Madidi and the Serere Reserve is the home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Located in a flood plain forest in northern Bolivia, Serere is located in a strategic ecologically area.

Travel and tourism at the Serere Reserve. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Serere Reserve Travel Guide.

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Michel Piccaya


As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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