Scheduled Tour: June 23, 2024 - 10 days/ 9 nights.

The Great Paraguayan Chaco, the "Big 15 Endemic Chaco Birds" and the Amazing Mammals.

PBNPY4_10 days/ 9 nigths.

This fantastic 10-day tour to this site considered one of the last wild corners on the planet, will allow us to understand the expression "Chacu". Towards the end of the 15th Century, the Inca Empire was expanding its domains reaching the Great Chaco. In fact, the meaning of the word "Chaco" is related to the expression "Chacu", a term that denominated the ceremonial practice hunting of the inhabitants of the south of the Inca Empire. The fauna and the flora of the Chaco were, since then, valued for its splendor and diversity. In fact, the savannah of the Dry Chaco is part of the second largest ecosystem of South America, following the Amazon's. Great zones of this region conserve an exemplary sample of the Chaco landscape, including the transition from semi-arid zones to most humid ones close to the rivers, characterized among others by the spectacular saltwater lagoons of the Central Chaco. The vegetation in this area conserves mixed savannahs, humid tropical forests, shrubby forests and seasonally flooded lands. Cruising the roads that cross the Paraguayan Chaco, one can observe large extensions of flooded palms, high forests of quebracho and, in the border zones of the Bolivian Chaco, sand formations typical of desert regions, covered by diverse species of thorny vegetation. This region contains a high diversity of flora, embracing nearly 4,000 different species of plants.

The Chaco is home to a great diversity of birds; more than 500 species are found in the Paraguayan Chaco.  About 30 species and subspecies are considered endemic to the Chaco Biome, 18 of them are found in Paraguay, and the elusive sub-species of Spotted Nothura, the Chaco Nothura is exclusive to Paraguay, and it is very possible to see it during this tour. It also includes species that nest and remain in these territories as well as species that migrate annually from the north and from the south. Without any doubt that the Gran Chaco is the best place in South America to observe mammals throughout the American continent and that is the great plus of this trip. You will be surprised by the quantity and quality of mammals that you will add to your list!, and a large variety of snakes, lizards and frogs will surprise you, with a highlight for these last two with interesting species such as Coraline Frog, Paradox Frog, Fuscous Frog, Horned Toad, Rococo Toad and Granulated Toad, Shovel-nosed Chamber Frog and Weeping Dwarf Frog, among others. Reptiles might include Green Jungle Runner, Western Collared Spiny Lizard, Chaco Leaf-footed Gecko, Chaco Straight-toed Gecko, Four-toed Whiptail Lizard and Point-nosed False Chameleon and many others.

Tour details

  • Length: 10 days
  • Species in the trip: 495 Number of Bird Species Expected: 240 – 300
  • Tour Pace & Walking: Some long drives, mostly relaxed with some night drives and walks.
  • Focus: Bird and wildlife observation.
  • Recommended season: From July to November*.
  • Suggested extensions: Depending on the number of additional days you have and the species of your interest, we suggest that you observe our list of Paraguay and Regional Tours that are easy to connect.

Ecoregions visited in this tour

Go to our Photo Gallery
Great Rufous Woodcreeper_© John Sterling
Great Rufous Woodcreeper_© John Sterling
Quebracho-crested Tinamou_© Oscar Bordon
Quebracho-crested Tinamou_© Oscar Bordon
Checkered Woodpecker_© John Sterling
Checkered Woodpecker_© John Sterling
Chaco Earthcreeper_© John Sterling
Chaco Earthcreeper_© John Sterling
Geoffroy's Cat_© Antotang
Geoffroy's Cat_© Antotang
Chaco Peccary_© Oscar Bordon
Chaco Peccary_© Oscar Bordon

Top species of Birds

Below is the list of Dry Chaco endemic birds that are found in Paraguay and in bold the 15 species that we hope to observe in this tour: Brushland Tinamou, Quebracho Crested-tinamou, Chaco Chachalaca, Chaco Owl, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Black-bodied Woodpecker, Black-legged Seriema, Spot-winged Falconet, Crested Gallito, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Chaco Earthcreeper, Crested Hornero, Dinelli’s Doradito, Cinereous Tyrant, Many-colored Chaco-finch, Black-capped Warbling-Finch and Stripe-capped Sparrow. Additionally, there is an important variety of species well associated to the Chaco, difficult to observe in other places and that are found with greater abundance in the Paraguayan Chaco. Some of them are: In the Humid Chaco; Jabiru, Maguari and Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbill, Savanna,Great Black and Black-collared Hawk, Snail Kite, Limpkin, Giant Wood-Rail, Wattled Jacana, Plumbeous,Bare-faced and Buff-necked Ibis, Swainson's and Brown-crested Myiarchus, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Vermillion Flycatcher, White-faced Whistling-Duck and Brazilian Duck. In the Central Chaco; Great Horned Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, Scissor-tailed and Little Nightjar, Pauraque, Golden-collared Macaw. In the Dry Chaco; Great Antshrike, Black-bellied Antwren and Bolivian Slaty-antshrike, Black-crested Finch,  Harris and Zone-tailed Hawks, the endangered Crowned Eagle, Black-backed Grosbeak,  Scaly-headed Parrot, Nanday,Blue-crowned and Monk Parakeets and Turquoise-fronted Parrot.

Top species of Mammals

Jaguar, Puma, Jaguarundi, Ocelot and Geoffroy´s Cat, Lowland Tapir,  Chaco, Collared and White-lipped Peccary, Azara’s Night Monkey and  Chacoan Titi Monkey, Giant, Three, Six and Nine-banded and Lesser Hairy Armadillo, Maned Wolf, Crab-eating and Pampa´s Fox, Crab-eating Raccoon, Grey Brocket Deer, Chaco Mara, Tyra, Capybara, Giant and Tamandua Anteaters and many others.

Bird list of Top Hotspots

Tour Map

Program Summary

Day 1 – ARRIVAL IN ASUNCIÓN. Please book flights to arrive in Asunción during this day. If time allows, we will visit the wetlands and shores of the Bahía Asunción. Overnight in Asunción.

Day 2 – HUMID CHACO, LAGUNA CAPITÁN, LOMA PLATA. Early in the morning, we will cross the River Paraguay and visit a ranch dedicated to the cattle ranch and that in its well preserved natural reserves, it conserves a rich variety of birds and mammals with characteristics of the Humid Chaco. This will also be our gateway to the Gran Chaco. After about 3 hours of bird watching, depending on the activity, we will continue. We will bird our way through the Humid Chaco on our way west. We will have lunch on the way in a restaurant well-known for its tasty "empanadas", and begin our drive west towards the region of Loma Plata. We will visit the Laguna Capitan Reserve this first afternoon. This site will surprise us for its variety and quality of bird species, which will most likely already give us more than 1 of our Chaco target species. Overnight in Loma Plata.

Day 3 – CHACO LODGE – IPAROMA RANCH. Full day in the main saltwater lakes of the Central Chaco area. Our birding of the Dry Chaco begins today. We will visit some saltwater lakes, as well as Chaco woodlands today and we will make sure to try some mammal watching at night. Overnight in Iparoma Ranch.

Day 4 – Full day PARQUE NACIONAL DEFENSORES DEL CHACO. Overnight in Filadelfia. We will go out in the early morning to look for the birds and mammals with dawn habits. We will have organized a field meal to make the most of this trip to the largest natural reserve in Paraguay. We will take hikes in the reserve and, in the evening we will use lighting with powerful lanterns to look for the cats and mammals in general. In the early morning, we will arrive in Filadelfia again.

Day 5 – FORTIN TOLEDO, PARQUE NACIONAL TENIENTE ENCISO. We will have some time to bird and visit a breeding facility for the Chaco Peccary today in the morning. Later on, if we have not found most of our Chaco specialties by now, Parque Nacional Teniente Enciso will hopefully make up for the difference as this is a key place for the rarer Chaco birds. Overnight in PN Teniente Enciso.

Day 6 – PARQUE NACIONAL TENIENTE ENCISO. A final full day of birding in the Dry Chaco. Overnight in PN Teniente Enciso.

Day 7 – PN TENIENTE ENCISO, RETURN TO NEULAND. Today will be the start of our journey back towards Asunción. The road is slow and does not al­low us to do it all in one day, so we will stop in Neuland overnight. This gives us a chance to move at a more leisurely pace and hopefully find the last of the Chaco specialties. Overnight in Neuland.

Day 8 –  NEULAND. Early in the morning, we will go to the Selva Serena Reserve to have another chance to see the specialties of the Chaco . Overnight in Neuland.

Day 9 –RETURN TO ASUNCIÓN. We have a day to make our way back towards the southeast, and we will make sure to stop and enjoy some birding and scenery as we head to Asunción for our final dinner together. Overnight in Asunción.

Day 10 – END TO YOUR TOUR EXPERIENCE. Final departure.

More information of the tour, contact us!

If you are interested in the tour and want more details, write to our e-mail and we will gladly help you build your ideal tour. Do not forget that all our tours are ready to be adapted to your needs (Examples: more or less tour days, special species that you want to observe, emphasis on the group of animals or plants of your preference, add cultural and / or anthropological content, type of lodgings, level of meals, etc.).

Important Notes

This Tour includes*:

  • All meals from lunch on second day to breakfast on the penultimate day of the program (depending on the tour that you choose);
  • Bottled drinking water;
  • All lodgings, from the second night of second day  until the penultimate  night of the tour mentioned in the program;
  • Ground transportation;
  • Reserve entrance fees; and
  • All guiding services (not including tips for local guides and services).

The tour fee does not include:

  • Visa fees;
  • ANY flights (see above);
  • Passenger insurance (we recommend taking passenger insurance for trips to Paraguay and the region);
  • Any alcoholic drinks;
  • Special gratuities; and
  • Telephone calls, laundry and other items of a personal nature and other items not mentioned as expressly included.
*: Likewise all services included and not included will be clearly stipulated in our travel agreement according to the characteristics of the tour and your needs.

To see more details of terms and conditions of our tours click here.