Chalalan Ecolodge
Chalalan Ecolodge


San José de Uchupiamonas.

The town of San José de Uchupiamonas of the quechua tacana ethnicity, was founded in the valley of the Tuchi River in 1616 by Franciscan priests and Mr. Marcelino Cusirimay of the Chiquitano ethnic group. We have heard our ancestor describe the foundation of San José de Uchupiamonas, saying the location of the first Mission was in a place known for many years as Tullullani (“Place where there are bones” in Quechua), one hour up the Tuichi River.
Alcides D’Orbigny, a famous French author, in his book “Geographic, Historic and Statistical Description of Bolivia”, wrote about our town: “Her dwelling could not be more pleasant, for it seems nature had been pleased in pouring her gifts over those wild places with greatness worthy of the Promised Land. Any foreigner who visits San José stands at awe at the sight of her beautiful vegetation and varied fruits that are so abundant there."


The indigenous town of San José de Uchupiamonas occupies an ancestral territory in the north of La Paz, within the Madidi National Park. The Communal Land lies between the Abel Iturralde and Franz Tamayo Provinces, and spans through parts of the Ixiamas, San Buenaventura and Apolo municipalities.
The Land Grant and Title Document Resolution of Communal Lands, RADT-ST 0287/2004, grants an area of 44,644.30 hectares with its corresponding Executing Title Number TCO-NAL-000082. The Compensation and Land Grand for Communal Land, SAN TCO No. 0310/2004, grants a surface of 165,411.62 hectares with is corresponding Executing Title Number TCO-NAL-0008.
The territorial expansion granted by the Communal Land of San José de Uchupiamonas (TCO-SJU) is of 210,056 hectares, located within the Madidi National Park, west of the road, between Tumupasa and Ixiamas, from the Mamuque Mountains, and to the east, occupying valleys and mountains associated with the Eslabon and Tuichi rivers all the way to the Limon Mountains.
The San Jose of Uchupiamonas Communal Land currently houses 126 families with a total population of 786 inhabitants, with an annual growth rate of 2.84% (SORIA et al., 2008), settled in one community located in the center of the territory.

Climate and Temperature

San José of Uchupiamonas is located 517 meters above sea level. According to the National Meteorological and Hydrology Service (2002), and annual precipitation is 1,927mm. Rainy season begins in November and ends in February while the dry season spans the months between May and October. Average temperature is 25 °C, temperature highs reach 33 ºC between October and January, while temperature lows usually occur between March and June with southern fronts lowering the temperature to well below 10 ºC with sudden increases in humidity due to.

Climate and Temperature

The history of Uchupiamonas indigenous people is very difficult to characterize given that the records do not distinguish the particular historical process of the community from general Tacanas stories. In this context, we report the concept as explained in the text "Preliminary Ethnography", (nternal document of Conservation International) Tacana people were considered by classic ethnography ,part of the nation of "chunchos", as the Incas before, and then  the Spaniards  named   all the ethnic groups inhabiting a geographical space located between the andean foothills ,the eastern savannas,  and the Amazon forests. Both Incas and Spaniards considered the "chunchos" as part of the nature and therefore ,wild. On the other hand,  wrong descriptions considered this vast area between the Andes and the Amazon as "No Man's Land."

However ,by more recent researches , it is thought that this important area was the "Taypi", or an intermediate  area between the highlands and lowlands  American peoples (ROMERO Bedregal, 1967, 1989, Saignes 1985). Thus, based on archeology and ethnography advances, we can conclude now that the people who inhabited these areas formed societies. with populations  divided in small groups, supplying their basic needs through hunting, fishing, gathering and cassava cultivation (Portugal Ortiz, 1978). According to the Tacana oral tradition, relations with the Incas:  were rather peaceful: (...) as probed by the latest researches, showing  active exchanges and intercultural relationships in both directions.
Spanish chroniclers as Sarmiento de Gamboa and Garcilaso de la Vega, get  to the conclusion that was the Inca Tupac Yupanqui, whose dynasty lasted from 1471 to 1494, who led the first Incas forays into Tacanas territories   and other groups as Mojeños Arawak . Subsequently, the Inca Wayna Kapac have strengthened the Inca domination which lasted until the Spanish arrived in 1540. (ROMERO BEDREGAL, 1989).

Archaeological evidence confirms these assertions:

An Inca Aríbalo belonging to Baba Trau ,found by a pastor from Rurrenabaque  (No. 3141 MNA National Archaeological Museum) is of undeniable Inca style, as a metal ax from  the same site (No. 862 MNA), (bronze preponderance of copper). In this regard Portugal (1978) says: His style is doubtlessly Inca,being an archaeological evidence used to authenticate what the chronicles and stories say about the Inca penetration into tropical lowlands.

Then the task of conquest was accomplished by making use of the Spanish Franciscans and Jesuits, not the military forces of the Crown. The first were introduced to the region from Apolo. (...) They began their successful  challenge  in 1680 creating and governing Apolobamba missions, which included  the misión of San José de Uchupiamonas established in 1716, Trimidad de Jariapu or Tumupasa in 1713 and San Antonio de Isllamas in 1712. (ROMERO Bedregal, 1989).

The documents say  that the Franciscan missionaries, facing the hostile resistance from theindigenous groups who inhabited the banks of rivers Tuíchi, Turiyapu Yuriyapu were forced to kidnap individuals of different ethnicities (Tacana, Leco, Chama and Uchupiamona) to be taken to the    Concepcion de Apolobamba Mission, founded in 1690, with 600 indigenous people who were in more than 70%  Quechua.



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Chalalan Ecolodge


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Jungle paradise- one of the highlights of South America? Chalalan Ecolodge We spent 3 nights at Chalalan and have recommended it to everyone we have met since! We are budget travellers but decided to splash out on a stay here and did not regret it for a second. The location is idyllic- 5 hours by boat away from civilisation and right in the middle of stunning rainforest. The lake at the lodge is an added bonus- bathwater temperature and the most beautiful of locations. The sunset trip across the lake by canoe was a highlight of the stay- by far the best way to see the wildlife as it is completely untroubled by the silent canoe drifiting past. Our guide was amazing- he could spot things with the naked eye that we couldn't see even when we knew where it was and would get the spotter scope trained on the animal so we could see it just as clearly! Small groups also meant we all had a chance to see. Service was great- cool drinks whenever we came back from a walk, fabulous food (I'm ve

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