Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco

At 780,000 hectares, Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco is Paraguay’s largest national park. The park’s size is particularly important as it provides enough protected land for several species of large felines such as jaguars and pumas to survive. The park is also home to members of the Ayoreo indigenous tribe, many of whom remain voluntarily isolated from the modern world. The park’s main visitor’s center is located at Madrejon and includes dorm rooms and a kitchen as well as a small campsite. Plan to bring all supplies including food, water, and fuel for the center’s generators. There is a lake by the visitor’s center that attracts the area’s wildlife. One of the most distinct features of the park is Cerro Leon. At over 600 meters above sea level Cerro, Leon is the second highest peak in Paraguay and a rare geological formation in the flat plain that is the Chaco. Cerro Leon is not one mountain but a series of small ones grouped together over an area about forty kilometers in diameter. This area of the park is ideal for nature observation and includes a campsite. It is accessed by a road that leads west from the park’s main entrance at Madrejon. Park rangers can take you to Cerro Leon, although you will have to cover fuel expenses.

Getting There

Traveling by private vehicle (only 4-wheel drive will do) should only be attempted during the dry season with the accompaniment of a trained guide. Road conditions are difficult and help can be very difficult to come by in an emergency. From Filadelfia head north along Avenida Hindenburg approximately forty kilometers to the crossroads with Teniente Montania. Continue north approximately 165 kilometers past Fortin Teniente Martinez to Fortin Madrejon and the entrance to the park. From Mariscal Estigarribia there is a road that leads east to Teniente Montania. The turn off from the Trans Chaco Highway is approximately one kilometer before the Mariscal Estigarribia immigration office.

Nasa-Golondrina (Tel: 0491 432 492) runs a weekly bus from Filadelfia. However, due to road conditions and lack of passengers, this bus does not run frequently. Be sure to double check with Nasa-Golondrina before making any travel plans. The best person to talk to is Sr. Silvio Espinola (Tel: 0971 700 352) who works at both the Nasa-Golondrina office in Filadelfia and the Technomundo store next door. Bus fare is Gs. 50,000.

Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco Photo Gallery

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