Ravine below Zenon Iturralde Park

by Lawrence Rubey

If one has very limited time, this ravine offers a birding spot right near downtown of La Paz. The area is not particularly beautiful and still very urban, but if one has only an hour or two, it is one of the few options. The steep slopes have discouraged urban development and some indigenous vegetation is sprinkled throughout the overgrown grass and eucalyptus.

Two hours of birding can provide 15 or so common highland garden birds including Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch, Golden-billed Saltator, Giant Hummingbird, White-tipped Plantcutter, Sparkling Violetear and possibly even the endemic Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer. None of the areas with vegetation are private property but there are small garden plots that need to be respected.

Logistics: The park which leads into the ravine is located on Avenida Arce just below the Plaza Isabela Catolica. If taking a taxi, ask to be dropped off the plaza. A taxi from a downtown hotel should be less than $2. Alternatively, there are mini-buses which run from the Prado ( La Paz's "main street") down to Isabela Catolica. From the Plaza Isabela Catolica walk down (south) Avenida Arce. On the left, pass Jalapeņos, a medicore Mexican restaurant. A block or so later, arrive at a small grassy area on the left hand side called Zenon Iturralde Park, right near a Nissan dealer. (The far corner of this park is home to the Centro Boliviano Americano which has an English library, including magazines). Enter the park and walk to the end. Just to the right are a small set of steps that lead down into a dry ravine with various paths that can be explored. Upon leaving, either return the same way as entered, or take the paved road that bisects the ravine uphill to the center of the city.
GPS reading at steps at Zenon Park: S 16 30.624 W 68 07.347