Ovidio Valdez

Ovidio Valdez

Adventure and Nature Guide

Like some of the other great guides we work with in the Amazon basin, Ovidio comes from the village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas, in Madidi National Park.  He is the brother of Sandro (who’s bio you can read and get the same story of their early childhood and Chalalan experiences) and is an adventure and nature guide.  Ovidio is the more adventurous guide in the family as he has taken expert survival guides, known for their skills in the deserts of the southwestern US in Utah and Arizona, and taken them deep into the jungle to show them how it’s done in the jungle.  Undoubtedly, when true survival guides compare notes, there are overlaps for sure, but living in the Amazon jungle takes survival to a whole different level!

Ovidio has been down the Tuichi River a few times with Sergio Ballivian.  Imagine a 2-day drive from La Paz over the Apolobamba range, add 2 days of trekking through the jungle to the river, then raft class 4 whitewater rapids for 4 more days, add hand-fishing for catfish with just a hook and line, and make a new camp in the jungle every day…that is a normal adventure for Ovidio.  His stamina, his knowledge of all things related to plants, fungi, flowers, birds, reptiles, mammals, and insects is deep and he’s like a walking encyclopedia of nature.  He is as comfortable in the pampas as he is in the jungle.

Ovidio was also part of the original group of young up-and-coming guides when Chalalan Lodge was in the training and building stages since 1997.  His experience goes back close to 25 years guiding clients and showing them the wonders of the Madidi jungle.  He is a certified nature guide for the Beni and La Paz Departments. Over the years he has studied sustainable hotel practices, sustainable tourism, client services, conservation principles and principles of being a naturalist guide, with a specialty in tropical rainforests.

His whole family are excellent pan-flute players (zampoñas) and they participate in the annual celebration of San Jose de Uchupiamonas which happens every year at the end of April/early May.  He speaks and writes fluid Quechua, Spanish and pretty good English.  His mother and father still live in San Jose and Ovidio lives with his wife and two kids in Rurrenabaque on the banks of the Beni River in Bolivia.