Pampas tour - Day 2 - Alligators, pirahnas, dolphins, and how to swim with them all at once :)

Rurrenabaque Travel Blog

 › entry 48 of 58 › view all entries
The mossie net covered beds (that look like coffins from the inside :) ). Everyone had a great night's sleep though, not sure if it was the lack of altitude

We started off the day with a 4 hour boat trip up river.  Not too long in to the trip the guide decided he would try to show us an alligator up close so he cut the engine to let us drift in towards the alligator without scaring it off.  Now I'm all for new experiences, but the problem begins when the engine won't start again, and you're still drifting towards the alligator, he must have been thinking that this part of the river had excellent service :)

Fortunately a few oar strokes had us going in the direction which was more likely to lead to a future :) We were wondering for a few minutes if we had been down-graded to an eco-tour with a 'working motor' surplus, but it spluttered back in to life and we were on our way again.

The next highlight came when we drifted alongside a tree and suddenly all these tiny little squirrel monkeys came climbing down and in to the boat.

Ok there are alligators about every 50 metres as you go down this river so I'll only put one or two up
  This was absolutely priceless!  The guides obviously do this a lot, and the monkeys are used to it, but just to add to the moment the guide pulled out a banana and held it above Martina's head and she freaked out!! These spider monkeys began to jump all over her clambering for the banana, this was hilarious (for us at least, and I know Martina saw the funny side later :) )

After a bit of monkey fun, we then went back to a leg in the river which was only about 200 metres from where we had seen a big black caiman (ie big black bad-ass alligator).  So what do you do when riding a boat in alligator-caiman-piranha infested waters ? Go for a swim of course!

The guides said that their were pink dolphins in this corner of the river, and that none of the dangerous animals come near since the dolphins protect their area.

Drifting down the river isn't a hard life
  Now I wasn't born yesterday and wasn't just going to take them at their word and jump in, but after both guides then proceeded to leap over the edge I knew at least that they didn't think they were wrong!!  Still had that lingering doubt that they could be wrong though :)

So in one of those 'when else will you get a chance to swim in an alligator-infested offshoot of the amazon' moments (you must get them all the time :) ) I took off the shirt and joined my Swiss friend George,Luis and Jose in the water.  Sure enough we then saw the pinkish backs of dolphins doing circles around the area, fantastic moment!

Returned to camp for a quick lunch, sensational food again and a bit of downtime. Then in the afternoon, they took us out pirahna-fishing.

Squirrel monkeys are cool
  Not too much to it, just put a little bit of meat on a hook, and sure enough you reel in a pirahna....out of that same water we were swimming in.....oh but that was at least an hour upstream, they wouldn't be there :)

Returned to camp where we broke out the bottles of red wine we had brought along and drank as we played cards by candlelight.  Jose was telling us more interesting tales of Bolivai, the one that stuck was that Bolivia has had a new president about every 10 months on average!! It was also interesting that Bolivians consider Sucre to be the capital, not La Paz as we would say, so there you go!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The mossie net covered beds (that …
The mossie net covered beds (that…
Ok there are alligators about ever…
Ok there are alligators about eve…
Drifting down the river isnt a ha…
Drifting down the river isn't a h…
Squirrel monkeys are cool
Squirrel monkeys are cool
Do I have to get out of the hammoc…
Do I have to get out of the hammo…
We drift nice and close to this gu…
We drift nice and close to this g…
George takes up the oar to paddle …
George takes up the oar to paddle…
Guides take us down to be attacked…
Guides take us down to be attacke…
Swimming with the pink dolphins
Swimming with the pink dolphins
Nadia managed to catch a pirahna a…
Nadia managed to catch a pirahna …
Theyre not so big and scary, just…
They're not so big and scary, jus…
Another cool sunset
Another cool sunset
Rurrenabaque
photo by: jendara