The amazon basin - pampas and the jungle

Rurrenabaque Travel Blog

 › entry 23 of 35 › view all entries
sharp knife aaahh

After a few days back in La Paz after the salt lakes we headed for the town of Rurrenabaque, which is the starting point for trips into the Bolivia`s section of the Amazon Basin, namely the Pampas and the Jungle. Most people brave a 15 to 20 hour bus ride to get to Rurrenabaque, however upon recommendations from many other people we decided to fork out the $99US for a return flight. The flight only took 35 minutes which passed over one of the Andes mountain ranges before dropping almost 4000m to rurrenabaque, it was a pretty impressive flight thast passed what appeared to be very close to the mountains.

Pampas- lots of little monkeys on me
Was pretty happy when we got there, especially after one of our friends told us he saw the pilot sculling two cans of beer before flying back to La Paz about 20mins later.

Off the plane we headed to our tour agency Deep Rainforest to check in or our Pampas tour the next day, after a bit of trouble it was sorted that we would leave the next morning. With that all sorted we met up with some Dutchies who we met on the flight with and headed on a hike up the mountain over looking Rurrenabaque. It was a hard and steep walk up the hill, but much easier now we were at 100m altitude, down from 3600m in La Paz, eg much easier to breathe. It is also much better weather for booze drinking, so we promptly headed to a local pool and commenced drinking stubbies. At the pool they had a pet Tucan that was strolling around the pool edge just chewing on anything he could find.

the pet toucan in rurrenabaque
He was a cute little bastard, so we took up the opportunity to burn half a memory card of photos on him. Ended up going out for dinner with the Dutchies and had a fairly big night, but wasn`t too much of a problem for the early morning rise to the Pampas. The dutchies were very happy with our national soccer coach, who is of course a Dutchy himself.

Pampas -

We were supposed to be at the travel office for a 9:30am start to the Pampas, however as is the norm in Bolivia the people will lie directly to your face despite the fact they know you`ll find out later. At 9:30 we were told 5mins till we head off as we were just waiting for some people from the airport, despite the fact we knew the first flight didn`t arrive till 10:30, anyway we waited.

Looking over la paz on our way to the jungle
Come 11:30 we were off, who did we pick up, but the dutchies. They`d been waiting since 8:30 and were told something was wrong with car suspension, got to love Bolivia. Anyway we were off for the 3 hour drive to the Pampas, which seemed like every minute of the 3 hours was over some pretty dodgy road.

We arrived at the port and boarded the boat with our guide Ronny (stocky little beast of a man with a big knife strapped to his leg). Straight away there was heaps of wildlife to see, mostly alligators, turtles and massive birds. We cruised for another three hours in the boat before arriving at our campsite, thank god they had mosquito nets cause there were some beasts of mozzies. We did however have repellent that was 80% deet, reminded me of paint stripper, but it worked.

this flight is very close to the mountains.

Most of the pampas was spent in the boat looking for wildlife, which included swimming with pink dolphins (we were told they were pink, never saw any evidence of that as they were quite elusive beasts), fishing and eating pirahnas and searching for anacondas. We searched the pampas for 3 hours, but didn`t find one anaconda, very disappointing indeed, especially as all the other groups got one or two. If we weren`t looking to catch an anaconda i certainly wouldn`t have been walking through the pampas, it was a pretty dirty experience hauling yourself through knee to waist deep mud, but you don`t get the chance to tackle an anaconda everyday.

The pampas was really good and i would certainly recommend it to anyone coming to Bolivia, your ass certainly does get a little tender through sitting in the boat all day though, but its worth it.

coming into the jungle, the river beni
  

Jungle -

We had one night back in rurrenabaque before again jumping on a little boat and heading down the River Beni into the Jungle. The jungle straight away proved very different to the Pampas in the vegetation and wildlife. Lots of trees as you`d expect and more than enough insects that would crawl on  every part of you if you stood still for more than 30seconds. We did a 3 day trek through the jungle from the River Beni to the infamous road from Rurrenabaque to La Paz, which we thought was a much better idea than  a simple walk in and out with a night at a campsite.

We arrived at a local village from where we started the trek, our group was joined at this stage with one of the 2 day tours as we were heading to the same campsite for the first night.

the rurrenbaque airport its quite simple to say the least
This was good as our spanish to english translator Tony, a mate from the pampas, was there to translate, as the villagers certainly didn`t speak english. We left the campsite with about 5 of the locals carrying all our food, we couldn`t believe how much there was to carry for a little trek, but they were little goers, just like the porters on the Inca Trail. It was lots more difficult on the second day when Tony left us, lots of nodding and smilling at the guides, but we got the message, eventually.

The jungle was great in terms of getting back to nature (that doesn`t mean getting nude and running around, although i wouldn`t be arguing if it did), our campsites were pretty simple and the bedding was very simple. The first night we slept on some cane beds elevated just abaove the ground, no walls, just a roof.

the little plane from la paz. the runway is a grass field
The second night was on a tarp laid out on the ground, not as comfy as were used to, but no problem for one night. Our tour guide `Whalter` (don`t ask me if thats his real name, i`ve got my doubts) was great and carried lots of our stuff and cooked us big meals of rice and pasta (condiments were tomato sauce and mayonnaise).

The jungle turned out to be very different from the pampas but good in its own way. Would love to see how it compares to other parts of the amazon basin, but don`t know whether time will permit another visit in another counrty, we`ll see.

kitcaless says:
Did you know that if you spray yourself with 80% deet and later touch an anaconda, the oils in your skin and the deet combined will kill the anaconda in about 6 hours. Good to see responsible travel still happens
Posted on: Jun 23, 2007
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sharp knife aaahh
sharp knife aaahh
Pampas- lots of little monkeys on …
Pampas- lots of little monkeys on…
the pet toucan in rurrenabaque
the pet toucan in rurrenabaque
Looking over la paz on our way to …
Looking over la paz on our way to…
this flight is very close to the m…
this flight is very close to the …
coming into the jungle, the river …
coming into the jungle, the river…
the rurrenbaque airport its quite …
the rurrenbaque airport its quite…
the little plane from la paz. the …
the little plane from la paz. the…
trekked up a steep hill to a great…
trekked up a steep hill to a grea…
come to me toucan!
come to me toucan!
this is quite exciting
this is quite exciting
the sunrising over the pampas, one…
the sunrising over the pampas, on…
The boat into the pampas
The boat into the pampas
a swimming bird that just caught a…
a swimming bird that just caught …
turtles!
turtles!
little monkeys
little monkeys
the birds were huge (some as big a…
the birds were huge (some as big …
cruising in the pampas
cruising in the pampas
swimming with the paranjas and pin…
swimming with the paranjas and pi…
see the gator in the background!
see the gator in the background!
our guide ronny.
our guide ronny.
lots of mud
lots of mud
Anaconda hunting in the pampas. Mu…
Anaconda hunting in the pampas. M…
boating in the pampas
boating in the pampas
gator coming to get me
gator coming to get me
Caymon (a type of alligator) these…
Caymon (a type of alligator) thes…
AC is pretty prous of this little …
AC is pretty prous of this little…
the biggest rodent in the world ca…
the biggest rodent in the world c…
our team for the pampas trip
our team for the pampas trip
Our accomodation in the jungle nig…
Our accomodation in the jungle ni…
The camp night1 in the jungle
The camp night1 in the jungle
Jungle trek!
Jungle trek!
Many cool insects around if you ca…
Many cool insects around if you c…
pretty butterflys everywhere, this…
pretty butterflys everywhere, thi…
relaxing at the camp night1, he´s…
relaxing at the camp night1, he´…
dinner at camp no2 on the tarp
dinner at camp no2 on the tarp
Vegeatarian risotto my fave!
Vegeatarian risotto my fave!
camp site night 2, we slept on the…
camp site night 2, we slept on th…
working ants, a really long line o…
working ants, a really long line …
trekking. It was really hot going …
trekking. It was really hot going…
Rurrenabaque
photo by: jendara