The amazon basin - pampas and the jungle
Rurrenabaque Travel Blog› entry 23 of 35 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.