Mountain peaks to Jungle in one day (on a bike)

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
Trip End Oct 15, 2005

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sorata, the walking capital of Bolivia is lovely, just what we have been looking for quiet and chilled out. We stayed in a nice hostel and found a lovely cafe with hammocks to read in, which we did for most of our first day. On the second day we did a 12k walk to some caves, which were not rated highly in the guide book but turned out to be pretty good. We were the only ones there (except the bats) and with our torches managed to explore the huge cave for about 15mins. We planed to do a few day trek but something else caught our eye. There are 3 ways to get to the jungle in Rurrenbaque, Fly from La Paz, a bus taking 20hours or a two day mountain bike ride (all downhill) followed by 3 days on a boat. Clearly no competition. When we found out about the bike tour it was leaving the following morning, we got the last 2 places.

First thing our group of 7 were taken to the top of the mountain range at 4800m where the down hill would begin. It was hard knowing what to wear as we were starting in the freezing cold surrounded by snow but traveling fast downhill to the hot and humid jungle. The day was fantastic we cycled purely downhill for 100km and did not see a single car. We ended the first day at 1100meters, so we cycled 3700meters downhill in a day, wow. The second day started with 2hours uphill, I thought this was supposed to be easy! But the rest of the day was downhill again and where we had got our confidence up, much faster. We finished with a swim in the river. Days 3, 4 and 5 were on the boat, now this was hard, cruising up the river with nothing to do but look at the scenery, chat, read books and eat. We arrived at Rurrenbaque and booked into a beautiful hostel. The rooms were massive with a bed in the middle and all open, ie no windows, one whole wall was missing and it just looked out over the jungle, pretty special. Stayed for 2 nights and then set out on our Pampas tour.

The Pampas is basically the wetlands and an opportunity to see a large amount of wildlife, we were not missold. The 3 days were spent on different boat tours and we saw Hundreds of alligators, Caymens, capybaras (giant rodents, the size of a large pig the face of a rat), snakes and tons of monkeys and birds. We went pirahana fishing for our supper. I managed to catch 9, Billy bless him pretended not to be impressed as he left for the day hungry with nil points. My gloating was punished however when on the way back in fell into the alligator and pirahana infested water. Oh well it was only a few hours to the shower at our lovely hostel in Rurrenbaque and still had all my limbs.
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