Amazon Adventure

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, July 7, 2008

After a bumpy night bus from Santa Cruz to Trinidad, we met our Amazon Tour Group contact.  The drive out to meet our cruise boat on the Rio Mamore was at times hilarious and other times unbelievable.  We took a few ``ferriesīī that consisted of wood planks being pushed across the river by small canoes with motors.  The roads were in alright condition, but I can`t even imagine what they are like in the rainy season - probably just look like muddy rivers.

Once we got to the cruise boat, we knew we would be in a bit of luxury for a few days.  There are hammocks on the top deck with gorgeous views - perfect for lounging in the sun and watching the river dolphins and shore birds.

We spent the next four days in a mini heaven.  Swimming in the warm river and relaxing on the deserted beaches was great.  We even got a visit from a group of pink river dolphins one day.  They were happy just to play and show off for us.  I couldn'tīt believe how close they got to us.

We had the opportunity to do many treks in the jungle, and a highlight was meeting some of the indigenous communities that live here.  The Yuracare people of the Santa Maria del Pilar were so hospitable, and the children absolutely adorable!  They use solar panels for energy, and live a simple life consisting of fishing as their main trade.  The jungle is amazing - just the size of the trees, the density of the forest, and the amount of vegetation.  The huge ants, frogs, and jaguar prints were more than I could have imagined as well.  And all this is in the dry season.  I wonder what the jungle looks like in the rainy season.

In the evenings, we went to spot caimans.  Our guide Hugo could spot them from so far away with his eagle eyes.  The jungle at night has an incredible buzzing sound from all the insects, and the stars at night are gorgeous.  I donīt think I have every seen a night sky like that.

This tour gave us the opportunity to try a lot of classic Bolivian dishes that we have not had the chance to taste yet.  The fresh fruit, sopas with spicy salsa, freeze dried potatoes, and fresh fish are sooo good.

After having not much luck fishing for piranhas in the Pantanal, we were very excited to catch lots of fish in the Amazon.  With a traditional fishing line (and at some points only a line!), we finally got the hang of it.  I am sure our guides found all of us pretty amusing.  Latha ended up catching more catfish than piranhas.  They were very yummy when fried up.  But really, considering all the bait we needed to catch them, and the surprisingly small amount of meat that you get from one piranha - I don`t think we should quit our day jobs.  :)

 It is always a bit sad to leave the comfort of a tour (especially such a nice one), and our Eastern Amazon tour was no exception.  This was one of the places we were most looking forward to exploring in Bolivia, and it definitely did not disappoint.

The bus ride from Trindad back to Santa Cruz was unfortunately noteworthy (the worst kind of bus ride).  I would like to thank one of the best travel accessories invented (after hand sanitizer) - ear plugs!!  When there is a crackly speaker blaring out awful music on a night bus, you really start to love your ear plugs.  Also, the bus we were on was packed with people who bought standing room seats (yes, what a great idea on a NIGHT bus).  Luckily, we can fall asleep anywhere now, and did!
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