Tropical Oasis and Pampas Tour

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End Apr 25, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, July 24, 2010

The small river side town of Rurrenabaque has a great vibe. It's laid back, warm and nestled in amongst the jungle – has great surroundings. We decided to chill out here for a few days laying in hammocks and not doing much of anything. We were in town for the Sunday markets with lots of street food, including great fudge. We also discovered an Ex-pat who bakes awesome Brasil Nut, carrot and Banana cake. The bar scene is fairly tropical too. Luna bar was playing all the good stuff including The Beautiful Girls, The Herd, John Butler Trio, Hilltop Hoods and Ben Harper.

We decided to stick with the warm weather and see some animals, so headed on a three day tour to the Pampas.

The Pampas is a low lying area of small rivers that feed surrounding vegetation and wetlands. Its a lot easier to spot wildlife here than in the jungle. We had a great Bolivian guide and Jules and Elska had joined our group of 8. Once again we lucked out with a fun group.

Following a dusty three hour jeep ride, in a jeep that was only just holding together and needed some mechanical work each time to get it started, we set of in the dugout canoe and spent the next few hours seeing heaps of wildlife on the way to the lodge. There were hundreds of Caiman, massive water birds, Birds of Paradise (they look like the plant), Capibaras (really big Guinea pigs), Spider Monkeys, Capuchin monkeys, Howler monkeys, a three-toed sloth, hawks and Eagles.

The lodge was comfortable and right on the river. Each evening we boated down to the nearby Football field to play soccer against the Bolivian guides. The sunset was also quite amazing. After being in the Andes for nearly two months the flatness of the area was captivating.

The next morning we headed off to the swamps to search for Anacondas. Another tour group found one so it was a bit of a shame with about 30 people crowded around one 3.5 metre Anaconda, but thankfully no one was picking it up to pose for photos. A 3.5 metre Anaconda isn’t really as big as you would think. In the afternoon we tried swimming with the Pink rive Dolphins and although we spotted some we didn’t have much luck. That was followed by a spot of Piranha fishing and I managed to land a 0.1kg monster! It was pretty average eating that night. That evening we also went out and spotted baby Caiman, with their eyes giving them away in the light.

The final morning we again went looking for the dolphins and had a bit more luck. It’s a bit nerve racking at first getting into a river where there are 3 metre Caiman 20 metres away and you had fished for Piranhas. The river dolphins aren’t as inquisitive as ocean dolphins and really just cruised past up river a few metres away.

A few more hours back on the boat and Jeep and we arrived back in Rurrenabaque after seeing an abundance of Wildlife.
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