Jungle tour

Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Jul 31, 2008

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Where I stayed
Tacuaral Lodge

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

After the Pampas Tour we immediatly left for a Jungle Tour which promised us a completely different experience, although luckily we kept our guide, Norman (a very South American name!). The tour was in Madidi which is a national park in the Amazon River Basin of Bolivia and at a size of 18,958, it is one of the largest protected areas in the world and recognised as one of the planets most biologically diverse regions. The three day tour involved trekking through the jungle and even more piranha fishing (for our dinner).

In the jungle it is hard to see anything as it is so large and dense but it was great just to be there. The trees towered above us, some of which were many hunderds of years old. We saw enourmous fig trees which are parasitic and killed other trees by constriction, we saw trees which shed their bark like skin every 6 months, and trees which were fiecely protected my millions of fire ants. We also saw enormous ants which fearsome jaws, and leafcutter ants scurrying along with their leaf īsailsī. We heard the weirdest of jungle birds and saw Red and Blue Macaws fly below us as we stood upon a forest cliff. One of the best things was when we were surrounded by a family of 40 or 50 Squirrel Monkeys and we just sat there as they passed overhead (twice), it felt unbelievable to watch moneky after monkey jump between branches and climb up trees, and as they did so leaves rained down upon us.

We also went fishing every day. The fish here are enormous, with the piranha reaching up to a metre long (so swimming was out of the question). My hook simply got bitten off, but Dave actaully hooked a real whooper but it escaped at the last minutes as he did not haul it up onto the shore in time. This is something the Bolivians merrily took the piss out of him for the rest of the tour, calling him Fisherman!!

Another highlight of the tour was the night trek. With our torches we walked for an hour through the jungle. This gave a new sense of perspective, with the shadows of the trees and ferns towering above us, it felt like we were going through a prehistoric jungle. There were also bats all around, flitting within milimeteres of us, and even touching us at times. Bat Fact: These were Bulldog Bats, and apparently they can eat 1200 insects a minute. We then arrived at a pond/lake where we could pick out the glowing eyes of the Caimen but when we turned our torches we couldnīt believe our eyes as hundreds of little lights gleamed in the dark like stars in a sky - apparently these were little luminescent water spiders and an occasional firefly. Magical.

We were so sorry to leave the jungle, but the trip much continue.
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