Jungle Boat trip to Rurrenabaque

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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On a boat!

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, September 10, 2010

We got to the main square in Coroico, the meeting point for our boat trip, and saw that there were 3 other people waiting with us. Considering that the boat to Rurrenabaque leaves only once a week, we felt lucky that there was only 5 of us. A minibus then took us some way down the road to a cafe where 13 other travellers were sat having breakfast! So that made 18 of us, plus 2 guides and a cook, bringing the total to 21 (supposed to be a maximum of 16 according to the Deep Rainforest website!)!
We then transferred onto a rickety bus which drove the 2-3 hours to Caranavi, a hair-raising ride along a winding single track road with a sheer drop on one side and site of many fatal bus crashes! We made it to Caranavi in one piece and stopped for a very basic lunch before setting off again for another two hours, the scenery becoming more and more tropical as we followed the valley down into the steamy lowlands. By 4pm we reached a village where there was some kind of annual celebration going on and lots of drunk people dancing in the streets. After wandering around for a bit we boarded the boat and set off down the Rio Beni, which leads all the way to the Amazon in a couple of weeks by motorized canoe! Just before dusk we stopped on a sandy beach and set up camp.

The next day we motored downstream for a couple of hours and then walked through the forest to a waterfall where we all went for a swim and some of the males in the group tried to outdo each other by jumping from higher up the falls. Then it was back in the boat for another four hours. The seats were not the most comfortable but the beautiful rainforest backdrop was a good distraction, especially once we had entered into Madidi National Park, a vast 1.8 million hectares of pure wilderness and one of South America's most intact ecosystems. How long this will remain the case is uncertain due to road building, illegal logging and because it is being considered for oil exploration.

On the last day we carried on past jungle clad hills eventually reaching the tropical town of Rurrenabaque, a sleepy sort of place which we fell in love with immediately.
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