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Friday, 16 May 2014

Rurrenbaque (The Amazon), Bolivia


After frantically leaving the hostel and arriving at the airport with about 15 minutes to spare, we boarded out tiny 14 person plane bound for Rurrenbaque. The flight was at 6:20 so it was still dark outside with La Paz shining bright from the street lights. I pretty much passed out and woke up in Rurrenbaque. As soon as I left the plane, you could tell you were in the jungle. A damp, humid rainforest smell was immediate. Once we had our bags, we headed to the Indigena Tours office in the middle of town where we'd now wait for an hour or so before heading off. 

We met 3 other NZ girls: Ana, Petra and Liv; making us a 5 for the trip. We had a 3 hour bumpy ride in what we were told would be a jeep but turned out to be a Toyota space wagon - totally useless. 

Once we arrived at the other end we had a 3 hour narrow boat journey down the Rio Beni deep into the Amazon jungle, which was so good. Our guide, Tony, pointed out various animals from squirrel monkeys to capibanas (check spelling?!). Along the way we saw many alligators, herons and cappuccino monkeys. 

After the boat ride we ended up in out accomodation in the jungle, built on stilts. Although basic, it served it's purpose well. Time to deet up and put long clothes on. The mosquitos here are massive and in abundance. It turns out the mosquitos bite through clothes so it was all a bit pointless. They're also very annoying as they just keep hovering near you. After a decent dinner we left on a short boat ride for sunset. 

From here we briefly went back to the accomodation before heading to see some aligator eyes in the dark water. 

Bed is a relief and a welcome break from the mosquitos.


This morning we were up at 7:30 to quickly eat breakfast. Post-breakfast we armed ourselves with jeans, socks and Wellington boots; ready to go anaconda hunting (searching). After wading about in  swamp-like water for a couple of hours another group came across a cobra in the vegetation that we got to see. 

Their tour guide got bitten by the snake but didn't seem bothered - mad. The mosquitos aren't usually a problem in the day but today they were. We were basically walking through their beds. Dylan got mullered, I had a few bites and the girls were fine - mainly because they used prescribed 80% deet! 

We were pretty poor at finding the anaconda due to their camouflage design. Nearly 5 minutes until the end of the walk, I spotted a massive toad:

Then we were walking toward the accomodation and we saw an anaconda! It was blatantly put their though as two other groups saw it in exactly the same place - the girls didn't think that. 

Once back at the accomodation we saw a massive aligator just chilling in the sun  under the stilts. His name was Fred - apparently. 

We then chilled in hammocks for a few hours before heading off again to swim with pink dolphins that roam the rivers. I was first in. It took a while for them to come around but we eventually found them. This was a special moment. Touching these huge river dolphins - an almost latex feel. That was great but them it got creepy. I was filming it all on GoPro but then the dolphin stopped and looked square at me. That amazing feeling became an uncomfortable feeling. Then it started biting my feet. Luckily I had socks on (as instructed) but I rapidly left the water and got back on our boat. We then stopped off for a bit of piraña fishing for around an hour...only a few of us caught one...I caught a red piraña with  a savage set of teeth! 

Heading back we quickly ate and left for the sunset again, before going to bed post-wine/beer/cards. 


Our final day in the jungle and all of us except Dylan who had been battered by mozzies, left the accomodation at 5:45 for sunrise. It was now my turn to be eaten. The sunrise was worth it though as we washed down the river without the engine - hearing all the rainforest sounds you can imagine: from aligators roaring as they attacked their prey to toucans yapping at each other. 

We got back at 7, had breakfast, packed and left on the boats for a 2 hour journey upstream. We saw sloths, eagles, a black cayman and many birds including parrots. 

We then carried on after an early lunch back to Rurrenbaque (1.5 hours by boat and 3 by bus). We stayed in El Curichal, which was pretty average but was only £3.50. I'm now writing this on the flight back to La Paz. We have one more night here for Dylan's birthday then off to Copacabana. 


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