Rurrenabaque, Bolivia is a popular spot for tourists to visit the Amazon. You can do a wide range of tours, from hiking through the jungle for days, to cruising up the ‘river’ watching caiman, crocodiles and swimming with pink dolphins. There are dirt roads everywhere there are at least 10 motorbikes for every car.
We arrived and left by bus from La Paz. Getting to and from the bus terminal was easy. We quickly found a moto-taxi and were on our way.
We stayed at Hostel El Lobo which was in a nice location with a large pool. The rooms were comfortable and had decent mosquito nets. The staff were friendly and there is a nice area to chill and meet people.
Rurrenabaque, Bolivia is hot and humid and attracts many insects. I recommend you have a decent repellent and sunscreen.
There are many tour operators in Rurrenabaque and we looked around about a half dozen. They all offered slightly different packages and the prices varied quite a lot. Sometimes you pay a bit more for nicer food, more comfortable accommodation and better equipment, but it is hard to know exactly what you will get.
We booked our tours through Escorpion Tours. I would definitely recommend them. We did a 4 day tour in the jungle and 3 days in the pampas.
The jungle tour was great. We got a boat up the river and entered the jungle on the other side of the river, about 3km upstream. We pressed some sugar cane and walked to the camp. The camp was relaxing with lots of space to chill. We had a good feed and slept the night there.
The next day we walked a few hours through the jungle, learning about trees and animals and weaving leaves into bags and other items. We swung on vines and arrived at the camp in the evening. We set up some tents and ate a delicious meal prepared by our cook.
The next day we returned to camp and had a nice evening around a fire and learnt about the native beliefs and rituals. We returned to Rurrenabaque the following day and after a good feed in town, continued on towards the pampas.
The pampas is an area with lots of rivers and waterways. You can see dolphins, anacondas and black caimans. It is much more popular and we were joined by about 7 other tourists. To get there we had to drive for about 1 hour and a half. We stopped for lunch on the way.
When we finally arrived we stopped by the river and watched about 50 other tourists get into boats and head downstream. We followed them and were immediately impressed by the amount of wildlife we had never seen before. Hundreds of capybaras and crocodiles, monkeys, birds, dolphins, and more.
We found our camp about an hour later, disembarked and found our rooms. We were served great food there and made friends with the other travellers. From the camp we saw monkeys, toucans, woodpeckers and more. I even saw a monkey stealing eggs from a birds nest while the bird was trying to attack the monkey. Such is life in the wild.
During our time in the pampas we searched for anaconda which we never found, fished piranha which we cooked and ate, swam with pink dolphins and nearly hit a huge black caiman with our little wooden boat.
Overall the pampas was a great tour, more relaxing than the jungle and we saw a lot more animals. The jungle is really worth it though and I wish I could have spent more time there learning about it and searching for a glimpse of the elusive jaguar or other wild animals.