From our hostel in Rurrenabaque were picked up by Mashaquipe tours at 8am and taken to town to gather the necessary supplies, food, water, toilet paper, our guide and cook etc..
From town we headed off to the Pampas and on to the river we were staying on.
The car trip took around 3 hours on some pretty bumpy roads, but we had several breaks to spot wildlife, get something to drink and eat some wild local fruits and berries.
Along the way we saw a sloth, a capybara and a jabiru. A sloth is obviously the best animal ever and self explanatory, however a capybara is a giant rodent, like I'm talking big. It looks a lot like a wombat with long legs, and is found near the water in the pampas and the jungle. The jabiru is a really, really tall stork that amazingly hunts and eats anacondas.
As most of the road was through farmland, there were plenty of cows and horses blocking the road at various times. At one point we even saw a dead cow on the side of the road getting picked clean by about 100 black vultures. Oh, and also due to the wet season there were huge sections of road completely flooded with water going well over the wheel arches of our non-4WD taxi.
We eventually made it safe to the river and jumped on board a long, skinny, wooden 7 man canoe with an outboard motor attached that ferried us 15 minutes down river to the Mashaquipe Eco Lodge. The setup here was awesome with wooden huts for dining rooms and our accommodation. We could see how high the river really was here as 2 of the huts were only accessible by boat or snorkel - luckily wet season is also low season. Snorkels were not advised after closer inspection due to the caiman minding the front door. But there was still plenty of dry bedding for us, and our room was easily one of the best we have stayed in for the last 3 months.
The next 2 days involved plenty of boat trips in the little wooden canoe, heading up and down the river to see various animals. We also took the odd walk through the mud with some supplied gumboots. Despite the fact that it was the wet season and plenty of animals normally hide out during the rain, we still saw so many critters. We even saw a few that surprised the guide by showing themselves at this time of year.
During our 3 day trip we saw night monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, turtles and amazing variety of birdlife. We also went swimming with pink dolphins, ate breakfast with squirrel monkeys, caught and released pirañas, got woken up by feeding caíman, and shared our backyard with a family of capybaras.
This is another one of those trips where it was so amazing, that to retell every tiny detail is again beyond my vocabulary and patience so I’m going to let the pictures tell most of the story.
After lunch on the 3rd day we headed back to Rurrenabaque. This was much more interesting than the trip into the Pampas as the water had risen another few feet over the 3 days and flooded the road we came in on. Eventually we made it out of the wetlands after our guides cut some fencing beside the river and took our canoe out over some flooded cow paddocks.
After a bumpy drive back to Rurre and a crappy night sleep, we jumped on a plane back to La Paz. From 30 degrees at sea level to 10 degrees at 3600m altitude was quite a shock to the system, but much needed in preparation for our journey further north in the Andes.
Next stop - Copacabana and Lake Titicaca.
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
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