As we needed more adrenaline in our blood, we decided to fly to Rurrenabaque to see Piranhas, turtles, crocodiles, monkeys, cobras, spiders, tapirs, kakadus and lots of other crazy animals.
Rurrenabaque is a smaller town in the North of Bolivia, on the Beni River. Lately it has become more popular with international tourism as it is an easy gateway for visits to Madidi National Park (within the Bolivian rainforest), as well as the surrounding pampas. Locals commonly refer to the town by its shortened nickname, “Rurre”.
So, we booked our flight to “Rurre” and took off at 7 in the morning. This was the smallest plane I have ever taken, it was an 18 seater and incredibly small, you could see straight through the cockpit outside. Landing was a bit terrifying. The plane lands on a grass runway, just a field in the jungle with no pavement. This definitely giving some problems in wet weather as the grass turns into mud that the planes can’t land on. The main runway will be paved, but it isn’t expected to be finished up to 2010. Also, low clouds can prevent planes from landing, and the nearby mountains don’t make things better.
But here we were! Totally hit by the humid and hot tropical weather, but hey, this was perfect to get away from the cold weather in Cusco, where we were studying Spanish for two months.
The airport was basically a hut, the windows did not even have glass. There was a guy sitting in front of a desk, just a plain wooden desk, without a uniform, nothing. No security checks, NADA!
When we got into the jeep that would take us to the port, we were a bit disappointed: in our group were 6 Japanese who spoke only Japanese and Japanese…. Well, maybe we could pick up some words and learn an extra language during this trip instead of only Spanish!
We drove four hours on a very bumpy road to the port. After loading all the necessities and backpacks onto the boat we took off. After one minute we saw the first turtles, and only a few minutes later, a crocodile, then tapirs, birds…. This was absolutely amazing! And after about an hour, it felt almost normal to be surrounded by crocks and tapirs. At night we slept in little huts next to the river and had great food. We basically shared our rooms with big tarantulas and humongous frogs – bring earplugs and you will be fine.
The next day we left quite early and went on a walk through the grasslands, where again we saw some crocks hiding, almost invisible and – a huge cobra. It was the first time I saw such a big snake in real life and not in a zoo. Stunning! Since my friend got sick we went to look for some natural medicine, which were the outer layers of special trees. Our guide made some tea out of them for her to drink and my friend felt better after a couple of hours.
In the afternoon we went Piranha fishing, very successful! And guess what…. the Japanese made a lovely sushi out of the piranhas! After dinner we went to a nice bar in the jungle where we watched the sunset, played soccer and enjoyed a nice cold beer with all the other groups. On the way back by boat, our guide grabbed a baby crocodile and we could all take photos with it, nice remembrance. It was a great dayJ
On the last day we left early to go swimming with the fresh water dolphins, which was also a memorable experience. These animals are so elegant and gentle… but since they had babies they did not play with us the way they normally would.
After three days of constant sweat, mosquitos and millions of animals we returned to Rurrenabaque and chilled out there for one night. This was a great trip, and not expensive at all! So if you guys have the chance – GO! You won´t regret!