One of my last adventures in Bolivia was when I took the bus from La Paz to the town of Rurrenabaque to explore the Amazon Jungle for several days. Guillaume and I decided to buy the tour in La Paz so that way everything was ready to go when we arrived.
From La Paz to Rurrenabaque the bus took 15 hours and cost 180 bolivianos round trip. The bus left at 4pm which was perfect because we arrived the next morning and took a tuk-tuk directly to the office of the tour company, Sunset Travel. We had one hour to eat breakfast and change into shorts (definitely was much hotter than La Paz) before leaving. The tour ended up just being Guillaume and I so we got a private tour for the price of just 600 bolivianos. This included the guide, transport, housing for 2 nights, and food.
Upon leaving Rurrenabaque we drove for 3 hours to the town of Santa Rosa de Yacuma where we stopped and had lunch. From there we continued onto the Yacuma River to start exploring Las Pampas by boat. After around 30 minutes of loading and organizing the boat we set off on a 3 hour trip on the river to see wildlife and our first glimpse of las pampas. During these three hours we saw river dolphins, hundreds of birds, an owl, turtles, and 3 types of monkeys!
Afterwards, we arrived to our “home” for the next few days which was a lodge in the middle of the Amazon…pretty amazing! We had a snack upon arrival and then took a while to get settled in. Unfortunately, it started raining that evening so we decided to not go watch the sunset but simply relaxed and enjoyed visiting with the other guests.
The next day we spent the morning exploring the swamps again and also stopped several times to look for anacondas. It was the end of the rainy season and the water was really high so we didn’t see any anacondas but we were the only group to see a snake! After several hours of exploration we went back for lunch and then had a couple of hours to take a siesta. This time of day was incredibly hot so it was fine with me to not be out in the sun.
After our nap, we went to go swim with the river dolphins. This experience was absolutely incredible! The guides simply found where a group of dolphins were hanging out but they didn’t give them food or “bribe” them to come to us they were simply curious. Once we got in the water we waited around 10 minutes and then I felt something touch my leg. I squealed and almost jumped out of my skin but then realized it was just a dolphin! We spent the next hour and a half having dolphins swim around us, hitting us with their noses, and touching our legs and arms!
After playing with the dolphins, we went to drink a beer and watch the sunset. This was very beautiful and I was glad we were able to enjoy it our second night there since it got rained out the first night. Afterwards, the mosquitoes came out and actually bite my through my pants! I think I ended up with 50 or so mosquito bites which definitely wasn’t ideal but that’s okay. We also drove around for an hour or so at night to see alligators and other wildlife at night.
The next morning we woke up for the sunrise and then rode down the river without the motor on. This was a perfect, tranquil way to start the morning and I thought it was definitely worth it to wake up for the sunrise. Afterwards, we went back and had breakfast. We then opted to swim with the dolphins again instead of fishing for piranhas. This time the dolphins didn’t touch us but jumped out of the water and definitely put on a show. After an hour of so we headed back to pack up and eat lunch before going back to Santa Rosa.
Overall, this was an absolutely incredible experience. Our guide was amazing as was the scenery and the opportunity to see so many animals (before I had only seen these animals in a zoo.) I would definitely recommend a tour of Las Pampas and I definitely want to return and spend more time in the Amazon!