Chile - Bolivia 2006

Travel time: March / April 2006  |  by Valerie Couarraze

Amazonia - The Pampas

In Rurrenabaque we confirmed the trip to Amazonia. 3 days in Las Pampas, 3 days in the jungle. I had to live for Santiago after the Pampas to catch my plane for Europe (which I did not get but anyway...), so no jungle for me. Amazonia is also a rich and exciting part of Bolivia. I haven't seen so many different and colorful birds in my life apart from the Okavango Delta in Botswana. A lot of national parks and natural reserves are part of the Amazon basin, we went to the Beni, the guys went then to the Parque Nacional Madidi for their jungle trip.

View on the Amazon Basin and a piece of deforestation. The Bolivan rainforest is much more intact than the Brazilian ones

View on the Amazon Basin and a piece of deforestation. The Bolivan rainforest is much more intact than the Brazilian ones

One of the several Amazon rivers

One of the several Amazon rivers

Maybe the one we went on

Maybe the one we went on

The real rangers (including Jack the Terror)

The real rangers (including Jack the Terror)

The place we stayed at is a 3-hour car and 2-boat drive from Rurre. Here is the starting point for the boat trip. The pampas tour included rainforest hiking, fishing, wildlife watching and hearing – AND FANTASTIC LOCAL FOOD, though I am not advertising

The place we stayed at is a 3-hour car and 2-boat drive from Rurre. Here is the starting point for the boat trip. The pampas tour included rainforest hiking, fishing, wildlife watching and hearing – AND FANTASTIC LOCAL FOOD, though I am not advertising

Travelling by boat on the Rio Yacuma North East from Rurre. It changes from the bus

Travelling by boat on the Rio Yacuma North East from Rurre. It changes from the bus

We’ve seen plenty of birds; the most common are e.g. eagles, multicolored parrots and butterflies, peccaries, falcons or the beautiful condor de la Pampa

We’ve seen plenty of birds; the most common are e.g. eagles, multicolored parrots and butterflies, peccaries, falcons or the beautiful condor de la Pampa

Jack is back

Jack is back

Sandro holding an anaconda. We had the best guide, a real ranger: he lost himself in the jungle as he was still a child. Fortunately he managed to find back home after one week. In the meantime he had to come along with pumas, snakes, spiders & co. He was able to find a place to sleep in a tree and fish something to eat. Maybe it explains that he has no difficulty to squeeze an anaconda or boa, approach a caiman as if he was his best friend and swim with piranhas?

Sandro holding an anaconda. We had the best guide, a real ranger: he lost himself in the jungle as he was still a child. Fortunately he managed to find back home after one week. In the meantime he had to come along with pumas, snakes, spiders & co. He was able to find a place to sleep in a tree and fish something to eat. Maybe it explains that he has no difficulty to squeeze an anaconda or boa, approach a caiman as if he was his best friend and swim with piranhas?

Because they liked the smell of the Pampas a lot, they had to swim in it...

Because they liked the smell of the Pampas a lot, they had to swim in it...

Quiet water does not mean there nothing in it

Quiet water does not mean there nothing in it

Doing some ad for mosquitos repellent. It is warm along the year and the high humidity brings billions of mosquitos and all sorts of bugs all over the place. We suffered.

Doing some ad for mosquitos repellent. It is warm along the year and the high humidity brings billions of mosquitos and all sorts of bugs all over the place. We suffered.

Beautiful sun-bathing girls on the River Yacuma, Nete and Lina from Denmark and Norway

Beautiful sun-bathing girls on the River Yacuma, Nete and Lina from Denmark and Norway

With Lina watching sunset

With Lina watching sunset

Here the place where you should see a pink dolphin

Here the place where you should see a pink dolphin

Beber, me like in the desert, Lina, Nete, Ingrid, Ben and Sandro

Beber, me like in the desert, Lina, Nete, Ingrid, Ben and Sandro

This is Federico, an adoptive caiman living at the lodge some boat minutes from our. He has been domesticated for such a long time now that he would perhaps not survive if we put it free. I was astonished about his calmness. I was “used” to the one in South Africa, which can be quite aggressive. Caiman are different. Does not mean that I would play cards with them.

This is Federico, an adoptive caiman living at the lodge some boat minutes from our. He has been domesticated for such a long time now that he would perhaps not survive if we put it free. I was astonished about his calmness. I was “used” to the one in South Africa, which can be quite aggressive. Caiman are different. Does not mean that I would play cards with them.

As they told me we would swim with dolphins I don’t know how I came to ask if there were also caimans and piranhas accompanying us. Response: no caiman, but piranhas. Good to know. Since no one of us had a bloody wound on his body, everybody could go. Strange feeling

As they told me we would swim with dolphins I don’t know how I came to ask if there were also caimans and piranhas accompanying us. Response: no caiman, but piranhas. Good to know. Since no one of us had a bloody wound on his body, everybody could go. Strange feeling

The day after we fished the piranhas, grilled and ate them. It tastes, well, like fish. Hard to believe that such a small and sweet thing can make a puzzle out of you...

The day after we fished the piranhas, grilled and ate them. It tastes, well, like fish. Hard to believe that such a small and sweet thing can make a puzzle out of you...

... with those miniature teeth!

... with those miniature teeth!

Our 5* lodge. The only thing we really mattered of was the mosquito net

Our 5* lodge. The only thing we really mattered of was the mosquito net

Are the two of them not sweet?

Are the two of them not sweet?

Living conditions within the Amazon basin: a couple of minutes after the shower (if we took any) clothes were muggy and we were dirty again because of the mud (wet season). So we had to make a decision: either take a shower every two hours or leave it at all. I carried the smell of the Pampas in my rucksack until to Germany

This one is a boa. We found it on the way back to Rurre

This one is a boa. We found it on the way back to Rurre

It has been unusual to have a boat as the only way of transportation for a couple of days. No hotel, no people, no noises anymore but the ones of the nature (which can be loud and scary like those of the monkey males). We have not met people from any tribes but we know that it is more and more difficult for them to preserve their original way of life such as living exclusively from fishing, hunting and gathering fruits&co. In this area locals produce bananas, coffee, tobacco, cotton, cacao, peanuts and coca, etc.

At the end of the tour we were happy to have been with a guide, ‘cause there’s no way to survive for an European being in the biggest and most dangerous forest of the world. But I don't want to miss it, it was interesting and a lot of fun

At the end of the tour we were happy to have been with a guide, ‘cause there’s no way to survive for an European being in the biggest and most dangerous forest of the world. But I don't want to miss it, it was interesting and a lot of fun

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The trip
 
Description:
A long time ago I decided to travel to South America - to Argentina or Chile. First no money as a student, then no time as a (hard-)worker. But now my little brother and his friends are spending 6 months over there on their globe-trotter-trip. So no poor excuse anymore. I pack my shoes. My flight starts from Francfort/M, Germany to Santiago de Chile and returns from La Paz, Bolivia. We will backpack from Santiago up to the North until the boarder travelling by bus or train.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 15, 2006
Duration: 3 weeks
End of journey: Apr 07, 2006
Travelled countries: Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
The Author
 
Valerie Couarraze is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 16 years.
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