Embark on this amazing 4-day trip to the Pampas of Bolivia and live a real Amazon adventure. You will get to experience the rich biodiversity, gorgeous landscapes, native cultures and friendly locals that make this region so special. On your first day, depart La Paz on an early flight to Rurrenabaque and travel through the lowlands of the Bolivian Amazon up to Santa Rosa. Observe a large variety of reptiles and amphibians, lagartos, turtles, birds, and monkeys as you glide along the slow-flowing Yacuma River. Take a night canoe tour and look out for caimans and anacondas whose eyes shine at night. Sleep in a perfectly perched lodge on the riverbank with stunning views. Hike through the Pampas searching for anacondas and viewing tropical plants. Experience a magical moment of swimming in the river with pink freshwater dolphins and fish for tasty piranhas (depending on season) before taking a plane back to La Paz.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1 - Flight from La Paz to Rurrenabaque & Arrival at the Amazon (L/D)
Take your transfer to La Paz airport so you can take your early flight around 7:30 AM to Rurrenabaque. Upon arrival you will be transfered to Rurrenabaque city center to start your adventure. We will travel by land from Rurrenabaque to Santa Rosa, passing through sleepy Amazon villages and past small family fincas. We arrive by noon at Santa Rosa, a small town on the banks of the Yacuma River. Here we share a traditional Bolivian lunch of hot soup, meat, rice, yucca, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
From Santa Rosa, we proceed by boat down the Yacuma River. We drift downstream slowly, careful not to disturb the wildlife. You will notice the abundance of fauna immediately: the trees are alive with birds and monkeys, and it is not uncommon for the boat to be escorted for miles by pink, freshwater dolphins (seasonal). Your guide will be happy to stop the boat to point out hard-to-spot animals or to wait for you to get amazing photographs of wildlife and landscapes.
We arrive at our Eco-Lodge around 4:00 PM. You can enjoy a snack and fresh juice, take a shower, or just unwind in a hammock for a bit before we head out again. Just a few minutes down river, a local family tends a small shack selling wine, cold beer, and snacks. Here, you can meet travelers from other lodges and share a drink before dinner or challenge them to a game of soccer or volleyball. Once the sun has set over the open expanse of the pampas—always a breathtaking spectacle—we head back to the lodge for dinner.
When the sun sets, the pampas wakes up. Birds and monkeys cry out in the darkness, and small predators dart through the bushes in search of breakfast. We set out in the boat with flashlights in search of the biggest predator of all: caimans. These members of the gator family can grow to 12 feet long. Pitch-black, they hunt along the river during the night, eating snakes, fish and the stray bird. Though hard to see during the day, the caimans are easy to spot at night; their eyes reflect the moonlight, glowing red in the darkness.
Day 2 - Activities in the Amazon (B/L/D)
In the morning, we share a hearty meal of eggs, pancakes, pastries, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, we don high rubber boots (for the swampy terrain and to protect against snakebites) and head into the high grass of the pampas in search of anacondas. These non-venomous snakes are among the largest in the world. It is not uncommon for us to spot one 3 or 4 meters long, though some claim to have seen anacondas more than twice that size.
After a long morning in the sun, you may wish to spend the hottest part of the day swimming in the river (use the rope swing!) or lying down for a siesta in the shade. After lunch, we head out for a fishing trip. The catch: piranhas. These predatory fish are abundant in the region and have been a dietary staple of indigenous communities for generations. Our guides know the best spots to find piranhas and teach you traditional methods of catching them using raw beef for bait (please note that this activity is seasonal and subject to change).
As evening sets in, we motor back downriver to the football pitch from yesterday. Again you've got an opportunity to unwind with other travelers or play a guests-vs-guides game as the sun sets. Grab an extra beer for dinner if you'd like, and we head back to the lodge to eat. Typical dinners include rice, lentils, pasta, salads, fresh vegetables, and bread.
When you've eaten your fill, your guide clears the table then joins you to introduce a Bolivian tradition: chewing coco leaves. A mild stimulant, coco leaves offer about the energy of a cup of coffee and are frequently enjoyed by local families during conversations after dinner. As night falls, we pass out candles and invite guests to chat or play cards.
Day 3 - Activities in the Amazon & Return to Rurrenabaque (B/L)
For those guests who like to get an early start, we offer a pre-dawn ride a bit downriver. As the moon sets, the pampas begins to prepare itself for morning. Howler monkeys can be heard along the riverbanks. We arrive at an open spot a few minutes away to watch the slow spectacle of sunrise.
After breakfast, we set off upriver to a small lake where pink dolphins often congregate to socialize. If you'd like, you're welcome to jump into the water for the unforgettable experience of swimming with these rare animals. The dolphins may brush against you as you swim, but are harmless and unbothered by your presence. (Please note that the best months to see them are from December to March)
After your swim, we return to the lodge for lunch. You've got an opportunity to take a siesta and pack up your things before we set off in the afternoon for the return ride to Rurrenabaque. Tonight you will sleep in Rurrenabaque so you will have the opportunity to enjoy a last evening with your new friends!
Day 4 - Flight back from Rurrenabaque to La Paz (B)
Today you will take your transfer to Rurrenabaque airport so you can take your flight back to La Paz. The flight times depend on the day, but usually there are 4 flights daily: 7:20 AM, 12:45 PM, 4:20 PM, and 6:25 PM. Please contact us for more details.
Important: Since flights can be unreliable returning to La Paz, we recommend planning to leave La Paz at least two days after the trip ends in case flights from Rurrenabaque are delayed 24 hours.
- Wildlife viewing is subject to climatic conditions and the wild nature of the animals. We cannot guarantee wildlife viewing while you are in the Amazon since it depends on the animals. During wet season chances of seeing animals greatly reduces as the river is high and animals tend to spread out among the pampas. Please also note that the chance of sighting snakes/anacondas is always about 50%.
- This day to day itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to climatic and river conditions.
- Bring enough cash with you before leaving La Paz since ATMs in Rurrenabaque are not reliable.
- MAKE SURE to bring enough Bolivianos with you, as many places along the way do not accept US dollars.
- Accommodations are quite basic, so we advise bringing along a sleeping bag for that extra level of comfort.
- RECOMMENDATION ON WHAT TO BRING: Clothing suitable for humid/tropical weather & for trekking through bushes & traveling by canoe, Long sleeved cotton shirts (for sun and mosquitoes), Shorts & Cotton pants, Hiking boots, Sneakers (rubber shoes for boat trips), Light windbreaker, Bathing suit, Hat or cap, Camera, Pocket knife, Sun glasses, Flashlight with batteries, Binoculars, Backpack, Towel, Insect Repellent (90-100% DEET), Vitamin “B” to repel mosquitoes, Copy of vaccination record for yellow fever and tetanus (Malaria is not present), Imodium or other over the counter diarrhea medicine.