On the Day 3, I took you to Salar de Uyuni and the Inchuasi Island. The next day was going to be entirely different.
Day 4 – The many Lagunas surrounding Uyuni
We drove across the mountains, visited many Lagos, saw an active volcano, saw flamingos and other animals such as ostriches, lizards, emu’s etc. If you are not a big fan of dry lands, then maybe you could skip this tour because it’s a lot of travel by road. Especially on the mountains, you can hardly call them roads!! We had a roller coaster ride! We decided to stay another night since we had plans of heading to the Amazon the next day. We stayed in Hotel Tambo Aymara in the town of Uyuni. If you stay at Cristal Samana, you may not get access to telephone or internet because it is far away from the town and closer to the Salar. Also, remember to carry toilet paper on this trip – you may not find toilets for very long distances. :-)
Day 5 – Head to RurrenbaqueWe took a flight from Uyuni ->; La Paz ->; Rurrenbaque. These flights go freakishly close to the Andes. You do get wonderful sights of the mountain ranges on this flight. Halfway, you start seeing the lush green forests and the long stretching and winding rivers. The Rurrenbaque airport, is a big surprise. You land in the middle of nowhere and then you start wondering if you actually landed in an airport :-) A volunteer from the Chalalan community received us at the airport and dropped us at Hotel Oriental to rest for the night. Rurrenbaque is humid. Its exactly like Chennai – sticky weather. You feel like bathing every time you go out. If you are thinking of hanging out in shorts , trust me, you want to carry good insect repellents. You can get insect repellents in the town of Rurrenbaque also. You will get a bed, a fan, hot water and a western toilet in Hotel Oriental. Dont expect more than that. A few hammocks are available in the hotel.
Day 6 – First day of our Amazon tripWe went on a 5 hour boat ride across river beni and river tuchi and reached the Chalalan Ecolodge, situated in the Madidi National Park. The boat ride is upstream and if you are lucky you will find many colorful birds and butterflies on your way. Make sure you carry enough number of synthetic tracks and extra pairs of socks.Never forget to wear insect repellent in the Amazon basin. After the boat ride, we had to walk for half an hour to reach the lodge. We were allotted our cabins. The cabins are made of Mahagony wood and are extremely well made. The lodge is very well maintained and very clean. It is rated as one of the best by National Geographic. Nothing to worry about food and water. Make sure you carry a good torch because a few bulbs are available only in your cabins.The torch comes in handy on night hikes. We went on a walk in the forest before sunset. The guide from the community explained to us about the different species of plants and animals that live in the forest. He explained to us about the vegetation and the habitat. We spotted a lot of weird insects, a jaguar foot print, wild plants and berries, witnessed two giant ants fight, ant and termite nests .. and a lot of other things. I cannot explain the feeling of standing in the middle of the forest and listening to the sounds of the stream flowing somewhere nearby, a few birds chirping, monkeys jumping from tree to tree, ants and spiders scuttling away just next to your feet….
After sunset, we went on a night hike and spotted Tarantulas, wolf spiders, crabs, frogs, toads and a lot more! :-)
Day 7 – Hiking in the forestWe went on a long hike uphill and downhill and crossed streams. Make sure you are fit for this hike. If you have not hiked before, it would be good to exercise or go running for a few days before the trip.Make sure you wear water proof shoes and carry another pair of slippers/flip flops. Crossing streams/rivers in flip flops is better and advised. We saw a lot of animals on this hike. I cannot explain how I felt when the guide spotted a green snake just in front of me. It was baby, but it was still scary!
After lunch, we went on a canoe ride in the afternoon where we spotted many birds and monkeys. The Chalalan lake is mesmerizing! After sunset we went on a canoe ride again, but to spot boas. The guide taught us how to spot Boas and Kaimans. We were lucky! We did spot boas :-)
Day 8 – Head back to La Paz
Again, we had to come back by boat. This time it was downstream, so it was a lot quicker. Post lunch, we headed back to La Paz. From La Paz, back home :-) I should be honest, I was so glad to be back home :-) This time it was different- we were heading back to my home, hmmm .. no our home :-)
It was a fantastic trip! My Abhi bestest :-)