A Trip to Bolivia – Part 2

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

Laguna Verda



Flamingo

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 Rurrenbaque

Where did we land? ;-)

We 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 :-)

Yeah baby! That is Rurrenbaque 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 trip

Matapala, our cabin at Chalalan – Brad Pitt and Di Caprio stayed here :-)

We 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.

Jaguar Footprint

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! :-)

Tarantula, we saw it moving. It was freaky in the dark!

Day 7 – Hiking in the forest

The amazing forest and its vegetation!

We 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!

The green snake in our path.

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 :-)

What do you think it is? ;-)

Abhi’s favorite hand shake shot :-)

The boa we spotted on our night canoe ride

Kaiman – found only in the Amazon

The beautiful Amazon!!!

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 :-)

27 Comments

  • Amazing Amazon…Thank you for this post, well written.
    Such trip is unique in nature and definitely a trip to remember.

    All the pictures are excellent…the last photo is superb, including the first one…

    You talked about fitness, but I think first of all you will require a big heart to go there…Jaguar footprint, the sight of boa…then money and then fitness…

    and then ofcourse, the pleasure…

  • indiamap says:

    Oh Man, Really like the Crocodile shot. Its the favorite in the post.

  • Once again Wonderful post Pavithra,

    Pictures are ultimate. You must have enjoyed to fullest here. A trip to remember all your life.

    To visit Amazon forest is my dream. Lets see whether it happens or not.

    Thanks for posting. When and where are you taking us to next one ???

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  • Vibha says:

    Nice series Pavithra! I love the way your enthusiasm comes out through your writing. Lovely photos too!

  • Archana says:

    Pavithra,

    The series on the whole has come out really well!
    Welcome to Ghumakkar .. I am sure there will be many more stories that you would want to share with us.. please keep writing!

    Cheers.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Its a FOG, Pavithra.

    The Amazon, is well just amazing. I could have read 10 times to what you have written on this place :-). Thank you for sharing this and hope to read more from you. Many thanks.

  • Bidisha says:

    Hi Pavithra
    Even the vicarious experience was bone-chilling. I liked the wild life shots so very much. How far was the Kaiman from your boat? What camera and what mode did you use to capture the shot? What made it glitter as if it is a fire-breathing monster out of a fairy tale, I wonder! Even the boas reminded me of the Hollywood blockbuster, the Anaconda movie :). Lovely post! Thanks.

    • Pavithra says:

      Thanks Bidisha. The Kaiman was just next to our boat. Supposedly, they are harmless although they look scary. It was pitch dark, so even night shots in flash mode weren’t so good. I flashed my torch light on it and my husband clicked the picture. We have a Cannon SLR camera. Actually, we could spot the Kaimans and the boa’s only because of their gleaming eyes. When we flashed our torch from the boat, if we saw bright orange spots, then we would head in that direction because some animal was there. That is also the way to spot spiders. Creepy huh! :-)

  • venkatt says:

    Really amazing pics of the Amazon…A rare ghumakkar write-up on South America. Keep up the good work, Pavithra….

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Thanks for the lovely guided tour of the Amazon rain forest, even though it was a bit scary too with all those fearsome reptiles lurking about everywhere! The pictures too are amazing and some of them look worthy of publication in the National Geographic. I especially liked the pic of the plump flamingo; never knew that they could become so obese. Feel sort of disappointed that the Bolivian travelogue ended so soon. Please don’t make us wait too long for your next travelogue.

  • ashok sharma says:

    great post covering the great Amazon having so many surprises in its lap. photographs are marvelous.This part of the world is still untouched in so many directions.Thanx for taking us on this tour with you thro’ your post.

  • sanjay dodeja says:

    amazing trip excellent sighting surely a must for travel guys but too many of creppy reptiles around may be that adds to the excitement but the remoteness of the place generates interest

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Excellent & Nice Post…..Pictures are beautiful & Amazing of Amazon wild life…..|
    keep write…
    Thanks

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Pavithra,

    WOW post indeed. Amazon has been described amazingly – NATGEO stuff.

    Pics are too good – both the Canon SLR and the one behind it have done a great job.

    Thanks,
    Auro.

  • naturelover79 says:

    Great report. Its nice that you were able to visit a wonder of nature, Amazon rain forest.

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