It was finally time to head off into the Jungle. We jumped onto the smallest plane (19 seats in total and you could see the pilots and had to bend down to walk down the aisle) and headed to Rurrenabaque. Rurrenabaque is a small town in the North East of Bolivia and is an easy place to go and visit the Madidi National Park. While it’s not the Amazon it is one of the easiest and cheapest places to check out the rainforest and I’m sure it is pretty much the same….
We booked onto a Pampas tour which is one where you are supposed to see the most animals. The day we headed off it was raining and the “road” we had to drive down to get to the boat had turned into a massive mud pit. Thankfully we had an awesome driver that managed to make it all the way there. Once we got there we all piled into our boat and then set off animal spotting. We didn’t see too much on the first day as it was raining but we did manage to see some Capybaras. They are the largest rodents in the world and they look like huge guinea pigs. That night we headed off on a night tour to look for Caiman. We shone our torches into the water and saw lots of little red eyes staring back at us.
The next day we were off fishing for piranhas. We put a chunk of meat on the end of the hook and then hoped for the best. I didn’t manage to catch a piranha but I did catch some other weird fish with scary looking teeth. After our fishing expedition we headed to a pond area to go swimming with the pink dolphins. I wasn’t game enough to jump in the water as it was freezing and there were huge Caiman about 50m away, plus we had just been piranha fishing in pretty much in that spot. Kirst and some of the boys jumped in but the dolphins weren’t really up for playing so they were just standing around in the freezing water looking like dorks.
That afternoon we put our wellies on and headed off to search for some Anacondas! Now while this sounds like it would be super fun, it wasn’t! It pretty much was just us walking through a muddy field for a few hours and falling over and getting soaked (ok I was the only one that fell over) and not finding anything. Not even the dead one! Apparently other groups found one or 2 and they said they were really cool but we weren’t so lucky.
The next day we headed back to town and our driver thought he was in Rally Bolivia! We were going so fast down a dirt track overtaking everyone in dust clouds so you couldn’t even see. I don’t know how we made it home alive but thankfully we did.
We had such an awesome time on the pampas tour but we weren’t really in the jungle so Kirst and I decided to do a jungle tour. We went with a guy we had met in La Paz named Mehdi. At first we thought Medhi was really cool and fun but towards the end we wanted to kill him! He thought he was the world’s greatest bush man and could live in the jungle forever where in reality he got attacked by sand flies on the first night so bad his ankles doubled in size and Kirst and I did all the work while he fished. The Jungle tour was really good though as we made lots of jewellery out of nuts and seeds, fished and learnt a lot about the medicinal plants in the area. We didn’t see many animals on the jungle tour so if that’s what your after do the pampas tour.