So lovely visit from Lu! Loads of fun stuff booked in so after a few days in Cochabamba eating, off we went to accidental fat camp! I’d booked a sister trip to the Amazon jungle in the Madidi national park. We had 3 nights and 4 days to see the jungle and head back to the pampas to get the best of both parts of the Amazon!
Jumped in the tiny plane (16 people!) and off we wobbled through a thunderstorm to the jungle. Only a short 40min flight but that’s long enough when it feels like you’re being shaken by a giant! We survived and along with the other 14 wobbly kneed slightly green tourists we disembarked into 32deg heat in Rurrenabaque.
As I’d been here before I booked with the tour company Mashaquipe for the second trip and would recommended them to anyone wanting to experience the Madidi jungle. We were picked up from the airport, registered, booked on our trip and delivered at our hostel within about 30mins. So after a little explore round the town we sat down for some free caprihanas and settled into the jungle.
The first treat of the trip was the most amazing tropical storm. We were woken at 2am by huge claps of thunder and sheet lightening and the most ferocious storm, heightened by the fact the hostel has no window just an open gap with a net curtain. But when we woke the next morning the storm had cleared the sky and we hopped in a boat to head down the Beni river to our first night in the jungle.
The first stop was a little village where we were shown and tried pressing sugar cane to make sugarcane water to drink. We added a dash of lime to cut through the sugar and drank out of the shell of a huge fruit found along the Beni river. A fruit the size of your head!
Then we got back in the slightly leaky boat and headed further north to the jungle camp, our home for the next 3 days. We enjoyed a delicious lunch then off we went for the first 4hr, 8km jungle hike for the afternoon.
We trekked through the jungle again in the evening looking for tarantulas (sadly only found tree frogs and one big spider!) and the next morning we headed deep into the jungle with our guide Alejandro armed with a whistle and a machete…….for looking for animals and clearing undergrowth he assured us! We covered around 8-10km a day and learnt so many things and saw so many birds, animals and plants and got bitten by plenty of insects along the way!
During the 2 and a half days we spent in the jungle we managed to see:-
1 Red howler monkey
2 rock side hawk
3 walking pine -and the roots above the ground and ‘walks’ a few feet a year to fine water and light.
10 tree frog
11 building web spider
12 buda ant antidote
13 black tailed trogon
14 Curl crested atacary (toucan)
19 Macaw – red and green macaws who live in couples nesting in holes on the side of a rock face.
22 jungle clove
23 turtle beetle
24 white chin zaphir humming bird
25 black pelton
26 white hawk
27 yellow squirrel monkeys
Then on the 2nd day deep in the jungle we were given the option of building a raft and rowing ourselves down the Beni river, through the Amazon back to base camp……obviously we chose to do this as what was the worst that could happen right?
No photos of the actual raft journey as, well, we were only in swimming costumes and life jackets on a not overly secure handmade raft……nowhere obvious to keep a camera safe……..but the memories are very vivid of going down minor rapids in the Amazon on a handmade raft. Lu even got in for a swim at one point. The only one of our group brave enough (and warm enough) to jump in!
After the last night in the jungle we were up early to set off to the pampas for the next 2 days by the river. After walking 8-12km a day we were ready to sit in a boat and point out caiman!! We scoffed a sneaky few cheese cuñapes and got in the 4×4 to head to the river. On route we spotted Jaribus, pink spoonbills, herons, an ostrich and a sloth! Then jumped in the boat for an afternoon cruising along the pampas creature spotting.
We saw caiman, kingfishers, striated herons, night herons, tiger herons, capabaras, white egrets, jaribus, rose spoonbills, pink dolphins, turtles, yellow spider monkeys, black howler monkeys, vultures, macaws and more!
We sat for 20mins on the boat while a mother and baby river dolphin put a full show on for us. Diving, splashing and swimming around us. No photos as they move too quick but amazing thing to see!
We had a porcupine and some howler monkeys ‘hanging’ around at the camp that evening so we saw them chomping on fresh mangos and jumping about all evening.