Rurrenabaque /Pink Dolfins/ Piranha Fishing/Anaconda hunting


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South America » Bolivia » Beni Department » Rurrenabaque
October 1st 2010
Published: October 11th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

THE lakeTHE lakeTHE lake

Lake which at first sight couldnt tell was infested with Caimen
Sept 27-Oct 1st

It was really nice seeing John at the airport when I arrived. THe altitude of La Paz considering it is the highest capital in the world didnt affect me like I had assumed it would. I did purchase a coca cola which helps and John and I after getting my luggage had a cab waiting for us who would take us to the Maryknoll in La Paz. The cab driver was stoked to know that I spoke some spanish and we lightly conversed. Arriving in the front of the Maryknoll in La paz after immediately getting out of the cab I came a cross a key. NOt sure exactly what kind of omen that is but I put it in my pocket with little question as the cab took off and we entered the maryknoll in la PAz. I was dreary to an extent where I couldnt comprehend much of our future plans all that I knew was that our plane left la Paz at like 830. I prepared myself some coca tea to help with the altitude and came across Father Michael next to a tv watching american football.
Cant recall exactly who was playing but
Our boatsOur boatsOur boats

Took these things upstream and downstream
I sat down for some moments and watched football. Father Michael was the first person who I met during my first day in Bolivia and it was nice seeing him again but I dont think he exactly remembered me. I told him that I visited some churches in Santa Cruz and he knew exactly where I had gone. Well I didnt stay long with the priest and sad nighter to John and then took a shower and called it a night. John woke me up banging on my door a little after my alarm went off when I was trying to go back to sleep. Waking up I didnt feel
ready for the Large day ahead of us so grabbed a cup of coca tea and ate some cereal I think. The taxi was at the Maryknoll before we knew it and half asleep with John got into the cab. The cab driver seems extremely excited to be taking us. His name was Rogelio same driver that was the first guy who picked me up during my first day in La PAz. It was like a ruinion for me meeting the first two people that I met on the first
SkullsSkullsSkulls

Dead animal skulls and a dead centipede
day of my trip to bolivia. Well we got to
the airport with little time to spare and got on our flight to Rurrenabaque. John supposedly found an epic national park near in the Beni Department city of Rurrenabaque which had some great potential to be epic. The total tour for the 4 days and 3 nights was $260. NOt bad considering I was in santa Cruz for 2 nights and 2 days for 300bucks but this money for Beni was comming out of my pocket. Well our plane was somewhat late around 30 minutes and as we were all boarding which went smoothly. The plan on the second hand was a little sketched and although it wasnt a
meat plane like we hoped but might as well have been considering how small the damn thing was. It was probably no more than a 15 seater and sitting in the front seat if I stuck my feet out my feet would have been in the captains cockpit. THe plan was terrifyingly small and was run by 2 propellars. The flight was no more than 30min tops and arriving in Rurrenabaque JOhn and I were greeted by a tour guide with our names on a sign. HE spoke little english but mostly we tried to converse in spanish the best we could. We had to sign some papper work and I excused
myself to use the bathroom before our 3 hour jeep ride to our lodge. WHen I got back the tour guide asked us if we were ready and John and I agreed and were led outside. There was the jeep with 2 people in the front obviously bolivian and waiting for us. Well we packed our stuff on top of waters and such and observed the jungle as we passed. Supposedly when we arrived they were going to have lunch prepared for us and like an hour into our drive pretty much everyone sitting silent and we just sat and observed the surrounding. Very thirsty I asked for some water and recieved one with little conflicts. Soon enough there were fires all around us and we were literally driving through parts of the forest that were burning. WEll the drive seemed to prolong itself longer and longer and arriving at like lunch time we immediately threw our bags in our rooms and had dinner waiting for us in the
The LodgeThe LodgeThe Lodge

Dinning facility and to the right where John and I slep
middle of the lodge. The entire place was covered in palm trees and hammocks everywhere. It was like our hotel was made out of tree. WEll after eating some meat and rice for lunch with some coco nut juice that was delicious and hit the spot that needed hitting. AFter eating John and I both layed in some Hammocks and waited until 330pm for our first adventure upriver in a boat. I read and read the book 3 cups of tea and started to get into it and fell into a light sleep. Waking up some other foreigners I saw were observing me from my Hammock and I went to the room fast to drop my book off and prepare for a trip down the river. The river was known as something in spanish that meant the Snake River. It was
quite entertaining because along with us was a Swedish Couple that were older who spoke french and a younger german couple who obviously were speaking German. WE had to walk some as Alexander our guide got the boat out of shallow water and prepared it for the 6 of us to be seated. I had my camera with me
HOtelHOtelHOtel

Scattered with Palm trees
also note that during our time sleeping in the hammocks I walked around our village lodge area and snapped some pictures. ON the boat John and I were in the back 2 seats which were nearest our guide who was controlling the boat from the back. About 5 minutes in
our boat ride which felt like real like Jungle cruise at disney land I thought I saw a crocodile. I pointed it out to the others but the creature had submerged. Another one I pointed out and we were all discussing about the crocodile in the river and the guide told us they were called Caimen. The river was infested with Caimen didnt know that many croc like creatures existed in one single river. Also in the trees were some prehistoric birds that appealed to my eye and became on the spot my new favorite bird. They were called Watsons. We progressed up river for a good hour in the infested Caimen river and came across new birds and animals Ive never seen before one animal in particular wasnt afraid of humans at all and was the largest of the Rodent family. It was known as the Capybara. They were
Entrance to our hotelEntrance to our hotelEntrance to our hotel

Looking out into the Pampas
in large groups and were fearless of hUmans. If I am recalling correctly we came across a small part of the River that looked
Fairly deep and parkd the boats on the side. I noticed a small splash but failed to catch what it was. The Guide Alexander pointed out another one and told us it was the home of the Pink Dolfin. I still Failed to believe it and after trying to capture photos of the creature that rarely made an appearance the guide used my camera and caught a couple pictures for me. I still didnt really see the pink Belly of the DOlfins but I saw enough of the dolfins to now
say that I believe in the River Dolfin. WEll we made our way up stream a little ways before heading back and for some reason the humidity of the jungle was making me tiresome. We came back to the lodge for dinner and were all fairly satisfied with how it ended. I was now full and ready for a nap considering the day was so vastly long. I read some and looked over in our room and johns entire bed was covered with his mosquito
OUr Transport VehicleOUr Transport VehicleOUr Transport Vehicle

With ALexander
net. There were maybe 2 bugs I took note of in our room and after reading some set up my own mosquito net. During my reading John was complaining and complaining on how hot it had become in our room. LIttle did I know at the time how hot
the mosquito nets became. Maybe it was the jungle or our room but the room felt like 95 degrees and getting into my mosquito net it must have been like 115. I was sweating so drastically I had to keep drinking water as the night progressed and at one point just took my Mosquito net down and told John 'Its hot as hell if the bugs eat me Oh well, NO F-ing Way Im sleeping in that net!". He laughed and told me it wasnt so bad and at least he felt safe knowing no bugs were going to be crawling on him while he slept but Id rather take the risk then burn to death in my sleep. Woke up with no problems and actually didnt encounter any bugs throughout the night and Sort of smiled in satisfaction knowing I probably slept better than John. Well breakfast was at 730am and I served myself some tea and poured some honey in it that JOhn purchased from LA PAz. WEll after breakfast we made our way back to the boat with a 10min wait max and all walked with the same group up stream the opposite way we went yesterday. We were told we were going to some some monkeys SO I was stoked and going upstream we actually encountered various animals I had never seen before even the day previous hard to blog about it. We saw some monkeys from a distance and with my epic zoom on my camera I saw then clearly and caught a couple photos. It was still beyond me how many Caimen were in the river. WEll after lunch we were going Piranha fishing which I couldnt believe and had to keep asking Alexander our guide to reassure the fact that something like that was actually taking place. For lunch we had some meat and some Coconut juice which is very filling and we agreed with our guide taht we were going to leave down the river again to catch piranha at 330 pm. AFter eating I made my way to a hammock and found
Scenes from the riverScenes from the riverScenes from the river

The snake river
John trying to rest in one already. I brought a pillow this time and was prepared to catch some serious Zzzs. I must have slept in the Hammock for a good 2 hours and didnt move and considering it was so hot I woke up in my Hammock and my pillow was soaked with sweat. Well we all gathered near the boats at 330pm like we were supposed and took the boat down
stream. WE repeated somewhat what we did the first day and I wondered what we were going to fish with. John made some comment about we were the bait but was sort of a stale joke considering no one else really spoke english. Well the guide pulled out some hooks on a string with a wooden handle. we had a bag of small pieces of meat and with the boat pulled over I grabbed some meat and a Bolivian Fishing pole and got off the boat onto the shore and casted my line. I must have witnessed the guide of another boat immediately pull a Piranha out and wished for the best for myself and John. WIthin like a matter of 10minutes I was the first out
Unidentified birdUnidentified birdUnidentified bird

Pic of Nature
the group to pull out a Piranha and I had the guide take a picture. AFter I could tell John was getting somewhat frustrated with the fact that he hadnt caught a fish and we had all been fishing at least like 30min. The guide caught liek 2 piranhas total and caught one of them before John even caught one fish. John caught a small sardin and was all excited that he had this german lady in the boat use my camera and take a picture. I think I recall him fighting with this fish because it came off the hook when he yanked it out of the water and grabbed it with his hands. IT was the smallest fish I have ever seen anybody catch. WEll after some more time John caught a small catfish as well as the german guy who was also becomming frustrated. John let both of his fish live back in the water and then finally caught a Piranha. There was a good amount of piranha that were caught with Mine and Johns that we were for a fact consumming for dinner. WE had some
discussion whether or not to eat the piranha heart but
Caimen Infested watersCaimen Infested watersCaimen Infested waters

You can see their heads
waiting for dinner to be served we concluded against this idea. DUring our ride back in the boat the sun had become red through the rain clouds? or fog? couldnt tell and as the sun set and darkness fell millions of bugs were flying overhead our cannoe the whole way back. AFter dinner John and I called it a night and made our way to our beds. THe last thing the guide told us about tommorow was that we
were going Anaconda hunting and if it was hot and sunny we would for sure see one. I read some and once again decided against the mosquito net considering that the guide at dinner said something like it was dry season and there were no insects at the moment to be concerned about. John still slept with the Mosquito net and at like 5am or so I woke up with loud noises of rain on the steel roof. JOHN! I THINK THE WORLD IS ENDING! I told him and he just rolled over and didnt say anything. It poured and poured all morning at arriving at breakfast at 7am like planned and the rain was starting to diminish. Glad the rain
My new Favorite BirdMy new Favorite BirdMy new Favorite Bird

Great picture of the Watson which is its name supposedly from the prehistoric time period
stopped before we left that morning but I was still sort of disappointed knowing that we probably werent going to see an anaconda. We still had to attempt to hunt so we departed upstream on the cannoe/boat. After about riding for like 20min we all got out and found some what appeared to be a like biking trail that extended in both directions into the jungle forever. THe guide had boats on and walked through the brush looking for snakes. We walked for a good 30min and nothing and met up with the other group at a bridge. ON this bridge I found the Entrails and skeleton of a snake that was identified by the guides as a dead anaconda. It was really small considering that Anacondas can reach up beyond 7 meters. Well the guide of another group found a rattle snake and like 9people rushed toward it to get a better look. The weather was really overcast with the smell of dew setting in. WEll taking pictures of the sleeping rattlesnake we continued on the path. IT started to rain
and being worried about my camera after taking a picture of John in his poncho gave my camera
Scenes from the River pt 2Scenes from the River pt 2Scenes from the River pt 2

Beautiful glassy water
to him and told him to put it on his belt. We searched and searched and came across another Rattlesnake and I got a better picture. WEll the older french couple after the second rattlesnake no longer wanted to keep walking considering we had walked quite a distance decided to walk back. We walked probably for another 45min and came across another bridge that had 3 different birds near a pond. The pond immediately started what seemed like boiling water and then ceased.
THe guide told us it was some fish called "shoes". THey bubbled and made the water look like it was boiling several times. I took some more epic pictures of the birds and the pathways and heading back now the German couple was a little disappointed considering there was no giant snake also probably because they were leaving after lunch. JOhn and I had the evening and one more morning in Rurenabaque. We walked back successfully but no ANaconda. We ate lunch like the previous days and like usual now I avoided the vegetables. Well for the evening it was just john and I with our guide as the others left after lunch. He threw up some
WReckageWReckageWReckage

THe Abandoned ship
options for us to do and we decided to go on a hike and try to find some monkeys. Instead of taking the boat this time we walked on foot through the entrance of the lodge and hung a left. IT was known as La Pampas which were like the lower parts of the rainforest and during dry season the animals infested the trees and hung out near the river. THe other part of the rainforest is literally
the jungle where the trees literally cover the entire roomtops and create a canopy. The Pampas were really amazing and plunging in deep into the vast areas of the forest we encountered a new creature that I only saw on the first day its some sort of racoon like creature that eats Turtle eggs. There was a whole family of them and I still failed to get a descent picture. We Continued into the jungle and were following a Monkeys noise that the guide Identified
and he actually made a monkey call and was calling them. We were literally fighting daylight and in a whole mess of palm trees and could hear the little monkey creatures everywhere. Oh guide gave us the
Giant Guinea pigGiant Guinea pigGiant Guinea pig

THink their called Capibara or something
word to halt and I felt like I was in Vietnam or something. There monkeys were jumping from tree to tree and some just stood there and observed us. We must have saw like 20 different monkeys from Black howler monkeys to Brown Capacinu. WEll our forest hike lasted the majority of the remainder of the day and we made it back for dinner. After dinner I slept once again in
lack of a mosquito net and John who had fear suffered minorly and it was the coldest night yet. I woke up at like 5am and crawled under the sheets which was abnormal for our Beni journeys. Today was our last day in the jungle. We were going to be riding horses and then had to make it back to the airport. There was some dispute on whether or not to continue our jungle excursions to Parque Medidi which is like the best national park in Bolivia with our current guide Alexander. We decided against this because of a serious lack of money that we both had. WEll after breakfast
we found 3 horses next to the hotel/lodge area. ONe was drastically smaller than the others and I immediately
CapibaraCapibaraCapibara

Sitting what a weird creature
took a picture of all the horses. It had been hella long since the last time I rode such a creature and I actually struggled a little and Felt like I was breaking my horses back. My horse must have been hungry because all it wanted to do was eat the grass. Johns horse was extremely slow and we explored the pampas like yesterday but on horse. After an exhilirating 3hour horse ride my hips hurt. IT was a moment I shall be remembering for a long time riding through the pampas of the amazon rainforest. Well afte lunch we had our 3 hour jeep ride back to the airport but first had to go to downtown in RUrenabaque to an ATM and then follow our tour guide alexander back to the tour shop where we had to pay. THe bank excursion took forever had to sign this and that and then JOhn had some other issues so I walked across the street. I came across some Rurenabaque hats and found a caimen skinned wallet that I later purchased
with John when he purchased his bolivian t-shirt. Arriving back at the tour center Alexander was gone which we were dissappointed about because we wanted to leave him a tip. Well we walked down the street to book the next flight to La PAz. The flight left in 30min and we met some other foreigners who spoke english and conversed with them lightly. We made our way back to the tour center location of our tour where we planned to get a taxi. They asked us there if we wanted to take a Taxi for 6 bolivianos or a bus for 7 bolivianos. We both agreed that a taxi sounded more
legit and telling the guy working he called over 2 of his friends from across the street and they pulled up in motorcycles. Uh oh I thought and John and I looked at eachother and thought well dont want to be rude now...I hopped on the back of the bike which had handles below where I was sitting which made me more comfortable knowing I didnt have to grip the guy who was driving. We took off toward the airport and I was in fear of my life with no helmet or anything and the I saw a sign that said 5km to the airport and it pointed to the
Herd of the giant rodentHerd of the giant rodentHerd of the giant rodent

They dont fear people which is odd
left. The ground went from dirt to Cobblestone now which really worried me thinking that for sure if there was a loose rock or something I was going to die. Well John flew past my motorcycle on the cobblestone road at one time which I thought was kind of scary but we made it safely at the airport. AT the airport there was like 2 people there who werent working. NO one else was at the airport and John and I had a brilliant Idea of walking out onto the airstrip. WE did with no one watching and started taking pictures of us on the airstrip. Well later the place opened up and our flight ended up being an hour or more late and arriving in La Paz I got a Quesadilla that really hit the spot. WE managed somehow to make it back to Cochabamba in one day from the Beni Department which was a real shocker to us considering at like 1pm we didnt have any flights home it was just an idea. PIcs comming soon



Additional photos below
Photos: 93, Displayed: 37


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Capibara chillingCapibara chilling
Capibara chilling

Weird creatures
Caimen Nesting groundsCaimen Nesting grounds
Caimen Nesting grounds

We spooked the Caimen and they all took off running


15th October 2010

Unreal Pix
Just now being able to view your pictures that you said you sent about a week ago. What an incredible mix of animals that was! I'm lovin' that Watson bird, the look on its face just cracks me up. What is that thing? And that hamster looking thing, what in the world? How does that survive, the one wading in the water by itself? Jeez! The only crocodile I have ever seen live were at the zoo, and that boat you were in, that was so risky, what are you thinking? Breat pictures of the piranha, before and after...I love that welcome sign, you may need to hang that up on the wall too! Very cool! John's picture with the guppy is hilarious! Be well, be smart. Love Dad.
17th October 2010

Pics
Great Pics! That is absolutely amazing! Wish I was there.
19th October 2010

yee my cameras awesome!
I need to catch up on my blog ahhhhhhhhhh!

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