We had a couple of options of how to get to our next adventure – deep into the pampas in the Amazon jungle. The options were to do an 18 hour bus ride but if it rained that could take up to 6 days, or take a short flight out of La Paz to our jumping off point at Rurrenabaque. We chose to fly.

In typical Bolivian fashion however this isn’t straight forward. El Alto airport in La Paz is the world’s highest international airport at 4008 metres above sea level. Coupled with this, it’s right next to the Andes which means it feels like you take off vertically. Planes need to be equipped with special tyres for the landing as well, as it’s harder to stop when you’re that high up. The runway is 4km long!

Apart from the nerves aspect of it and the teency plane we were in, the flight was stunning, straight over the amazing snowy peaks of the Andes to sudden lush rainforest on the other side at the start of the Amazon.

Us and the pilot right there

Us and the pilot right there

Fairly close to those snowy peaks

Fairly close to those snowy peaks

Into the lush jungle on the other side

Into the lush jungle and the Amazon on the other side

Once we reached Rurre, we jumped into yet another dodgy 4WD (getting used to them by now) and drove a few hours until we reached the Madidi National Park, where we were going up one of the Amazon tributaries to the pampas which is easier than the jungle for wildlife spotting.

More shitty Bolivian roads

More shitty Bolivian “roads”

From there we got in a motorised canoe and went another hour or so up the riverĀ and saw a variety of wildlife including alligators, caymen, turtles, capybaras, monkeys and a billion different types of birds. It was pretty amazing.

aligator in water

A Capovara, cute oversized guinea pig like creatures.

A Capovara, cute oversized guinea pig like creatures.

Cayman

Cayman

bird

close encounter

Right beside the canoe, eek!

Cute Capovara family

Cute Capovara family

monkeys

I think these were spider monkeys

stork on river

 

 

Turtle pileup

Turtle pileup

We made it to our home for 2 nights – a camp beside the river

Friendly local alligator greeting us on arrival at the bush camp. Eek.

Friendly local alligator greeting us on arrival at the bush camp. Eek.

The camp where we stayed beside the river. Full of alligators and piranhas.

The camp where we stayed beside the river. Full of alligators and piranhas.

 

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