Pampas Tour

There are two ways to get to Rurrenabarque from La Paz. Option one is to buy a plane ticket and enjoy a half hour flight. Option two is to buy a bus ticket and endure a twenty-hour bus ride. Although the bus ride is forty times as long as the flight, it is nearly a tenth of the price, so naturally we chose to rough it out on the bus.

We simply made our decision based on the price, and didn’t research any safety aspects of either the flight or the bus ride. Come to find out, the route the bus takes to get from La Paz to Rurrenabarque is partially on the new death road, and partially on a road that seems worse than the death road, especially after it raining! We slept for as much as we could, which was not much, and prayed when we were awake that the bus wouldn’t go off the cliff. In the end, it was not terribly bad, but we were strongly considering taking a flight back to La Paz after our pampas tour (river tour).

{Traveler’s Tip.. the bus ride is on quite a sketchy road, and we wouldn’t suggest going on it during the rainy season, or if you have a bad feeling about taking the bus. It is quite the experience though! From what we heard about the flight.. people didn’t feel too safe on the flight either, but it was a beautiful view and you got to and from Rurrenabarque really quickly.}

Upon arrival to Rurrenabarque we were completely taken by surprise. We had talked with a lot of people about doing the pampas tour there, but none had mentioned how remote of a town this place was. It was in the middle of nowhere, with only dirt roads, and the only taxis around were motorcycles. We decided to walk to the “city center” because we didn’t feel too safe traveling on the back of motorcycles with our big bags. Clearly this was the wrong idea.. we went the wrong way and had at least a 40 minute walk ahead of us. Luckily we ran into a guy with a cart attached to his motorcycle, so we snagged a ride from him into town.

Hitched a ride into town.

Hitched a ride into town.

We got into town early in the morning and decided that we wanted to try and get the pampas tour the same day. We walked around trying to find agencies that were open, but it being 7:30 am, most were closed. Around 8:00, a tour agent approached us on the street and told us we could get on the tour with his group. We were a bit hesitant about booking with him, but with a good price, and other people booked to go on the tour, we decided it would be perfect for us.

The truck that took us from Rurrenabarque to the Pampas.

The truck that took us from Rurrenabarque to the Pampas.

The tour ended up being fantastic. The first day we drove three hours to get to the river where we waited for our guide to be ready to take us out. Our guide was so great! We saw multiple caiman (South America’s crocodiles), monkeys, pink river dolphins, turtles, capybara (the world’s largest rodent), and lots of different kinds of birds all within the ride to our camp. Once getting to camp, we all showered, changed into clothes that would keep the mosquitoes away, then got back into the boat to head up river to enjoy the sunset for the evening. We searched for caiman in the dark then scarved up a delicious dinner before reading and heading to bed.

Our boats that will take us everywhere for the next three days.

Our boats that will take us everywhere for the next three days.

Our boat!

Our boat!

Not a bad view from the front!

Not a bad view from the front!

An awesome tree in the distance of the Pampas.

An awesome tree in the distance of the Pampas.

Capybara!

Capybara!

Jason & Heather with the rest of the Pampas Group!

Jason & Heather with the rest of the Pampas Group!

Caiman!!!

Caiman!!!

The caiman.

The caiman.

Turtles!

Turtles!

Mr. Caiman!

Mr. Caiman!

Not sure what it is, but it is a cool bird.

Not sure what it is, but it is a cool bird.

Crane

A Crane in flight

Paradise Birds are awesome!

Paradise Birds are awesome!

One crazy spiderweb.

One crazy spiderweb.

Walking to the sunset.. later we found out what we were walking through is where you look for anacondas!!

Walking to the sunset.. later we found out what we were walking through is where you look for anacondas!!

The hammocks that we hung out in for the two nights we watched the sunset!

The hammocks that we hung out in for the two nights we watched the sunset!

cool reflections

cool reflections

Sunset

Sunset

The moon after sunset

The moon after sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Another cool Tree

A cool Tree

In the morning we were up and eating breakfast by 8:00. Again the food was amazing, and after breakfast we took our leftover food and fed the monkeys. It was quite the experience. The little guys are so cute, and we were even able to see baby monkeys as well. Our time feeding the monkeys ended when our guide started hollering “Listo, listo!! Vamos!!” We grabbed our things for the morning trip, and hit the river. Our goal for the morning was to find anacondas!! We all pulled on boots, grabbed water, and were searching for an hour in chest high grass, when we decided we would head back to the hammocks to relax for a bit. It was then that the kids started yelling, “Anaconda!! Anaconda!!!” Could this be real?! We were just out searching for them for an hour in chest high grass trampling through knee high water at points, all while the sun was beating down on us and we were unable to find any! But sure enough it was an anaconda. Heather, being a bit scared of snakes, kept her distance by staying on the deck, while everyone else ran to see the snake. It was awesome seeing a real live one.

The monkeys having an eating frenzy.

The monkeys having an eating frenzy.

A nice close up.

A nice close up.

Hand feeding the monkeys!!

Hand feeding the monkeys!!

Nibbling on some food.

Nibbling on some food.

Aren't they so cute.

Aren’t they so cute.

The monkey investigating what there is to eat.

The monkey investigating what there is to eat.

Feeding the monkeys

Feeding the monkeys

A view from behind.

A view from behind.

We are searching for them snakes called anacondas.

We are searching for them snakes called anacondas.

The anaconda.

The anaconda.

The anaconda from behind.

The anaconda from behind.

the snake going through the grass.

the snake going through the grass.

A really big bird in the distance while hunting for anacondas.

A really big bird in the distance while hunting for anacondas.

Cooling off in the river after searching for anacondas.

Cooling off in the river after searching for anacondas.

An awesome tree in the distance of the Pampas.

An awesome tree in the distance of the Pampas.

After everyone got all the pictures they wanted of the anaconda, we made our way back to our camp, had some lunch, took a nap, and then headed out to fish for piranhas. We fished and fished and fished with tiny little “fishing poles”. The group as a whole caught about 12 fish. Jason caught 3 of the 12 and Heather caught none, but we both had a blast! After catching our dinner we enjoyed the sunset again, then went back to camp and had pasta and fish! The piranha was actually quite good. Jason even ate the eye balls and the brain of one of them!! GROSS!!! After dinner we made a fire and enjoyed some wine while chatting with people from other tours.

These are the fishing poles.

These are the fishing poles to catch piranhas.

Our 12 piranhas!!!!

Our 12 piranhas!!!! Red, White, and Regular Piranhas.

Fishing these things were very difficult. The bait that you are supposed to put on your hook is beef or other piranhas. They are cannibals!!!

Fishing these things were very difficult. The bait that you are supposed to put on your hook is beef or other piranhas. They are cannibals!!!

Jason's first catch.

Jason’s first catch.

Not sure what it is, but it is a cool bird.

Not sure what it is, but it is a cool bird.

Our lodge.

Our lodge.

Our bug nets to keep us safe from getting eating alive in the night.

Our bug nets to keep us safe from getting eating alive in the night.

Our tour agency!

Our tour agency!

One nice sunset!

One nice sunset!

Nice sunset through the trees with a beautiful reflection.

Nice sunset through the trees with a beautiful reflection.

We love our piranhas.

We love our piranhas.

Bottoms up for the piranhas.

Bottoms up for the piranhas.

Only way to eat it!

Only way to eat it!

Look at dem chompers!

Look at dem chompers!

The next morning we were on the river at 5:30 am to watch the sunrise. After sunrise we enjoyed breakfast and feeding the monkeys again before going out to swim with the pink river dolphins. This was a huge highlight of our trip. We got to touch and pet the dolphins, and one even lifted Jason up from underneath him. Swimming with the dolphins concluded our pampas tour. After swimming for nearly two hours, we showered off in our clothes, packed our bags, ate lunch, and made the journey back to where we would endure another three-hour crazy drive back to Rurrenabarque.

Sunrise over the Pampas.

Sunrise over the Pampas.

Sunrise!

Sunrise!

Jason feeding the monkeys.

Jason feeding the monkeys.

The two of them are being very cautious.

The two of them are being very cautious.

Some were pretty rough and others were calm while taking the food.

Some were pretty rough and others were calm while taking the food.

Larger monkeys hanging out. These are Howling Monkeys.

Larger monkeys hanging out. These are Howling Monkeys.

This big guy just hung out outside our camp all the time!!

This big guy just hung out outside our camp all the time!!

A glimpse of the dolphin underwater.

A glimpse of the dolphin underwater.

Pointing to the pink dolphin.

Pointing to the pink dolphin.

Jason out there by himself with the dolphins!

Jason out there by himself with the dolphins!

Cheesin' for the camera while waiting for the dolphins to play with us.

Cheesin’ for the camera while waiting for the dolphins to play with us.

Another cool tree.

Another cool tree.

Where we swam for the morning.

Where we swam for the morning.

Upon arrival to Rurrenabarque we took a nice long shower, without our clothes this time, and actually felt clean after, instead of feeling super humid, or like we were just getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. We grabbed a sandwich to go from a restaurant down the street of the tour agency, and took individual motorcycles to the bus station to catch the 6:30 pm bus back to La Paz.

Yes, you read it right! We were going to take the bus back on the sketchy roads.. when you’re traveling with a limited budget you have to compromise some things. This ride back was so much worse than the ride there! Our driver was absolutely crazy. And a trip that should have taken close to 22 hours to get back to La Paz only took our driver 15 hours! He was hauling, uphill, around corners, and through potholes with no fear! His crazy driving even made the under compartment open and with our little Spanish we had to explain that the driver needed to stop and close it so all the luggage wouldn’t fall out!! We got back to La Paz safely, and were quite glad the trip was only 15 hours instead of 22 because the guy that got on the bus around 6:00 am was extremely drunk and we had to listen to him talking to himself for seven hours!! Literally he talked to himself the whole time, except for the five minutes that he was passed out.

All in all, our trip to Rurrenabarque was amazing! We were a bit nervous about getting mosquito bites, seeing how neither of us were talking Maleria meds, and Jason didn’t have his Yellow Fever shot, but neither of us got sick. We literally wore the same clothes every day, and even showered/rinsed off with our clothes on, so mosquitoes wouldn’t attack us while being naked in the shower. We both got bit, but not nearly as bad as people that showered without their clothes on, or people that wore shorts and t-shirts instead of pants and long-sleeves the whole time.

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8 thoughts on “Pampas Tour

  • first of all the capybara or whatever are disgusting. 10 bucks says they eat them somewhere!
    also I can’t believe you went LOOKING for anacondas. Heather if I remember correctly I recall you screaming and almost crying over a water snake at the illy? haha. you’ve come a long way!
    Jason’s beard is getting gnarrrrrrrly!

    • Kaylee… oh my.. first.. yes the capybara are so nasty. I got in trouble for getting to close to them.. oops.. I was just thinking that I could outrun them though if they started chasing me, just like we outran the wild bore in Hawaii. 🙂 Also.. I was pooing my panties if Jason got too far away from me while searching for the anacondas. Don’t give me too much credit.. I haven’t come too far! ha. And third.. yes, Jason’s beard is gnarrrrrrrllllllly!!! He’s been finding stuff in it lately.. I think that means it’s too long! Ha.. Also.. we miss you and we are now in Chile, so we should be able to FaceTime this week!! 🙂

  • Oh my gosh! You guys are way more brave than I am!! Never would I ever go looking for any sort of snake, not to mention a giant anaconda! 😳
    Swimming with dolphins is such a great experience though!! So glad you guys got to do that! And especially grateful to hear neither of you guys got sick!! You forgot to include your next plans and prayer requests so I’ll be looking forward to your next post filling us in!
    Things have been crazy for us so I apologize for getting behind but I’m all caught up on your adventures now and so glad I can catch a glimpse of your adventures! We’re back in Oregon now and heading down to GP soon so we’re especially missing you guys now. So happy for you though! Such an amazing journey you’re on! Praying for you!
    PS Rylee turned one Saturday!! So crazy. Can’t wait for you guys to see her again! She’s growing up way to fast!

    • Oh my goodness.. searching for snakes was so creepy.. I kept thinking they were going to wrap up around me! Ahh.. and then when we actually saw one I was so scared.. I was just standing on the deck and the next thing I knew I grabbed the man standing next to me and hid behind him.. then when I realized that I did that I was so embarrassed! ha.. And I’m not kidding you.. the whole time we were swimming with the dolphins I was thinking of you!!

      Sorry we didn’t post our plans or prayer requests!! And then we were out of internet service for like four days so I couldn’t even respond.. haha.. after the Pampas tour we did Spanish classes in Sucre for ten days and then we went to Uyuni and did the Salt Flats tour.. and we just got into Chile today. We are staying in San Pedro for the night and hopefully heading to Santiago tomorrow. We will stay there through Christmas and then head to Vina Del Mar for New Years!! 🙂 At some point we will be heading into Argentina east of Santiago to do some wine tasting.. and then we will head down to Pucon to see Jason’s friend and stay with him for a bit!! Again these are just our plans.. we will see how the Lord will work it all out though!! haha.

      How crazy that you are back on the mainland already!! That went by so fast!! We need to FaceTime soon and catch up on everything!! I miss you way too much!! And holy smokes.. you’re kiddding.. she can’t be that old already!! AHH.. I can only imagine how big she is!! Talk with you soon hopefully!! Love you guys!!

    • Grams!!! We are glad you’re enjoying our blog!! And yes.. we should be able to Skype you soon. We just arrived to Chile and the internet is supposed to be a lot better here, which means that Skyping will be possible!! We love you too!!

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